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How to Use Copilot: What are the Security Risks in 2024?


Let's face it, the daily grind can make even the most exciting tasks feel like shoveling pixels. That's where Microsoft Copilot, the friendly AI sidekick for Microsoft 365, comes in. Imagine having a super-powered assistant who can whip up emails, suggest formulas in spreadsheets, and even craft presentations – all while lurking discreetly in the background of your favorite Microsoft apps. Copilot sounds like a pretty sweet tool you should know how to use, right?  

Hold on a sec, though. Before you dive headfirst into Microsoft's AI assistant, there are a few security issues to consider. Copilot is a powerful tool, and like any useful tool, it comes with its own set of drawbacks. Let's unpack why Copilot might be a double-edged sword for your business. 


1. Access All Areas (Maybe a Bit Too Much!)  

Imagine having a personal butler who knows where everything is hidden in your house. That's kind of how Copilot works. This cloud-based buddy has access to everything you do within Microsoft 365 – emails, documents, spreadsheets, the whole shebang. This is great for suggesting relevant content and automating tasks, but it also means Copilot sees all your data (including the sensitive stuff). Financial records, client information, internal communications – it's all there for Microsoft to peek at.  

Why It's Risky: 

If someone hacks into Copilot’s systems, they may have the keys to your digital kingdom.  


2. Leaky Faucet, Data Edition  

Copilot is a whiz at “generating” new content based on what it sees you working on. This can be a huge time-saver, but there's a catch. Imagine accidentally including a client's social security number in an email because your AI-sidekick "helpfully" suggested it based on a previous document you were working on. Yikes!  

Why It's Risky: 

Copilot might unintentionally leak sensitive data through its suggestions or generated content.  


3. Copycat Can Be a Copycriminal  

Copilot learns by analyzing tons of data, and that data isn't always sunshine and rainbows. If it's trained on information riddled with malware or phishing attempts, it might start suggesting malicious code or incorrect statistics that you “should use.” Plus, Generative AI LLMs like OpenAI’s GPT (the model powering Copilot) have been known to “hallucinate” false information. 

Why It's Risky: 

Copilot could be unknowingly influenced by bad data, leading to security vulnerabilities.  


4. Lost in Translation (Literally)  

Copilot is still under development, and sometimes it might misunderstand your requests or mix things up. This could lead to embarrassing typos in critical emails or, even worse, critical errors in financial documents.  

Why It's Risky: 

Copilot might misinterpret your instructions and create systemic issues in your work.  


5. Somebody (or Something) is Using Your Data  

While Microsoft emphasizes and prioritizes data privacy, Copilot's very nature raises concerns. There's always a chance that Copilot could use your data to learn and function, easily letting it be accessed by unauthorized parties. So, if your team must adhere to a legal framework like HIPAA, really think before you give into Generative AI’s allure. And with many common SaaS offerings now including similar AI tools, make sure your team knows what’s off limits. 

Why It's Risky: 

There are potential privacy concerns surrounding the data Copilot uses and generates.  


6. Sharing is Caring, But Not Always  

Copilot integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, which is fantastic for collaborating with colleagues. But what happens if you're working on a confidential project and accidentally share sensitive information through Copilot's suggestions? It’s not like your automated sidekick can completely understand which data is off-limits to which person.  

Why It's Risky: 

Accidental sharing of sensitive data can occur due to Copilot's collaborative features.  


7. The Lock on the Door Might Not Be So Strong  

Security patches are crucial for keeping software safe. Since Copilot is a relatively new solution, there can easily be many new security vulnerabilities.  

Why It's Risky: 

Copilot, like any new software, is especially susceptible to security vulnerabilities that need secure, timely patches. 


How to use Tools like Copilot and Get Rolling!  

So, is Copilot a productivity game-changer or a security nightmare? Well, like most things in tech, it depends. Copilot is undeniably a powerful tool that can streamline your workflow and boost your efficiency. So, your team must always be aware of its security risks and know which steps are needed to mitigate them.  

However, you can still find AI-powered solutions and IT that can help your team scale up. We’d be happy to help you get ready for the 21st century’s next era in computing and see tomorrow’s possibilities realized across your office. Get started with us today and plan tomorrow’s work environment!