In a surprise announcement, Microsoft said that its Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) security solution for enterprise customers will come to both Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 8.1, starting this summer.
Windows Defender ATP
The Windows Defender ATP is a threat intelligence and holistic security insight solution that strives to integrate both Microsoft and third-party security software to cover all possible threat vectors that attackers may want to exploit.
The solution will also show in a single Windows Defender Security Center window the timeline for suspicious activity inside a company’s network.
Microsoft recently partnered with Bitdefender, Lookout, and Ziften to extend the Windows Defender ATP threat detection across Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS devices to ensure that there are no weak endpoints inside a company’s network.
Windows 7 Not (Yet) Forgotten
Windows Defender ATP support for Windows 7 SP1 is somewhat of a surprise, considering Microsoft has been slowly but surely de-emphasizing Windows 7 support in the past few years. Windows 10 only recently surpassed the total market share of Windows 7, but in the enterprise space, Windows 7 is still far more common than Windows 10, as businesses tend to be slow to upgrade to new operating systems.
Windows 7 is also still getting security updates, although officially it’s supposed to get them only until January 2020. However, Windows XP's long run showed us that if an old operating system continues to remain popular, Microsoft may extend the support for it.
Although Windows 8.1 hasn’t been nearly as popular as either Windows 7 or 10, it’s still a newer operating system than Windows 7 is, so it makes sense to support Windows Defender ATP on it, too.
New Security Features
Microsoft said that starting this summer, the customers who are moving to Windows 10 will also be able to add Windows Defender ATP Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) to their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. The behavior-based EDR for Windows 7 and 8.1 will give customers better insights into threats on their endpoints.
Microsoft said that the new EDR feature will work with third-party antivirus solutions, but it should work better with the company’s own Windows Defender Antivirus. At the same time, Microsoft also announced a new partner, called SentinelOne, which will integrate its Endpoint Protection Platform and its own EDR with Microsoft’s Windows Defender ATP. This will provide a third-party alternative to Microsoft’s own EDR solution.
Enterprise customers will be able to preview the new Windows Defender ATP EDR solutions for Windows 10, as well as Windows 7 and 8.1, as early as this spring.