Small and medium businesses (SMBs) face unique challenges in an increasingly digital world. In fact, more than 70% of SMBs said cyber threats are becoming more of a business risk—with nearly one in four SMBs stating that they had a security breach in the last year, they have reason to be concerned.1 And because SMBs do not usually have access to sophisticated security tools or resources, over 60% of small businesses are unable to continue operations after experiencing a cyberattack.2

At Microsoft, we believe that SMBs deserve the same level of security as enterprises. On March 1st, we made Microsoft Defender for Business generally available to Microsoft 365 Business Premium customers. Today, we are pleased to share that the standalone version of Microsoft Defender for Business is now generally available as an option for SMBs with up to 300 employees to get enterprise-grade endpoint security technology at an affordable price point of $3 per user per month. Support for securing servers will be made available later this year.

Bringing enterprise-grade protection to SMBs

Today’s endpoint security solutions must go beyond traditional antivirus protection to combat increasingly sophisticated threats. Microsoft Defender for Business spans the five phases of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework and brings together multi-layered endpoint security with next-gen protection, endpoint detection and response, and threat and vulnerability management in a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution. Defender for Business includes recommended security policies out-of-the-box and simplified wizard-based onboarding so that SMB customers spend minimal time on IT and more time focused on running their businesses.

Accelerate upsell to Microsoft 365 Business Premium

As more than half of SMBs lack the in-house skills to manage the risk of and fallout from ransomware and cyberattacks3, the general availability of both Microsoft 365 Business Premium with Defender for Business value and the standalone version of Microsoft Defender for Business present a unique opportunity for cloud service providers (CSPs) to connect with customers about endpoint security, support them with security solutions, and grow their business.

For existing Microsoft 365 customers, the new Defender for Business value built into Microsoft 365 Business Premium is an attractive addition to the comprehensive productivity and security capabilities that already exist in Business Premium, making it an even more compelling and complete offering for SMBs. As Martin Liljenberg who is the Chief Technology Officer and cofounder at WeSafe IT, a Sweden-based partner focused on SMBs, puts it, “we’ve found no other solution like Microsoft 365 Business Premium that manages such a complete span of functionality for small to medium sized businesses at anywhere near the cost or flexibility.”

The expanded partner opportunity with Defender for Business standalone and managed services

With the general availability of Microsoft Defender for Business, partners now have a unique opportunity to acquire new customers to the Microsoft 365 ecosystem with security-led discussions around the capabilities of the standalone solution. Defender for Business is a great option for SMBs that want additional security, but are not yet ready to move full-scale to the Microsoft cloud. And, cost-conscious SMBs will find Defender for Business an attractively priced option for protecting their employees from cyberattacks. The standalone offering of Defender for Business opens the door for partners to deepen their relationship with these customers and serve their security needs down the road.

Microsoft Defender for Business and Microsoft 365 Business Premium give partners the opportunity to unlock new revenue streams beyond traditional licensing and help secure customers with value-add managed services. Both solutions integrate with Microsoft 365 Lighthouse to help partners quickly identify and act on threats across all their customers. Microsoft 365 Lighthouse became generally available on March 1, 2022, making it easier for managed service providers (MSP) to secure and manage devices, data, and SMB users in one aggregated view.

WeSafe, which has adopted Microsoft 365 Lighthouse with Business Premium and Defender for Business, has grown by 50 percent over the past year without having to increase the size of their security and tenant management team. Says Liljenberg, “MSPs that take advantage of Defender for Business can increase automation and earnings while providing their SMB customers better security and service.”

We are additionally integrating with Remote Monitoring and Management tools that MSPs use to help secure their customers efficiently. Datto RMM’s integration with Microsoft Defender for Business is now available for partners. ConnectWise RMMintegration with Intune and Microsoft 365 Business Premium is coming soon.

Lastly, partners often need to connect to data sources from multiple vendors to provide a central view of events and analytics. Defender for Business allows the integration of its security data to 3rd party security platforms and reporting tools via a rich set of APIs. As an example, partners can pull detections from Defender for Business into security information and event management tools to more seamlessly run their day-to-day operations.

In the journey to zero trust, we’re excited to continue working with partners to build a more secure world for themselves and customers, with the introduction of the standalone offering of Microsoft Defender for Business. To learn more about Microsoft Defender for Business, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and Microsoft 365 Lighthouse, join us for our Partner webinar series, or explore the Microsoft Defender for Business Partner page and Microsoft 365 Business Premium Partner playbook to find practical guidance and customer-ready resources.

Additional resources

1 April 2022, "Microsoft Small & Medium Business Community Security in the New Environment," Microsoft Quantitative Survey Research
2 Microsoft commissioned Forrester Research
3 2019, "Underserved and Unprepared: The State of SMB Cyber Security in 2019," Continuum Managed Services


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