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Microsoft 365 Copilot combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with your organization’s data – all in the flow of work -- to turn your words into one of the most powerful productivity tools on the planet. Whether or not you're participating in the Early Access Program (EAP), this blog provides an overview of Copilot, shares technical details, and how you can prepare for it. You’ll also learn some best practices about setting permissions policies, details about admin controls, change management, adoption, security, privacy, compliance, and data residency to help your organization get prepared.
Update 8/11 - We previously stated that support for the Monthly Enterprise Channel was available for Microsoft 365 Copilot. As we continue to make frequent product updates and enhancements during the early access program, the time between updates in the Monthly Enterprise Channel limits Microsoft's ability to provide an optimum Copilot experience on desktop clients. Going forward, users in the early access program must be on the Current Channel to receive Copilot updates when they become available. We expect support in the Monthly Enterprise Channel in the future.
To use Copilot, your organization must meet some technical requirements and have some features enabled. Copilot users must have either a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 license  and an Azure Active Directory account, which gives them access to the Microsoft 365 apps and services that work with Copilot including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Loop, and more. Once available to your organization, your users will need to be on the Current Channel for Microsoft 365 apps to have access to Copilot in desktop clients. Learn more about the channels in this article.
In addition to some requirements, we are sharing some recommendations that prepare your organization for a better experience with the technology. Copilot services connect to endpoints contained within the Microsoft 365 endpoint taxonomy. As with all Microsoft 365 services, we recommend that customers align their network with the Microsoft 365 network connectivity principles. This will help provide the best experience with Copilot through minimization of latency and increased network quality of service (QoS) for critical network flows. Some Copilot experiences require a WebSocket connection from the device running the Microsoft 365 app to a Microsoft service. Thus, WebSockets must be unblocked from user endpoints. Finally, to leverage cross-app intelligence experiences in Teams, you’ll need to enable plugins using the Teams admin center.
Permissions and content management best practices
Microsoft 365 Copilot uses your existing permissions and policies to deliver the most relevant information, building on top of our existing commitments to data security and data privacy in the enterprise. This means it is important to have good content management practices in the first place. For many organizations, content oversharing, and data governance can be a challenge. Content oversharing is when content is shared beyond the needed audience either intentionally or accidentally. Learn about some of the things your organization can do to detect and prevent oversharing in the new era in content management and security in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams, watch this video, and read this article to get details on how to adopt content management best practices.
Security, privacy, and data residency
Microsoft 365 Copilot follows these foundational principles: built on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, compliance, and privacy; architected to protect tenant, group, and individual data; and committed to responsible AI. Copilot experiences use the organizational content in your Microsoft 365 tenant, including users’ calendars, emails, chats, documents, meetings, contacts, and more – all from within the Microsoft 365 compliance boundary. Copilot does not use customer data or user prompts to train the foundation.
Copilot experiences do not use OpenAI’s publicly available services. Instead, all processing is achieved using Azure OpenAI services. Copilot LLM calls are routed to the closest datacenters in the regions but can call into other regions where capacity is available during periods of high utilization. No customer data is written outside the user’s home region. And starting in July, the Early Access Program for Microsoft 365 Copilot will align with our commitments under the EU Data Boundary (EUDB).
The richness of the Copilot experience depends on the data sources indexed by Microsoft 365. Tenants with the most abundant data in Microsoft 365 (Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams) will get the best results from Copilot. With access to comprehensive organizational data, Copilot can suggest more relevant and personalized content based on the user’s work context and preferences. Learn more about Semantic Index.
Microsoft does not claim ownership of the content created by Copilot capabilities. As copyright and other laws regarding ownership vary by jurisdiction, Microsoft does not make a determination on whether the content created by Copilot experiences is copyright-protected.
We are committed to helping organizations adopt our Microsoft products and services. We recommend you follow your established best practices in driving services usage and adoption. We will also be providing additional tools in the Microsoft 365 admin center, including an onboarding guide and more help to you and your users to get started and adopt Copilot once it is available for your organization.
Today, you can already help your users start learning about Copilot and AI fundamentals at the Microsoft AI help & learning site, where they can find more information about Copilot, how it can transform their work experience, and learn about the ethical principles and guidelines that Microsoft follows when developing AI solutions. We also recommend that you enable in-product prompts to send in-app highlights to tell users where they can find and use Copilot features.
Staying up to date with changes and announcements
Follow your processes to stay up to date about the latest Copilot features, changes, and announcements using the Message center in the Microsoft 365 admin center under Health > Message center. You may also consider enabling your dedicated adoption specialists in non-admin user roles to stay current by enabling them to read the Copilot-related Message center posts. You can assign them the Message center reader role, which allows them to read and share the posts without having any other admin privileges. In addition, you can specify up to two email addresses to receive an email for major update posts in Message Center as well as a weekly digest of service updates from within the Message center Preferences. We will be adding the Copilot service as a Preference option shortly, so users focused on Copilot can limit their change communication notices to that service if they would like to do so.
An image demonstrating the Preferences pane in the Message center in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
As for all Microsoft 365 services, you can also see what’s coming using the Microsoft 365 roadmap. Roadmap items are also linked within their respective Message center posts. The roadmap will soon include Copilot product filter selections to conveniently view all Copilot features. In the meantime, to view all Copilot features on the roadmap, simply search for the term, "Copilot."