As an IT professional at DIVECORP, I recently led a project to deploy 600 Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) agents to servers and desktops in our environment. The goal was to ensure that all devices in our organization were protected against advanced threats and that we had the visibility and control needed to detect and respond to any potential security incidents.

The deployment process involved several steps: planning, testing, and execution. Here are some of the key takeaways from the field:

Step 1: Planning and Preparation Before deploying the MDE ATP agents, we thoroughly assessed our environment to determine the number and types of devices that needed protection. We also reviewed the technical requirements and prerequisites for deploying the agents, such as ensuring that devices were running compatible versions of Windows and had the necessary system requirements.

We also created a deployment plan that included timelines, milestones, and contingencies in case of any issues or challenges during the deployment process.

Step 2: Testing and Configuration We extensively tested the MDE ATP agents in a lab environment before deploying them to production. This included testing various scenarios, such as malware detection, alert notifications, and incident response.

We also configured the MDE ATP agents to ensure they were optimized for our environment, including configuring policies, exclusions, and advanced features such as Attack Surface Reduction and Controlled Folder Access.

Step 3: Deployment and Monitoring Once testing was complete, we deployed the MDE ATP agents to all servers and desktops in our environment using manual and automated deployment methods. We monitored the deployment process closely, ensuring that all devices were successfully protected and there were no issues or errors.

We also set up monitoring and alerting for the MDE ATP agents, enabling us to detect and respond to any potential security incidents quickly. This included configuring alert notifications, creating incident response playbooks, and conducting regular threat-hunting exercises.

As part of the monitoring process, we created a PowerShell script to double-check that all systems were adequately protected. The script checks for the existence of the MDE ATP agent and its version number, ensuring that all devices are up-to-date and fully protected. Here is the PowerShell script:

$Devices = Get-ADComputer -Filter {OperatingSystem -like "*Windows*"} | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Name
$Results = foreach ($Device in $Devices) {

try {

$Version = Get-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection\CurrentVersion" -Name ProductVersion -ErrorAction Stop | Select-Object -ExpandProperty   ProductVersion


DeviceName = $Device

Status = "Protected"

Version = $Version }





DeviceName = $Device

Status = "Not Protected"

Version = "N/A" }





$Results | Export-Csv -Path "C:\MDE_Agent_Status.csv" -NoTypeInformation

This script queries Active Directory for a list of all Windows devices in the environment, checks each device for the presence of the MDE ATP agent, and exports the results to a CSV file.

In conclusion, deploying 600 MDE ATP agents to servers and desktops in our environment was critical in ensuring that all devices were protected against advanced threats. By following a careful planning, testing, and execution process, and leveraging monitoring and alerting capabilities, we successfully deployed and managed the MDE ATP agents, providing us with the visibility and control needed to detect and respond to any potential security incidents.


John O’Neill Sr. rMVP