Before you begin

Applies to:

This document outlines the key prerequisites you must meet and essential information you must know before purchasing the Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR service.

Eligibility and licensing

Defender Experts for XDR is a separate service from your existing Defender products. To enable us to get started with this managed service, we require the following licensing prerequisites:

  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint P2 must be licensed and enabled on eligible devices
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus must be licensed and enabled in active mode on devices onboarded to Defender for Endpoint (required for endpoint detection and response capabilities)
  • Microsoft Entra ID P1 must be licensed for all users and enabled (required for enabling secure service provider access)

The following products are also eligible to get Defender Experts for XDR coverage, and you must have their appropriate product licenses to get started with the service:

  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps

The following product is not covered by this service:

  • Microsoft Defender for IoT

Defender Experts for XDR is a managed extended detection and response (XDR) service. To get native XDR coverage, we recommend deploying the full Microsoft Defender XDR suite.

Server coverage

Defender Experts for XDR also covers servers—whether on premises or on a hyperscale cloud service provider—that have Defender for Endpoint deployed on them with a Microsoft Defender for Server license. For Defender Experts coverage, a server is considered as a user account for billing. The service doesn’t cover Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Learn more about specific hardware and software requirements.

Ask Defender Experts

As part of the service's built-in Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting, you're also assigned 10 Ask Defender Experts credits, which you can use to submit questions, at the start of each calendar quarter. Unused credits from the current quarter roll up to the next one. You can use up to 20 credits only per quarter. All unused credits expire by the end of the calendar year or at the end of your subscription term, whichever comes first.

Learn more about Microsoft's commercial licensing terms.

Access requirements

Work with your Commercial Executive to transact the Defender Experts for XDR SKU.

Defender Experts for XDR requests for certain roles and permissions for you to fully access the service capabilities. Learn more.

Service availability and data protection

Defender Experts for XDR is a managed extended detection and response service that proactively hunts for threats across endpoints, email, identity, and cloud apps. To carry out hunting on your behalf, Microsoft experts need access to your Microsoft Defender XDR advanced hunting data. Purchasing this service means you're granting permission to Microsoft experts to access the said data.

The following sections enumerate additional information about the service's data usage, compliance, and availability. For more information about Microsoft's commitment in valuing and protecting your data, visit the Trust Center then scroll down to Additional products and services > Managed Security Services > Microsoft Defender Experts.

Data collection, usage, and retention

All data used for hunting from existing Defender services will continue to reside in the customer's original Microsoft Defender XDR service storage location. Learn more.

Defender Experts for XDR operational data, such as case tickets and analyst notes, are generated and stored in a Microsoft data center in the US region for the length of the service, irrespective of the Microsoft Defender XDR service storage location. Data generated for the reporting dashboard is stored in customer's Microsoft Defender XDR service storage location. Reporting data and operational data will be retained for a grace period of no more than 90 days after a customer’s subscription expires. If the customer terminates their subscription, data will be deleted within 30 days.

Microsoft experts hunt over advanced hunting logs in Microsoft Defender XDR advanced hunting tables. The data in these tables depend on the set of Defender services the customer is enabled for (for example, Defender for Endpoint, Defender for Office 365, Defender for Identity, Defender for Cloud Apps, and Microsoft Entra ID). Experts also use a large set of internal threat intelligence data to inform their hunting and automation.

Security and compliance

When you purchase and onboard to Defender Experts for XDR, you're granting permission to Microsoft experts to access your advanced hunting data.

This service has been developed in alignment with existing security and privacy standards and is working towards several certifications, including ISO 27001 and ISO 27018.


This service is available worldwide for our customers in our commercial public clouds. If you're interested to learn more, reach out to your Microsoft account team.


This service is currently delivered in English language only.

Next step

Get started with Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR

See also

General information on Defender Experts for XDR service


Do you want to learn more? Engage with the Microsoft Security community in our Tech Community: Microsoft Defender XDR Tech Community.