Embracing Microsoft Copilot for Security: Insights from the UK launch week

This week, I had the privilege of attending Microsoft UK’s Copilot for Security launch event in London. It was an inspiring few days, filled with thought-provoking discussions, expert insights, and a palpable sense of excitement about the transformative potential of generative AI in cyber security.

Microsoft’s summit brought together security leaders, industry partners, and forward-thinking customers to explore the future of cyber defence in the age of AI. As the event unfolded, one key message resonated loud and clear: businesses must proactively embrace AI-enabled security solutions to stay ahead of ever-escalating cyber threats.

The escalating cyber threat landscape: A call to action

Dr. Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, aptly highlighted the gravity of the situation. He noted that the UK ranks second in the Global Security Index, a testament to our nation’s leadership in cyber defence and AI innovation. However, this achievement is overshadowed by the sobering reality that cyber crime is theoretically the third-fastest-growing global economy.

The entrance of generative AI has ushered in a new era of anticipation and excitement, but it also brings heightened risks. As the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned, businesses must remain vigilant and continue prioritising cyber security fundamentals while integrating AI into their defence strategies. The escalating threat landscape underscores the urgent need for businesses to adopt AI-powered security solutions to remain resilient.

Assessing the state of AI adoption in UK businesses: A wake-up call

A recent report[1] commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Goldsmiths University revealed a concerning trend: almost three-quarters of UK businesses are failing to leverage AI in their cyber defence strategies. The report highlights a strong correlation between businesses that have deployed AI and their resilience to withstand escalating cyber threats.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Resilient organisations can detect and withstand significantly more attacks faster, achieving a reduced cost of breach and impact on their bottom line. Organisations using AI in cyber defence are more than twice as resilient to cyber attacks as those that are not.
  • While the advent of AI-enabled attacks poses new threats, it also presents an opportunity for defenders to level up their capabilities. Organisations deploying AI-enabled cyber security are likely to suffer 20% fewer costs when successfully attacked.
  • A lack of awareness at the leadership level is a common factor hindering AI adoption, alongside other supporting challenges that cannot be improved overnight. Over a quarter (27%) of UK decision-makers have no idea of the cost to their organisation of a successful cyber attack and more than half (53%) do not know how long it takes to recover from one.

The growing noise around AI is shining a welcome light on the world of cyber security and the importance of building resilience. Businesses must start putting cyber security at the forefront and become resilient by design. Cyber risk must be viewed holistically across the business, owned by all (not just internal IT), and deployed across technology, people, and processes for resilience to be achieved.

The race to resilience: A roadmap for businesses

In light of the evolving threat landscape, businesses must proactively adapt and fortify their cyber defences. But where should they start, and what steps should they take on this journey?

The resounding message from this week’s event was clear: to effectively defend against AI-enabled threats, businesses must strategically strengthen their cyber security posture across the three critical pillars—people, processes, and technology. By focusing on these foundational elements, organisations can accelerate their “race to resilience” and better prepare themselves for the challenges ahead.

However, it’s crucial to recognise that generative AI and Copilot may not be one-size-fits-all solutions for every business. Before embarking on the integration of these technologies, organisations must thoroughly assess their readiness and ensure they have the necessary groundwork in place. This includes having the right talent, robust processes, and a strong technological foundation to effectively leverage AI while maintaining a secure environment.

By taking a measured approach and carefully evaluating their preparedness, businesses can make informed decisions about when and how to incorporate generative AI and Copilot into their cyber security strategies. This pragmatic stance will enable organisations to harness the power of AI responsibly and build a resilient framework that can withstand the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Embracing Microsoft Copilot for Security: Considerations and actionable insights

For businesses looking to integrate Copilot or generative AI into their cyber security strategies, there are essential building blocks that must be put in place to ensure a successful and secure implementation of AI-powered security solutions:

  1. Assess readiness: Before deploying generative AI, evaluate your organisation’s preparedness. Do you have the right people, processes and infrastructure in place to benefit from it safely and securely?
  • Define your outcomes: Have a clear vision of your desired outcomes before investing in generative AI. Look for specific use cases that align with your business goals, such as report writing or incident response automation.
  • Prioritise fundamentals: Adopting AI should complement, not replace, the implementation of cyber security fundamentals within your organisation. Robust processes and incident response plans must remain a top priority.
  • Invest in resources: If you decide to adopt Copilot, be prepared to allocate the necessary time, resources, and budget to launch it effectively. This may include developing new skillsets like prompt engineering, which involves crafting effective prompts to guide AI-generated content.

Whether you integrate Copilot now or in the future, the key is to either “Get Ready for AI” or “Accelerate utilisation of AI.” Both approaches can significantly improve your cyber outcomes, but without proper preparation, Copilot or generative AI may not be the right fit for your organisation at this moment.

Partnering for success: How ITC Secure can help

At ITC, we understand the transformative power of generative AI in cyber security. As a leading Microsoft Security partner and early participant in the Microsoft Copilot for Security Partner Private Preview, we are well-equipped to help you navigate this exciting new frontier.

We understand that every organisation’s cyber security journey is unique. Whether you’re ready to embrace Copilot immediately or need guidance on preparing for AI adoption in the future, our team is here to support you at every stage.

Our advisory-led approach ensures that you receive tailored guidance and support throughout your AI integration journey. We can assess your current security landscape, identify gaps, and develop a comprehensive plan to accelerate your ability to onboard Copilot seamlessly.

Our team of experts will assist you with deployment, configuration, and ongoing management, leveraging our robust Security Operations Center (SOC) processes to deliver more accurate and faster detection, response, and intelligent security posture insights across your entire estate.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can empower your security team with AI-augmented defences and help you take the next step in your AI journey.

Securing the future: Embracing AI-powered cyber security

The future of cyber security is here, and it’s powered by AI. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, businesses must embrace AI-powered security solutions to remain resilient and stay ahead of the curve. By prioritising cyber resilience, investing in the necessary resources, and partnering with trusted advisors like ITC Secure, organisations can confidently navigate the AI-driven future of cyber security.

Embrace this transformation today and position your organisation at the forefront of resilience and innovation.

More information:

ITC’s generative AI services

ITC’s Microsoft Copilot for Security Readiness Assessment

[1] Microsoft report: Mission Critical: Unlocking the UK AI Opportunity Through Cybersecurity | March 2024