Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) has evolved significantly over the past two years, with Microsoft continuously improving its security capabilities. One of the key advancements is the integration of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, which provides organizations with a comprehensive security solution for detecting, preventing, and responding to malicious activities. In this article, we'll explore the improvements in Defender for Endpoint, how to enable it for your AVD environment, its cost implications, and how it empowers Security Operations Centers (SOCs) to mitigate threats more effectively.

Enhancements in Defender for Endpoint

  1. Improved threat detection: Microsoft has invested in enhancing its detection capabilities by employing advanced machine learning algorithms and behavioral analysis techniques. These improvements help Defender for Endpoint detect and prevent sophisticated threats such as zero-day exploits and advanced persistent threats (APTs).

  2. Unified security management: Defender for Endpoint now integrates with Microsoft 365 Defender, providing a centralized platform to manage security across devices, identities, apps, and data. This unified approach enables organizations to streamline security operations and improve their overall security posture.

  3. Expanded platform support: In addition to Windows devices, Defender for Endpoint now supports macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, offering comprehensive protection across various devices in your organization.

  4. Enhanced investigation and response capabilities: Defender for Endpoint now features advanced threat hunting, automated investigation, and response capabilities, which help security teams proactively identify and remediate threats.

Enabling Defender for Endpoint in Azure Virtual Desktop

To enable Microsoft Defender for Endpoint in your AVD environment, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure you have a Microsoft Defender for Endpoint license. It's included in Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E5 Security, or as a standalone add-on for other Microsoft 365 plans.

  2. Deploy and configure the Defender for Endpoint sensor on your AVD session hosts. Follow the official Microsoft documentation for detailed guidance:

Cost Implications

The cost of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint depends on your licensing plan. As mentioned earlier, it's included in Microsoft 365 E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 Security. If you don't have one of these plans, you can purchase Defender for Endpoint as a standalone add-on. The pricing details can be found on the Microsoft website:   

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 2

Microsoft Defender Vulnerability Management add-on

Microsoft Defender for Business

Benefits for Security Operations Centers

Defender for Endpoint offers several benefits for SOCs, including:

  1. Improved threat visibility: With its advanced detection capabilities, Defender for Endpoint provides SOCs with greater visibility into potential threats and helps identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

  2. Streamlined security operations: The integration with Microsoft 365 Defender simplifies the management of security across devices, identities, apps, and data, reducing the workload on SOC teams.

  3. Faster response times: Defender for Endpoint's automated investigation and response capabilities enable SOCs to quickly identify, analyze, and remediate threats, reducing the time to respond to incidents.

  4. Proactive threat hunting: With access to rich telemetry and advanced threat hunting tools, SOC teams can proactively search for threats and identify potential risks before they escalate.


The enhancements in Azure Virtual Desktop Defender for Endpoint over the past two years have significantly improved its capabilities in detecting and preventing malicious activities. By enabling Defender for Endpoint in your AVD environment, you can streamline security operations and empower your SOC to safeguard your organization more effectively.