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Managed IT service provider launches AI workshops for Microsoft Copilot

~ OryxAlign holds its first workshop to prepare clients to embrace AI safely in business ~

OryxAlign, a leading managed service provider (MSP), has piloted its first workshop in a series of three that aims to prepare its clients to roll out the Microsoft Copilot AI system across their businesses. The first workshop, which took place at OryxAlign’s London headquarters at the end of May, highlighted the need to protect sensitive company data from AI systems and how to put in place cybersecurity safeguards. Interested companies can download the free Copilot scoresheet to check their readiness.

OryxAlign identified the need to educate businesses on how to correctly implement the AI program after it was approached by some of its clients who had experienced the negative effects of activating it without moderating its access.

“While the world has been quick to embrace and start using freely available generative AI tools like ChatGPT, what most users probably aren’t aware of is that entering sensitive company information into these tools can be used to train the AI models and could increase the cybersecurity risk companies face. We’re launching these workshops to help companies embrace AI safely,” explained Justin Rutherford, chief technical officer at OryxAlign.

“Many attendees were surprised by the amount of preparation necessary before launching Microsoft Copilot and our sessions provided a framework for them to start thinking about what’s needed. Delivering these workshops to a select few people in each business will allow specific users in departments to become champions, who could then pass on efficiencies to their teams.”

When Windows Copilot is activated without the correct configurations, it may gain access to sensitive business data, including confidential communications, financial records and personal information. This can occur because Copilot integrates deeply with various applications and systems, potentially accessing all data within those systems. Without stringent access controls and data protection policies, this data could be inadvertently shared or misused. Ensuring that Copilot operates within a framework that includes commercial data protection can help mitigate these risks.

Similarly, activating Copilot without adequate security measures can expose systems to various cyber threats. For example, if commercial data protection features are not enabled, the AI could potentially be exploited by cyber attackers to access sensitive information or disrupt operations. Ensuring that Copilot is configured with enterprise-grade security settings, including vulnerability management and extended detection and response (XDR), helps to protect against these threats. Properly managing these settings can reduce the risk of cyber attacks and enhance the overall security posture of the business.

“We kept the workshops small and relaxed with a limited number of attendees, so everyone had an opportunity to ask questions and raise queries,” continued Rutherford. “This also allowed for a more personalised experience because each business will differ on the amount of time to prepare given business priorities and their own capability and capacity to plan, implement, adopt, refine and continually improve.

“The attendees were also keen to discuss the practical use of AI and the benefits it could bring to their businesses as well as how to build a business case that shows the value against investment.”

“These workshops were designed to give clear guidance on the preparation needed to avoid data breaches and exfiltration,” said Ayisha Fabri, technical account manager at OryxAlign. “The free-flow exchange of information benefited everyone, including OryxAlign.”

While there are benefits to integrating Copilot into your business practices, it might be worth keeping your finger off the trigger until you can be certain you know how to launch it in a safe and moderated way.

You can assess your Copilot readiness by filling out OryxAlign’s scoresheet here: