Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Important

The improved Microsoft 365 security center is now available. This new experience brings Defender for Endpoint, Defender for Office 365, Microsoft 365 Defender, and more into the Microsoft 365 security center. Learn what's new.

Applies to

Important

This article is intended for business customers who have Microsoft Defender for Office 365. If you are using Outlook.com, Microsoft 365 Family, or Microsoft 365 Personal, and you're looking for information about Safe Links or Safe Attachments in Outlook, 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

In this interactive guide you'll learn how to safeguard your organization with Microsoft Defender for Office 365. You'll 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

Getting Started

If you're new to Microsoft Defender for Office 365 or learn best by doing, you may benefit from breaking initial Defender for Office 365 configuration into chunks, investigating, and viewing reports using this article as a reference. Here are logical early configuration chunks:

  • 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

To learn by doing, 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.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 and Plan 2

The following table summarizes what's included in each plan.


Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2
Configuration, protection, and detection capabilities: Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 capabilities
--- plus ---
Automation, investigation, remediation, and education capabilities:
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 is included in Office 365 E5, Office 365 A5, Microsoft 365 E5 Security, and Microsoft 365 E5.

  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 is included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 are each available as an add-on for certain subscriptions. To learn more, see Feature availability across Microsoft Defender for Office 365 plans.

  • The Safe Documents feature is only available to users with the Microsoft 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 Security licenses (not included in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 plans).

  • If your current subscription does not include Microsoft Defender for Office 365, contact sales to start a trial, and see how Defender for Office 365 can work for your organization.

Configure Microsoft Defender for Office 365 policies

With Microsoft Defender for Office 365, your organization's security team can configure protection by defining policies in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal (go to https://security.microsoft.com > Email & collaboration > Policies and rules).

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.

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 the Microsoft 365 Defender portal at Reports > Email & collaboration > Email & collaboration reports or directly at 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 (or real-time detections) (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 Simulator 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

(NEW!) 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 (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 365 compliance center. For more information, see Permissions in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal and Permissions in the Microsoft 365 compliance center.

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 does not include Defender for Office 365, you can purchase Defender for Office 365 Plan 1 or Defender for Office 365 Plan 2 as an add-on to certain subscriptions. To learn more, see the following resources:

New features in 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