We here at Firewell Technology Solutions love talking and writing about cybersecurity. Oftentimes we center on business cybersecurity. For example, when you hear about Microsoft adding security apps like Microsoft Defender to Microsoft 365, it’s often the business versions. But the pandemic has changed the way that we see the workplace. It’s now a hybrid world—one made up of several connected “mini-offices” located in employee homes.
The outsourcing market has also contributed to the change in company networks. Freelancers are often contracted to work the same hours as employees. This means less overhead and taxes to pay. Approximately 68% of large consumer products companies outsource a part of their workforce.
What we’re getting at is that the need for home devices and network security has never been greater. Company data is now at the mercy of employee devices, situated in homes across the globe.
55% of employees use their own devices and software to work from home.
Microsoft has been at the forefront of this huge shift in the work environment. Its latest release is another example of how it has positioned its products to address new needs.
The latest security offering by Microsoft is not for business plans. It’s for Personal and Family users of Microsoft 365. The company announced Microsoft Defender for Individuals on June 16, 2022. This is a brand-new digital home security tool.
The Basics of Microsoft Defender for Individuals
Microsoft Defender is a new app that Microsoft 365 subscribers can download. Anyone with a Personal or Family plan can access it for no extra cost.
According to Microsoft, there was a main driver for offering Microsoft Defender. It was to protect the digital life of small businesses and families. Small companies will often use consumer Microsoft 365 plans. This is because they are less expensive than the business plans.
This app brings many digital protections together into one dashboard. These include the following.
Online Security Visibility
Most families have several devices connected to their network. This includes computers, tablets, and smartphones. It can be hard to know which are vulnerable before a hacked device infects the others.
Microsoft Defender gives you visibility into the security status of your devices. It does this in a single place. So, you could see if that new phone of Sally’s has antivirus enabled. You can also easily add or remove devices.
The app includes extra protections from online threats. These are in the form of help from antivirus and anti-phishing protection.
You can use it to continually scan devices for threats, both new and existing. You also gain control of scanning customization. For example, you can note certain apps as safe and tell Microsoft Defender what to scan.
Real-Time Alerts & Recommendations
Hackers use automation and AI to unleash their attacks and help them spread. This means that it’s often a race against the clock to stop a breach from getting worse.
To react fast, you need to know something is wrong. Microsoft Defender helps you by giving you real-time alerts. These also come with recommended actions. So, you not only know something is wrong, but you also know what to do about it.
What Else Should You Know?
Here are a few other important things you should know about using Microsoft Defender for Individuals.
Where Can You Download It?
You can download Microsoft Defender for Individuals from Microsoft here. You need to have a Microsoft 365 subscription to either the Personal or Family plan.
What Devices Can Use It?
You can use Defender to secure and monitor the following devices:
- Windows: Windows 10 version 19041.0 and higher
- Mac: Intel Macs from Catalina 10.15 and higher, and Apple silicon-based devices from 11.2.3 and up
- iPhone: iOS 13.0 or later
- Android: Android OS 6.0 or later
How Many Devices Can You Add?
Microsoft Defender allows you to watch the security of many of your home or work devices. The M365 plan you have will dictate how many.
- If you have Microsoft 365 Personal plan, you can receive protection on up to 5 devices at the same time.
- If you have Microsoft 365 Family plan, you can receive protection on up to 30 devices at the same time. (5 devices per person, 6 people total)
What Are the Key Differences Between the Personal & Family Plans?
Both plans can access the many different Office and other Microsoft applications. The main difference is how many people and devices can use the Microsoft 365 services.
- Microsoft 365 Personal: $69.99 US/year, 1 person, 5 devices
- Microsoft 365 Family: $99.99 US/year, 6 people, 5 devices per person
So, if you want to sign up even 2 people, you’re saving quite a bit with the Family plan. Even more, if you have six people total using the service.
What’s the Difference Between Microsoft Security on Windows & Microsoft Defender?
Most Windows users are already familiar with the Microsoft Security app. It comes pre-installed on Windows. Microsoft Defender differs from this app in several ways.
- Is not pre-installed on Windows. You must download it.
- It’s a cross-device application used on many different devices
- It includes features for online security
- It includes alerts and security tips
Learn More About Defender & Microsoft 365 Today
Are you looking to get more from your Microsoft 365 subscription? We can help! Reach out today to schedule a technology consultation with Firewell Technology Solutions’ Microsoft 365 experts.
This Article, adapted, has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.