Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is finally getting support for some older versions of Windows Server. Indeed, the Redmond giant has launched a revamped Microsoft Defender for Endpoint solution for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016.
Microsoft announced a public preview of its new Defender for Endpoint solution back in October 2021. The unified solution stack promises to boost protections and simplify setups for users running Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016. Moreover, IT Admins can now manage older configurations with PowerShell commands and Group Policy templates available for Windows Server 2019. It also eliminates the need to use the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA).
The new Microsoft Defender for Endpoint solution brings several new threat prevention, detection, and response capabilities for these older versions that were previously only supported on Windows Server 2019 or later. First up, it adds Microsoft Defender Antivirus protection for older versions of Windows Server. In addition, it is now possible for IT admins to configure the Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) blocking feature and set up Attack Surface Reduction rules.
Microsoft has also introduced an Automated Investigation and Response (AIR) capability to help organizations investigate and mitigate security issues. Here’s the list of other improvements available for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016:
According to Microsoft, the revamped solution stack is currently available for all organizations with a Microsoft Defender for Servers Plan 1 subscription. “Customers with machines on the existing Microsoft Defender for Server (now labeled P2) offering will be able to start gradually upgrading from the current, MMA-based solution, in the following weeks,” the company explained.
Microsoft has provided a step-by-step Server migration guide for organizations that previously used MMA with Configuration Manager, and you can check out this support page for more details.