In the last few years, Microsoft has made significant long-term commitments to developing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in the company’s suite of business software. Microsoft’s leaders see in AI the same kind of transformative potential that the development of high-speed, affordable internet ushered in during the late ’90s and early 2000s. If experts’ predictions hold, AI-driven software assistance will soon be as functionally essential as internet connectivity.
Following the company’s early access release of generative AI-based Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft announced in March an additional security tool called Microsoft Security Copilot that uses ChatGPT -4’s technology to assess security vulnerabilities. Set in an intuitive chatbot interface, Security Copilot will streamline security practices and help security analysts (and tech-savvy accountants) fortify cybersecurity infrastructures using natural language prompts.
What Is Microsoft Security Copilot?
Expected to release this summer, Security Copilot is Microsoft’s industry-first AI-based cybersecurity tool. Merging a large language model (LLM) with a security-focused suite of features, Security Copilot draws on the 65 trillion daily signals Microsoft’s global threat intelligence captures to generate security solutions specific to users’ environments. Operable with natural language prompts, Security Copilot augments security analysts’ work, enhancing detection quality, response speed, and overall security posture.
Security Copilot is an adaptive AI system that improves through user feedback and incrementally adjusts its responses for more relevant and valuable answers. The platform integrates with other Microsoft security products and can incorporate data from third-party systems.
Security Copilot provides strong data security and keeps users’ data safeguarded by comprehensive enterprise compliance and security controls. With automated threat discovery and predictive reasoning, the platform bolsters the security capabilities of small organizations. It gives all users access to Microsoft’s end-to-end security portfolio and state-of-the-art security practices.
Security Copilot and the Accounting Industry
While Security Copilot is primarily designed for cybersecurity professionals, it offers vast benefits for general business users like accountants. Accountants manage sensitive data and require secure systems to protect this information. Using Security Copilot, accountants can identify potential weaknesses in their tech infrastructure and approve automated steps to mitigate risks.
Users can apply Security Copilot to IT systems with simple, conversational prompts such as:
- “What are the potential vulnerabilities in our current tech infrastructure?”
- “Are there any unusual patterns in our system logs that might indicate a security issue?”
- “Which users have accessed (client’s account) in the last month?”
- “Analyze this chain of emails and identify potential vulnerabilities.”
Security Copilot’s natural language interface empowers users of all technical levels and IT capabilities.
While monitoring cybersecurity infrastructure isn’t typically an accountant’s responsibility, Security Copilot can rapidly pinpoint potential data security risks, eliminating the wait for a security analyst’s response. This AI assistant provides detailed insights into your firm’s cybersecurity, facilitating better communication of your concerns to your security expert. The expert can then utilize Security Copilot to reinforce your security infrastructure more efficiently. In other words, accountants can use it to inquire about nagging cybersecurity concerns, and security analysts can use it to address these concerns more efficiently.
Use Cases for Security Copilot
Security Copilot has many potential use cases. Here are six to get your firm started.
1. Incident Response and Analysis
Security Copilot augments an organization’s existing incident response protocols. When it detects a potential security threat, Security Copilot analyzes the incident like a security investigator, generating step-by-step guidance for threat response and suggesting measures to mitigate risks. These automated reporting and guidance features deliver faster and more efficient responses to security incidents and reduce potential damages.
2. Threat Hunting
With attackers needing an average of an hour and twelve minutes from the first security lapse to gain systems access, traditional defensive cybersecurity strategies are rapidly becoming inadequate for today’s threat landscape. To develop a more proactive cybersecurity posture, accounting firms can task Security Copilot with ongoing threat hunting and detection. In this mode, Security Copilot will surface hidden threats that might otherwise go undetected. Deploying continuous reasoning based on Microsoft’s global threat intelligence, it can anticipate a threat actor’s next move and rank likely outcomes by probability. This allows accounting firms to identify and address potential vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them.
3. Vulnerability Management
Security Copilot assists with vulnerability management by allowing users to periodically prompt the tool with questions about potential vulnerabilities in their tech stack. The AI system then lists and analyzes vulnerabilities, providing actionable recommendations for fortifying systems and hardening the security of sensitive financial data.
4. Security Training and Skill Development
For accountants and other non-security professionals who wish to improve their understanding of cybersecurity practices, Security Copilot can serve as a helpful training tool. It continually learns from user interactions and exposes users to new skills and techniques, building on previous issues covered and supporting the development of security-specific knowledge and skills.
5. Compliance Management
Compliance with the IRS’ voluminous rules is critical in the accounting industry. Using real-time integration with Microsoft’s end-to-end security products and best practices, Security Copilot provides compliance reports and alerts to ensure that firms maintain compliance with applicable rules and regulations.
6. Collaborative Security Operations
Users can easily share interactions in Security Copilot with other team members, promoting effective collaboration on complex problems and accelerating incident response. This fosters a team-based approach to cybersecurity and helps firms cultivate shared responsibility in security practices.
Security Copilot Limitations
AI cybersecurity tools and AI chat technologies have exceeded the expectations of the industry’s leading pioneers. However, it’s important to be wary of naïve overreliance and acknowledge potential limitations such as:
- Dependence on accurate data models: While Security Copilot can interpret natural language prompts to create reports and perform security analyses, its effectiveness hinges on accurate data. In its early learning stages in a new security environment, Security Copilot’s data models may lack sufficient depth and organization to deliver comprehensive results.
- Transformer hallucinations: Generative AI technology relies on a processing model called a transformer. Transformers enable high-end natural language processing but also frequently result in inexplicable hallucinations. While Microsoft describes these as mostly “usefully wrong” in Security Copilot, users should independently verify citations and referenced protocols.
Assess Your Accounting Firm’s Cybersecurity Health
Gauge the health of your firm’s cybersecurity infrastructure with Tech Guru’s Security Assessment. You can set clear technology priorities by rating your firm on a scale from one to five against twenty-five critical statements. Each statement is rooted in IRS Publication 4557: Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – the benchmark in the financial industry.
Upon completion, you’ll receive a score out of 125, offering a clear snapshot of your current cybersecurity standing.
We’ve provided accounting firms with IT strategy, security, and ongoing support for over 18 years. Get in touch with us today and start creating a safer, more secure digital environment in your business.