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Compare Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

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Comparison Summary
Question: How is Cortex XDR compared with Microsoft Defender?
Answer: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a cloud-delivered endpoint security solution. The tool reduces the attack surface, applies behavioral-based endpoint protection and response, and includes risk-based vulnerability management. We liked that Defender was configured on all computers that connected to the network. This helped us to protect all the computers without having to install them on each one of them. The centralized management was the best feature. It was great at proactively monitoring threats. It was a bit inconvenient when the software did system scans on a client during business hours, at random. It was also difficult to run the SmartScreen feature and trying to install other software. We also found that it is impossible to delete a computer manually. Palo Alto Cortex XDR is a solution for detection and response, integrating network, endpoint, and cloud data to prevent advanced threats. Cortex XDR uses behavioral analytics to detect threats and discover the root cause. It provides endpoint protection by blocking malware, exploits, and fileless attacks. We were using Microsoft Defender but switched to Cortex because of the visibility it provides, with a complete picture of each attack that allows us to respond faster to alerts. We found it provides a wider range of scenarios, working on every device that can connect with the Internet. However, Cortex could improve the context it gives to behavior-based alerts. We would also like to see an easier integration with Mac. Conclusions Microsoft Defender is best suited for Windows-based networks. It is currently difficult to implement and integrate with other environments, like Mac. While its centralized management is a good feature, it lacks flexibility. Cortex is easier to use, and the interface is more intuitive. It suited us most because of the flexibility of integration, and it excels in its prevention abilities.
Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and other solutions. Updated: November 2021.
554,382 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:

Pros
"The solution makes it possible to see a threat once and block it everywhere across all endpoints and the entire security platform. It has the ability to block right down to the file and application level across all devices based on policies, such as, blacklisting and whitelisting of software and applications. This is good. Its strength is the ability to identify threats very quickly, then lock them and the network down and block the threats across the organization and all devices, which is what you want. You don't want to be spending time working out how to block something. You want to block something very quickly, letting that flow through to all the devices and avoiding the same scenario on different operating systems.""It doesn't impact the devices. It is an agent-based solution, and we see no performance knock on cell phones. That was a big thing for us, especially in the mobile world. We don't see battery degradation like you do with other solutions which really drain the battery, as they're constantly doing things. That can shorten the useful life of a device.""The solution's integration capabilities are excellent. It's one of the best features.""It is extensive in terms of providing visibility and insights into threats. It allows for research into a threat, and you can chart your progress on how you're resolving it.""The visibility and insight this solution gives you into threats is pretty granular. It has constant monitoring. You can get onto the device trajectory to look at a threat, but you can also see what happened prior to the threat. You can see what happened after the threat. You can see what other applications were incorporated into the execution of the threat. For example, you have the event, but you see that the event was launched by Google Chrome, which was launched by something else. Then, after the event, something else was launched by whatever the threat was. Therefore, it gives you great detail, a timeline, and continuity of events leading up to whatever the incident is, and then, after. This helps you understand and nail down what the threat is and how to fix it.""Another of my favorite features is called the Device Trajectory, where it shows everything that's going on, on a computer. It shows the point in time when a virus is downloaded, so you can see if the user was surfing the internet or had a program open. It shows every running process and file access on the computer and saves it like a snapshot when it detects something malicious. It also has a File Trajectory, so you can even see if that file has been found on any of your other computers that have AMP.""It is a very stable program.""One of the best features of AMP is its cloud feature. It doesn't matter where the device is in regards to whether it's inside or outside of your network environment, especially right now when everybody's remote and taken their laptops home. You don't have to be VPNed into the environment for AMP to work. AMP will work anywhere in the world, as long as it has an Internet connection. You get protection and reporting with it. No matter where the device is, AMP has still got coverage on it and is protecting it. You still have the ability to manage and remediate things. The cloud feature is the magic bullet. This is what makes the solution a valuable tool as far as I'm concerned."

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"The protection offered by this product is good, as is the endpoint reporting.""It integrates well into the environment.""Its ability to react to cyber data attacks is awesome. That is pretty much the use of it. What blows your mind is the ability to access your assets remotely and see what is actually going on with them. You can not only see them in a console. You can also react very rapidly to your assets that are compromised.""The initial setup is pretty easy.""The most valuable feature is that you can select remote access of any machine for sandboxing.""Stability is a primary factor, and then there's the ease of distribution and policy management.""The behavior-based detection feature is valuable.""The solution doesn't need a high level of technical training."

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"DFE organizational security posture has been a positive experience. We're a Microsoft house. It works. Once it's deployed and once it's configured, it works and our clients tend to be happy with it. I haven't really experienced anyone who has been so unsatisfied with the platform that they wanted to go a couple of different directions, that has never happened to me.""We apply the DLP policies across a range of endpoints and it is very accurate when reporting vulnerabilities, including those in email attachments.""One of the features which differentiates it from other EDR providers is the Automated Investigation and Response, which reduces the workload of SOC analysts or engineers. They don't have to manually investigate each and every alert on the endpoint, since it does so automatically. And you can automate the investigation part.""It is stable and easy to use. Everything is okay, and there are no performance issues.""One of the valuable features of the solution is the small updates that keep my machine relatively clean from any infections.""The biggest benefit to Windows Defender is that it is built-in to the operating system by Microsoft.""It's not really visible for the user - which is a benefit.""This software is easy to use."

More Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Pros »

Cons
"We don't have issues. We think that Cisco covers all of the security aspects on the market. They continue to innovate in the right way.""We had a lot of noise at the beginning, and we had to turn it down based on exclusions, application whitelisting, and excluding unknown benign applications. Cisco should understand the need for continuous updates on the custom Cisco exclusions and the custom applications that come out-of-the-box with the AMP for Endpoints.""The technical support is very slow.""The one challenge that I see is the use of multiple endpoint protection platforms. For instance, we have AMP, but we also have Microsoft Windows Defender, System Center Endpoint Protection, and Microsoft Malware Protection Engine deployed. So, we have a bunch of different things that do the same thing. What winds up happening is, e.g., if I get an alert for a potential incident or malware and want to pull the file, I'll go to fetch the file to analyze it. But, one of these other programs has already gotten it, so the file has already been quarantined by another endpoint protection system. AMP doesn't realize that and the file fetch fails, then you're left wondering what's going on.""...the greatest value of all, would be to make the security into a single pane of glass. Whilst these products are largely integrated from a Talos perspective, they're not integrated from a portal perspective. For example, we have to look at an Umbrella portal and a separate AMP portal. We also have to look at a separate portal for the firewalls. If I could wave a magic wand and have one thing, I would put all the Cisco products into one, simple management portal.""The GUI needs improvement, it's not good.""The room for improvement would be on event notifications. I have mine tuned fairly well. I do feel that if you subscribe to all the event notification types out-of-the-box, or don't really go through and take the time to filter out events, the notifications can become overwhelming with information. Sometimes, when you're overwhelmed with information, you just say, "I'm not going to look at anything because I'm receiving so much." I recommend the vendor come up with a white paper on the best practices for event notifications.""The connector updates are very easily done now, and that's improving. Previously, the connector had an issue, where almost every time it needed to be updated, it required a machine reboot. This was always a bit of an inconvenience and a bug. Because with a lot of software now, you don't need to do that and shouldn't need to be rebooting all the time."

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"There are a large number of false positives.""I would like to see some additional features related to email protection included.""Cortex does not offer an on-premises solution. However, some customers would prefer not to be on the cloud. It would be ideal if it could offer something on-prem as well.""I would like to see better protection, specifically to protect email applications.""Data privacy is a matter of concern. You have to be careful with data privacy, it can be sensitive and Cortex can have most of your access.""The solution can never really be an on-premises solution based simply on the way it is set up. It needs metadata to run and improve. Having an on-premises solution would cut it off from making improvements.""A little bit more automation would be nice.""It would be better if they could educate the customers more. Some sort of seminars and roadshows will help educate the customers and show what the product can do. The price could be better. It would also help if they had a team for deployment and support."

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"Additional security would be beneficial.""I would like to have additional features such as DNS lookup, which would help for detecting malicious sites.""Auto recovery is the most important feature that we would need from this solution. For decryption, similar to Malwarebytes, there should be something to be able to recover the data up to the last normal status. Its ability to recover data to the last normal copy must not exceed 5 to 10 minutes.""It would be helpful if they included XDR features, on top of the EDR functionality.""Other vendors provide a lot of customization when it comes to integration, which every big organization requires. No big organization depends on one particular tool. Defender lacks that at this point.""I would just like them to have more consistency, and that's a comment that's across the board with Microsoft. They change things a lot.""The solution can be more user-friendly.""We encountered some issues when we were trying to enable automatic updates from our group policy."

More Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Cons »

Pricing and Cost Advice
"There is also the Cisco annual subscription plus my management time in terms of what I do with the Cisco product. I spend a minimal amount of time on it though, just rolling out updates as they need them and monitoring the console a couple of times a day to ensure nothing is out of control. Cost-wise, we are quite happy with it.""Our company was very happy with the price of Cisco AMP. It was about a third of what we were paying for System Center Endpoint Protection.""The pricing and licensing are reasonable. The cost of AMP for Endpoints is inline with all the other software that has a monthly endpoint cost. It might be a little bit higher than other antivirus type products, but we're only talking about a dollar a month per user. I don't see that cost as being an issue if it's going to give us the confidence and security that we're looking for. We have had a lot of success and happiness with what we're using, so there's no point in changing.""Whenever you are doing the licensing process, I would highly advise to look at what other Cisco solutions you have in your organization, then evaluate if an Enterprise Agreement is the best way to go. In our case, it was the best way to go. Since we had so many other Cisco products, we were able to tie those in. We were actually able to get several Cisco security solutions for less than if we had bought three or four Cisco security solutions independently or ad hoc.""Licensing fees are on a yearly basis and I am happy with the pricing.""In our case, it is a straightforward annual payment through our Enterprise Agreement.""There are a couple of different consumption models: Pay up front, or if you have an enterprise agreement, you can do a monthly thing. Check your licensing possibilities and see what's best for your organization.""The Enterprise Agreement is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of Cisco products. In that vein, it was very affordable."

More Cisco Secure Endpoint Pricing and Cost Advice »

"It has a yearly renewal.""It's about $55 per license on a yearly basis.""Our customers have expressed that the price is high.""I don't have any issues with the pricing. We are satisfied with the price.""The pricing is okay, although direct support can be expensive.""Every customer has to pay for a license because it doesn't work with what you get from a managed services provider.""We pay about $50,000 USD per year for a bundle that includes Cortex XDR.""Its pricing is kind of in line with its competitors and everybody else out there."

More Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks Pricing and Cost Advice »

"The normal, standalone model, is not expensive, but the enterprise model that includes the bundle with email and some web protection, is a bit more expensive.""Microsoft Defender for Endpoint comes with Windows 10, and it's free. But for you to be able to manage it in the cloud and use the console, you need to have either an Office 365 E5 subscription or a Microsoft M365 subscription. You need to buy an extra license.""It came with Windows.""It is within the same range as other products. It is not too expensive, and it is also not cheap. Its price can be better, but, well, it is Microsoft.""It is free. It is included in Windows 10.""We have a bundle where the price includes all Microsoft products.""We have an enterprise agreement so from my perspective, this is a product that ships with Windows and it is not priced standalone.""If you don't purchase the advanced threat protection then there is no additional charge."

More Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Pricing and Cost Advice »

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Questions from the Community
Top Answer: The most valuable feature is signature-based malware detection.
Top Answer: Licensing fees are on a yearly basis and I am happy with the pricing.
Top Answer: The GUI needs improvement, it's not good. There are false positives in emails. At times, the emails are blocked and… more »
Top Answer: Cortex XDR by Palo Alto vs. SentinelOne SentinelOne offers very detailed specifics with regard to risks or attacks.… more »
Top Answer: Cortex XDR by Palo Alto vs. CrowdStrike Falcon Both Cortex XDR and Crowd Strike Falcon offer cloud-based solutions… more »
Top Answer: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a cloud-delivered endpoint security solution. The tool reduces the attack surface… more »
Top Answer: We use Symantec because we do not use MS Enterprise products, but in my opinion, Microsoft Defender is a superior… more »
Top Answer: The CrowdStrike solution delivers a lot of information about incidents. It has a very light sensor that will never push… more »
Top Answer: It is stable and easy to use. Everything is okay, and there are no performance issues.
Comparisons
Also Known As
Cisco AMP for Endpoints
Cyvera, Cortex XDR, Palo Alto Networks Traps
Microsoft Defender ATP, Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, MS Defender for Endpoint, Microsoft Defender Antivirus
Learn More
Overview

Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) is subscription-based, managed through a web-based management console, and deployed on a variety of platforms that protects endpoints, network, email and web Traffic. AMP key features include the following: Global threat intelligence to proactively defend against known and emerging threats, Advanced sandboxing that performs automated static and dynamic analysis of files against more than 700 behavioral indicators, Point-in-time malware detection and blocking in real time and Continuous analysis and retrospective security regardless of the file's disposition and Continuous analysis and retrospective security.

Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is the world's first detection and response app that natively integrates network, endpoint and cloud data to stop sophisticated attacks. Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks accurately detects threats with behavioral analytics and reveals the root cause to speed up investigations.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a complete endpoint security solution that delivers preventative protection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response. With Defender for Endpoint, you have: 

Agentless, cloud powered - No additional deployment or infrastructure. No delays or update compatibility issues. Always up to date. 

Unparalleled optics - Built on the industry’s deepest insight into Windows threats and shared signals across devices, identities, and information. 

Automated security - Take your security to a new level by going from alert to remediation in minutes—at scale. 

To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.
Offer
Learn more about Cisco Secure Endpoint
Learn more about Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks
Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
Sample Customers
Heritage Bank, Mobile County Schools, NHL University, Thunder Bay Regional, Yokogawa Electric, Sam Houston State University, First Financial Bank
CBI Health Group, University Honda, VakifBank
Petrofrac, Metro CSG, Christus Health
Top Industries
REVIEWERS
Healthcare Company19%
Government13%
Manufacturing Company13%
Financial Services Firm6%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Comms Service Provider24%
Computer Software Company23%
Government7%
Financial Services Firm5%
REVIEWERS
Financial Services Firm13%
Computer Software Company13%
Consumer Goods Company13%
Healthcare Company8%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Computer Software Company24%
Comms Service Provider22%
Government7%
Energy/Utilities Company4%
REVIEWERS
Financial Services Firm19%
Computer Software Company13%
Comms Service Provider10%
Manufacturing Company8%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Computer Software Company23%
Comms Service Provider23%
Government8%
Financial Services Firm6%
Company Size
REVIEWERS
Small Business36%
Midsize Enterprise18%
Large Enterprise46%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business28%
Midsize Enterprise21%
Large Enterprise51%
REVIEWERS
Small Business44%
Midsize Enterprise20%
Large Enterprise36%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business36%
Midsize Enterprise15%
Large Enterprise49%
REVIEWERS
Small Business38%
Midsize Enterprise23%
Large Enterprise39%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business30%
Midsize Enterprise16%
Large Enterprise54%
Find out what your peers are saying about Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and other solutions. Updated: November 2021.
554,382 professionals have used our research since 2012.

Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is ranked 6th in Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) with 28 reviews while Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is ranked 3rd in Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) with 73 reviews. Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is rated 8.2, while Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks writes "Has a centralized console and does predictive analysis of malware". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint writes "Enables ingestion of events directly into your SIEM/SOAR, but requires integration with all Defender products to work optimally". Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is most compared with CrowdStrike Falcon, Symantec End-User Endpoint Security, SentinelOne, Trend Micro Apex One and Check Point Harmony Endpoint, whereas Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is most compared with CrowdStrike Falcon, Symantec End-User Endpoint Security, SentinelOne, Sophos Intercept X and Malwarebytes. See our Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint report.

See our list of best Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) vendors.

We monitor all Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.