Is Windows Defender Good Enough to Protect Your PC?

For years, most of us purchased various antivirus security packages from providers like Norton, McAfee, or Webroot for our Information Systems. But nowadays, many users can benefit from the built-in protection offered by Windows Defender (now called Windows Security). Yet is there really a need to pay for anti-malware software?


Let’s evaluate what Windows Security does and fails to do. The security that came with Windows used to be quite basic, but Windows Security is a fairly all-inclusive solution these days. Most tech reviewers have found that Windows Security performs the creditable task of identifying, preventing, and quarantining typical viruses. This solution eliminates malicious code and the rate of false positives. Many websites rank it higher than several paid competitors. 

Windows Security offers plenty of features that protect your computer from online and offline threats. This protection sprawls to cover real-time protection from browser attacks. The security system prepares memory dumps for security checks when your device is restarted or shut down for diagnostic purposes.  Moreover, it encrypts the data before that travels across networks while enabling authorized users to decrypt it. 

Defender is a free antivirus program built into Windows since Windows XP was released. It is designed to help protect your PC against malware and viruses. However, every good product has its limitations.  

Working Process of Windows Defender 

Windows Security achieves a significant success rate using two standard techniques. 

  1. The primary technique involves checking signatures against a repository. Windows Security gets definition updates and assesses them for emerging threats.  Microsoft distributes these definition updates for Windows PCs several times daily with signatures for recently discovered malware. 
  2. The second tactic is to analyze behavioral patterns using heuristics rather than parameters or signatures. In this approach, even if a zero-day or previously unknown malware enters your system and exhibits suspicious behavior, Windows Security can still stop it. 
  • The defender scans your computer for threats and removes them if it finds any. It also monitors your computer for suspicious activity and blocks suspicious programs from running.  
  • You can run a scan with Windows Defender anytime to ensure your computer is free from malware. To do this, go to the Start menu and type “Windows Defender” into the search box. Then, click “Scan now” to start the scan. 

This is a somewhat robust one-two punch for most home users, but it still has some drawbacks.


Potential Kickbacks of Using Windows Defender 

Windows Security retrieves malware data stored in the cloud and connected with Microsoft servers. A recent AV comparison test found that Windows Security trailed behind most paid competitors, which typically store more of the resources they require locally. It only recognized 2/3 of the risks when its network connection was disrupted.  

Nowadays, most of us are online all the time. Still, it’s something to consider if, for instance, malware you unknowingly installed decides to behave unpredictably while you’re not online, like when you’re traveling or in airplane mode. To reliably defend against new and emerging threats, cutting-edge software depends less on a signature database and more on cloud AI. 

Is Windows Defender Enough to Protect Your PCThe Top Complaints Reported with Windows Defender While Running it Through Testing Were: 

  • Compared to many third-party competitors, threat mitigation rates are lower. 
  • Content filters only work for Microsoft Edge. 
  • The primary user interface is cumbersome and complex to navigate. 
  • Provides basic PC health report only (no cleanup or performance-boosting). 
  • Lacks extra features such as VPN, password manager, dark web monitoring, and identity theft protection available with third-party antivirus software. 
  • It is not as effective at removing malware as other antivirus programs.   
  • It also tends to generate false positives, which can be annoying and cause you to waste time.  
  • Additionally, Windows Defender can sometimes conflict with other security programs you have installed on your computer. 

What Features does Windows Defender Lack? 

The most recent version of Windows Defender has a lot of security capabilities, but it is missing several features that competing antivirus products on the market have. 

Here is a list of the key capabilities that Windows Defender misses out on: 

  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) 
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • Protection for microphones and webcams
  • Tools for System Optimization
  • Identity Theft Protection
  • Anti-theft defense
  • Password Manager

Suggested Read – Cyber Security Tips You Must Follow in 2022

Is Windows Defender Enough for Complex IT Systems? 

Windows Defender competitors slightly outperform when it comes to detection rates. Additionally, some paid services encompass advanced features like a Virtual Private Network, network vulnerability monitoring for internal networks, or data breach alerts to protect sensitive information. 

While there may not be strong reasons to invest in security solutions for home PCs, the same can’t be said for complex IT infrastructures. Businesses need to secure multiple devices at once. Adding to this challenge, not all employees can be trusted to comply with security best practices. It is highly recommended that security-oriented businesses move to specialized cybersecurity instead of just relying on Windows Security. 

Since user-facing endpoints, which previously received less protection than servers, must be vigorously protected. This advanced strategy is referred to as endpoint security. 

Many businesses, including CrowdStrike and Ace Cloud Hosting, offer managed endpoint security these days. In addition to the standard antivirus and anti-malware features, their solutions manage the security software remotely and automatically restore the system’s bios in the event of an attack. Other advanced features include: 

  • Scanning files for malicious code thoroughly 
  • Sandbox processing to prevent malware from spreading to other parts of the system 
  • Keeping security software up & running even when the OS has been compromised 

Therefore, it is beneficial to invest in a security plan if you have a widespread infrastructure to control.  For enhanced protection to secure sensitive information you cannot risk losing, go for managed security. If not, sticking with Windows Defender should be OK.


Is Windows Defender Enough to Protect Your PC? 

Security is not just about defending against viruses and malware. However, security is more about preventing sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Windows Defender can be a good choice for basic PC protection, but it doesn’t offer comprehensive cyber security. Windows Defender can keep your operating system secured but not critical files. This is where Managed Security Services can help. 

Therefore, if you want to add an extra layer of security, look for options like ACE-Managed Security Services. ACE provides customized solutions tailored to your security needs with a 24*7 Security Operations Center. Try our solutions today and enhance your current security posture.

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About Nolan Foster

With 20+ years of expertise in building cloud-native services and security solutions, Nolan Foster spearheads Public Cloud and Managed Security Services at Ace Cloud Hosting. He is well versed in the dynamic trends of cloud computing and cybersecurity.
Foster offers expert consultations for empowering cloud infrastructure with customized solutions and comprehensive managed security.

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