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Microsoft Defender for Cloud Valuable Features

Associate Principal - Cloud Solutions at Apexon

Its recommendations are really good. Most of the time, they are appropriate. Azure comes with a lot of default policies that are set to audit only. As the enterprise grew and we started adopting the cloud, initially, we didn't pay much attention to Azure Security Center. For us, Azure Security Center was like an afterthought; it was not planned from day one. In our enterprise journey, when we started looking at it halfway through, we realized that there were so many violations. We started with auditing. We found policies that nobody was using, and then we started enforcing them. It was really good in terms of built-in policies, recommendations, and then applying them across the board with a minimal set of actions.

It is very intuitive when it comes to policy administration, alerts and notifications, and ease of setting up roles at different hierarchies. It has also been good in terms of the network technology maps. It provides a good overview, but it also depends on the complexity of your network.

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Global Cloud Security Architect at a consumer goods company with 5,001-10,000 employees

We do a lot of mergers and acquisitions. One of the features that I like about the solution is it is both a hybrid cloud and also multi-cloud. We never know what company we're going to buy, and therefore we are ready to go. If they have GCP or AWS, we have support for that as well. It offers a single-panel blast across multiple clouds.

The most valuable aspect of the solution is visibility. You truly have visibility. That’s the first thing that you're going to have in the cloud.

The solution’s capabilities of assessment and real-time assessment is another big thing for us. In terms of remediation and capabilities, most of the time, I even have a quick fix, a quick button that I click and they're going to fix it for me, where they are going to provide me with everything that I need to do to fix that.

The main thing that I like about the tool is that Microsoft collects trillions of data points across their cloud and they leverage that threat intelligence to teach the machine learning AI-driven models to assess for security. We can even see across the cloud, and it’s so much better than going with a third-party product, where you don't have that advantage.

The solution has features that have helped improve our security posture. The security score is one of the biggest pluses. They do have a series of metrics that combine into a security posture score. Netsecure started giving me a good snapshot of where we are when it comes to security posture, and then we can drill down.

If you click on your secure score, you are going to be able to see why you have that calculated score. They have very good documentation surrounding how, for example, if you have 74%, why you do. You are going to be able to drill down and see where your weaknesses are and then you can address those items directly.

The compliance policy feature is great. They do offer support, such as PCIS. You have access and they can compare to your security posture and they can give you your score based on that, for example, how compliant you are with those tenders. That's another great aspect of the tool as well. That's all visual and on a dashboard.

The solution positively affected our end-user experience, however, not in any shape or even form that they can notice. They're getting all the benefits from it in the background. For example, security alerts are one of the main values about the users that I like. You have access to security alerts and those security alerts are giving you a real-time type of reading on how you are doing when it comes to threats. If there's something that can affect a user negatively, you have access to fix it before it becomes an issue. Therefore, while it has affected them positively, they never had to change anything that they're doing.

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Network & Security Architect at SNP Technologies, Inc.

For any type of service, I would recommend the go-to solution for security on Azure is Security Center. The advantage is, firstly, is that it has seamless integration with any of the services I mentioned, on Azure, such as IaaS platforms, virtual machines, applications, or databases, because it's an in-house product from Microsoft within the Azure ecosystem. It has seamless integration with their Log Analytics workspaces, and it also provides some insights into what can be a better solution when it comes to securing their environment.

When it comes to improving the security posture, whenever we have a small project for a customer where they want to migrate their resources into Azure, once the resources are migrated, such as the ones I noted above, we go ahead and integrate Security Center in various ways. One of those ways is to use an agent that can be installed on virtual machines so that we can extensively monitor security alerts or threats that happen on the device. 

But for platforms as a service, we can't have an agent installed, so it integrates with the Log Analytics workspace. For any PaaS services, or a database as a service, or data lakes, we take their Log Analytics workspace and integrate it with Security Center. Once we have integrated it, Security Center discovers the resources, determines what the different configurations are, and provides us with some recommendations for the best practices that Microsoft suggests.

For example, if the Security Center agent is installed on a virtual machine and it scans the environment and identifies that the access to this VM is public and also doesn't have any MFA, it will recommend that blocking public access is one of the best practices to make sure that only safe access is allowed. Along with that, it can also provide us with some insights about enabling MFA solutions that can provide an additional security layer. Those are examples of things that Security Center can recommend for providing a more secure infrastructure

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Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
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Azure Solution Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

We find two things inside the Azure Security Center to be quite valuable. One is the recommendations, and the second is the regulatory compliance. Both help to keep everything running smoothly. This will give you the security score as well. You can try to get the highest security score, which is 100%. You can get there just from the recommendations from Microsoft. Not all the recommendations will be applicable on the enrollment side.

Regulatory compliance is PCI compliance. There are multiple compliance options you can follow.

Azure Defender helps improve our security posture. You enable it for each and every server. It is a monthly-based subscription and about $15 per month per server. You can see right on there that the vulnerability is automatically run with the help of a Messages scanner. Messages is running behind Azure Defender. It automatically runs and scans, and that will show up on your portal. You do have to take any necessary steps to run recommendations. Either you can see if any energy port is open, for example, if RDP is open, it will realize, “Okay, just close RDP for outside work." These kinds of recommendations are very helpful from the Azure Security Center.

You have inventory on Azure Security Center, as well as Workbooks. You can create Workbooks. These are automatic playbooks where you can see the entire dashboard. If you prepare a monthly report, or a weekly report, it's better to create it in Azure Security Center instead of Workbooks with the help of JSON, or use drag and drop as an option. That will help you to keep updated more on things.

Inside Azure Security Center, with Workbooks, you can create your own workbooks according to your users. If you have a system update setting inside Azure, with the help of an automation account, if you click it, inside the system update Workbook, you can see all the systems which are taking updates. If that is updated, you can see whether the system is compliant with updates. All the reports are visible. You can see reports on the basis of subscriptions or on the basis of resources if you want.

Azure Security Center does not affect the end-user experience in any way. End users don't feel its presence in the organization.

The solution offers collaborative services. If you enable Azure Defender for servers or any services, basically, you can automatically subscribe for Azure Defender for Endpoints, which is easy.

You can install the EDR on each and every server. That will give you all of the process logs and what a user is doing. You can tell if a URL is open on your system, for example.

You can remediate with automation as well if you want to. That's for malware or any malicious files if they are present on the system. It will detect using the intelligence of the Defender Endpoint. You can take hybrid action on an alert, you can take a fully automated action, or you can take 100% manual action.

With Defender Endpoint, if you find out if one system is compromised, you can actually separate it from the network. If you have to deal with ransomware. If one system is affected by ransomware, you can remove the system from the network.

There is a security alert inside Defender that's per the recommendations and activities that happen inside your network. You will see security events there. If you do not have any other SIEM solution in your environment, you can leverage this. 

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Senior DevSecOps Engineer at a consumer goods company with 11-50 employees

The most valuable feature is the help with regulatory compliance, as it gives us security scores and the CVE details.

Centralized management is another feature that is key for me.

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Cloud Architect at a legal firm with 5,001-10,000 employees

The most valuable feature is the recommendations. Azure Security Center is a product that can be useful in various grades and stages, depending on the state of maturity of both your application and your organization.

The alerts are also valuable, and they go hand-in-hand with the recommendations.

With respect to our security posture, there are at least two features that have been very useful. The first of these is the inventory section, where you can quickly see everything that you have. Especially in a larger organization where there have been mergers and acquisitions, it can be difficult to readily see everything that has been deployed. Using Security Center, you have a full view, at any given time, of what's deployed, and that is something that is very useful.

The security score has been very useful. This is another numeric metering system that basically tells you how well you have been doing.

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SOC Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

Most use cases that come from Microsoft are all automated. Even before any manual effort, the tool is designed in such a way that it just does the threat analysis. It gives us exactly what the incident alert is all about: 

  • The priority
  • The threat 
  • The impact
  • The risk
  • How it can be mitigated. 

Those are the key features of this particular tool.

The solution has features that have definitely helped improve our security posture.

One important security feature is the incident alerts. Now, with all these cyberattacks, there are a lot of incident alerts that get triggered. It is very difficult to keep monitoring everything automatically, instead our organization is utilizing the automated use case that we get from Microsoft. That has helped bring down the manual work for a lot of things. The automation tool does the following (when human interaction is needed): 

  • Identifies what kind of an alert is it. 
  • Whether we have to dismiss it. 
  • When we need to take any action so the team can do it appropriately. 

This is one of its key benefits.

It is easy to use based on my experience. If a newcomer comes in, it is just a matter of time to just learn it because it is not that difficult.

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Senior Consultant at a recruiting/HR firm with 51-200 employees

The most valuable features are regulatory compliance and security alerts. The security score is very helpful, as well. Together, these let us know the state of each subscription and whether there are any actions that we need to take. This functionality is pretty helpful in audits.

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Cyber Security Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

The security alerts and correlated alerts are most valuable. It correlates the logs and gives us correlated alerts, which can be fed into any security information and event management (SIEM) tool. It is an analyzed correlation tool for monitoring security. It gives us alerts when there is any kind of unauthorized access, or when there is any malfunctioning in multifactor authentication (MFA). If our Azure is connected with Azure Security Center, we get to know what types of authentication are happening in our infra. 

It has so many security monitoring features, such as compromised accounts. For example, if I'm working for abc.com company, and I'm using the same company email address for registering to another hotel or some other place where it gets hacked or something goes wrong, they will alert us. If my credentials are dumped somewhere on the dark web, they trigger an alert stating that you should go and reset your credentials. There are many more interesting alerts, and such features are pretty awesome in terms of security monitoring. In terms of security, it gives a very good overview of our estate. It also has many features from the cloud administration side.

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Senior Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

We are using most of the good services in Azure:

  • The load balancing options
  • Firewall
  • Application Gateway
  • Azure AD. 

I value Azure Security Center the most from a security point of view. Everybody is concerned about moving data or infrastructure to the cloud. This solution proves that we are secure enough for that infrastructure, which is why I really value the Azure Security Center. We are secure in our infrastructure.

This is a platform as a service provided by Azure. We don't need to install or maintain Azure Security Center. It is a ready-made service available in Azure. This is one of the main things that we like. If you look at similar tools, we have to install, maintain, and update services. Whereas, Azure Security Center manages what we are using. This is a good feature that has helped us a lot.

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Senior Project Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

The most valuable features related to my involvement are Azure Defender and enabling log analytics on the workloads. This helps to integrate the workload suite with the analytics repository. For example, if I want to capture any logs from a Windows 10 workload, then this allows me to do so.

The Log Analytics Workspace acts as a repository where it captures all of the data from Windows 10 and Windows 8 workloads. In order to implement it, an agent needs to be installed. With Azure Security Center, we can configure a policy that accounts for different subscription levels. It automatically installs the agent and begins capturing data.

This product provides us with many features including auto-provisioning of dependency agents for Azure Log Analytics, as well as for Azure Defender.

We can create alerts that trigger if there is any malicious activity happening in the workflow and these alerts can be retrieved using the query language.

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Security Consulting, Manager at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The most valuable feature of this solution is the support for a multi-cloud environment.

The policy-related features are good. For example, there is a compliance policy that is related to PCI and another related to NIST.

The support for dynamic networking is good.

Alerting and incident management are valuable features.

The integration with Logic Apps allows for automated responses to incidents. It is also integrated with Microsoft Defender.

They added new functionality into the pretty long list of features and it is constantly being updated. 

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System Administrator at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The dashboard is very good. It gives our clients a lot of information and allows them to have a complete overview of the system. Everything is visible in one glance.

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Cloud Security Design Lead at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees

I personally like the features of the daily recommendations because that's a major deal, and it hosts Microsoft products so it has visibility. If you are bringing in a third party to get a high level of visibility, then a lot of work is required to get that level of capability. This product gives a very good view of the entire security setup of your organization which can be used by the security and operation teams. It provides alerts to the security team on the one hand, and all the AI and ML based detections on the other. It's very beneficial for our security and assault teams. In addition, it provides recommendations for the operations teams who need to sustain a high level of security. It's an important capability. 

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Managing Partner at Digitaiken

We saw improvement from a regulatory compliance perspective due to having a single dashboard.

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Sr Cybersecurity Engineer at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

The most valuable features of this solution are the remote workforce capabilities and the general experience of the remote workforce.

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Founder & CEO at Cloud Steroids

The most valuable features are ransomware protection and access controls. The solution has helped us secure some folders on our systems from unauthorized modifications. 

This solution has been very useful for securing core funds and preventing them from being hijacked by any application or spyware for our banking customers. People can be susceptible to scams easily because they are not aware of the current threat trends. We are able to scan for threats which have helped us limit the risks in the future.

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Senior Analyst Security and Compliance at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The most valuable feature is that it's intuitive. It's very intuitive. The only problem that we're struggling with is that we have 21 different subscriptions we're trying to apply security to. It's impossible to keep everything organized.

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CEO at a non-profit with 11-50 employees

It helps you to identify the gaps in your solution and remediate them. It produces a compliance checklist against known standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, iTrust, etc.

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Cyber Security Analyst at a security firm with 11-50 employees

The most valuable features of this solution are the vulnerability assessments and the glossary of compliance.

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Cyber & Cloud Security Leader at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees

It takes very little effort to integrate it. It also gives very good visibility into what exactly is happening.

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Senior Security Architect at a transportation company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The most valuable feature for me are the compliance policies.

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Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.