INTRODUCTION TO MICROSOFT Copilot for Security for healthcare organizations

In 2024, healthcare organizations are up against a unique set of challenges that create a perfect storm of cybersecurity threats:

  • Highly sensitive patient data / PII
  • Many users using the same workstations
  • A high volume of operational technology (OT)
  • Often outdated technology and cybersecurity controls

Related Reading: How Ransomware Has Caused Patient Deaths in Healthcare

In other words, healthcare organizations have a high degree of complexity, a high volume of valuable and sensitive data, and are often stretched too thin to adequately prepare for the myriad of cyber threats facing them.

The good news? The emergence of new AI cybersecurity tools has created new opportunities to help healthcare organizations in the ongoing fight to stay ahead of cyber threats.



AI and Healthcare: The broad benefits of AI in the context of hospitals and healthcare organizations

  • AI + Healthcare Use Case #1 – To mitigate the risk of data security and fraud: Healthcare organizations house an incredible amount of sensitive data and PII, including patient medical history, insurance information, payment information, and more AI solutions can enhance data security by detecting anomalies or fraudulent activity, and automating threat response mechanisms to mitigate risks without the need for intervention. If the tool senses any red flags that may require further investigation, it can alert the security team to conduct a manual review, ensuring they are only focusing on the threats that they truly need to worry about. Through predictive modeling, AI can also help teams get ahead of cyberattacks before they have incurred any damages.

  • AI + Healthcare Use Case #2 – To help healthcare providers meet compliance mandates: AI-powered solutions automate documentation processes, ensuring compliance with regulatory mandates. Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms analyze medical records, flagging errors and discrepancies. AI integrates data from various sources into unified documentation, improving efficiency and accuracy, ensuring compliance, and improving patient care outcomes.

  • AI + Healthcare Use Case #3 – To process and analyze vast amounts of security event and log data: Healthcare organizations are flooded with massive volumes of security data from various sources, making it challenging to identify meaningful insights and prioritize actions. AI addresses this by efficiently processing and analyzing data to pinpoint relevant threats and vulnerabilities. By autonomously correlating data, AI identifies patterns and anomalies in real time, allowing security teams to focus on critical issues promptly. Adaptive AI systems continuously learn from new data, enabling proactive threat mitigation and strengthening the organization's overall security posture.

  • AI + Healthcare Use Case #4 – To enhance operational efficiency while elevating the patient experience: The healthcare industry faces three competing priorities: streamlining internal processes, reducing costs, and improving patient outcomes. With a high administrative burden and so much on every team member’s plate, it is easy for things like operational and process efficiency to fall by the wayside. AI technologies, when coupled with predictive analytics and robotic process automation (RPA), can automate administrative tasks, optimize resource allocation, and enhance process efficiency to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes of patient care.

By leveraging AI technologies, healthcare organizations can address these challenges more effectively, improve operational efficiency, enhance patient care, and ultimately transform the delivery of healthcare services. Seemingly every day, new AI tools emerge promising to drive efficiency and effectiveness across the entire healthcare organization. One such tool is Microsoft Copilot for Security


Microsoft Copilot for Security: Benefits, use cases, limitations, risks, and what it means for the healthcare industry

Not to be confused with Microsoft Copilot – the general use AI from Microsoft – Microsoft Copilot for Security launched in April 2024 and is specifically designed to analyze and synthesize high volumes of security data to help healthcare cybersecurity teams do more with less, and get more proactive in their cybersecurity strategy. 

Related Reading: Looking ahead at the cybersecurity landscape for healthcare in 2024 

The introduction of Microsoft Copilot for Security indicates a key shift for healthcare providers looking to protect the sensitive data they house without creating unnecessary friction for patients and healthcare workers alike…but with this innovation comes urgent questions:

  • What are the various use cases for AI in the healthcare context? 
  • What can Microsoft Copilot for Security help those teams do? 
  • And perhaps most of all, how will AI impact the healthcare space? And what does that mean for your unique organization?

Related Reading: How to Prepare for Microsoft Copilot for Security


Benefits + Use Cases of Copilot for Security in the Healthcare Context

Copilot for Security is a multi-use, adaptable addition to any comprehensive security suite. When it comes to healthcare organizations, Copilot helps reduce the burden created by disparate cybersecurity point solutions or disconnected, outdated technology.


Copilot for Security is fully integrated with the larger Microsoft Cybersecurity Suite

With such a breadth of data, healthcare organizations rely on a diverse and intertwined web of security tools to protect sensitive patient data and critical infrastructure. A lot of the time, the disconnected nature of that technology can really get in the way of the visibility, collaboration, and control that healthcare providers need in their toolkits. 

Copilot for Security has access to all logging and analytics, including anything to do with Microsoft Defender, Endpoint, Sentinel, and more. With the proper configuration of Copilot for security, you will get more value out of the entire Microsoft portfolio and establish a more effective front against cyber adversaries. 


Incident Response + Microsoft Copilot for Security

With Copilot for Security, healthcare organizations can effectively manage security incidents, assess their impact, comprehend attacker actions, and communicate key information across the organization. 

  • Guided Response: Security is never one-size-fits-all. Once an incident has occurred, Copilot for Security gives teams step-by-step next steps with everything they could need to spring into action. Security teams can receive instructions for triage, investigation, containment, and remediation, as well as any relevant deep links so they can respond faster. 

  • Impact Analysis: Copilot for Security’s AI-driven analytics empower healthcare organizations to assess the potential impact of security incidents, helping teams prioritize threats and focus on the threats that matter most.

  • Understanding Attacks via Reverse Engineering of Scripts: Healthcare teams need to understand attacker actions so they can better prevent future incidents. Copilot for Security allows teams to translate complex command line scripts used by attackers into accessible language with clear explanations, helping even less experienced analysts comprehend and analyze attacker tactics with ease. Additionally, they can extract indicators of compromise from those scripts and link them to relevant entities they find in their environment.

  • Incident Reporting: Copilot for Security provides and centralizes key incident information to keep everyone in an organization on the same page. The tool leverages generative AI to condense complicated security incidents into digestible summaries that even non-technical stakeholders and team members can understand. With results that are easy to comprehend AND easy to action, healthcare organizations can make informed choices to more quickly mobilize against threats.


Optimization of Processes Across the Entire Organization

  • Make institutional knowledge, and subject matter expertise more accessible: Implementing robust knowledge management systems and platforms allows organizations to centralize information and expertise, making it easily accessible to all employees. By fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and providing training programs, organizations can empower employees to tap into institutional knowledge effectively, enhancing productivity and decision-making across the board.

  • Accelerate time to value with new hires: Streamlining onboarding processes and leveraging technology platforms facilitate the seamless integration of new hires into the organization. By providing comprehensive training materials, assigning mentors, and utilizing virtual onboarding tools, organizations can accelerate the time it takes for new employees to contribute meaningfully, increasing overall efficiency and reducing ramp-up time.

  • Easy to access what was once hard to find: With Copilot for Security, accessing valuable information that was once challenging to find becomes effortless. Its intuitive search functionality and AI capabilities enable users to quickly locate relevant content and expertise. By centralizing knowledge and facilitating collaboration, Copilot enhances productivity and decision-making across the organization.


Risks and Limitations of Copilot for Security in the Healthcare Context

As powerful as Copilot for Security is, it is not perfect – no AI solution is. Though the roadmap for Copilot shows great promise and continued improvement, it is important to uncover where it falls short today to manage security leaders’ expectations. 


  • Data leakage is a significant concern: This highlights the importance of proper role-based access controls within the Microsoft 365 environment. For example, there is a high likelihood that a salesperson could inadvertently access HR data if access controls are not properly configured. This emphasizes the need for a Zero Trust approach, where access is restricted based on specific roles and permissions.

  • Security through obscurity is a common pitfall: Users may unknowingly have access to data in someone else's OneDrive or SharePoint. Copilot for Security addresses this issue by making it easy to access relevant data while maintaining proper access controls. 


  • Limited customization of prompts: Currently, the prompts available within Copilot for Security are dictated by Microsoft upfront. This means that users have limited control over the types of prompts they can generate. They might not be able to get every single question answered at the click of a button – only the ones that Microsoft was able to predict and prepare for. As a result, Copilot does not currently have prompt engineering built-in, which restricts the customization and specificity that healthcare providers might desire as they work to fulfill unique organizational needs. However, this is a barrier that Microsoft can naturally overcome with time; as they gain a more thorough understanding of how people are using and leveraging Copilot, they can update pre-dictated prompts and even introduce prompt engineering if it is deemed necessary.

  • Lack of prompt chaining: Prompt chaining is essentially the mechanism of asking the AI follow-up questions. It is the linking of related prompts in succession to retrieve more contextual, detailed, and tailored answers. Due to the lack of prompt customization that Copilot has today, prompt chaining is also off the table – but not forever.

The Effectiveness of Copilot for Security Depends on Proper Configuration

As businesses strive to integrate AI to drive efficiency, it is important to also note the importance of proper configuration. The foundation of Copilot for Security relies upon robust identity and access management controls, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data and cybersecurity tools.

With Microsoft Intune, compliance takes center stage, ensuring Copilot for Security's access to logging and analytics for Defender, Endpoint, Sentinel, and more, streamlining compliance and enhancing security. Additionally, by centralizing logging and analytics, Copilot makes it easier to access the cybersecurity tools the team needs, empowering teams to monitor and respond to threats effectively.

Configuring Copilot for Security is not just about ticking boxes – getting it right ensures that organizations can leverage Copilot for Security effectively, maximizing its benefits while minimizing potential risks.

And with great access to this form of AI comes great responsibility. 



Why Ensuring Ethics and Responsibility in AI is Important

AI solutions are being developed more quickly than government and regulatory entities can keep up with. As a result, there are gaps in legislation that can lead to unethical AI usage. 

In the healthcare realm, this might look like a violation of patient confidentiality. For example, if AI has access to ePHI data, it could potentially use that data in something like an automated email or outreach sequence. If a human were behind that campaign, that would be an obvious illegal use of critical patient information – but the same guardrails are not in place for all AI solutions.

Source: Microsoft Responsible AI


Though this capability is not currently available in Copilot, it is likely on the roadmap before the end of next year or sometime in the near future. 



How Avertium Can Help Healthcare Organizations Prepare for Microsoft Copilot for Security Implementation

At the end of the day, Copilot for Security provides the interconnectedness, visibility, and context that helps healthcare providers make smarter decisions, faster, without infringing on their already overwhelmed in-house cybersecurity team. The challenge, however, is not necessarily in using Copilot – it is in answering the question, “Are we ready to implement Copilot for Security?” or Microsoft Copilot solutions in general. Because this tool can be a serious security helper AND with improper configuration, it can create serious security risks.

The way your organization implements Microsoft Copilot for Security can make or break the value it delivers to your organization. And just like you would not renovate your kitchen if your house’s foundation was unsteady,  it is important to ensure that your Microsoft ecosystem, IT infrastructure, and identity and access controls are adequate before introducing a new tool, especially one as intricate as an AI technology like Copilot for Security.

Avertium’s team of cybersecurity, Microsoft, and compliance experts can help your organization get set up for success. 

Our process begins with The Microsoft Copilot for Security Readiness Assessment. It requires minimal budget, time, and effort from your team. In just 4 weeks, without any disruptions to your current operations, your security will be in stellar shape and ready for the adoption of Microsoft Copilot for Security (and any Copilot generative AI tool). Get in touch today.



microsoft solutions partner security specialist         Modern Work


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