Microsoft Windows Defender vs. Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP)

As of July 2019, Microsoft Windows Defender is ranked 5th in Endpoint Protection for Business with 3 reviews vs Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) which is ranked 1st in Endpoint Protection for Business with 42 reviews. The top reviewer of Microsoft Windows Defender writes "Free software to prevent malware and viruses that is bundled with the operating system". The top reviewer of Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) writes "You can deploy it to Windows, Mac, and Linux with one console to cover all three". Microsoft Windows Defender is most compared with Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), ESET Endpoint Security and CrowdStrike. Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) is most compared with Microsoft Windows Defender, McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection and ESET Endpoint Security.
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Most Helpful Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Symantec, IBM, CrowdStrike and others in Endpoint Protection for Business. Updated: July 2019.
352,354 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:

Within its class I think, it has a high and decent detection rate.It's free. There is no additional cost. It's part of Windows.Ensures that I'm working with a product that gets updated regularly without me having to remember to do it. Since it's a Microsoft product, I'm confident that it requires a low use of system resources. The benefit of that being that my computer isn't constantly being drained.

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The solution is completely scalable.The solution is very stable.The features I find the most valuable are the protection, the encryption, and the DLP.I like the firewall and the intrusion prevention features, and just the basic anti-malware and anti-virus seems to be pretty effective as well.The most valuable features of this solution are that it is really easy to use, and it is secure.The feature I find most useful is the console for reporting.With Symantec, I always know this tool will be reliable and with the latest protection.The most valuable feature for our organization is the antivirus, as our staff is the target of zero-day malware and viruses.

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There's a lot of manual effort involved to configure what we need.Microsoft Windows Defender doesn't have a game mode.It would be nice to have a paid upgrade that would provide additional screening of the day-to-day activities.

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The Centralized Management could be improved.The reporting function needs to be more user friendly in general.The detection and response can always be improved.If you're not charged with administering the product and you don't do it every day it can sometimes be difficult to remember how to do the simple basic things, so some type of help or guidance for your most regular or frequent tasks would be good.Reporting in this solution needs improvement.The overall quality of the product needs to be improved because with the last session we had several issues with new versions. Also, the solution needs better protections.If Symantec wants to improve, they should have a single event for all their products.I would like to see a hybrid version of this solution that covers both in-house and cloud-based servers.

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Pricing and Cost Advice
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The pricing is a little bit more expensive than other competitors, if you compare it to Kaspersky, for example, or McAfee.The problem is Symantec is more expensive than other vendors.We receive a discounted price for this solution because we are a non-profit organization.Compared to other products and brands here in Mexico, the price is okay, somewhere in the middle. Our solution is unique in that it can adapt to a variety of pricing and licensing constraints considering we have the corporate, government, and academic mandates. ThePricing and licensing for our country is very good. It's not that expensive and the endpoint security is very good. It's not as cheap as some others, but they are not as good.We pay on a yearly basis...Zero-day threat or advanced attacks should be part of the endpoint. The product should not require you to buy a separate license.Each annual client license is around 1200 or 1600 INR.

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Answers from the Community
Rhea Rapps
Andre B.Vendor

If you have to choose between Symantec or MS, It would have to be Symantec. That is as long as you are willing to adopt more of their eco-system of solutions. I is more heavily geared torwards file protection (can be good or bad, pending the use case) but not dynamic enough in its policy creation capability. However the same can be said for MS Defender. MS Defender has one major shortcoming as it has tunnel vision on the windows platform. It leaves exposures with other operating systems. Also policy capabilities are not quite as effective and granular as one would think given the proximity to the Active Directory / Azure origin. I believe CarbonBlack is a superior solution. The breadth of its detection and response capabilities reside within the context of its primary solution. That said if you are looking for a heavier AV solution, Symantec is the way to go.

13 February 18
Imtiaz HussainReal User

Symantec is a complete endpoint security solution (Antivirus and anti-spyware, Application control and hardware control, Mitigation on memory exploring, Online reputation and signature-based solution, Behavior analysis and machine learning, Hist firewall and Hist IPS integrity with ATP/APT, Global reputation signature synchronization Compliance Validator, Host/application hardening or LockDown and Integrity with web proxy)
but Defender is only AV/malware features. If you need complete security you should choose Endpoint Protection.

02 July 19
Bruce BadingUser

Symantec Endpoint Protection and Windows Defender both have their strong points. Microsoft has made great progress in its free edition of Windows Defender in Windows 7 and improved version in Windows 10. Its no cost feature is its strong point. Symantec Endpoint Protection is a purchased product, but the cost is worth the price. SEP is always near or at the top of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant both in execution and completeness of vision. In my 25 years as an IBM lead security engineer, I observed that SEP was chosen by IBM to protect its mobile workforce and also was the leader in Endpoint Protection chosen by the world’s largest banks, retailers and organizations. Powered by Sonar and now a Machine Learning Cloud interface in SEP 14.1, it is in most expert’s options the leader in Endpoint Protection.

My current experiences have also show that Symantec detects a far greater number of the zero-day threats than Windows Defender. However, the number of zero-day threats that can bypass the total of all anti-virus solutions has risen in recent years and the problem is that even though solutions such as SEP 14.1 are moving to machine learning detection engines, the number of data breaches continues to increase exponentially as the malicious actors are beginning to use AI to create and distribute Advanced Persistent Threats and it is a lucrative industry being run by organizations with a corporate structure mimicking the actual corporate structures of legitimate business.

Today only a holistic approach toward a foundational implantation of fundamental security controls at all levels will decrease the growing number of data breaches, reputational damage and monetary losses. Threat Hunting is the new norm and every organization should look beyond Endpoint Protection to an early detection and reduction in infection time by implementing an advanced Threat Hunting posture. Beyond that, Governance, Risk Management, Compliance and an increase in security awareness from the boardroom to the ground floor is making the more mature organizations leaner, agiler and less likely to suffer a data breach.

13 February 18
Martin CarnegieConsultant

Between Symantec and Defender, the best of the two is Symantec for detections and false/positive rates.

Couple sites to check

One thing you will notice is that the first site does not even consider Defender as a corporate solution, so take that for what it is.

One thing I will say about Symantec is the horrendous support. I find that every ticket I work on is pure frustration. Tickets are closed without actually solving the problem, constant debating around what the issue is and what the solution is. It has been driving me nuts!

But that being said, the product is fairly easy to manage and has kept us pretty clean. Our worst issue is spear-phishing attacks, but these cannot be prevented by malware software that well.

Symantec does offer a cloud connection for the agents now. My big issue right now is that you cannot have an internally managed server connect to the cloud (or reverse) to provide information in a consolidated view. I am told that this is coming though. I could move everything to the cloud I guess, but that is something for the future.

13 February 18
Richard BenfattoUser

Sid, you just hit the nail in the head. Sadly, I see here one comment from someone that appears to have CISSP certification saying MS is good for the home user that is ultra fantastic, so just for being a home user nothing will ever happen to them, even if they have a Roku box for IPTV ( I am being ultra sarcastic, here). Interesting, common guys.

22 April 19
Robin Saikat ChatterjeeConsultant

Symantec is an Enterprise Solution. It help you provide the enterprise reports that are a critical aspect of endpoint protection. It can also help you get an overall view of the state of your organization as a whole. Such is not possible with Windows defender which is an isolated solution . Windows defender is also comparatively simplistic in its detection capabilities compared to symantec. Symantec is the one of the leading companies in this space , others may be forcepoint

05 March 18
Gadepally EeswarUser

I do recommend Symantec,

Reason like it has granular protection capabilities
Integrity with other advance solution also available to achieve maximum level protection.

Antivirus and antispyware
Application control and hardware control
Mitigation on memory exploring
Online reputation and signature-based solution
Behavior analysis and machine learning
Hist firewall and Hist IPS integrity with ATP/apt
Global reputation signature synchronization
Compliance validator,
Host/application hardening or lockdown
Integrity with web proxy

Symantec is not any path for the threat comprising,

Faster response to 0day attack
And three tiar integrity with Yara.

14 February 18
Vinod ShankarConsultant

By pure market rankings Symantec is a much better product and has a higher
detection rate than MS Defender. However, if your environment is
development heavy or file usage heavy, the impact on performance will be
high when using Symantec EP and going to Defender is a better option.

14 February 18
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Top Comparisons
Also Known As
Windows Defender, Microsoft System Center Endpoint ProtectionSymantec EPP
Windows Defender Pro is your first line of defense against spyware and other unwanted software. And in Windows 7, it's easier to use, with simpler notifications, more scanning options, and less impact on your computer's performance.

Symantec Endpoint Protection is a powerful endpoint antivirus software solution, which provides multiple layers of protection against all types of known and unknown threats. Powered by SONAR and Symantec Insight, Symantec Endpoint Protection combines all the security tools that you could require into one proactive solution.

It integrates antivirus, firewall, antispyware, intrusion prevention, application control and device control, and allows you to manage all of these tools centrally from one agent. Upgrades happen automatically, and the software offers seamless migration from previous versions.

This solution maximizes the security and performance of physical and virtual systems, and is compatible with multiple operating systems, such as Windows, Mac and Linux. Symantec Endpoint Protection is recommended for environments with more than 250 users.

Learn more about Microsoft Windows Defender
Learn more about Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP)
Sample Customers
Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Auckland Transport, Erste Bank Group, Urban Software Institute, NJVC, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Audio Visual Dynamics, Red Deer Advocate, Asia Pacific Telecom Co. Ltd., Kibbutz Ein Gedi, and AMETEK, Inc.
Top Industries
No Data Available
Pharma/Biotech Company10%
Financial Services Firm10%
Non Profit10%
Financial Services Firm31%
Comms Service Provider10%
Insurance Company9%
Non Profit9%
Company Size
Small Business43%
Midsize Enterprise14%
Large Enterprise43%
Small Business46%
Midsize Enterprise20%
Large Enterprise34%
Small Business39%
Midsize Enterprise23%
Large Enterprise38%
Find out what your peers are saying about Symantec, IBM, CrowdStrike and others in Endpoint Protection for Business. Updated: July 2019.
352,354 professionals have used our research since 2012.
We monitor all Endpoint Protection for Business 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.
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