Specify the cloud-delivered protection level

Applies to:

You can specify the level of cloud-protection offered by Windows Defender Antivirus with Group Policy and System Center Configuration Manager.


The Windows Defender Antivirus cloud service is a mechanism for delivering updated protection to your network and endpoints. Although it is called a cloud service, it is not simply protection for files stored in the cloud, rather it uses distributed resources and machine learning to deliver protection to your endpoints at a rate that is far faster than traditional Security intelligence updates.

Use Intune to specify the level of cloud-delivered protection:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select All services > Intune.
  3. In the Intune pane, select Device configuration > Profiles, and then select the Device restrictions profile type you want to configure. If you haven't yet created a Device restrictions profile type, or if you want to create a new one, see Configure device restriction settings in Microsoft Intune.
  4. Select Properties, select Settings: Configure, and then select Windows Defender Antivirus.
  5. On the File Blocking Level switch, select one of the following:

    1. High to provide a strong level of detection
    2. High + to apply additional protection measures
    3. Zero tolerance to block all unknown executables


      While unlikely, setting this switch to High might cause some legitimate files to be detected. The High + setting might impact client performance. We recommend you set this to the default level (Not configured).

  6. Click OK to exit the Windows Defender Antivirus settings pane, click OK to exit the Device restrictions pane, and then click Save to save the changes to your Device restrictions profile.

For more information about Intune device profiles, including how to create and configure their settings, see What are Microsoft Intune device profiles?

Use Configuration Manager to specify the level of cloud-delivered protection:

  1. See How to create and deploy antimalware policies: Cloud-protection service for details on configuring System Center Configuration Manager (current branch).

Use Group Policy to specify the level of cloud-delivered protection:

  1. On your Group Policy management machine, open the Group Policy Management Console, right-click the Group Policy Object you want to configure and click Edit.

  2. In the Group Policy Management Editor go to Computer configuration.

  3. Click Administrative templates.

  4. Expand the tree to Windows components > Windows Defender Antivirus > MpEngine.

  5. Double-click the Select cloud protection level setting and set it to Enabled. Select the level of protection:

    1. Setting to Default Windows Defender Antivirus blocking level will provide strong detection without increasing the risk of detecting legitimate files.
    2. Setting to High blocking level will apply a strong level of detection. While unlikely, some legitimate files may be detected (although you will have the option to unblock or dispute that detection).
  6. Click OK.