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Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks comparison

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Executive Summary
Updated on June 2, 2022

We performed a comparison between Microsoft Defender Cloud and Prisma Cloud according to four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of Microsoft Defender Cloud say the initial setup is straightforward, and it comes by default with the free version. The only downside is that if you want more visibility, you need the paid version. In contrast, with Prisma Cloud was easy to run an automated setup. 
  • Features: Valuable features of Microsoft Defender Cloud  include support of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud, the seamless integration with Azure, GCP and AWS. The solution is very intuitive about policy administration, and incident alerts. But you cannot create custom use cases and the consistency needs improvement. Prisma Cloud users say the most valuable features are the integration with Amazon, the visibility, and the ability to monitor the artifact repository. However, it needs to improve the usability and the compute function's integration into the cloud monitoring function. 
  • Pricing: Microsoft Defender Cloud users say it is more cost-effective than competing products, and the pricing model is straightforward. Prisma Cloud users say the licensing is confusing. You can't predict what your costs are going to be. 

  • Service and Support: Users of both solutions say the support is vital. However, Microsoft came ahead because they assigned an architect to the team.   

Comparison Results: Based on the parameters we compared, Microsoft Defender came ahead of Prisma Cloud because our reviewers found Prisma Cloud to be more difficult in terms of licensing. 

To learn more, read our detailed Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks report (Updated: July 2022).
Buyer's Guide
Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
610,336 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The most valuable feature of Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is to stop shadow IT.""It is very easy to use, which is what we look for in these types of solutions.""It's very easy to install and it includes the Intune portal from Microsoft where I can control all the devices from one place.""I like the web GUI/the management interface. I also like the security of Microsoft. As compared to other manufacturers, it's less complex and easy to understand and work with.""Threat detection is its key feature, and that's why we use this tool. It gives an alert if a PC is attacked or there is any kind of anomaly, such as there is a spike in sending emails or we see an unauthorized website being accessed. So, it keeps us on our toes. We get to know that there is something wrong, and we can isolate the user and find any issues with it. So, threat detection is very robust in this tool.""Better logging allows us to find problems and take appropriate steps to lock them out.""The most valuable feature of this solution is its monitoring.""The ability to prevent users from using certain applications is one of the most valuable features. It doesn't require any configuration for implementation from the client perspective. It just works right away and gives you the information you need."

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"When we started out, our secure score was pretty low. We adopted some of the recommendations that Security Center set out and we were able to make good progress on improving it. It had been in the low thirties and is now in the upper eighties.""Technical support is helpful.""The solution is very easy to deploy.""The most valuable features of this solution are the remote workforce capabilities and the general experience of the remote workforce.""We can create alerts that trigger if there is any malicious activity happening in the workflow and these alerts can be retrieved using the query language.""Good compliance policies.""This is a platform as a service provided by Azure. We don't need to install or maintain Azure Security Center. It is a ready-made service available in Azure. This is one of the main things that we like. If you look at similar tools, we have to install, maintain, and update services. Whereas, Azure Security Center manages what we are using. This is a good feature that has helped us a lot.""The most valuable features are ransomware protection and access controls. The solution has helped us secure some folders on our systems from unauthorized modifications."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Pros →

"I've been really pleasantly surprised with how Prisma Cloud is, over time, covering more and more of the topics I care about, and listening to customer feedback and growing the product in the right directions.""Prisma Cloud's monitoring features such as the compute compliance dashboard and the vulnerability dashboard, where we can get a clear visualization of their docker, have also been valuable. We can get layer-by-layer information that helps us see exactly where it's noncompliant. They update the dashboards quite frequently.""The ability to monitor the artifact repository is one of the most valuable features because we have a disparate set of development processes, but everything tends to land in a common set of artifact repositories. The solution gives us a single point where we can apply security control for monitoring. That's really helpful.""You can also integrate with Amazon Managed Services. You can also get a snapshot in time, whether that's over a 24-hour period, seven days, or a month, to determine what the estate might look like at a certain point in time and generate reports from that for vulnerability management forums.""It has improved the overall collaboration between SecOps and DevOps. Now, instead of asking people to do something, it is a default offering in the CI/CD. There is less manual intervention and more seamless integration. It is why we don't have many dependencies across many teams, which is definitely a better state.""One of the main reasons we like Prisma Cloud so much is that they also provide an API. You can't expect to give someone an account on Prisma Cloud, or on any tool for that matter, and say, "Go find your things and fix them." It doesn't work like that... We pull down the information from the API that Prisma Cloud provides, which is multi-cloud, multi-account—hundreds and hundreds of different types of alerts graded by severity—and then we can clearly identify that these alerts belong to these people, and they're the people who must remediate them.""The CVEs are valuable because we used to have a tool to scan CVEs, at the language level, for the dependencies that our developers had. What is good about Prisma Cloud is that the CVEs are not only from the software layer, but from all layers: the language, the base image, and you also have CVEs from the host. It covers the full base of security.""Prisma Cloud is quite simple to use. The web GUI is powerful. Prisma Cloud scans the overall architecture of the AWS network to identify open ports and other vulnerabilities, then highlights them."

More Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks Pros →

Cons
"Sometimes the support is actually lacking.""There are challenges with detection and there are challenges with false-positive rates.""I would like to see them include more features in the older licenses. There are some features that are not available, such as preventing or analyzing cloud attacks.""The response time could be better. It will be helpful if the alerts are even more proactive and we can see more data. Currently, the data is a little bit weak. It is not complete. I can't just see it and completely know which user or which device it is. It takes some effort and time on my part to investigate and isolate a user. It would be great if it is more user-friendly or easy for people to understand.""It takes some time to scan and apply the policies when there is some sensitive information. After it applies the policies, it works, but there is a delay. This is something for which we are working with Microsoft.""I want them to enhance in-session policy.""Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps' initial setup was quite technical but we were prepared. The time of the implementation depends on the job and how many users are being set up.""The integration with macOS operating systems needs to be better."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps Cons →

"The product was a bit complex to set up earlier, however, it is a bit streamlined now.""As an analyst, there is no way to configure or create a playbook to automate the process of flagging suspicious domains.""Pricing could be improved. There are limited options based on pricing for the government.""Most of the time, when we log into the support, we don't get a chance to interact with Microsoft employees directly, except having it go to outsource employees of Microsoft. The initial interaction has not been that great because outsourced companies cannot provide the kind of quality or technical expertise that we look for. We have a technical manager from Microsoft, but they are kind of average unless we make noise and ask them to escalate. We then can get the right people and the right solution, but it definitely takes time.""We would like to have better transparency as to how the security score is calculated because as it is now, it is difficult to understand.""You cannot create custom use cases.""If a customer is already using Okta as an SSO in its entire environment, they will want to continue with it. But Security Center doesn't understand that and keeps making recommendations. It would help if it let us resolve a recommendation, even if it is not implemented.""Azure is a complex solution. You have so many moving parts."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Cons →

"In terms of securing cloud-native development at build time, a lot of improvement is needed. Currently, it's more a runtime solution than a build-time solution. For runtime, I would rate it at seven out of 10, but for build-time there is a lot of work to be done.""Based on my experience, the customization—especially the interface and some of the product identification components—is not as customizable as it could be. But it makes up for that with the fact that we can access the API and then build our own systems to read the data and then process and parse it and hand it to our teams.""They charge seven workloads for monitoring one compute, and that is quite expensive. This makes it difficult to move fully with the compute part because of the workload.""Currently, custom reports are available, but I feel that those reports are targeting just the L1 or L2 engineers because they are very verbose. So, for every alert, there is a proper description, but as a security posture management portal, Prisma Cloud should give me a dashboard that I can present to my stakeholders, such as CSO, CRO, or CTO. It should be at a little bit higher level. They should definitely put effort into reporting because the reporting does not reflect the requirements of a dashboard for your stakeholders. There are a couple of things that are present on the portal, but we don't have the option to customize dashboards or widgets. There are a limited set of widgets, and those widgets don't add value from the perspective of a security team or any professional who is above L1 or L2 level. Because of this, the reach of Prisma Cloud in an organization or the access to Prisma Cloud will be limited only to L1 and L2 engineers. This is something that their development team should look into.""Prisma Cloud's dashboards should be customizable. That's very important. Other similar solutions are more elastic so you have the power to create customized dashboards. In Prisma Cloud, you cannot do that.""Getting new guys trained on using the solution requires some thought. If someone is already trained on Palo Alto then he's able to adapt quickly. But, if someone is coming from another platform such as Fortinet, or maybe he's from the system side, that is where we need some help. We need to find out if there is an online track or training that they can go to.""The challenge that Palo Alto and Prisma have is that, at times, the instructions in an event are a little bit dated and they're not usable. That doesn't apply to all the instructions, but there are times where, for example, the Microsoft or the Amazon side has made some changes and Palo Alto or Prisma was not aware of them. So as we try to remediate an alert in such a case, the instructions absolutely do not work. Then we open up a ticket and they'll reply, "Oh yeah, the API for so-and-so vendor changed and we'll have to work with them on that." That area could be done a little better.""The alignment of Twistlock Defender agents with image repositories needs improvement. These deployed agents have no way of differentiating between on-premise and cloud-based image repositories. If I deploy a Defender agent to secure an on-premise Kubernetes cluster, that agent also tries to scan my ECR image repositories on AWS. So, we have limited options for aligning those Defenders with the repositories that we want them to scan. It is scanning everything rather than giving us the ability to be real granular in choosing which agents can scan which repositories."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Our clients normally use the Microsoft E1 licensing, which is renewed yearly."
  • "The pricing is a little bit high but right now, we are okay with it because of the compatibility with Office 365, Teams, and Azure AD."
  • "I'm not totally involved in the pricing part, but I think its pricing is quite aggressive, and its price is quite similar to Netskope. Netskope has separate licensing fees or additional charges if you want to monitor certain SaaS services, whereas, with MCAS, you get 5,000 applications with their Office 365. It is all bundled, and there's no cost for using that. You only have the operational costs. In the country I am in, it is a bit difficult to get people with the required skill sets."
  • "Its pricing is on the higher side. Its price is definitely very high for a small-scale company. As an enterprise client, we do get benefits from Microsoft. We get a discounted price because of the number of users we have in our company. We have a premier package, and with that, we do get a lot of discounts. There are no additional costs. It only comes in the top-tier packages. Generally, the top-tier license is the best license that you can get for your organization. If you want, you can buy it separately, but that's not a good idea."
  • "The price could be better and should be reconsidered."
  • "It is a little bit expensive. When you want to have the complete package with Office 365, Defender, and everything else, it is expensive."
  • "We are an MST and we do not pay for the solution. However, the price of the solution could be better."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "I'm not privy to that information, but I know it's probably close to a million dollars a year."
  • "We are using the free version of the Azure Security Center."
  • "Azure Defender is a bit pricey. The price could be lower."
  • "This is a worldwide service and depending on the country, there will be different prices."
  • "Security Center charges $15 per resource for any workload that you onboard into it. They charge per VM or per data-base server or per application. It's not like Microsoft 365 licensing, where there are levels like E3 and E5. Security Center is pretty straightforward."
  • "There is a helpful cost-reducing option that allows you to integrate production subscriptions with non-production subscriptions."
  • "Its pricing is a little bit high in terms of Azure Security Center, but the good thing is that we don't need to maintain and deploy it. So, while the pricing is high, it is native to Azure which is why we prefer using this tool."
  • "I am not involved in this area. However, I believe its price is okay because even small customers are using Azure Security Center. I don't think it is very expensive."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "One thing we're very pleased about is how the licensing model for Prisma is based on work resources. You buy a certain amount of work resources and then, as they enable new capabilities within Prisma, it just takes those work resource units and applies them to new features. This enables us to test and use the new features without having to go back and ask for and procure a whole new product, which could require going through weeks, and maybe months, of a procurement process."
  • "The pricing and the licensing are both very fair... The biggest advice I would give in terms of costs would be to try to understand what the growth is going to look like. That's really been our biggest struggle, that we don't have an idea of what our future growth is going to be on the platform. We go from X number of licenses to Y number of licenses without a plan on how we're going to get from A to B, and a lot of that comes as a bit of a surprise. It can make budgeting a real challenge for it."
  • "From my exposure so far, they have been really flexible on whatever your current state is, with a view to what the future state might be. There's no hard sell. They "get" the journey that you're on, and they're trying to help you embrace cloud security, governance, and compliance as you go."
  • "If a competitor came along and said, "We'll give you half the price," that doesn't necessarily mean that's the right answer, at all. We wouldn't necessarily entertain it that way. Does it do what we need it to do? Does it work with the things that we want it to work with? That is the important part for us. Pricing wasn't the big consideration it might be in some organizations. We spend millions on public cloud. In that context, it would not make sense to worry about the small price differences that you get between the products."
  • "The pricing and licensing are expensive compared to the other offerings that we considered."
  • "I don't know a better way to do it, but their licensing is a little confusing. That's due to the breadth of different types of technologies they are trying to cover. The way you license depends on where you're securing. When they were Twistlock it was a simple licensing scheme and you could tell what you were doing. Now that they've changed that scheme with Palo Alto, it is quite confusing. It's very difficult to predict what your costs are going to be as you try to expand coverage."
  • "The pricing is good. They gave us some good discounts right at the end of the year based on the value that it brings, visibility, and the ability to build in cloud, compliance, and security within one dashboard."
  • "The licensing cost is a bit high on the compute side."
  • More Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Cisco Umbrella is an integral component of the Cisco SASE architecture. It integrates security in a single, cloud-native… more »
    Top Answer:It's very easy to install and it includes the Intune portal from Microsoft where I can control all the devices from one… more »
    Top Answer:It's expensive because we have to pay for an M365 license and it is included in the package.
    Top Answer:Azure Security Center is very easy to use, integrates well, and gives very good visibility on what is happening across… more »
    Top Answer:The integration with Logic Apps allows for automated responses to incidents.
    Top Answer:This is a worldwide service and depending on the country, there will be different prices. There is a price calculator… more »
    Top Answer:Prisma Cloud helps support DevSecOps methodologies, making those responsibilities easier to manage.
    Top Answer:Aqua Security is easy to use and very manageable. Its main focus is on Kubernetes and Docker. Security is a very… more »
    Top Answer:It has improved the overall collaboration between SecOps and DevOps. Now, instead of asking people to do something, it… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    MS Cloud App Security, Microsoft Cloud App Security
    Microsoft Azure Security Center, Azure Security Center, Microsoft ASC, Azure Defender
    Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud, Prisma Public Cloud, RedLock Cloud 360, RedLock, Twistlock, Aporeto
    Learn More
    Overview

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is a cloud access security broker (CASB) that provides multifunction visibility, control over data travel, and sophisticated analytics. With Microsoft Cloud App Security, you can: 

    - Manage, control, and audit apps to streamline cloud access security

    - Mange your access to resources to discover shadow IT and understand your digital information estate

    - Use real-time controls to enable threat protection on all the access points that touch your environment

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud protects your Azure and hybrid resources. Microsoft uses a wide variety of physical, infrastructure, and operational controls to help secure Azure—but there are additional actions you need to take to help safeguard your workloads. Turn on Azure Security Center to strengthen your cloud security posture. Within Azure Security Center, use Azure Defender to protect your hybrid cloud workloads. With Azure Security Center, you can:

    - Assess and visualize the security state of your resources in Azure, on-premises, and in other clouds with Azure Secure Score

    - Simplify enterprise compliance and view your compliance against regulatory requirements

    - Protect all your hybrid cloud workloads with Azure Defender, which is integrated with Security Center

    - Use AI and automation to cut through false alarms, quickly identify threats, and streamline threat investigation

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.

    Prisma Cloud is a comprehensive cloud-native security platform (CNSP) that provides security and compliance coverage for infrastructure, applications, data, and all cloud-native technology stacks throughout the development lifecycle. Prisma Cloud safeguards cloud operations across hybrid and multi-cloud environments, all from a single, unified solution, using a combination of cloud service provider APIs and a unified agent framework.

    The move to the cloud has changed all aspects of the application development lifecycle, with security being foremost among them. Security and DevOps teams face a growing number of entities to secure as organizations adopt cloud-native approaches. Constantly changing environments challenge developers to build and deploy at a rapid pace without compromising on security. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks delivers complete security and compliance coverage across the development lifecycle on any cloud environment, enabling you to develop cloud-native applications with confidence.

    Prisma Cloud Features

    Prisma Cloud offers comprehensive security coverage in all areas of the cloud development lifecycle:

    • Code security: Protect configurations, scan code before it enters production, and integrate with other tools.

    • Security posture management: Monitor posture, identify and remove threats, and provide compliance across public clouds.

    • Workload protection: Secure hosts and containers across the application lifecycle.

    • Network security: Gain network visibility and enforce micro segmentation.

    • Identity security: Enforce permissions and secure identities across clouds.

    Benefits of Prisma Cloud

    • Unified management: All users use the same dashboards built via shared onboarding, allowing cloud security to be addressed from a single agent framework.

    • High-speed onboarding: Multiple cloud accounts and users are onboarded within seconds, rapidly activating integrated security capabilities.

    • Multiple integration options: Prisma Cloud can integrate with widely used IDE, SCM, and CI/CD workflows early in development, enabling users to identify and fix vulnerabilities and compliance issues before they enter production. Prisma Cloud supports all major workflows, automation frameworks, and third-party tools.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Prisma Cloud stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its integration capabilities, as well as its visibility, which makes it very easy for users to get a full picture of the cloud environment.

    Alex J., an information security manager at Cobalt.io, writes, “Prisma Cloud has enabled us to take a very strong preventive approach to cloud security. One of the hardest things with cloud is getting visibility into workloads. With Prisma Cloud, you can go in and get that visibility, then set up policies to alert on risky behavior, e.g., if there are security groups or firewall ports open up. So, it is very helpful in preventing configuration errors in the cloud by having visibility. If there are issues, then you can find them and fix them.”

    Luke L., a cloud security specialist for a financial services firm, writes, “You can also integrate with Amazon Managed Services. You can also get a snapshot in time, whether that's over a 24-hour period, seven days, or a month, to determine what the estate might look like at a certain point in time and generate reports from that for vulnerability management forums.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Cloud
    Learn more about Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks
    Sample Customers
    Customers for Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps include Accenture, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Ansell, and Nakilat.
    Microsoft Defender for Cloud is trusted by companies such as ASOS, Vatenfall, SWC Technology Partners, and more.
    Amgen, Genpact, Western Asset, Zipongo, Proofpoint, NerdWallet, Axfood, 21st Century Fox, Veeva Systems, Reinsurance Group of America
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Educational Organization29%
    Government14%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Engineering Company14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company25%
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Government6%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Consumer Goods Company14%
    Retailer7%
    Insurance Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company28%
    Comms Service Provider15%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Government5%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company25%
    Manufacturing Company19%
    Healthcare Company13%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company29%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business17%
    Midsize Enterprise39%
    Large Enterprise44%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business19%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise65%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise8%
    Large Enterprise65%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business18%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise69%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business17%
    Midsize Enterprise29%
    Large Enterprise54%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business16%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise72%
    Buyer's Guide
    Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,336 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud is ranked 2nd in CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) with 25 reviews while Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is ranked 1st in CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) with 16 reviews. Microsoft Defender for Cloud is rated 8.2, while Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Cloud writes "Provides good recommendations and makes policy administration easy". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks writes "Gives me a holistic view of cloud security across multiple clouds or multiple cloud workloads within one cloud provider". Microsoft Defender for Cloud is most compared with Amazon GuardDuty, Microsoft 365 Defender, Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro Cloud One Workload Security and Trend Micro XDR, whereas Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is most compared with Aqua Security, Check Point CloudGuard Posture Management, Snyk, Wiz and Orca Security. See our Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks report.

    See our list of best CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) vendors, best Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) vendors, and best Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP) vendors.

    We monitor all CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) 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.