Microsoft 365 Copilot Comes with a Long To-Do List for Configuration. Is Your Organization Ready?

ECI has been busy preparing clients for the arrival of Microsoft 365 Copilot, the long-awaited AI assistant that promises to dramatically transform and simplify a range of everyday tasks in the modern workplace. Yet while Microsoft offers a certain degree of guidance on how to set up Copilot, these requirements and recommendations are only a portion of the picture as organizations seek to install and configure Copilot for maximum value and ROI. 


Implementing Copilot Comes with Significant Configuration Challenges 

Copilot’s power as an AI assistant comes from leveraging OpenAI’s large language models (LLM) and ChatGPT with data from Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps like Outlook, Teams, Excel, PowerPoint. But this level of integration requires a fair amount of configuration in key areas to set up and manage Copilot so that it can work effectively and securely with the highly sensitive data and interconnected systems across a financial organization’s IT operation.

For example, to ensure users only generate content relevant to them, organizations must enforce “just enough access” protocols for all Copilot users. While Copilot automatically inherits an organization’s security, compliance and privacy policies for Microsoft 365, further configuration is needed for data classification, labeling and tailoring user access permissions to generate content and prompts. These access controls are needed to protect against nightmare scenarios – such as a summer intern launching PowerPoint and asking Copilot to generate an earnings projection slide by pulling data from highly privileged algorithms and financial data. 

Data governance, labeling and protection are also critical configuration priorities. Like other forms of AI, Copilot operates best when the integrity of the underlying data layer in the organization is strong. Copilot uses an organization’s existing permissions and policies to deliver the most relevant information. This means it is important to have good content management practices, where data is standardized, well integrated, easily accessible and tagged appropriately for its relevance to particular business processes or regulatory rules. 


The Right MSP Partner to Tackle the Copilot Configuration To-Do List 

The above examples are just a sampling of the customized configuration issues that must be addressed for each organization. And this is in addition to the more general technical requirements and recommendations that Microsoft has already shared for installing and configuring Copilot. For instance, several features require users to have a OneDrive account; and the richness of the cross-app experience will depend on the extent to which data sources can be indexed by Microsoft 365. 

Keep in mind that this sizable configuration to-do list is playing out against the backdrop of a shifting security landscape. Because Copilot expands connectivity and integrations across an organization’s cyber assets as it works with diverse data sets and systems, potential vulnerabilities and attack surfaces are also expanded – especially if access control is poorly configured. 

These combined factors have put firms in a position where they could face significant security, operational and compliance risks unless they find the right expertise to deploy Copilot responsibly in their IT systems. This includes the ability to monitor usage patterns and behaviors within a company to guard against insider risk scenarios involving unauthorized Copilot queries or activity. More often than not, organizations will find that Copilot success will require an assist from a qualified MSP partner like ECI.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner MSP specializing in financial sector clients, ECI provides the configuration and management expertise required to fully leverage Microsoft 365 Copilot in the highly regulated, complex and demanding IT environments of alternative investment firms. We optimize the deployment and ongoing management of Copilot for clients, including data security; role-based-access-controls; integrations; custom development; regulatory compliance; workforce training and ongoing support for end user requests and issues.

Reach out to us at [email protected] for more on Copilot, and, how ECI is helping clients make the most of this revolutionary new AI assistant from Microsoft.

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