Networking, MSP, Content

Microsoft Defender ATP for Apple macOS, Windows, Linux — and MSPs?

Microsoft has rebranded Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) software, and extended the endpoint security platform to protect Apple macOS.

A related Microsoft-produced video includes icons for Windows, macOS and even Linux -- suggesting that the company will also push hard to offer security for the open source operating system.

The big question: Will the newly branded Microsoft Defender ATP feature a multi-tenant MSP partner push as well?

Microsoft ATP Cybersecurity Software Strategy: Details So Far

Microsoft explained its strategy in this video:

Video link

The company's ATP push appears to have six core components or goals:

  1. Threat and vulnerability management;
  2. attack surface reduction;
  3. next-generation protection;
  4. endpoint detection and response;
  5. auto investigation and remediation; and
  6. Microsoft threat experts.

The Mac support, currently in limited preview, has two key components, according to a Microsoft blog:

  1. A new user interface on Mac clients called Microsoft Defender ATP. The user interface brings a similar experience to what customers have today on Windows 10 devices.
  2. Reporting for Mac devices on the Microsoft Defender ATP portal.

Microsoft: Truly Serious About Security and MSPs?

The cross-platform endpoint protection move comes only a few weeks after Microsoft unveiled Azure Sentinel, a cloud-based SIEM that numerous MSPs and MSSPs are testing.

The big question: Will a similar MSP-centric push surface in the Microsoft ATP business? Generally speaking, the company has been late to the MSP wave. Established cybersecurity companies such as Webroot and Sophos, in particular, built strong MSP dashboards years ago to help partners with multi-tenant business needs.

More recently, companies such as VIPRE have gained momentum with MSP-centric products, and just about every cybersecurity software provider now wants to get cozy with MSPs. Also, next-generation endpoint protection providers like Cylance (recently acquired by BlackBerry) are riding the MSP wave. The reason: MSPs have largely emerged as the gatekeeper into SMB customer accounts.

We'll be watching to see if Microsoft makes similar moves with Defender ATP.

Microsoft Deemphasizing Windows

On a related note, Microsoft continues to deemphasize Windows as part of a cross-platform push. In addition to the Microsoft Defender rebranding, software historians will recall that Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Intune previously were called Windows Azure and Windows Intune, respectively.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.