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Microsoft Defender vs Trellix: EDR Software Comparison

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Looking to secure your network? Microsoft Defender and Trellix are two of the most popular endpoint detection and response software options. Compare the features of these EDR tools.

Image: Adobe Stock/ArtemisDiana

With threats such as malware and ransomware becoming more complex, companies need to take caution to increase their network security. Both Microsoft Defender and Trellix Endpoint Security are top endpoint detection and response (EDR) software tools with a variety of features designed to help protect networks, devices and data.

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What is Microsoft Defender?

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is an endpoint security tool that provides threat alerts and attack mitigation for phishing, malware and ransomware. The software integrates expertly with Microsoft’s other products to secure Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and network devices against sophisticated threats.

What is Trellix?

Born from the merger of McAfee and FireEye products in January of 2022, Trellix Endpoint Security is a strong EDR software tool that leverages behavioral and machine learning to automate threat and attack detection. In addition, it helps to reduce CPU demands with a common service layer and an anti-malware core engine as well as an adaptive scanning process that can focus resources on only suspicious or unknown sources.

Microsoft Defender vs. Trellix feature comparison

Microsoft Defender and Trellix Endpoint Security share many similarities in their features, including their ability to utilize machine learning to detect and mitigate threats. But where Microsoft offers plenty of flexibility, as well as familiarity for those who already use Windows and Microsoft-based products, Trellix provides users with the ability to be proactive in their security efforts.

Feature Microsoft Defender Trellix Endpoint Security
Malware protection Yes Yes
Anti-phishing Yes Yes
Behavioral threat analysis Yes Yes
Single-agent model No Yes
Machine learning Yes Yes
Threat defense for mobile devices Yes Yes
Cloud-based threat detection Yes Yes
Two-factor authentication Yes Yes

Attack detection and mitigation

Microsoft Defender does a great job of detecting both known and unknown attacks. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint’s has a managed threat hunting service that provides proactive hunting, prioritization, and adds additional context and insights to detected threats. It also leverages automated threat and attack detection to investigate threats, secure networks, find vulnerabilities and stop attacks.

Trellix Endpoint Security includes advanced malware scanning to proactively defend against known or unknown attacks. If the software identifies suspicious activity including any attempts to encrypt or access data, Trellix immediately puts the suspected threats in quarantine and creates safe copies of your sensitive files, so nothing is lost.

Machine learning and behavioral AI

Microsoft Defender leverages both machine learning as well as a behavioral AI algorithm to detect and mitigate threats and attacks. Microsoft’s behavioral sensors collect and process behavioral signals from the operating system and send this sensor data to detect any vulnerabilities or threats. This data is stored securely in a private, cloud-based location.

Trellix also leverages behavioral and machine learning capabilities to detect zero-day threats. This allows for significantly earlier detection of threats than traditional threat detection or scanning systems. Trellix also uses behavioral learning by recording process-level behavior throughout the system and analyzing the data recorded for signs of attack techniques and procedures.

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Single-agent vs. multi-agent design

Microsoft has a multi-agent design rather than a single agent design. This provides enhanced flexibility for administrators and can be useful if you have multiple endpoints that you would like to secure with different security needs. However, it does require an update to the entire OS in order to update the platform.

Trellix Endpoint has a single-agent design with integrated defense features including threat containment, machine learning and endpoint detection. Single-agent designs are preferred by some administrators, as they are easier to deploy and manage.

Choosing Microsoft Defender vs. Trellix

Microsoft Defender and Trellix are strong options for those in need of endpoint detection and response tools. Both EDR tools address the needs of businesses of all sizes including small, medium and enterprise businesses.

Microsoft Defender is a strong choice for those who already use Windows and Microsoft-based systems because it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products including Active Directory and Exchange Server. But while Trellix is fairly new, its history as McAfee and FireEye make it a strong contender for endpoint security with a sizable reputation it is already building on with its zero-day threat detection and mitigation.

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