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Microsoft Defender for Identity OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft Defender for Identity is #8 ranked solution in top Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) tools and #9 ranked solution in top User Behavior Analytics - UEBA tools. IT Central Station users give Microsoft Defender for Identity an average rating of 10 out of 10. Microsoft Defender for Identity is most commonly compared to Microsoft Defender for Office 365:Microsoft Defender for Identity vs Microsoft Defender for Office 365. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 35% of all views.
What is Microsoft Defender for Identity?

Microsoft Defender for Identity is a cloud-based security solution that leverages your on-premises Active Directory signals to identify, detect, and investigate advanced threats, compromised identities, and malicious insider actions directed at your organization. With Microsoft Defender for Identity, you can:

- Monitor users, entity behavior, and activities with learning-based analytics

- Protect user identities and credentials stored in Active Directory

- Identify and investigate suspicious user activities and advanced attacks throughout the kill chain

- Provide clear incident information on a simple timeline for fast triage

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.

    Microsoft Defender for Identity was previously known as Azure Advanced Threat Protection, Azure ATP, MS Defender for Identity.

    Buyer's Guide

    Download the User Behavior Analytics - UEBA Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

    Microsoft Defender for Identity Customers

    Microsoft Defender for Identity is trusted by companies such as St. Luke’s University Health Network, Ansell, and more.

    Microsoft Defender for Identity Video

    Pricing Advice

    What users are saying about Microsoft Defender for Identity pricing:
    • "You won't be able to change your tenants from where you deploy them. For example, if you select Canada, they will charge you based on Canadian pricing. If you are also in London, when you deploy in Canada, the pound is higher than Canadian dollars, but your platform resources are billable in Canadian dollars. Using your pounds to pay for any of these things will be cheaper. Or, if you deploy in London, they will charge you based on your local currency."

    Microsoft Defender for Identity Reviews

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    LS
    Security specialist at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Gives most administrators absolutely amazing insight into what's happening in the network that they probably never had before

    Pros and Cons

    • "The basic security monitoring at its core feature is the most valuable aspect. But also the investigative parts, the historical logging of events over the network are extremely interesting because it gives an in-depth insight into the history of account activity that is really easy to read, easy to follow, and easy to export."
    • "The impact of the sensors on the domain controllers can be quite high depending on your loads. I don't know if there's any room for improvement there, but that's one of the things that might be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our use case is for the securing of the on-premise active directory, but also to correlate the on-premise active directory security information with the Defender for Endpoint ADP integration. That's most of my use cases, the protection of online AD, but the additional information that it gives regarding the incidents as they occur and possible lateral escalation of privileges for the workstation are also use cases. 

    We're using Azure AD in combination with on-premise AD. 

    What is most valuable?

    The basic security monitoring at its core feature is the most valuable aspect. But also the investigative parts, the historical logging of events over the network are extremely interesting because it gives an in-depth insight into the history of account activity that is really easy to read, easy to follow, and easy to export.

    It's provided a simple identification of issues of account abuse. It showed some configuration mistakes. One of the features that it also has is privilege escalation. So it has a feature where you can look into lateral movement parts, and it has a great graphing feature that shows you what kind of lateral movement risks are associated with certain accounts.

    Integrating with the Microsoft Cloud Application Security, you get a tab called Identity Security Posture, where it provides a list of best practices, improvements, things that it has found based on the actual data that it received. One of the things that was interesting, is that two to three months ago, Microsoft had a massive issue with their print spoolers and suddenly the advice came worldwide. The first thing you did was disable the print spooler on the main controllers. This has always been a best practice for Microsoft services, just never clearly communicated. But this feature, this best practice was already clearly visible within the Identity Security Posture from MDI. So we already mitigated this weakness because of the recommendations that the application gave.

    It displays, for instance, a clear tax credential exposure. One of the things that you have a lot within enterprise applications is that a lot of third-party applications communicate via LDAP to active directory. Currently one of the weak points there is that the typical LDAP communication is communicating over LDAP and not over LDAP secure. So it's unencrypted, which means that you get plain text passwords over your networks. And this MDI is able to identify those applications as well and say that the endpoints communicating with MDI need to be secure. They should be secured.

    What needs improvement?

    It would be good if Defender for Identity would further align the Azure ID with the on-premise experience. Because those still seem to be two different worlds. 

    The impact of the sensors on the domain controllers can be quite high depending on your loads. I don't know if there's any room for improvement there, but that's one of the things that might be improved.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Microsoft Defender since its inception. I've been using it before it was called MDI, around three years ago. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is great, it's been improved quite a bit. In the beginning, we had some occasional restarts of sensors on the domain controllers, but stability itself right now is great. We adjusted some performance on the main controllers, made sure that we have enough CPU and memory, especially taking a good look at the exact memory requirements. That's definitely something not to underestimate. If you go under memory requirements, you might hit upon an issue where the sensor tends to restart occasionally.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is great. In an enterprise network with 22,500 workstations, 15 domain controllers, give a give or take, it's easily scaling out. Especially since you deploy it, it's really scaling out on a per sensor basis. So if you ever added a main controller, you just need to factor a sensor in and that's it.

    I have it currently deployed in Europe and in the short term, I have plans to deploy it in several other of our areas, such as the United States and South America, and I am also advising our Japanese headquarters to follow the same.

    How are customer service and support?

    Technical support depends. If you get directly in contact with the core support team from the product, it is very, very good. But since it is from Microsoft's perspective, sometimes it seems like an additional, niche product that not everybody's even aware of. So sometimes it's hard to get in contact with the right support group. But once you have the right support group, then things generally work out very well.

    It can take a bit, but once you get there, you get really excellent support.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I previously used several other solutions. Some of them are still actually in place because there are some differences in functionality and feature sets. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was extremely simple. You go to the portal, you download the clients, retrieve the key, you install the clients on the main controllers input key and things start working. The deployment is a matter of minutes to two hours, depending, of course, on the impact on the amount of the main control it needs to configure.

    We had to investigate the impact on the main controllers. Of course, we started carefully, but after an evaluation period of two to three weeks, on a handful of the main controllers, it was within a month. It was deployed on all the main controllers.

    We only needed two people, and several man-hours, for the initial setup. It starts to study the behavior of the activity on the network. So for the first 30 days, it doesn't do much. Then you start to get some alerts. It just really depends on your configuration, how active your environment is, based on what sort of threats you might have going on on the radar that you weren't aware of.

    Once it is actually running and you focus on the core alert functionality, that is just part of the normal security operations procedure. It hardly ever gives false positives. So the moment you get something, you really should act on that sound. That of course depends on the nature of the threat. But I don't think that says anything about the maintenance that you need to do for MDI. That's more about the actual events that are going on. So MDI is very low maintenance. It can alert you on some very high maintenance incidents though.

    What about the implementation team?

    Initially, we had an investigative call with Microsoft. They offered to use a third party to assist with the installation. But when we went over the whole configuration that was required, we decided just to do it on our own. No regards to getting help.

    What was our ROI?

    Our RPO is seen in its prevention of incidents and even faster resolution of security incidents mostly.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    There are no additional costs to standard licensing. You get an infinite amount of the directory sensors that you can deploy. It integrates directly into the security portal from Microsoft and in the cloud application security, you get cloud login. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm also a social security specialist. One of the things that we do is run our own sensors and our own logging on active directory controllers. And we analyze that in an elastic stack. Basically, you spend a lot of time getting dedicated to the monitoring configuration active directory. We capture a little bit more than what MDI is capturing, but that is only really for fringe cases that we ever need, to really see that in the eyes a very user-friendly application for people to see what is happening on your network. And you don't have to be escalating specialists to see that somebody accessed a server at one time and then logged on to the following computer. I think that for a defensive view, it can give most administrators absolutely amazing insight into what's happening in the network that they probably never had before.

    There is much more going on that you're generally aware of. I'm really quite a fan of this tool because it gives such great insights, such great historical logging.

    I would rate it a nine out of ten. 

    It's sometimes represented in an over-complicated way because it's really just such a simple tool to use that it's also giving non-IT security experts such great insight. And it's not just for the alerts, but also just for the needs of the logging and all the typical configuration mistakes that you do. I think it's just a really great tool.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Danny Spaans
    Enterprise Architect at NTT Security
    MSP
    Top 20
    Stable, integrates with other Defender components, and effectively measures identity security

    Pros and Cons

    • "Defender for Identity has not affected the end-user experience."
    • "The solution could be better at using group-managed access and they could replace it with broad-based access controls."

    What is our primary use case?

    The solution provides alerts when malicious actors are active and that's something most companies are missing. Quite often, malicious actors do reconnaissance for weeks, months, and on their checkout. They get a sense of the whole environment before they execute a ransomware attack. This sensor will alert users if something like that happens and it gives you time to mitigate the issues or block the attacker.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It gives companies a lot of insights that they didn't have before. It has increased the security posture significantly.

    What is most valuable?

    The feature that I most like is that it integrates with the other Defender components. Defender Identity is part of Microsoft 365, and there is Defender for Office 365, Defender for endpoints, and cloud edge security. These tools integrate really well together. The integration with the other tools makes it a comprehensive tool that I would recommend to any company.

    It measures your identity security. For example, let's say a lot of companies don't have a proper decommissioning process for global admins or domain admins. And so, when an administrator who has built many privileges leaves the company, the account gets disabled and it still has members of domain admin groups or sensitive groups. This will highlight them and alert users to say, in a sense, "hey, these users or to these user accounts of sensitive privileges, but haven't been used for a long period of time". The few times I've created this report and showed this to customers, they're shocked due to the fact that it's an easy entry for malicious actors that they weren't aware of. That's one of the cool features.

    Defender for Identity has not affected the end-user experience.

    What needs improvement?

    The solution could be better at using group-managed access and they could replace it with broad-based access controls.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've worked with the solution since June of last year. I've worked with it across three organizations so far.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have never seen any issues. The solution appears to be stable. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is not applicable in this case.

    In terms of users, there will be cloud engineers or security analysts, security engineers, and those types of people.

    How are customer service and support?

    Normally the tech support is pretty responsive and they understand the tool.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Our organization did not previously use a different solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    I've used the solution within three organizations. Two I have implemented myself and the third was implemented by someone else entirely.

    The initial setup is straightforward, however, because it needs to communicate between the domain controller and Microsoft cloud, which can cause issues if there are firewalls. Normally, domain controllers don't have access to the internet, or at least, that's what's recommended. Installing the tool itself is not hard, however, the firewalls make the process harder.

    There are a bunch of URLs that you have to whitelist on the firewalls and you could set up a transparent proxy.

    Installing one takes five minutes at a maximum and you need to times that by the number of domain controllers you have. I recall that, in our case, some domain controllers were not up to speed. Their memory CPU utilization was not big enough to handle the load of the network traffic scanning. Therefore, before you install it on the domain controller, the recommendation is to run a tool to see if your domain controllers are capable to handle the sensors. That's something to note for other users considering an installation.

    I didn't create an implementation strategy. It's a pretty straightforward tool. You just install it on all the main controllers and then integrate it with all the other Defender components. It's not really a strategy. The only thing to note is if you deal with a security team, they always say that there's already an endpoint protection solution on the domain controller. However, this is different, and this works side-by-side with whatever already exists. Other than that, there's not really a strategy.

    For deployment and maintenance, one person would be enough and they would not even have to be full-time as it's a cloud solution. Microsoft does all the maintenance of the backend of the infrastructure and the only thing you have to make sure of is that the sensors are healthy on the domain controllers. That's the only thing you have to do. It's not too much effort.

    What about the implementation team?

    This tool I install for customers as I am a consultant. When I say, I've got experience, it's not purely for our company as we are an IT company and we consult with customers. I didn't use a third party. I'll typically do it with one of my colleagues.

    What was our ROI?

    We have not looked at the ROI of Defender.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    In terms of the pricing, I don't know off the top of my head the cost, however, it's part of Microsoft 365. It is an EMS-5, an Enterprise Mobility and Security Suite.

    It's my understanding that there are no extra costs beyond the standard licensing fee.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I do not recall looking at other options before implementing Defender. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm an integrator and consultant.

    With the current versions I'm working on, I clarified today that it was up to date. Whatever the latest version is, is the one I am working on. I don't keep track of the version numbers.

    It's a cloud-based solution. No on-premise components are required.

    I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

    I'd advise new users to check their firewalls and make sure they whitelist them, alongside the appropriate URLs. Make sure to enlist a tool to measure if the center can run on your domain controller as well.

    Any company should have this tool or a similar tool to it. It's very important to understand if there is a malicious actor in the environment. You can't live without this tool like this in this day and age.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    OA
    Senior Infrastructure Security Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    It gives you a holistic view of everything happening in your organization

    Pros and Cons

    • "It is easy to set up. Based on the number of devices you would like to set up, you can use scripts, Group Policy, etc. It takes five minutes to set up."
    • "I would like to be able to do remediation from the platform because it is just a scanner right now. If you onboard a device, it shows you what is happening, but you can't use it to fix things. You need to go into the system to fix it instead."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our use case is endpoint detection and response (EDR). 

    You can integrate Microsoft Defender with other solutions. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    It gives you a holistic view of everything happening in your organization.

    You can use it to do a lot of monitoring.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features are ETL, lab, and monitoring.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to be able to do remediation from the platform because it is just a scanner right now. If you onboard a device, it shows you what is happening, but you can't use it to fix things. You need to go into the system to fix it instead.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using it for three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is quite stable. There are incidents from time to time, which can affect any platform. This affects in different regions or locations within Canada or even Africa. Sometimes users complain and we get a service request that we check to determine if there is an incident. 

    How are customer service and support?

    When there are issues, sometimes the issue is clear by itself, and other times, I contact Microsoft technical support. Most times, the technical support provides a workaround. My experience with their technical support has been excellent.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We also use Kaspersky and other solutions, but all these solutions integrate with Azure, Microsoft Defender, or Microsoft 365. They don't really work on their own.

    How was the initial setup?

    It is easy to set up. Based on the number of devices you would like to set up, you can use scripts, Group Policy, etc.

    It takes five minutes to set up.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    You won't be able to change your tenants from where you deploy them. For example, if you select Canada, they will charge you based on Canadian pricing. If you are also in London, when you deploy in Canada, the pound is higher than Canadian dollars, but your platform resources are billable in Canadian dollars. Using your pounds to pay for any of these things will be cheaper. Or, if you deploy in London, they will charge you based on your local currency.

    The package has a lot of features. We just want email and calendar only. This is the standard plan. However, if you want something which extends the product's features, you can get Microsoft business.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate the solution as nine out of 10.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    MK
    Cyber Security BA/BSA at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Identifies, detects, and investigates advanced threats

    Pros and Cons

    • "This solution has advanced a lot over the last few years."
    • "When the data leaves the cloud, there are security issues."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are looking at this solution as a trusted tenant for our network.

    This way, all of the data that goes through is trusted and the communication between our on-prem system and the Azure Cloud remains protected. Our only concern is when the data leaves the Azure Cloud and goes to another third-party tenant.

    Azure is our trusted tenant — we trust it. We're just concerned about the data when it leaves Azure and goes to another third-party tenant. For example, if you have a SaaS solution, like Salesforce, sometimes they send data to customers. In order to do this, the data has to leave the trusted cloud tenant. 

    What is most valuable?

    We like the Active Directory Federation feature. We use it a lot with the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

    What needs improvement?

    When the data leaves the cloud, there are security issues. 

    The cloud security services and the integration with on-prem applications like SIEM, needs to be improved.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using this solution for roughly two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    As it's a cloud application, there are no issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I've never had to deal with support regarding this solution; however, overall, Microsoft's support is quite good.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was not involved in the initial setup, but I think Microsoft has a good team that can help you set it up. I believe the initial setup went very well.

    What other advice do I have?

    Microsoft is a big company. They have put a lot of effort into their cloud solutions. They're the way of the future. They have done a lot to catch up with what Amazon did.

    This solution has advanced a lot over the last few years. It integrates very well with Office 365. For this reason, I think it's the way of the future.

    Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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