Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Tip

Did you know you can try the features in Microsoft 365 Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 for free? Use the 90-day Defender for Office 365 trial at the Microsoft 365 Defender portal trials hub. Learn about who can sign up and trial terms here.

Applies to

Important

This article is for business customers.

But if you're using Outlook.com, Microsoft 365 Family, or Microsoft 365 Personal, and you need info about Safe Links or Safe Attachments in Outlook blocking emails, see Advanced Outlook.com security for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 safeguards your organization against malicious threats posed by email messages, links (URLs), and collaboration tools. Defender for Office 365 includes:

Interactive guide to Microsoft Defender for Office 365

If you need more information, this interactive guide will show you and example of how to safeguard your organization with Microsoft Defender for Office 365.

You'll also see how Defender for Office 365 can help you define protection policies, analyze threats to your organization, and respond to attacks.

Check out the interactive guide

What's the difference between Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 and Plan 2?

For more on what's included in Microsoft 365 Plans 1 & 2, browse over to this document.

This article spells out what makes up the two products, and the emphasis of each part of Microsoft Defender for Office 365 using a familiar structure: Protect, Detect, Investigate, and Respond.

Graphics and short, scannable paragraphs answer questions like:

  • What is Plan 1 optimized to do for you?
  • What's the biggest advantage to you and your company in Plan 2?
  • Who has Exchange Online Protection and what's it optimized to do?

The goal of this article is clarity and quick readability. So, don't miss it!

Getting Started

There are two methods to set up Microsoft Defender for Office 365 for your subscription.

It is recommended that -- as much as your organization can, given its specific needs -- you configure via preset security policies. You can learn more about presets here: Preset setup information and steps; or just the steps for preset policy setup, please.

Manual configuration for Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Though it's no longer the recommended practice, here are the initial logical configuration chunks for manual set up:

  • Configure everything with 'anti' in the name.
    • anti-malware
    • anti-phishing
    • anti-spam
  • Set up everything with 'safe' in the name.
    • Safe Links
    • Safe Attachments
  • Defend the workloads (ex. SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Teams)
  • Protect with zero-hour auto purge (ZAP).

To learn by doing things manually, click this link.

Note

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 comes in two different Plan types. You can tell if you have Plan 1 if you have 'Real-time Detections', and Plan 2, if you have Threat Explorer. The Plan you have influences the tools you will see, so be certain that you're aware of your Plan as you learn.

Manual steps to Configure Microsoft Defender for Office 365 policies

It's recommended that you configure with preset security policies, but some organizations must configure manually.

With Microsoft Defender for Office 365, your organization's security team can configure protection by defining policies in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal at https://security.microsoft.com at Email & collaboration > Policies & rules > Threat policies. Or, you can go directly to the Threat policies page by using https://security.microsoft.com/threatpolicy.

Learn more by watching this video.

Tip

For a quick list of policies to define, see Protect against threats.

Defender for Office 365 Policies

The policies that are defined for your organization determine the behavior and protection level for predefined threats.

Policy options are extremely flexible. For example, your organization's security team can set fine-grained threat protection at the user, organization, recipient, and domain level. It is important to review your policies regularly because new threats and challenges emerge daily.

How to view Microsoft Defender for Office 365 reports

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 includes reports to monitor Defender for Office 365. You can access the reports in theMicrosoft 365 Defender portal at https://security.microsoft.com at Reports > Email & collaboration > Email & collaboration reports. You can also go directly to the Email and collaboration reports page using https://security.microsoft.com/securityreports.

Reports update in real-time, providing you with the latest insights. These reports also provide recommendations and alert you to imminent threats. Predefined reports include the following:

Use threat investigation and response capabilities

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 includes best-of-class threat investigation and response tools that enable your organization's security team to anticipate, understand, and prevent malicious attacks.

  • Threat trackers provide the latest intelligence on prevailing cybersecurity issues. For example, you can view information about the latest malware, and take countermeasures before it becomes an actual threat to your organization. Available trackers include Noteworthy trackers, Trending trackers, Tracked queries, and Saved queries.

  • Threat Explorer in Plan 2 (or real-time detections in Plan 1) (also referred to as Explorer) is a real-time report that allows you to identify and analyze recent threats. You can configure Explorer to show data for custom periods.

  • Attack simulation training allows you to run realistic attack scenarios in your organization to identify vulnerabilities. Simulations of current types of attacks are available, including spear phishing credential harvest and attachment attacks, and password spray and brute force password attacks.

Save time with automated investigation and response

When you are investigating a potential cyberattack, time is of the essence. The sooner you can identify and mitigate threats, the better off your organization will be.

Automated investigation and response (AIR) capabilities include a set of security playbooks that can be launched automatically, such as when an alert is triggered, or manually, such as from a view in Explorer.

AIR can save your security operations team time and effort in mitigating threats effectively and efficiently. To learn more, see AIR in Office 365.

Permissions required to use Microsoft Defender for Office 365 features

To access Microsoft Defender for Office 365 features, you must be assigned an appropriate role. The following table includes some examples:

Role or role group Resources to learn more
global administrator (or Organization Management) You can assign this role in Azure Active Directory or in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal. For more information, see Permissions in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal.
Security Administrator You can assign this role in Azure Active Directory or in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal. For more information, see Permissions in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal.
Organization Management in Exchange Online Permissions in Exchange Online

Exchange Online PowerShell

Search and Purge This role is available only in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal or the Microsoft Purview compliance portal. For more information, see Permissions in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal and Permissions in the Microsoft Purview compliance portal.

Where to get Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is included in certain subscriptions, such as Microsoft 365 E5, Office 365 E5, Office 365 A5, and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

If your subscription doesn't include Defender for Office 365, you can get Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 or Plan 2 as an add-on to certain subscriptions. To learn more, take a look at the following resources:

What new features are coming for Microsoft Defender for Office 365?

New features are added to Microsoft Defender for Office 365 continually. To learn more, see the following resources:

See also