How safe is Microsoft 365 Copilot; Is your organization ready for its integration?

The Information Technology (IT) world continues to evolve yearly with new introductions along with it. When these introductions hit the market, there are various concerns raised and security and safety is a cardinal point. The concerns range from how effective the introductions will work to how safely adopting its use in organizations will be.  

These same concerns were rife when Microsoft announced the inclusion of Microsoft 365 Copilot into some of its offerings in 2023. Microsoft 365 Copilot working on the back of Artificial Intelligence (AI) promised to combine the power of large language models (LLMs) to deliver support for users in the world of world.   

Microsoft 365 Copilot can work as a productivity tool aiding everyday tasks like the creation of documents, putting contents into context, helping gather and analyze data as well as writing code. In all of this however, there are concerns of how safe and secure it is to use the AI powered M365 Copilot.   

In this piece of write up, we will look at the concerns around security and safety of using Microsoft 365 Copilot in an organization.    

How does Microsoft 365 Copilot handle sensitive data? 

There is a permissions architecture/model in your Microsoft 365 environment that plays a crucial role in preventing unintended data leaks across users, groups, and tenants. Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 ensures that individuals are presented only with the data they are authorized to access, leveraging the same robust data access controls found in other Microsoft 365 offerings. Furthermore, the Semantic Index respects boundaries based on user identity, ensuring that during the grounding process, it only retrieves content that the current user has permission to view.  

When data is secured using Microsoft Purview Information Protection’s encryption, Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 respects the user’s assigned access rights. This protective encryption can be implemented through the application of sensitivity labels or restricted permissions within Microsoft 365 applications via Information Rights Management (IRM).  

Again, with access controls inclusion for handling sensitive data, customers have the option to select data residency preferences, guaranteeing that data is stored in particular geographic locations to adhere to regulatory requirements.  

Handling of sensitive data or information is multi-faceted, and organizations have the ability to set up access controls and permissions, which Co-pilot adheres to, ensuring that sensitive data is accessible only to those with authorization. Furthermore, to mitigate risks associated with data processed and generated by Co-pilot, all data is encrypted during transmission and while stored.  

What are the measures in place for security and data breaches?  

As part of its comprehensive security and privacy strategy, Microsoft has developed specific protocols aimed at enhancing incident response and mitigating potential harm. These protocols extend to all its products and services, Co-pilot included. To ensure robust security, Microsoft employs continuous monitoring and state-of-the-art threat detection technologies across all its cloud services, Co-pilot being no exception.  

Incidences related to data breaches undergo thorough investigation to ascertain its extent and impact, pinpointing the source of the breach and identifying the affected data or systems. Subsequently, impacted customers are promptly informed, receiving detailed information about the breach’s nature and the steps Microsoft has taken to address the issue.  

After what Microsoft offers to clients because of, using M365 Copilot, organizations can also put in place measures to safeguard security and data breaches. As a result of using M365 Copilot, you may have a possibility of data breaches hence putting in place personally initiated tools or deployments will help. Adopt advanced threat protection tools with the aim of defending against cyber threats that are sophisticated. An example of such a tool is Microsoft Defender. Also now known as Microsoft Defender XDR, it comes with collaboration tools, unified visibility, investigation and response that spans across endpoints and these can help mitigate security and data breaches to a point.  

Should M365 Copilot operating on the back of AI and LLM be of concern? 

There will be the need to put in measures as an organization to make sure you are also able to reduce the risk associated with using a productivity tool such as M365 Copilot. As you use M365 Copilot, you should be able to identify and define sensitive data that circulates within your organization and know how to handle them. It will be prudent to classify them which makes management more precise.  

There should be a way to determine where your data origins from, be it in transit or at rest. This will help you identify which ones need protection and to what degrees (the more sensitive the data, the tighter controls or add-ons may have to be integrated).  

Periodically, review access controls and sharing policies to see which ones will best work for your organization. There should be restrictions in place for information sharing but the form it will take is discretionary. This will uphold some level of security to avoid information shared or accessed by just anyone. Also, in instances where there is change in management, is access to sensitive information reviewed? How quickly the review is done all counts to concerns raised around security and these can be adopted.  

Also, Microsoft has mentioned that it does not use an organization’s data to train its large language model, and this should be enough reasons to know that your data is safe.  

Be proactive with your use of M365 Copilot 

Your use of IT products and services keeps changing with time due to new or add on inventions. With these changes come new licenses to aid your subscription and permission to use. As experts in the field, we observe frequent updates that may come to your notice a bit late but working with us will nib that in the bud.   

We stay on top of the licensing world hence we can inform and guide you on current happenings that may impact your use of M365 Copilot or other related IT products and services. Apart from Microsoft 365 Copilot supporting your daily work productivity, there are security threats you may be exposed to unknowingly.  

There is therefore the need to have a wider consultation on what needs you want met, what licenses will get the needs met and what may be the cost implications. Our team of experts will help with answers to your questions based on your roadmap and guide you to make substantial savings where possible.  

All this is possible first by contacting us, then we proceed to give you solutions you can trust. Reach out today.    

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