Microsoft to boost enterprise security of aging Windows 7 and 8.1
Microsoft is bringing one of Windows 10's headline enterprise features to Windows 7 and 8.1. Despite maintaining that businesses should upgrade to Windows 10 for maximum protection, Microsoft said it wants to help all customers improve security.
Announced by the company today, the upcoming release of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for Windows 7 and 8.1 signals a change in Microsoft's security support policies
Since its introduction, Defender ATP has been positioned as one of Windows 10's most significant security enhancements. Making it available to older Windows versions indicates the success of the tool. However, it also suggests Microsoft's failing to get enterprises to upgrade early to Windows 10.
Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Microsoft
Defender ATP is a functionality suite that lets enterprises monitor their devices, proactively block exploits and log potential threats to the cloud. Administrators are given a "holistic" view of their organisation's security standing using the ATP dashboard. They can drill down by threat vector, machine or user to identify ongoing issues, inspect past threats and obtain alerts for new problems.
Devices enrolled with the service are provided with advanced behavioural-based threat detection systems. Whenever a new detection or event occurs, its details are uploaded to Microsoft's Windows Defender Security Center. From there, network admins can coordinate a response, identify trends across their device fleet and directly perform remedial actions on the affected machines.
"Best security possible"
In its blog post, Microsoft maintained its stance that enterprises should be using Windows 10 to obtain the best all-round protection. The launch of Defender ATP on older Windows versions is a significant step for the company, which could lead security-minded businesses to hold off on Windows 10 for a little longer. According to Microsoft, it's making the change so all its customers have "the best security possible," irrespective of their current platform.
"With Windows 10 we built the most secure Windows ever, by hardening the platform itself and by developing Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – a unified endpoint security platform that helps stop breaches," said Microsoft. "This means that for the first time we've built threat and exploit protection, and Endpoint Detection & Response right into the operating system, powered by the cloud."
"We hear from our customers security is one of the biggest motivators for their move to Windows 10. Meanwhile, we know that while in their transition, some may have a mix of Windows 10 and Windows 7 devices in their environments. We want to help our customers achieve the best security possible on their way to Windows 10 ahead of the end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020."
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In tandem with today's announcement, Microsoft also revealed SentinelOne as a fourth cross-platform partner for Defender ATP. Microsoft has recently been expanding the service to include macOS, Linux, iOS and Android devices. To make this possible, it's been teaming up with device management solution providers that already have a presence on these platforms.
SentinelOne will now add support for Defender ATP to its own Endpoint Protection Platform, further extending the reach of Microsoft's service. The company said it's continuing to develop further integrations and functionality extensions, helping companies stay secure in the digital economy. Defender ATP will be available on Windows 7 and 8.1 in the summer.