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  • Writer's pictureChris Steele

Navigating Microsoft Copilot whilst safeguarding data security

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft Copilot that will go live on November 1st. Chris Steele, CTO at Alternit One (A1) explores the launch of this software, what the technology is designed to do and how firms can incorporate its functions whilst ensuring data security.

What is Microsoft Copilot and what has driven the arrival of this technology?

In a statement posted by Microsoft in September, the company asserted that ‘we are entering a new era of AI, one that is fundamentally changing how we relate to and benefit from technology’.

Pushing the innovation of AI, Microsoft has taken steps to wrap generative AI capabilities into a single experience: Microsoft Copilot, ‘the everyday AI companion’. Microsoft Copilot will be able to uniquely incorporate both the intelligence and context of the web, a company’s work data and what people are doing in real time on their PC. The goal of this AI technology is to provide the user with better assistance and seamless experience.

Microsoft has utilised the principle of large language models (LLM’s) to create Copilot. In principle, it allows the user to incorporate tasks into their day-to-day business operational models, using Copilot to make requests in natural language. The technology will then create a task or action based on the request. The ethos of this technology is to allow users to create their own workflows and improve productivity without the need for specialists to code specific software-based tasks.

This is not going to be a catch all solution for every IT user in every industry. However, it does have the potential to create and manage tasks in a very different way day to day. There will still be a need for technical support for firms, and in fact it’s vital that professional support is still sought when considering the implementation of any AI toolset, particularly in a regulated environment.

Delivering a seamless experience with data security and privacy at its core

Microsoft has designed Copilot to ensure that privacy and security are at the forefront of its use and implementation. Microsoft shared a statement expressing that ‘Copilot is compliant with our existing privacy, security, and compliance commitments to Microsoft 365 commercial customers, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and European Union (EU) Data Boundary’. A key design feature of Copilot is that it ‘respects user-specific permissions to any content or information it retrieves’, Microsoft further confirmed in a statement about the launch of the technology. While this is good to hear, it is important users know what their current user specific permissions are so they have a clear understanding of what Copilot can and cannot access. We are working with our clients daily to ensure they are comfortable with the data access Microsoft has across their network.

As with all developments in technology, it is imperative to be able to meet regulatory compliance requirements. This is particularly true of the regulatory requirements with regards to the developments of AI. It is a space that continuously evolves at pace. Microsoft Copilot has been constructed on top of Microsoft’s existing commitments to privacy and data security in the business’s operational structure.

At A1, we work with our clients to implement the latest developments within AI and technology to enrich and improve their day-to-day business operations. This is inclusive of Microsoft Copilot. We are supporting our clients to embrace this technology within the workplace, whilst also ensuring data security remains at industry standards. If you would like to learn about how we can guide you through implementing Microsoft Copilot, contact us today.


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