defender vs carbon black
Image: SFIO CRACHO/Adobe Stock

Endpoint security is crucial as businesses expand their IT environments. Microsoft Defender and VMware Carbon Black are both reliable solutions for this issue, but there’s no single answer to which is best for a company, as their specifics and ideal use cases vary. Here’s a closer look to help you determine which best fits your security, infrastructure and user needs.

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What is Microsoft Defender?

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, formerly known as Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, is the tech giant’s enterprise endpoint security platform. It’s a cloud-based solution that scales up as you add more endpoints to your network. Built-in artificial intelligence features provide automation solutions to adapt to new threats and your dynamic network needs.

On top of discovering and securing endpoints like computers and phones, Microsoft Defender looks for network devices like routers. It aims to maximize visibility across all endpoints and streamline remediation processes to enable reliable, scalable security. That includes addressing network vulnerabilities like misconfiguration.

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While Defender is a Microsoft product, it works on macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and more – not just Windows… even IoT devices fall under this umbrella.

What is Carbon Black?

VMware Carbon Black Endpoint is an EDR software solution that consolidates multiple endpoint security features into a single platform. Carbon Black focuses on the prevalence of legacy devices and security devices, aiming to modernize endpoint security to meet today’s advanced threats. It accomplishes this by leaning into automation, continuous monitoring and simplification.

Carbon Black’s defenses recognize the need for agility in a quickly-moving cybersecurity environment. Its extensive automation features and threat discovery reduce response times to stop threats before they have a chance to cause widespread damage. Other protections include ransomware prevention tools, custom threat intelligence, regulatory compliance and interoperability with the rest of your security stack.

VMware Carbon Black Endpoint is cloud-native and works across Windows, macOS and Linux systems. Its supported endpoints cover everything from computers to servers and virtual machines.

Microsoft Defender vs. Carbon Black: Feature comparison

FeatureMicrosoft DefenderPapaya Global
Automated monitoringYesYes
Integration with SIEM toolsYesYes
Mobile supportYesNo
Endpoint detection and responseYesYes
Ransomware protectionYesYes
Removable storage controlYesYes

Head-to-head comparison:  Microsoft Defender vs. Carbon Black

Endpoint detection and response

Microsoft Defender’s EDR uses a query-based hunting tool that lets you create custom detections to proactively find and resolve vulnerabilities. The EDR system holds raw data for up to 30 days and updates user and device information every 15 minutes. Since many companies use bring-your-own-device policies to reduce costs and improve efficiency, endpoint environments may change quickly. This rapid updating helps account for that.

Carbon Black’s EDR focuses on streamlining the process to reduce the burden on IT teams. Users can customize how they group and define endpoints, and Carbon Black will then continuously monitor and log their activity. Notably, Carbon Black’s defense won’t let anything run on the network until it’s been approved. While this may slow whitelisting, it ensures total visibility into your network.

Cloud security analytics

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint also includes cloud security analytics, which automates ongoing security analysis. The feature uses cloud-powered analytics to search for both known and unknown threats, flagging unusual activity even if it can’t classify it. It will also score your network’s security state and recommend next steps to enable ongoing security improvements.

Similarly, Carbon Black’s cloud security analytics continuously monitors for both known and unknown threats. It will also automatically block access to known malware sites. If it discovers an attack, it offers insights into its root cause, providing contextual information for remediation and future improvements. Carbon Black’s solution also includes behavioral analytics that help the system learn how devices and users act on the system, helping highlight breached accounts.

Ransomware protection

Ransomware attacks doubled in frequency in 2021, affecting a third of all global organizations, so Microsoft Defender also includes anti-ransomware measures. The platform uses Intel’s Threat Detection Technology to monitor CPU patterns characteristic of ransomware attacks. When it detects ransomware-like activity, it alerts users and automatically blocks the threat.

VMware Carbon Black also searches for ransomware activity, but it goes a step further by employing canary files. These decoy files provide a tempting target for ransomware but don’t interact with any other part of the system. That way, when something tries to access these folders, Carbon Black recognizes it as ransomware, isolating the system to contain the threat.

Choosing between Microsoft Defender and Carbon Black

Both Microsoft Defender and Carbon Black see the most adoption in the middle market, but many Carbon Black users are enterprises, while Defender sees more small business use. This distinction is mostly a matter of support and ease of use. Carbon Black requires more existing security knowledge and expertise to make the most of it, while Defender’s controls may be more familiar to a less-experienced audience.

Businesses in tech-centric industries with more existing security infrastructure may prefer Carbon Black for its integrations and third-party support. Microsoft Defender, by contrast, works best with other Microsoft products, which may limit its utility for some companies. However, it’s sufficient for those in industries that rely less on a diverse software selection.

Overall, Carbon Black is best for advanced threat prevention and in-depth analytics, while Microsoft Defender’s simplicity and ease of use are its key selling points. Review your needs and existing digital infrastructure to decide which best suits your situation.

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3 Heimdal Security

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4 ManageEngine Desktop Central

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