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Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs Proofpoint Email Protection comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on May 3, 2022

We performed a comparison between Microsoft Defender for Office 365 and Proofpoint Email Protection based on our users’ reviews in four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of both solutions tell us the setup and deployment process is very easy and straightforward.
  • Features: Microsoft Defender for Office 365 offers excellent anti-phishing, anti-malware, and Safe Links URL monitoring and offers zero-day threat protection. The solution is easy to use and users say it is robust, stable, and easily scalable. Users like that there is a risk-level notification which gives users time to fix problems in a timely manner. Users feel that better protection against spam and better integration with non-Microsoft products is needed. Many users suggest that Microsoft Defender for Office 365 should also be able to provide techniques to protect against threats.

    Proofpoint Email Protection users like that the solution easily allows for whitelisting and blacklisting. They tell us the solution is very flexible and easy to use. Proofpoint is excellent at blocking spam, as it denies the connection altogether. The solution also is very good at stopping impersonation email techniques and phishing emails. It also does an excellent job of blocking malicious attachments. Users tell us the reporting can be very complex, a bit confusing, and difficult to navigate; they feel it should be simplified and easier to navigate.
  • Pricing: Users consider both solutions to be very expensive.
  • Service and Support: Overall, users of both of these solutions are satisfied with the service they have received when needed.

Comparison Results: Based on our users’ reviews, Proofpoint Email Protection is a more reliable, effective, and dependable solution. Users cite the Anti-Phishing functionality as second to none. The whitelisting/blacklisting process keeps things very secure. Users are not only satisfied with the outcomes but relate that it has helped reduce analyst overhead, saved time and money, and improved the overall effectiveness of the entire email process.

To learn more, read our detailed Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection report (Updated: August 2022).
632,611 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
"I love the Advanced Malware Protection feature. It works very well... The appliance has more security such as SDF, DKIM, DMARC, and encryption.""There is a huge return compared to if we didn't have a gateway appliance, as far as blocking malicious emails.""The filtering is definitely better at catching both spam and malicious messages, and there's a lot of extremely granular ability for setting up rules. You can do it the way you want to. The Microsoft solution tends to be pretty limited in how it allows some of that to be done.""Cisco Secure Email Cloud Gateway has allowed our users to be able to concentrate on the emails that they do receive. Previously, our users had to deal with nine million additional emails across the organization, which is nearly 1,000 emails per user to have to deal with a month. That's a massive amount for our staff to deal with and probably several hours of their time. We have a lot of clinical staff, being a hospital. We want to make our staff as productive as possible. By removing a lot of that spam and phishing type emails, this allows them to do their job.""The malicious URL scanning, as well as the anti-malware features, have been really useful for us in our environment.""It is doing its work. It is doing what it was actually designed to do. It has ensured we don't have business email compromises, and it has also ensured that our brand Galaxy is unique all year round.""The solution is very configurable. It has enabled us to configure some specific filters to stop emails that general configurations didn't stop. It's a powerful solution. It can analyze a lot of emails simultaneously, with no problems of capacity or system load.""The added value of it is that every migration to a new version is initiated by the Cisco version itself, so that is a bunch of work that you don't have to do on the Cisco ESA system on-premise. As it becomes a safe platform, you don't need to invest anything in your own data center or in your upgrade path."

More Cisco Secure Email Pros →

"At the moment we are satisfied with this product. It's a stable, scalable, and resilient solution for us.""Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is a stable solution.""The solution is very easy to use. All you have to do is to assign the license to the end-user and it's done. The customer will only have the feature activated, and the solution will monitor the emails to determine if they are a threat or not.""Does a thorough job of examining email and URLs for malicious content.""Some of the valuable features on the email side are anti-phishing, anti-malware, and Safe Links.""Safe attachments, safe links, policies, and the ability to protect from zero-day threats are the most valuable features.""It also gives the vulnerability status according to the versions you have selected. Let's say you have Google Chrome. It mentions the versions it has, and it updates. Within two hours of an update, it is reflected in the dashboard. That's really nice to have.""The deployment capability is a great feature."

More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Pros →

"The most valuable features are the business email compromise protection and targeted attack prevention.""Its main defense is to stop malicious emails from coming through. There is a sandbox environment where you can open malicious or suspicious emails to make sure that they're not malicious, instead of taking the risk of having your employees do it. This is definitely something that everybody needs nowadays, especially with the rise in cyber attacks.""The solution scales quite well.""Provides better control over emails, especially those sent via Office 365 on the cloud.""I like all the features with Proofpoint, such as how it filters the spam and marketing mail, lost reality mail, blocks phishing attacks, blocks malicious attachments, and stops phishing links. Also it can defend against the business email compromise impersonation technique. It is a complete solution for all email attacks. It filters for the bad, malicious attachments. If there is any executable file, it can be deleted. It is a good, complete solution.""The most valuable feature of Proofpoint Email Protection is the dashboards and their visibility, easy configuration, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, the reports are very important and helpful.""It's a mature product. It does a good job in detection.""The solution offers very good flexibility. You can blacklist or whitelist with ease."

More Proofpoint Email Protection Pros →

Cons
"We have been struggling in the last month with Cisco encryption and with the S/MIME encryption. I don't know if it is an issue on our side or if these features of the solution are not working very well.""The Forged Email Detection feature needs improvement, particularly with domain. The sensors are not that good and the rules sets are unclear.""The configuration UI should be made more intuitive. Currently, it takes a while to understand how to do the basic configurations.""The interface is dated. It has looked pretty much the same for 15 years or so. It would be helpful to be able to do everything from one spot. The centralized quarantine and reporting are completely separate from policy administration.""They can do it better with web links, with the URLs. They have a technology called Outbreak but it doesn't work as well as we would like.""The area of license renewal should be improved. We normally renew our license every year. There is a feature called smart licensing, and I switched from the legacy mode to the smart licensing mode because of what I thought smart licensing does. I thought it would make licensing renewal seamless and very swift, but ever since I've switched to smart licensing, each time I want to renew my license, it is a whole lot of headache. The process is not smooth, and I had to keep calling Cisco TAC to see how the issue can be resolved. At one point, I wanted to revert back to the legacy mode, but I can't revert. Once you switch from the legacy mode to the smart licensing mode, you can't revert. They should improve on the visibility of the smart licensing mode so that it can indeed be smart and easier to use for the license renewal every year. That is one challenge.""I use the search all the time. Sometimes, it is hard to search for things and things are hard to find. People come to me all the time, saying, "This email didn't get through." Then, I go searching and don't find it on the first search. You have to think about alternative searches. I don't know if there is an easier way that they could help to find things. I don't know how they could simplify it, because now everybody else is using the cloud and everything is coming from Office 365, or whatever. It is just not the same environment from years ago where everybody had their own server and you could search easier.""We have Microsoft and we have the E5 licenses, they have more EDR responses on certain emails. That's something that Cisco ESA on the cloud doesn't have. They don't do anything about MITRE attacks. They only detect if there is a malicious email or a threat and they remove it."

More Cisco Secure Email Cons →

"They can improve their security in a way where a customer can know if all their attachments are safe or not to open through a report. The solution does its job perfectly, but it never reports to the customer whether those attachments have been stopped before or not.""The custom alerts have to improve a lot.""Too many false positives and lacks an accurate capability to detect malicious SharePoint sites.""There needs to be an improvement in integrating the product to work across multiple operating systems, and to have better support for non-Microsoft file types.""The visibility for the weaknesses in the system and unauthorized access can be improved.""In some situations, it has not been able to pick impersonated emails having no attachments. Technical support definitely has a scope for improvement.""In one of the reports I can get the exact place where a vulnerable file resides. But for that, I need to explicitly go into the device and check. If they could include that file part in the report, without my having to go to the device itself, that would help.""We are always looking for others tools to increase automation on tasks. There can be better integration with other solutions, such as PowerPoint and email."

More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Cons →

"I want Security Awareness Training in there as a package deal. A lot of companies are starting to value email security a little bit more and take it a little bit more seriously, and the great product that we link together with a lot of these sales is a training product called Security Awareness Training. It is an upsell that we do with Proofpoint, and it is definitely something that I recommend everybody with email security to look into. It would be great if Security Awareness Training is included with the email security.""The largest complaint that we hear from our customers is that there is no local support.""The incident reporting on offer needs to be improved. It's lacking right now. It should be on the platform somewhere.""Proofpoint Email Protection could improve on the training. Every organization is different and to fine-tune it to block everything properly there needs to be better training. Sometimes it can block some of the information it shouldn't.""It has too many screens. It is kind of a conglomeration of products. In other words, they built product A, product B, and product C, and they are yet to integrate them into a single administrative console. I would certainly like to see a more seamless administrative interface. I would also like to see them include more bang for the buck, by including features like email fraud protection, rather than making their product so piecemeal, where you are buying little pieces. I agree with the idea of having multiple tiers or layers, but maybe as small, medium, and large, as opposed to an a la carte menu.""Proofpoint Email Protection's interface is confusing and could be improved.""They do not have an on-demand scan for the internal viruses and internal users, and they don't have a scan for the exchange server against viruses and spam as Symantec does.""The false positives are an issue."

More Proofpoint Email Protection Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The licensing was all transferred."
  • "Compared to Cisco's on-prem service, the cost is the same, but you don't have to pay for the hardware and you don't have to maintain the system, as far as upgrades and hardware failures are concerned. It is cheaper to operate on their cloud service than it is to operate with their on-prem service."
  • "Cisco Secure Email and the support are priced well. It's not cheap, but there are other solutions that offer less and cost so much. For example, Microsoft is more expensive than Cisco."
  • "There are additional fees for adding features."
  • "At times, we feel the pricing is a bit too high, but then, there is also room for discounts. We enjoy a lot of discounts, and that is why we are still with them. There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees."
  • "In my previous organization, avoiding four instances of CryptoLocker within an estimated six month period is approximately $600,000 in lost time and effort. Our five year cost was about a million dollars, and the four outages that we had equated to 65 percent of that five year cost."
  • "It is a super big router that costs a few hundred thousand dollars."
  • More Cisco Secure Email Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It's a user-base subscription."
  • "From the pricing point of view, like any other product in the market, there is scope for negotiation."
  • "Defender is a little bit more expensive as compared to others. We are in the manufacturing environment. So, we don't have a high budget for all of our endpoint devices. Its cost is a major concern for us."
  • "For licensing, it's usually a yearly package for customers who are subscribed to Office 365, but they can also pay on a monthly basis."
  • "Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is an add-on to the Office license. Many customers are purchasing this solution."
  • "Microsoft Defender for Office 365 comes with Microsoft Windows. It is free with the operating system."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Annually, it costs us about $92,000. This is pretty much what it costs us. There is no additional cost."
  • "The price is reasonable."
  • "Proofpoint is fairly expensive."
  • "The licensing is basically $8/user."
  • "It is multiple times more expensive, which made it very much less attractive."
  • "Pricing has recently been increased and the cost is a downside"
  • "The solution charges per user per month to use it. There are not any additional fees in addition to the standard living fees."
  • "Clients pay for an annual subscription of Proofpoint Email Protection. Every client always finds it expensive."
  • More Proofpoint Email Protection Pricing and Cost Advice →

    report
    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Email Security solutions are best for your needs.
    632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:It has an intuitive, clear graphical interface where you can deploy your policies and understand the overall flow. There… more »
    Top Answer:It is a super big router that costs a few hundred thousand dollars.
    Top Answer:You can consolidate on SMA if you want to spam or threats quarantined for multiple devices. It is not advisable for a… more »
    Top Answer:It also gives the vulnerability status according to the versions you have selected. Let's say you have Google Chrome. It… more »
    Top Answer:I would recommend Microsoft Defender for Office 365. If you already have a deployment method, like CCM or something… more »
    Top Answer:In one of the reports, I can get the exact place where a vulnerable file resides. But for that, I need to explicitly go… more »
    Top Answer:The Basic Email Coverage is pretty close to the same price as the Extended Email Security of other companies. To start… more »
    Top Answer:It was easier to use Microsoft than Proofpoint. We had some issues with their sales consultant. We got into a dispute… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Email Security, IronPort, Cisco Email Security, ESA, Email Security Appliances
    MS Defender for Office 365
    Proofpoint Enterprise Protection
    Learn More
    Overview

    Customers of all sizes face the same daunting challenge: email is simultaneously the most important business communication tool and the leading attack vector for security breaches. Cisco Email Security enables users to communicate securely and helps organizations combat Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware, advanced malware, phishing, spam, and data loss with a multilayered approach to security.

    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 protects all of Office 365 against advanced threats like business email compromise and credential phishing, and automatically investigates and remediates attacks. With Defender for O365 you get Integrated threat protection for all of Office 365 that gives you:

    - Native protection for Office 365 with built-in protection that simplifies administration, lowers total cost of ownership, and boosts productivity.

    - Unparalleled scale and effectiveness with powerful automated workflows to improve SecOps efficiency.

    - A complete solution for collaboration that protects you from attacks across the kill chain.

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

    Proofpoint Email Protection is a machine learning email gateway that catches both known and unknown threats. Through Target Attack Protection, emails will be analyzed and potentially blocked from advanced threats while users gain visibility around these threats. The technology can also classify various types of email and can be deployed both on premises or as a cloud service. In addition, users can tag suspicious emails to help raise user awareness and track down any email quickly.

    Proofpoint Email Protection offers Advanced BEC Defense, which can precisely detect and block different types of emails, even if they don’t involve a malicious payload, such as business email compromise (BEC). Email Protection, which is powered by NexusAI, is a sophisticated detection technique developed to stop a variety of kinds of email fraud from affecting compromised accounts. It’s specifically designed to analyze message components, such as the sender’s IP address (including reputation and x-originating IP), the message header, and the message body. Using machine learning and AI, it will then determine if that message is a BEC threat.

    Benefits of Proofpoint Email Protection

    Proofpoint Email Protection is a favorite for organizations looking to utilize their cybersecurity budget accurately, and provides the user with incredible visibility. While preventing email fraud, the technology can also detect and block advanced malware as well as identifying possible risks.

    Email Protection offers many benefits, including:

    • Email warning tag - Raise user awareness and reduce the risk of possible compromises by automatically tagging suspicious emails.

    • Gain granular control of unwanted email - Gain control over low-priority emails through granular email filtering, which can pinpoint gray mail, like newsletters and bulk mail.

    • Multi-layered detection - Defend against continuous evolving threats with reputation and content analysis. Email Protection offers a dynamic classification of various emails, including malware, spam, phishing, imposter threats, and bulk email.

    • Smart search - Track down an email based on dozens of search criteria in seconds. Smart search also provides the ability to trace where emails came from.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Proofpoint Email Protection enables business continuity capabilities through their machine learning, AI-powered email gateway. With its innovative approach toward detecting, analyzing, identifying, and blocking advanced threats, users can gain unique visibility into their business data environments. Users especially like the ability to block spam, as well as the business email compromise protection.

    An anonymous reviewer who is a principal consultant at a tech company, notes, "Proofpoint is the main tool for blocking spam because it denies the connection altogether."

    Sridhar R., a security professional at Qatar Computer Services WLL, writes, "The most valuable features are the business email compromise protection and targeted attack prevention."

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Secure Email
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Office 365
    Learn more about Proofpoint Email Protection
    Sample Customers
    SUNY Old Westbury, CoxHealth, City of Fullerton, Indra
    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is trusted by companies such as Ithaca College.
    Blocket, University of Waterloo, Lincoln Memorial University, WellSpan Health, U-Haul, Carestream Health, Westinghouse
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Energy/Utilities Company19%
    Retailer14%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Financial Services Firm10%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider17%
    Government7%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company25%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Performing Arts13%
    Logistics Company13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    Government8%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    REVIEWERS
    University18%
    Consumer Goods Company18%
    Retailer18%
    Construction Company9%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company18%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Government6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise40%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise56%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business33%
    Midsize Enterprise27%
    Large Enterprise40%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise54%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business55%
    Midsize Enterprise10%
    Large Enterprise35%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business25%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise58%
    Buyer's Guide
    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection
    August 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection and other solutions. Updated: August 2022.
    632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is ranked 2nd in Email Security with 14 reviews while Proofpoint Email Protection is ranked 1st in Email Security with 19 reviews. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is rated 8.0, while Proofpoint Email Protection is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Office 365 writes "Essential security capabilities, plenty of email protection, and enhanced data loss prevention". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Proofpoint Email Protection writes "Flexible, very secure, and offers excellent technical support". Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is most compared with Mimecast Email Security with Targeted Threat Protection, Fortinet FortiMail, Barracuda Email Security Gateway, Microsoft Exchange Online Protection and Cisco Secure Email Cloud Mailbox, whereas Proofpoint Email Protection is most compared with Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Microsoft Exchange Online Protection, Fortinet FortiMail, Barracuda Sentinel and Trend Micro Email Security. See our Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection report.

    See our list of best Email Security vendors.

    We monitor all Email Security 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.