What to Know Before Installing Copilot for Outlook

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Imagine having an AI-powered assistant streamlining your email management, optimizing your time, and enhancing your communication. That’s the promise of Copilot for Outlook, a groundbreaking feature designed to revolutionize your email experience. Whether you’re an IT manager or a busy professional, Copilot can help you stay organized, respond effectively, and make the most of your inbox.

 

Copilot for Outlook

Play the video: Copilot for Outlook.

 

What Is Copilot for Outlook?

 

Copilot for Outlook is a game-changer. It’s like having a virtual AI assistant that lives in your email inbox. Here’s what you need to know:

Efficient Time Management:

 

Copilot helps you save time by preparing you for upcoming meetings. When you have a meeting on the horizon, Copilot proactively provides a “Prepare” button in your inbox. Clicking it generates a meeting summary, highlights relevant files, and ensures you’re ready in minutes.

Copilot also extracts essential information from lengthy email threads, suggesting actions like scheduling meetings. It drafts agendas, summarizes discussions, identifies meeting attendees, and finds available time slots—all with a few clicks.

 

Following Unattended Meetings:

 

If you can’t attend a meeting, Copilot has your back. Following a meeting, you receive notifications when the recap is ready for review. You can even ask Copilot questions about the meeting outcomes.

 

Preserving Declined Meetings:

 

Copilot introduces the ability to preserve declined meetings. When enabled, declined meetings remain on your calendar, allowing you to revisit related information, files, and chats. You can update your previous response (RSVP) or forward the meeting details—all while keeping your calendar free.

Three Key Features in Copilot for Outlook

#1—AI-Generated Writing

 

Copilot for Outlook isn’t just a run-of-the-mill tool—it’s your collaborative partner who never runs out of ideas. Imagine starting with a blank email and having Copilot generate content based on your prompts. Whether you’re composing a professional email, a project update, or a meeting invitation, Copilot streamlines the process. Here’s how it works:

  • Smart Suggestions: As you type, Copilot predicts your next words. For instance, Copilot might suggest relevant phrases or commonly used sections when drafting an email. It’s like having an AI co-writer who knows your style.
  • Enhancing Existing Content: Copilot doesn’t limit itself to new drafts. If you’re revising an email, ask Copilot to “simplify the introduction” or “add a compelling case study.” It fine-tunes your existing content effortlessly.
  • Interactive Collaboration: Feeling stuck? Click the “Inspire Me” button, and Copilot keeps writing, adding points and information to keep your email flowing smoothly.
  • Customize Your Edits: Are you unhappy with the direction of your email? Ask Copilot to “make this more concise” or “add some humor.” It adapts to your preferences.
#2—Efficiently Search Across Existing M365 Documents

 

Copilot’s true magic lies in its ability to search through existing text. Imagine this scenario:  you need to update your boss about what happened in a meeting they couldn’t attend. Copilot can summarize the meeting, search for documents discussed in the meeting and attach them, and provide a link to the Teams meeting recordings and transcripts.

 

#3—Code Assistance Within Your Outlook Email

 

Coding happened outside of Microsoft Word in the past, but Copilot changed the game. Now, you can write and edit code directly within your Outlook email. Whether it’s Python, JavaScript, or SQL, Copilot provides:

  • Code Snippets: Copilot suggests code snippets, making your programming tasks more efficient.
  • Explanations: Wondering why a specific line of code works? Copilot provides explanations.
  • Fixes: If your code has issues, Copilot helps troubleshoot.

Why Use Copilot for Outlook?

 

Working faster and better:

 

The more you use Copilot, the more it can anticipate the type of emails you send. Predictive copy will speed up your message iteration. It’ll also improve your messages, getting rid of awkward phrasing and typos and helping you find just the right bits of corporate information to include. You’ll work faster and sound more professional while you do.

 

Built-In Cybersecurity Safeguards:

 

Copilot for Outlook prioritizes data security. Here’s how it ensures your peace of mind:

  • Data compliance—including adherence to GDPR and EU Data boundary regulations
  • Protected files—your documents and their information are never used to train our AI models. Documents remain protected within your Microsoft 365 environment.
  • Authentication and compliance—Copilot for Outlook is a part of your existing Microsoft 365’s security features, including two-factor/multifactor authentication programs to enhance access control.
  • Data Boundaries—with conditional access barriers on files to secure your confidential information.
  • Trustworthy Searches—Copilot for Outlook only pulls information exclusively from your organization’s documents, reducing the likelihood of AI hallucinations

Now that you know what Copilot can do for your organization, how do you do it safely? There are several security strategies we recommend before you download Copilot for Outlook. Let’s get into it.

Essential Safeguards Your Company Should Take—Before Installing Copilot for Outlook

 

 

Success with Copilot begins well before the capability is installed. To ensure a smooth implementation, your IT leadership should collaborate with vendors, managed service providers (MSPs), and even HR/training departments to establish robust AI safeguards. Here are the key guardrails to consider:

 

Create Effective Conditional Access Policies

 

Traditionally, SharePoint systems tend to be relatively open, with only a few restricted areas for files. Copilot, however, introduces comprehensive search capabilities, making the information housed inside your files easily searchable by anyone in your organization. If you don’t want Copilot for Outlook parsing information from confidential or first draft/old versions of files, you’ll need to create tight protocols around how your files are saved and searched.

Luckily, Microsoft makes this easy with its conditional access features. You’ll want to ask each department to review their files, then set conditional access for all their documents, determining who can view them and when. Also, a process will need to be implemented to deal with first drafts and older information so it’s not searchable in Copilot for Outlook searches.

Strengthen Endpoint Management and Multifactor Authentication

 

Guarding against unauthorized access is critical. Copilot’s AI-enabled search tools are powerful but can also be exploited. Invest in robust endpoint management tools that continuously scan devices accessing your system.

If you don’t have it already, Multifactor Authentication (MFA) will be critical to protecting your endpoints and central systems. Implement a strong MFA system that considers identity, device, location, and network factors before you allow a sign-in to your system. This adds the critical extra layer of security you need to operate safely in an AI searchable environment.

Integrate AI into Documentation and Training

 

Adding AI should change how everyone in your organization thinks about their information. Encourage thoughtful decisions about document creation and storage. To stay safe and maximize the usefulness of Copilot, you’ll want to train your staff how to use it for every document. Then, you’ll want to ensure all your new cybersecurity and document management policies are written down in your IT cybersecurity plans, procedures, and policies.

 

Ready to Get Started with Copilot for Outlook?

 

If you’re interested in safely deploying the entire Copilot for the M365 platform, Integris is here to assist. We’ll set up Responsible IT Architecture, manage your Cloud licenses, and provide security consulting tailored to the AI era. As of spring/summer 2024, we’re signing clients for Copilot previews and testing. Contact us now, and we’ll ensure you’re on the list!

 

Susan Gosselin is a Senior Content Writer for Integris. A career communicator and business journalist, she's written extensively on IT topics and trends for IT service providers like Iconic IT and ProCoders Ukraine, as well as business publications such as Technologyadvice.com, Datamation.com, The Lane Report and many others. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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