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Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs Microsoft Defender for Endpoint comparison

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Comparison Summary
Question: How is Cortex XDR compared with Microsoft Defender?
Answer: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a cloud-delivered endpoint security solution. The tool reduces the attack surface, applies behavioral-based endpoint protection and response, and includes risk-based vulnerability management. We liked that Defender was configured on all computers that connected to the network. This helped us to protect all the computers without having to install them on each one of them. The centralized management was the best feature. It was great at proactively monitoring threats. It was a bit inconvenient when the software did system scans on a client during business hours, at random. It was also difficult to run the SmartScreen feature and trying to install other software. We also found that it is impossible to delete a computer manually. Palo Alto Cortex XDR is a solution for detection and response, integrating network, endpoint, and cloud data to prevent advanced threats. Cortex XDR uses behavioral analytics to detect threats and discover the root cause. It provides endpoint protection by blocking malware, exploits, and fileless attacks. We were using Microsoft Defender but switched to Cortex because of the visibility it provides, with a complete picture of each attack that allows us to respond faster to alerts. We found it provides a wider range of scenarios, working on every device that can connect with the Internet. However, Cortex could improve the context it gives to behavior-based alerts. We would also like to see an easier integration with Mac. Conclusions Microsoft Defender is best suited for Windows-based networks. It is currently difficult to implement and integrate with other environments, like Mac. While its centralized management is a good feature, it lacks flexibility. Cortex is easier to use, and the interface is more intuitive. It suited us most because of the flexibility of integration, and it excels in its prevention abilities.
Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
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Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The visibility and insight this solution gives you into threats is pretty granular. It has constant monitoring. You can get onto the device trajectory to look at a threat, but you can also see what happened prior to the threat. You can see what happened after the threat. You can see what other applications were incorporated into the execution of the threat. For example, you have the event, but you see that the event was launched by Google Chrome, which was launched by something else. Then, after the event, something else was launched by whatever the threat was. Therefore, it gives you great detail, a timeline, and continuity of events leading up to whatever the incident is, and then, after. This helps you understand and nail down what the threat is and how to fix it.""The ability to detonate a particular problem in a sandbox environment and understand what the effects are, is helpful. We're trying, for example, to determine, when people send information in, if an attachment is legitimate or not. You just have to open it. If you can do that in a secure sandbox environment, that's an invaluable feature. What you would do otherwise would be very risky and tedious.""One of the best features of AMP is its cloud feature. It doesn't matter where the device is in regards to whether it's inside or outside of your network environment, especially right now when everybody's remote and taken their laptops home. You don't have to be VPNed into the environment for AMP to work. AMP will work anywhere in the world, as long as it has an Internet connection. You get protection and reporting with it. No matter where the device is, AMP has still got coverage on it and is protecting it. You still have the ability to manage and remediate things. The cloud feature is the magic bullet. This is what makes the solution a valuable tool as far as I'm concerned.""If somebody has been compromised, the question always is: How has it affected other devices in the network? Cisco AMP gives you a very neat view of that.""The solution makes it possible to see a threat once and block it everywhere across all endpoints and the entire security platform. It has the ability to block right down to the file and application level across all devices based on policies, such as, blacklisting and whitelisting of software and applications. This is good. Its strength is the ability to identify threats very quickly, then lock them and the network down and block the threats across the organization and all devices, which is what you want. You don't want to be spending time working out how to block something. You want to block something very quickly, letting that flow through to all the devices and avoiding the same scenario on different operating systems.""The most valuable feature is signature-based malware detection.""The threat Grid with the ability to observe the sandboxing, analyze, and perform investigations of different malicious files has been great.""Integration is a key selling factor for Cisco security products. We have a Cisco Enterprise Agreement with access to Cisco Email Security, Cisco Firepower, Cisco Stealthwatch, Cisco Talos, Cisco Threat Grid, Cisco Umbrella, and also third-party solutions. This is key to our security and maximizing operations. Because we do have the Email Security appliance and it is integrated with Threat Response, we have everything tied together. Additionally, we are using the Cisco SecureX platform, as we were a beta test for that new solution. With SecureX, we are able to pull all those applications into one pane for visibility and maintenance. This greatly maximizes our security operations."

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"The information the dashboard provides is very clear.""Being a cloud solution it is very flexible in serving internal and external connections and a broad range of devices.""It's a nice product that's stable and scalable.""I've found the solution to be highly scalable for enterprises.""Stability is one of the features we like the most.""The integrations are out-of-the-box, as are the playbooks.""Cortex XDR can integrate the firewalls and determine the tendencies of the attacks. It's a new generation antivirus, with protection endpoints and detection response. It is very easy to use and everybody can operate the solution.""Best solution for avoiding security breaches, malware attacks, and other kinds of security issues."

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"This software is easy to use.""The biggest benefit to Windows Defender is that it is built-in to the operating system by Microsoft.""It's effective against most types of infection, and the firewall is perfect for protection.""I am using it for very simple purposes. It is perfect and quite effective. I have been using it for a while, and I have never had any virus infection, data leak, or other security breaches. It works fine for standalone purposes. If you log on to OneDrive, it has ransomware protection.""The most valuable feature of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is that it is embedded into the Windows system. Additionally, the performance is good and simple to maintain.""Its real-time security is the most valuable.""Automatic scanning and cleaning of viruses is the best and most valuable feature helping this tool to thrive. If any viruses are found, they are cleaned automatically.""The primary advantage is that you don't need to install it. It's included in the Windows 10 delivery."

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Cons
"We had a lot of noise at the beginning, and we had to turn it down based on exclusions, application whitelisting, and excluding unknown benign applications. Cisco should understand the need for continuous updates on the custom Cisco exclusions and the custom applications that come out-of-the-box with the AMP for Endpoints.""The thing I hate the most, which they have not fixed, is when it creates duplicate entries within a console. If you have a computer and you upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, or you upgrade your agent from version 6 to 7, it creates a new instance in there instead of updating the information. Instead of paying a license for one computer, I have to license two computers until I manually go in, search for all the duplicate entries, and clean them out myself.""We don't have issues. We think that Cisco covers all of the security aspects on the market. They continue to innovate in the right way.""The GUI needs improvement, it's not good.""Maybe there is room for improvement in some of the automated remediation. We have other tools in place that AMP feeds into that allow for that to happen, so I look at it as one seamless solution. But if you're buying AMP all by itself, I don't know if it can remove malicious software after the fact or if it requires the other tools that we use to do some of that.""The one challenge that I see is the use of multiple endpoint protection platforms. For instance, we have AMP, but we also have Microsoft Windows Defender, System Center Endpoint Protection, and Microsoft Malware Protection Engine deployed. So, we have a bunch of different things that do the same thing. What winds up happening is, e.g., if I get an alert for a potential incident or malware and want to pull the file, I'll go to fetch the file to analyze it. But, one of these other programs has already gotten it, so the file has already been quarantined by another endpoint protection system. AMP doesn't realize that and the file fetch fails, then you're left wondering what's going on.""...the greatest value of all, would be to make the security into a single pane of glass. Whilst these products are largely integrated from a Talos perspective, they're not integrated from a portal perspective. For example, we have to look at an Umbrella portal and a separate AMP portal. We also have to look at a separate portal for the firewalls. If I could wave a magic wand and have one thing, I would put all the Cisco products into one, simple management portal.""In Orbital, there are tons of prebuilt queries, but there is not a lot of information in lay terms. There isn't enough information to help us with what we're looking for and why we are looking for it with this query. There are probably a dozen queries in there that really focus on what I need to focus on, but they are not always easy to find the first time through."

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"Cortex does not offer an on-premises solution. However, some customers would prefer not to be on the cloud. It would be ideal if it could offer something on-prem as well.""Data privacy is a matter of concern. You have to be careful with data privacy, it can be sensitive and Cortex can have most of your access.""It would be better if they could educate the customers more. Some sort of seminars and roadshows will help educate the customers and show what the product can do. The price could be better. It would also help if they had a team for deployment and support.""There are some third-party solutions that are difficult to integrate with, which is something that can be improved.""The connection to the internet has not performed as expected.""Limited remote connection.""Impact on system performance is horrible, adding a lot of delays for users.""A little bit more automation would be nice."

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"I would like to see improvements made to how it secures activities on web pages.""The central management console should be improved because it provides limited options to configure Windows Defender.""There are likely some technical improvements or features that could be added, however, I cannot say, off the top of my head, what they would be.""I would like to see the next generation of the tool improved to work with other operating systems, like Linux.""The solution could be more friendly for end-users, with different type of scans or scheduled scans for it.""Microsoft should improve support for third-party platforms, because not all functionality is available for all of them. It's a good product, but they should just extend the functionality for all platforms.""It would be helpful if they included XDR features, on top of the EDR functionality.""Its interface can be improved a little bit. We would like to have some sort of centralization. It should have something like a central server that is managing all the other clients. There are solutions from Kaspersky or ESET NOD32 that are really doing this kind of thing currently. We would like to see something similar from Microsoft."

More Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The visibility that we have into the endpoint and the forensics that we're able to collect give us value for the price. This is not an overly expensive solution, considering all the things that are provided. You get great performance and value for the cost."
  • "Whenever you are doing the licensing process, I would highly advise to look at what other Cisco solutions you have in your organization, then evaluate if an Enterprise Agreement is the best way to go. In our case, it was the best way to go. Since we had so many other Cisco products, we were able to tie those in. We were actually able to get several Cisco security solutions for less than if we had bought three or four Cisco security solutions independently or ad hoc."
  • "In our case, it is a straightforward annual payment through our Enterprise Agreement."
  • "Our company was very happy with the price of Cisco AMP. It was about a third of what we were paying for System Center Endpoint Protection."
  • "There are a couple of different consumption models: Pay up front, or if you have an enterprise agreement, you can do a monthly thing. Check your licensing possibilities and see what's best for your organization."
  • "The Enterprise Agreement is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of Cisco products. In that vein, it was very affordable."
  • "We can know if something bad is potentially happening instantaneously and prevent it from happening. We can go to a device and isolate it before it infects other devices. In our environment, that's millions of dollars saved in a matter of seconds."
  • "The pricing and licensing are reasonable. The cost of AMP for Endpoints is inline with all the other software that has a monthly endpoint cost. It might be a little bit higher than other antivirus type products, but we're only talking about a dollar a month per user. I don't see that cost as being an issue if it's going to give us the confidence and security that we're looking for. We have had a lot of success and happiness with what we're using, so there's no point in changing."
  • More Cisco Secure Endpoint Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The pricing is a little high. It is per user per year."
  • "We pay about $50,000 USD per year for a bundle that includes Cortex XDR."
  • "This is an expensive solution."
  • "Its pricing is kind of in line with its competitors and everybody else out there."
  • "Every customer has to pay for a license because it doesn't work with what you get from a managed services provider."
  • "The pricing is okay, although direct support can be expensive."
  • "Our customers have expressed that the price is high."
  • "It's about $55 per license on a yearly basis."
  • More Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The product is free of charge and comes integrated into Windows."
  • "The solution is free."
  • "This product is included in the pricing for Windows."
  • "If you don't purchase the advanced threat protection then there is no additional charge."
  • "It is affordable and comes in the Office 365 bundle."
  • "Microsoft Defender ATP is expensive."
  • "I pay for it through the Windows Professional or Standard license. It is a one-time cost for me, and I use the same license."
  • "When compared with other vendors, the pricing is very high."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: 
    The most valuable feature is signature-based malware detection.
    Top Answer: 
    Licensing fees are on a yearly basis and I am happy with the pricing.
    Top Answer: 
    The GUI needs improvement, it's not good. There are false positives in emails. At times, the emails are blocked and… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Cortex XDR by Palo Alto vs. SentinelOne SentinelOne offers very detailed specifics with regard to risks or attacks.… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Cortex XDR by Palo Alto vs. CrowdStrike Falcon Both Cortex XDR and Crowd Strike Falcon offer cloud-based solutions… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a cloud-delivered endpoint security solution. The tool reduces the attack surface… more »
    Top Answer: 
    We use Symantec because we do not use MS Enterprise products, but in my opinion, Microsoft Defender is a superior… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The CrowdStrike solution delivers a lot of information about incidents. It has a very light sensor that will never push… more »
    Top Answer: 
    It captures data through machine learning, which is built-in on the back-end. It also provides built-in analytics and a… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco AMP for Endpoints
    Cyvera, Cortex XDR, Palo Alto Networks Traps
    Microsoft Defender ATP, Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, MS Defender for Endpoint, Microsoft Defender Antivirus
    Learn More
    Overview

    Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) is subscription-based, managed through a web-based management console, and deployed on a variety of platforms that protects endpoints, network, email and web Traffic. AMP key features include the following: Global threat intelligence to proactively defend against known and emerging threats, Advanced sandboxing that performs automated static and dynamic analysis of files against more than 700 behavioral indicators, Point-in-time malware detection and blocking in real time and Continuous analysis and retrospective security regardless of the file's disposition and Continuous analysis and retrospective security.

    Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is the first threat detection and response software to combine both visibility across all types of data as well as autonomous machine learning analytics. Threat detection very often requires analysts to divide their attention among many different data streams. This platform unifies a vast variety of data flows, which allows analysts to assess threats from a single location. Users can now maintain a level of visibility that other threat detection programs simply cannot offer. This level of transparency lends itself to both quick identification of problems that arise and the equally quick development of a potential solution.

    Cortex XDR’s machine learning works on many different levels to detect and prevent threats. It is constantly scanning for threats and vulnerabilities. The solution can scan up to 5.4 billion IP addresses in three-quarters of an hour. This allows it to spot weak points in the system and notify administrators long before hackers can take advantage of vulnerabilities. Once the Artificial Intelligence (AI) discovers an issue or an area where an issue could potentially take place the system creates a log of the information and subsequently sends an alert to system administrators. The AI takes the information that it has gathered and uses it to assign threat levels to the issues that it detects. Following this, a human analyst will be assigned to manually assess the issue and deal with it accordingly. You can set it to automatically respond to the threat by isolating the issue while analysts investigate it.

    Benefits of Cortex XDR

    Some of Cortex XDR’s benefits include:

    • The use of advanced AI analytics, behavior analytics, and custom-made detection to detect advanced threats before they occur.
    • The ability to group similar threat alerts, reducing incoming alerts by as much as 98%. This allows analysts to avoid being overwhelmed by the volume of incoming alerts.
    • The ability to investigate threats as much as 8 times faster than would be possible with other software. The machine learning, when coupled with the unified data stream that Cortex XDR collects, significantly increases the ability to more quickly discover the root cause of a threat.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks software stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its ability to isolate threats while enabling them to be studied and the way that the software combines all of the data that it gathers into a single, more complete picture than other solutions offer.

    PeerSpot users note the effectiveness of these features. A network designer at a computer software company wrote, “The solution has a very helpful isolation feature. If any system gets compromised, with one click I can access the system and isolate it from other networks, and then go into further forensic investigation of the current threat without compromising anything else.”

    Jeff W., Vice President/CTO at Sinnott Wolach Technology Group, noted, “The ability to kind of stitch everything together and see the actual complete picture is very useful. I guess you'd call it a playbook. Some people call it the forensics analysis of what was happening on particular endpoints when they detected some malicious behavior, and what transpired before that to cause that. It is also very user friendly.”



    Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a complete endpoint security solution that delivers preventative protection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response. With Defender for Endpoint, you have: 

    Agentless, cloud powered - No additional deployment or infrastructure. No delays or update compatibility issues. Always up to date. 

    Unparalleled optics - Built on the industry’s deepest insight into Windows threats and shared signals across devices, identities, and information. 

    Automated security - Take your security to a new level by going from alert to remediation in minutes—at scale. 

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.
    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Secure Endpoint
    Learn more about Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
    Sample Customers
    Heritage Bank, Mobile County Schools, NHL University, Thunder Bay Regional, Yokogawa Electric, Sam Houston State University, First Financial Bank
    CBI Health Group, University Honda, VakifBank
    Petrofrac, Metro CSG, Christus Health
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Government13%
    Healthcare Company13%
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider24%
    Computer Software Company23%
    Government7%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Consumer Goods Company11%
    Healthcare Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company24%
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Government7%
    Energy/Utilities Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Financial Services Firm19%
    Comms Service Provider8%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider23%
    Computer Software Company23%
    Government8%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise43%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business28%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise51%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business46%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise34%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise47%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business38%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise40%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business32%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise52%
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    564,599 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is ranked 5th in Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) with 34 reviews while Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is ranked 3rd in Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) with 84 reviews. Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is rated 8.4, while Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks writes "Has a centralized console and does predictive analysis of malware". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint writes "Enables ingestion of events directly into your SIEM/SOAR, but requires integration with all Defender products to work optimally". Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks is most compared with CrowdStrike Falcon, SentinelOne, Symantec End-User Endpoint Security, Trend Micro Apex One and Check Point Harmony Endpoint, whereas Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is most compared with CrowdStrike Falcon, Symantec End-User Endpoint Security, SentinelOne, Sophos Intercept X and Trend Micro Apex One. See our Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks vs. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint report.

    See our list of best Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) vendors.

    We monitor all Endpoint Protection for Business (EPP) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.