Copilot and how it can help your business

Your time is valuable as a small business owner, and you constantly juggle multiple priorities. While collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams have become essential for keeping employees connected, trying to make sense of all the day-to-day chatter and discussions happening across different channels and conversations can sometimes feel overwhelming.

It’s still in its infancy, but Microsoft Teams now offers an AI assistant called Copilot that can help you stay on top of everything by analyzing conversations and extracting only the most critical insights and action items.

Many businesses are still determining how AI could help, but Copilot has proven helpful for streamlining tasks. It has yet to be completely rolled out, but it may interest clients who wish to remain at the cutting edge.

Here’s an overview of what it can do.

Summarize Discussions in Real Time

Have you ever left an extended Teams meeting only to realize later that you can’t recall all the agreements and next steps that were discussed?

Copilot listens in on your audio and video calls, takes notes in real-time, and automatically generates summaries at the end highlighting the top 3–5 most significant topics. This helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Gain Context for Past Conversations

Need to revisit a discussion from last month but need help finding the right message thread? Copilot’s AI-generated summaries provide overviews of past conversations so you can quickly get up to speed. Its search tool makes it easy to locate specific past discussions.

Capture Insights from Meetings

Instead of wasting hours re-watching lengthy recordings after the fact, Copilot’s summaries can capture valuable insights, questions, and action items that emerged from your meetings. You can even ask Copilot clarifying questions to learn more about the topics discussed or get additional context on decisions made.

Streamline Administrative Tasks

Do you find yourself bogged down with repetitive follow-up work such as compiling notes, generating reports, or answering the same questions over and over? Copilot handles tasks such as compiling notes and answering repeated questions, freeing up your time. Its natural language understanding means you can type requests such as “summarize last week’s sales discussions” and get a written report back immediately.

Access Information Anywhere

Copilot integrated directly into Teams works no matter where you are: on a laptop, tablet, or phone. You can check summaries and search past conversations from your phone during your commute, or access meeting recaps and ask Copilot questions while traveling for client meetings. Its mobility means your information is always at your fingertips.

Does the prospect of regaining hours each week from these types of productivity gains and information access sound appealing?

Reach out, and we can register your interest in the Copilot rollout to our clients.

As a managed service provider, we always aim to give our clients a technological edge in business, and Copilot could be a big one. Contact us here to discuss your businesses requirements.

Would you fall for a Deepfake scam?

With Deepfakes becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s a legitimate question. But what exactly is a Deepfake exactly, and no one is exempt from being targeted.

Deepfakes are videos or images manipulated using artificial intelligence (AI). Deepfake AI has the ability to train itself on lots of real photos and videos, learn how to move people’s faces, and emulate their voices to make it seem like they are saying or doing something they really are not.

AI is very good at emulating people because it’s seen many real examples. A recent incident at a large multinational company shows how convincing these deceptions can be.

The Unusual Request

The incident began when an employee in the company’s Hong Kong office received an email, supposedly from their Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the UK headquarters. The CFO requested an immediate and sizable money transfer to an offshore account, citing an urgent acquisition deal.

Initial Suspicions

As the request lacked important details and was highly atypical, the savvy employee grew suspicious that it could be a phishing attempt. However, the scammers had a more devious plan to sell the deception.

The Fake Video Call

The scammers scheduled a video call with the employee. Through Deepfake technology and previously captured sources, they generated remarkably life-like digital imitations of the CFO and other executives.

Selling the Ruse

During the brief call, the fake participants did just enough to confirm the money transfer request and add pressure due to the supposedly sensitive deal. Faced with what seemed an authentic interaction, the employee’s doubts were eased.

Falling for the Scam

Believing he had verified the request through a live video call, the employee initiated the large, fraudulent money movement. It wasn’t until double-checking with head office that the deception was uncovered.

The Evolving Threat

This incident serves as a sobering reminder that even conscientious employees can fall victim to a well-planned Deepfake scam. While live video interaction was once considered an ironclad way to verify identities, the latest Deepfake techniques mean any communication channel is now vulnerable to sophisticated spoofing.

Preventing Future Attacks

Businesses can take steps to prevent such a costly deception.

Companies should implement multiple-level approval processes for money transfers, regardless of the sender’s apparent seniority.

Additionally, questioning aspects of interactions and observing participants could help uncover anomalies that indicate Deepfakes.

To learn more about Deepfakes and how to protect your organization, reach out to one of our security experts here at Ultra. We’d be happy to assess your security posture and policies to recommend tailored improvements.

Does banning social media at work help productivity?

As a business owner, nothing is more frustrating than seeing your employees wasting time on social media when they should be working. With all those hours spent scrolling Facebook feeds or messaging back and forth, it’s no wonder productivity seems to plummet whenever anyone opens a browser.

The solution seems obvious: block those distracting sites on company networks! No more Facebook, no more TikTok, problem solved, right?
Not so fast …

On the surface, a social media ban does seem to address the root of the issue. But as any experienced IT professional can tell you, things are rarely that simple. After helping countless large and small businesses tackle this challenge, we’ve learned that a blanket block on social media is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut – it causes far more problems than it solves.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work

While blocking social networks may deter some employees, the truth is that almost every employee now has a smartphone on them at all times.

Even if you block social media on company PCs and Wi-Fi, anyone determined to waste time will simply use their phone’s data plan instead, and you can’t realistically expect to confiscate all employee phones during work hours.

It can also result in workarounds

We’ve seen many cases where overly restrictive social media policies lead to “shadow IT” workarounds that IT teams aren’t even aware of. Employees might use encrypted messaging apps, VPNs, or other methods to secretly access blocked sites. This means your network could be left vulnerable to security risks from unknown access points.

Management policies are key

Rather than taking an “out of sight, out of mind” approach, a better solution is to develop clear and reasonable management policies around appropriate social media use. For example, they allow limited personal use but prohibit it during core working hours or client meetings. Employees are also less likely to resent reasonable guidelines than overly Draconian blocks.

Wasted time has always existed

At the end of the day, there will always be a few employees who find ways to waste some work time, whether on social networks or otherwise.
This was true long before the internet. I’m sure many business owners have glimpsed an employee surreptitiously reading the newspaper!
Blocking tools are not a magic bullet for productivity. An emphasis on management, monitoring outputs rather than inputs, and developing a positive company culture will be more effective.

In summary, while it’s understandable why business owners want to block social media, a blanket ban usually doesn’t work and can even backfire. The smarter approach is to set clear guidelines and focus on overall employee management instead.

For further information, feel free to reach out to our friendly team here at Ultra IT