Microsoft Defender vs Proofpoint Email Protection comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Apr 3, 2024

Both Microsoft Defender (Office 365) and Proofpoint Email Protection are email security solutions, but they cater to slightly different needs. Microsoft Defender is a built-in email security solution included in various Office 365 subscriptions which our reviewers found very convenient. Proofpoint is a standalone product offering advanced email security features. In the reviews, Proofpoint is praised for its robust threat detection capabilities, customizable email filtering, while Microsoft Defender stands out for its advanced threat protection, URL detonation, and safe attachment features. Defender is a cost-effective, basic email security solution suitable for small businesses or Microsoft 365 users, while Proofpoint offers comprehensive features ideal for organizations requiring robust email security.

  • Features: Proofpoint is praised for its robust threat detection, which includes advanced capabilities to identify sophisticated phishing and malware attempts. Additionally, its customizable email filtering options are mentioned with positive sentiment. Microsoft Defender excels in anti-phishing measures, URL detonation, and safe attachment features. Proofpoint's extensive email filtering customization options are allowing granular control, and were mentioned multiple times with a positive sentiment. Microsoft Defender offers a more basic setup. Overall, Defender offers good protection but might not be as adept at handling zero-day threats.
  • Integrations: Defender integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft 365 services, but provides limited third-party support. Proofpoint offers open APIs, allowing for broader integration with various security tools.
  • Pricing and ROI: Microsoft Defenderis generally a cost-effective option as it's bundled with other 365 services, and users love the straightforward setup. In terms of ROI, users saw improved security and protection against phishing attacks, reducing risks of data breaches and malware infections. Proofpoint is priced per user, with additional costs for some features.While more expensive, users find the cost to be reasonable since Proofpoint offers a potentially higher ROI due to its robust threat detection and advanced features that can significantly reduce the risk of successful cyberattacks.
  • Room for Improvement: Microsoft Defender users point out limitations in customization options and reporting capabilities. Proofpoint users find the pricing and the user interface to be areas for improvement.
  • Deployment and customer support: Microsoft Defender offers straightforward deployment with minimal configuration (as it is a "built-in" solution), while Proofpoint requires installation and configuration, which might be more complex despite good documentation. Proofpoint deployment taking up to three months and setup an additional week. Microsoft Defender support quality varies depending on the 365 subscription level. Proofpoint is generally praised for its excellent customer support.

The summary above is based on 146 interviews we conducted recently with Proofpoint Email Protection and Microsoft Defender users. To access the review's full transcripts, download our report.

To learn more, read our detailed Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection Report (Updated: January 2024).
767,496 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: Which solution do you prefer: Microsoft Defender for Office 365 or Proofpoint Email Protection?
Answer: In my opinion, there is little comparison. Proofpoint is an industry leader in email protection and has a very tightly integrated ecosystem for email defense, incident response, and awareness training. They have dedicated teams monitoring the threat landscape and continually tweak their algorithms to match current threats. Proofpoint goes far beyond email protection with tools to help your team investigate email-related threats, monitor user interactions and risks, act on users who continually handle email improperly with training, simulated phishes for user awareness, and even tools to reach full DMARC and DKIM protection (which can be extremely time and labor intensive). Defender has very little footprint, but also offers far less features. Proofpoint can be a more costly solution, but when compared feature for feature it far outweighs Defender. We do use both at my organization and I rarely interact with Defender as part of email investigations. Both will offer great protection, but beyond that Proofpoint is very feature rich and gives my team more tools to combat email threats when something is not caught by the gateway rules. Quite often emails do not contain threats prior to delivery and are weaponized afterward to get past the email defenses. Proofpoint has TAP and TRAP to isolate and remove those threats once they do become weaponized; along with the intelligence to know it has occurred. Proofpoint also has stellar reporting features so you have a very good understanding of your email environment at a glance.
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 good part is that you don't have to configure it, which is very convenient.""The technical support is good and quick to resolve issues.""The product is not resource-intensive.""The two main features that prove most beneficial for us are URL scanning and attachment scanning.""The benefit that stands out to me is the ability for multiple individuals to collaborate simultaneously within the same document. Additionally, there is the option to save the document directly in the integrated OneDrive or SharePoint.""Threat Explorer is an invaluable tool for me, and it plays a crucial role in helping me discern the origins of various email campaigns, pinpointing where they emanate from, and identifying the individuals within our organization who are affected.""Defender for Office 365 has helped eliminate having to look at multiple dashboards and that is the aspect I like most about it. It is simpler, effective, and convenient. The users like the process efficiency.""It gives us visibility into threats and, for endpoints, it helps us to prioritize threats. We used to have a lack of visibility, but now our time to detect and respond has decreased."

More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Pros →

"It's detection of true positives are great, as it's cloud based it's very scalable and stable.""They have customized security rules, mature rules, anti-virus protection, as well as email authentication similar to SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.""The solution has very strong detection for most of the phishing and malicious emails received from the outside.""Proofpoint Email Protection's initial installation is straightforward. It took us less than a day to complete the implementation.""The solution blocks malicious emails containing viruses and malware and reduces them out of spam.""The initial implementation is pretty easy to handle.""The solution scales quite well.""The stability is very good."

More Proofpoint Email Protection Pros →

Cons
"Microsoft Defender for Office 365 should improve the troubleshooting tools. It's unclear whether the device is blocked at the firewall level or at the device itself. The granularity needed for troubleshooting is currently lacking. From my perspective, Microsoft should address this issue to benefit many users who likely share the same sentiment.""The visibility for the weaknesses in the system and unauthorized access can be improved.""Microsoft sometimes has downtime, and we'll get several incidents coming in back to back. We have a huge backlog of notifications, many of which may be false positives. However, there might be serious alerts, so we can't risk dismissing all of them at once.""The phishing and spam filters could use some improvement.""The UI needs to be more user-friendly.""Microsoft Defender for Office 365 could improve by giving customers information on techniques to prevent threats. For example, information about best practices on how to protect their own devices against hackers and scammers, such as educational information or training. This would help others have a better understanding of cyber security. Additionally, there can be more security features added.""They have moved features from one console to another. Things have been moved around in the interface and it takes me time to find where certain features are.""The custom alerts have to improve a lot."

More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Cons →

"Proofpoint Email Protection could improve by allowing more customization of the reports, such as exceptions and black-and-white lists.""The solution's server console and cluster dashboard have been the same for four years so need to be upgraded.""Pricing for the platform could still be cheaper.""The price could be improved.""The solution could be improved with the addition of PLP and email encryption features.""The product's deployment is complex and requires technical knowledge.""We find the cost to be prohibitive.""The solution should add post-sales training."

More Proofpoint Email Protection Cons →

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."
  • "The solution saves money so we have seen a return on investment."
  • "Defender for 365 comes in various plans and licenses, along with other Microsoft security solutions. Purchasing this kind of package or security bundle gives good value for money, and that's what I recommend."
  • 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 →

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    Answers from the Community
    Aishwarya Rm
    Remy Ma - PeerSpot reviewerRemy Ma
    Real User

    If you're looking for Managed Email Security, it can be hard to decide between Microsoft Defender for Office 365 and Proofpoint Email Protection. It's like choosing between two delicious flavors of ice cream — both are good, but what flavor do you prefer?


    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is managed by Microsoft’s Security & Compliance Center and provides managed email security for Office 365 customers. It offers comprehensive protection against malicious emails, phishing attacks, and other advanced threats. On the other hand, Proofpoint Email Protection is managed by a third-party provider and provides managed email security for businesses of all sizes. While it doesn't have as many features as Defender, Proofpoint still offers robust protection against malicious emails, phishing attacks, and other advanced threats.


    In the end, it comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer managed email security managed by Microsoft or a third party? It all depends on your individual needs. Whichever solution you choose, make sure that managed email security meets all of your requirements!

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Threat Explorer is an invaluable tool for me, and it plays a crucial role in helping me discern the origins of various email campaigns, pinpointing where they emanate from, and identifying the… more »
    Top Answer:The product must provide better malware detection. The detection algorithms don't perform the way I hope they would.
    Top Answer:The product is costly. I rate the product price a seven on a scale of one to ten, where one is low price and ten is high price. When you want to change what capabilities you want in the product, you… more »
    Top Answer:The whole configuration management piece of the product requires some work, as it is one of the areas where the tool has certain shortcomings. Though it is an easy-to-install product, it might be… more »
    Ranking
    1st
    out of 107 in Email Security
    Views
    12,858
    Comparisons
    10,247
    Reviews
    28
    Average Words per Review
    653
    Rating
    8.4
    Views
    2,085
    Comparisons
    1,560
    Reviews
    23
    Average Words per Review
    454
    Rating
    8.1
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    MS Defender for Office 365
    Proofpoint Enterprise Protection, Cofense PhishMe
    Learn More
    Overview

    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is a comprehensive security solution designed to protect organizations against advanced threats in their email, collaboration, and productivity environments. It combines the power of Microsoft's threat intelligence, machine learning, and behavioral analytics to provide real-time protection against phishing, malware, ransomware, and other malicious attacks.

    With Microsoft Defender for Office 365, organizations can safeguard their email communication by detecting and blocking malicious links, attachments, and unsafe email content. It employs advanced anti-phishing capabilities to identify and prevent sophisticated phishing attacks that attempt to steal sensitive information or compromise user credentials.

    This solution also offers robust protection against malware and ransomware. It leverages machine learning algorithms to analyze email attachments and URLs in real-time, identifying and blocking malicious content before it reaches users' inboxes. Additionally, it provides advanced threat-hunting capabilities, allowing security teams to proactively investigate and respond to potential threats.

    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 goes beyond email protection and extends its security features to other collaboration tools like SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. It scans files and documents stored in these platforms, ensuring that they are free from malware and other malicious content. It also provides visibility into user activities, helping organizations detect and mitigate insider threats.

    Furthermore, this solution offers rich reporting and analytics capabilities, providing organizations with insights into their security posture and threat landscape. It enables security administrators to monitor and manage security incidents, track trends, and take proactive measures to enhance their overall security posture.

    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."

    Sample Customers
    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
    Computer Software Company16%
    Manufacturing Company16%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company17%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Government7%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company15%
    Financial Services Firm15%
    Retailer12%
    Healthcare Company12%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Educational Organization25%
    Computer Software Company12%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business42%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise42%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business30%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise51%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business46%
    Midsize Enterprise22%
    Large Enterprise32%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise34%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Buyer's Guide
    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection
    January 2024
    Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection and other solutions. Updated: January 2024.
    767,496 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is ranked 1st in Email Security with 41 reviews while Proofpoint Email Protection is ranked 1st in Secure Email Gateway (SEG) with 44 reviews. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is rated 8.4, while Proofpoint Email Protection is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Office 365 writes "Allows for easy reporting of problems, valuable anti-phishing, and anti-malware support". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Proofpoint Email Protection writes "A reasonably priced product that offers protection to emails, along with spam filters". Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is most compared with Mimecast Email Security, Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP), Barracuda Email Security Gateway, Cisco Secure Email and Microsoft Defender for Business, whereas Proofpoint Email Protection is most compared with Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP), Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Cisco Secure Email, Fortinet FortiMail and KnowBe4. See our Microsoft Defender for Office 365 vs. Proofpoint Email Protection report.

    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.