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Decoding Microsoft CoPilot: Untangling the Branding Maze

Decoding Microsoft CoPilot: Untangling the Branding Maze

26 February 2024

Sonya Weiser

Generative AI is a complex and rapidly evolving field, and Microsoft CoPilot, with its dual use for personal and enterprise users, presents both risks and rewards. In this blog post I’ll untangle this branding confusion to help you make informed choices about safe use of Microsoft CoPilot.

Generative AI is a topic that everyone wants to know about right now, but most people are finding it difficult to get to grips with, as this is a confusing, overwhelming and rapidly evolving area of technology.

One of the generative AI tools I mentioned in previous blog posts is Microsoft CoPilot, which I find to be a very confusing brand, as it's used across personal and enterprise users, with different cyber security implications. CoPilot that’s accessed through the Microsoft Bing browser will potentially share your private and sensitive information with the world. I’ve previously expressed my concern about whether users will be able to tell the difference between different types of Microsoft Copilot when they are using Microsoft applications.

In this blog post I’ll try to unpick this tangled branding mess for you, so that if you choose to use Microsoft CoPilot you can do so with open eyes as to its risks and rewards.

Microsoft CoPilot in Bing

Microsoft CoPilot is a generative AI tool that has the advanced capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT version 4 under the covers, made available to Microsoft users because Microsoft has a 49% stake in OpenAI.

CoPilot in the Microsoft Bing browser is freely accessible to users on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and iPadOS.

It serves as a smart AI chatbot that assists with tasks such as searching the internet and providing compact summaries of search engine results and source citations.

CoPilot can help with text amendments, summarisation, translation, image search, creative tasks (like writing poems and code), and other routine activities.

It can create images from text using an integrated AI image creation tool, Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator).

Even better, it’s included in standard Microsoft user licences, there is no additional fee to use CoPilot in the Bing browser.

Unprotected CoPilot for personal use

However, if you are using the Microsoft Bing browser with a personal Microsoft licence, please be aware the input that you put into the prompt will NOT be treated as private or secure.

You should only use this version of CoPilot with caution, you must NEVER share any sensitive or personal information with this tool. Your information will be saved as CoPilot training data and may be used as part of answers provided to other people. The equivalent would be listing information you don’t want to share in a social media post!

Here’s what CoPilot in Bing looks like if I log in using my personal Microsoft licence. It’s a very pretty interface with pictures, branded as ‘Your everyday AI companion’.

Microsoft Bing CoPilot - personal use
image: Wiser Technology Advice

Protected CoPilot for Enterprise use

Microsoft CoPilot in the Bing browser is however safe and secure to use when you are logged in as an enterprise licence user. Microsoft promise that anything we enter in the ‘Ask me anything’ prompt is NOT shared as training data, everything entered is kept secure and protected.

Here’s what is looks like when I log in using my enterprise licence. It’s a much more corporate look and feel, shows the green ‘Protected’ tick by my user profile picture and says “Your personal and company data are protected in this chat”.

Microsoft CoPilot - orgnaisational use
image: Wiser Technology Advice

So, if users in your organisation all see the corporate, protected version of Bing CoPilot then you’re safe to use this freely, with no fear of compromising sensitive or personal information.

CoPilot in other Microsoft applications

Microsoft 365 CoPilot
image: Microsoft

CoPilot can be used alongside a range of other Microsoft applications to improve productivity and efficiency, generating responses based on the context of your organisational data, such as user documents, emails, calendar, chats, meetings, and contacts.

CoPilot for Microsoft 365 works alongside Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and other Microsoft 365 apps.

It scans for relevant inputs from files within your organisation to help generate content, saving you time and providing a great starting point.

At US$30 per user per month, this investment will require careful examination of a business case to ensure you get a return on investment.

A product license for Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Business Premium, E3, E5 or Office 365 E3 or E5 is required to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Organisations which have invested in Dynamics 365 might also be interested in exploring CoPilot for the difference Dynamics products. Microsoft CoPilot is a powerful AI assistant that enhances productivity and efficiency across various aspects of Dynamics 365.

Licences for CoPilot are included in some Dynamics 365 apps, such as Business Central, but are an additional cost for others such as Copilot for Dynamics 365 Customer Service, which is available for US$50 per user per month and includes CoPilot for Microsoft 365.

Want to have a chat?

I hope this blog post has helped to de-mystify the Microsoft generative AI tool, CoPilot. In fact, I used CoPilot in Bing to help write some (but not all) of this blog post!

With 35 years’ experience in the technology industry, I have the knowledge and skills needed to help you plan the transformation of your through technology. If you’d like to talk further about this or anything I’ve written about, get in contact with me today, I’m always happy to meet and have a chat over a coffee.

Further reading

Copilot Cheat Sheet (Formerly Bing Chat): Complete Guide for 2024, 25 Jan 2024, Mark W. Kaelin, TechRepublic, available at: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/bing-copilot-cheat-sheet/

Copilot in Bing: Our approach to Responsible AI, 3 Feb 2024, Microsoft, available at: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/copilot/overview

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, Microsoft, available at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/copilot-for-microsoft-365

Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft, available at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics-365

Navigating the frontier of generative AI, 10 Dec 2023, Sonya Weiser, Wiser Technology Advice, available at https://www.wisertechnologyadvice.com.au/wiser-technology-advice-blog/navigating-the-frontier-of-generative-ai

Overview of Copilot with commercial data protection, 03 Feb 2024, Microsoft, available at: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/copilot/overview

Sonya Weiser

Sonya Weiser

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