IT Pros Get Assurances on Coming Microsoft 365 Copilot AI Capabilities
Microsoft on Thursday offered assurances to IT pros that security and privacy issues will be respected with coming Microsoft 365 Copilot artificial intelligence (AI)-based enhancements.
Microsoft 365 Copilot was unveiled on Thursday in an online presentation by Microsoft executives and luminaries. It augments AI capabilities by tapping into Microsoft Graph information, which is associated with the use of Microsoft 365 apps by organizations. The information gets run through OpenAI's ChatGPT large language model, generating natural language responses to queries. These responses generated by Microsoft 365 Copilot are designed to help Microsoft 365 users with various tasks. Examples included summarizing meetings, creating PowerPoint presentations from documents or estimating how sales prospects might be affected by changes.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will be a coming addition to Office apps (Excel, PowerPoint and Word), Viva Sales and Dynamics 365, as well as in Microsoft's low-code Power Platform apps. Pricing and release dates were not announced.
Currently, Microsoft 365 Copilot is at the "limited private preview stage" and can only be accessed by organizations if they have been invited by Microsoft to try it. Just 20 customers are testing it, according to an announcement by Colette Stallbaumer, Microsoft's general manager for Microsoft 365 and Future of Work:
We are currently testing Microsoft 365 Copilot with 20 customers, including 8 in Fortune 500 enterprises. We will be expanding these previews to customers more broadly in the coming months and will share more on new controls for IT admins so that they can plan with confidence to enable Copilot across their organizations.
Microsoft promised IT pros that it will provide documentation and guidance for Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges as Microsoft 365 Copilot gets closer to being broadly released. They'll also get technical documentation on the "available controls and policies" prior to "broader roll out." No dates were specified.
Microsoft's Thursday announcement claimed that existing permissions models being used by Microsoft 365 tenancies will apply when people start using Microsoft 365 Copilot. Here's how that was expressed:
Copilot presents only data that each individual can access using the same underlying controls for data access used in other Microsoft 365 services. Additionally, we do not use customer data to train or improve the large language models used to generate content.
For now, Microsoft appears to be targeting business users with Microsoft 365 Copilot. It has "no plans" on announcing support for U.S. government cloud customers. Moreover, Microsoft isn't offering Microsoft 365 Copilot to education customers "at this time."
Microsoft is still getting feedback from "the education community to further fine-tune AI powered experiences in educational scenarios."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.