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Microsoft Security Essentials & Services

There is a wide variety of security essentials your organisation needs to adopt in order to protect itself, its customers and its most valuable commodity: its data. We explore what Microsoft Security Essentials has evolved into and how to best safeguard your business.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Microsoft Security Essentials?
  2. MS Security Essentials is now Microsoft Defender
  3. The basics of Microsoft security services and features – explained
  4. Why ‘Security as a Service’ is the future for MS security
  5. Pros of Microsoft Security Essentials (aka Defender) and more
  6. Microsoft Essentials: How to integrate a suite of security solutions into your business
  7. FAQs

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What is Microsoft Security Essentials?

Microsoft Security Essentials was a robust antivirus software solution that is designed to protect both individual users and organisations against malicious threats – these can encompass viruses, malware, spyware, trojans, rootkits and more.

The program was first released on 29 September 2009 and offered ongoing protection, updates and support through until early 2020. Today, the program has been replaced by Microsoft Defender (aka Windows Defender) and is built into all systems running on Windows 8 or later operating systems.

Microsoft Security Essentials, like Defender, has always been a free program, and it works through an easy-to-navigate and user-friendly platform. Whether you’re a home user, a small business owner or an IT lead in a multinational organisation, it’s simple to teach people how to run Microsoft Security Essentials or Defender so that it is always updated, scans regularly, and disables any potential threats to your devices. The real-time, constant-monitoring protection that MS Essentials offered users was what made it such a popular solution compared to antivirus programs from other providers.

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MS Security Essentials is now Microsoft Defender

MS Security Essentials was the market leader in the antivirus space for many years, helping protect users and organisations right around the world from emerging threats.

But even before Security Essentials hit the market, Microsoft had a program called Defender that was purely used as an anti-spyware mechanism. As the threat landscape evolved and Windows deployed new operating systems, the needs of the user became more diverse. Not only were viruses becoming more and more common, but also spyware, ransomware, malware, trojans and a range of other insidious attackers were appearing in greater numbers.

While initially Windows Defender was merely Microsoft’s built-in anti-spyware component for Windows Vista and 7, it soon became a more holistic product to supersede Microsoft Security Essentials. That means users now get to experience an antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-malware solution all in one free, built-in program: Microsoft Defender.

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The basics of Microsoft security services and features – explained

When you dive into the world of Microsoft security services, it can get complicated with things like Azure Active Directory, single sign-on, Intune endpoint management, Advanced Threat Protection and E3/E5 licensing. While these are all critically useful elements of a wholesale approach to your organisation’s security, when it comes to the basics of Microsoft’s user-friendly security suite, it’s a lot less confusing.

Whether you’re a small business owner or part of a larger organisation looking for robust Microsoft security providers, it’s worth knowing that you can manage and customise a variety of Microsoft security features, such as:

  • Threat protection: Run scans, use real-time threat monitoring and download updates to protect against new viruses.
  • Firewalls and network protection: Customise and manage your firewall settings, and keep a close eye on what’s happening across your network.
  • Account management: Change your account sign-in options at any time, and adopt biometric security like Windows Hello.
  • Total device security: Manage and tweak built-in security options across your (or your company’s) devices.
  • Control over apps and browsing: Ensure dangerous files, apps and downloads don’t compromise your systems by leveraging solutions like Microsoft Defender SmartScreen – ideal in the fight against phishing and malware websites.
  • Health check: Keep an eye on the performance health of your systems and devices, and download the latest system updates for advanced protection.

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Why ‘Security as a Service’ is the future for MS security

Thanks to rapid globalisation and an ever-evolving sense of what the ‘workplace’ should be defined as, built-in security software on physical devices is no longer enough to protect you and your business from rising threats.

That’s why Microsoft is embracing a ‘Security as a Service’ model that understands the changing role of employees, as well as the changing nature of where someone can work from. With more and more organisations seeing the value of leveraging the cloud for their data storage, platform management and communications , it’s essential that business leaders integrate a cloud-ready security solution that offers protection beyond the traditional office building and the regular nine-to-five workday.

With Security as a Service, powered by Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, businesses can secure their data, resources, tools and comms while making them more accessible than ever before – no matter where you are or what time it is.

With SMBs already spending tens of billions of dollars on security and mobility solutions in the cloud, Microsoft offers an all-in-one security suite that delivers end-to-end protection. Best of all, it’s adapted to a world where BYOD and remote work are the way of the future – and security is at the forefront.

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Pros of Microsoft Security Essentials (aka Defender) and more

From MS Security Essentials to Windows Defender, Azure Advanced Threat Protection and everything in between, there’s a reason Microsoft is seen as a leading provider of security solutions.

For organisations, there’s a variety of reasons why Microsoft security services is the best choice. It could be the low cost, the huge suite of security options, the ease of use or the ability for users of all technical knowledge to use the programs without outside support. Here are a few of the biggest pros we hear from organisations:

  • Despite the threat landscape of new and evolving viruses, malware and spyware, Microsoft security software can locate, manage and eliminate malicious activity in its tracks – before it has a chance to invade your system and compromise your data.
  • Microsoft’s suite of security programs like Security Essentials and Defender have been designed with the everyday user in mind. That means the platforms are easy to navigate and you can set up a system scan in a matter of seconds. The result is faster uptake from employees and better productivity due to a streamlined security service.
  • Because Microsoft Defender (and Microsoft Security Essentials before it) is free and built into your Windows devices, you don’t need to waste time looking for third-party antivirus apps. You also don’t need to worry about monthly subscription fees, thereby freeing up the corporate budget while knowing that you already have a top-quality security solution in place.
  • Thanks to identity and access management services, organisations can rest easy that their company data and devices are safe, even when their employees are working remotely or on-the-go. Decision-makers can also set permissions on those devices so sensitive data can never be accessed – even if devices are lost or stolen.

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Microsoft Essentials: How to integrate a suite of security solutions into your business

While it’s very simple for the average user to download a security solution like MS Security Essentials or start their built-in Windows Defender program, for businesses that want complete protection for their data and their clients, they need a more holistic strategy.

Finding and deploying the right security suite that is customised to your organisation takes time and expertise. Even the most security-savvy business owner may not be able to spot their own vulnerabilities like an external security expert would.

To take those stresses off your hands, Quorum is a market-leading Microsoft security provider that can work directly with your organisation to understand your needs and budget constraints, your current security strategy, and what additional features you need to bolster your defences. We will then deploy an intelligent suite of security services that protect your on-site and cloud-based systems so you can spend more time doing what matters most.

Contact Quorum today to secure your organisation with Microsoft security solutions.

Let’s talk about how Microsoft Security Services can ensure your Digital Estate is safe.

For more information about Microsoft security products and how to ensure your business is always protected against malicious threats, contact Quorum on +61 2 8966 1400.

You can also contact the Cloud Collective on +61 2 8966 1496 or email us at We are a proud Microsoft Gold Partner who understands the need for robust business security.


1. Will Microsoft Security Essentials work after 2020?

For organisations that already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed on their company systems, the platform is still available for use. Despite initially saying otherwise, Microsoft will continue to offer signature updates (but not platform updates) to the software to ensure users have optimal antivirus protection.

That being said, MSE is an outdated program, so it’s recommended that you upgrade to more modern Microsoft security solution to give your organisation the best defence against outside threats.

2. What replaced Microsoft Security Essentials?

Microsoft Defender – aka Windows Defender – is the top-of-the-line replacement for Microsoft Security Essentials. It is built into all Windows 10 systems and devices (also available on Windows XP, Vista and 7 and 8 operating systems) to protect you against viruses, malware and more.

3. Is Microsoft Essentials a good antivirus program?

During its many years as the go-to antivirus solution for Microsoft systems, MS Security Essentials was regarded as a high-quality program to defend individuals and organisations against malicious threats. It provided real-time protection, advanced detection and disablement, network intrusion monitoring and much more – all on a handy freeware model.

Today, you can enjoy the same benefits – and more – in the form of Microsoft Defender, which is built into modern systems.

4. Is MS Security Essentials free?

Yes, the Microsoft Essentials licensing agreement allows it to offer its product within the freeware model, meaning there’s no need to pay exorbitant monthly fees just to get the latest in antivirus and malware protection – like many other software providers charge. While today it’s known as Defender, the price is still the same: free. Plus, you’ll get free updates to ensure your defences are always up to date.

5. Is McAfee better than Microsoft Security Essentials?

Because Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Defender are free programs that protect your system against things like viruses, spyware, malware, worms and more, you don’t need to install any other antivirus software. In fact, running two programs at once – such as Defender and McAfee – can actually do more harm than good. That’s why it’s advised that you uninstall any McAfee software you may have before installing and running Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender.

6. How do I contact Microsoft security?

You can’t contact a Microsoft security team directly, as it’s a tech conglomerate with a presence in more than 200 countries right around the world. However, if you need a security provider who is well versed in Microsoft security solutions then it’s best to reach out to Quorum and the Cloud Collective.Cloud Collective was one of the first Microsoft Gold partners to receive the gold certification for security in Australia, which is the highest competency in this area. Quorum, which holds this certification, is the alliance partner of Cloud Collective. They will be able to deliver all the security services you require, and you can reach out to them by calling +61 (0)2 8966 1400 or emailing Cloud Collective on