Aussie Early Adopters of Copilot for Security

AustralianSuper, Powerlink Queensland and TAL among the first organisations exploring Microsoft’s Copilot for Security to enhance defence capabilities.

The service builds on large language models (LLMs) and harnesses Microsoft’s security expertise and global threat intelligence – including 78 trillion daily threat signals – to help security defenders outpace their adversaries and move and respond at machine speed and scale.

TAL, a leading Australian life insurer, and one of the first organisations to deploy Copilot for Microsoft 365 has also signed up to the Copilot for Security EAP. The company says the investment supports its commitment to technology innovation, with security-focused AI tools key to continuously improving employee and customer experiences – faster, safely.

TAL Chief Information Officer, Hinesh Chauhan said the collaboration with Microsoft has been instrumental in integrating AI technology responsibly and securely.

“Microsoft’s Copilot program has allowed us to experiment with and learn from AI technology in a safe way. AI will play an increasingly significant role in tackling cyber security threats at scale, and at speed. We believe our involvement in the Copilot for Security EAP will give our specialist cyber teams valuable insights on what this technology can do to boost our threat detection and response capabilities, and strengthen their knowledge and expertise.”

Accelerating detection and response

Speed is paramount in security, with recent data from Microsoft’s Digital Defence Report indicating that it takes just 72 minutes for an attacker to access an organisation’s private data once they gain access via a phishing email, and 1 hour and 42 minutes for an attacker to begin moving laterally within the corporate network.

Using generative AI in security means that defenders can respond to security incidents in a fraction of the time when every minute matters.

Mick Dunne, Chief Information Security Officer at AustralianSuper spoke of how the technology is helping the Fund’s cyber defence team accelerate detection and response.

“We are using Copilot for Security to augment our cyber defence capability. First through the EAP, and now through GA, we are able to leverage AI to speed up event correlation across the suite of Microsoft tools. This helps us find productivity benefits and time savings in generating event and incident reporting, while providing an opportunity to enhance our team’s effectiveness by summarising security incidents with recommendations and additional context.

“It has streamlined log analysis by using natural language questions, instead of creating complex KQL queries, which accelerates productivity and response for detection and response. Another benefit is detecting abnormal indicators of compromise due to the cross-platform integration with Microsoft’s security products, where events can be more easily correlated”.

With AustCyber predicting an urgent need for an additional 7,000 skilled cyber security specialists in Australia over the next two years, the industry is looking to AI to augment and scale team skills and capacity.

For Powerlink Queensland, joining the Copilot for Security EAP program allowed them to explore generative AI to enable the security team to streamline processes, while fast tracking skills development for their analysts.

“Cybersecurity talent remains one of the biggest challenges when it comes to effectively defending against cyber threats,” said Mark Pozdena, General Manager Business IT & Digital Delivery at Powerlink Queensland.

“Equipping our talent with the right tools is critical to optimising our resources and being part of the EAP meant we could be among the first to access the latest AI advancements in security.”

“By using natural language prompts, our analysts can initiate and perform tasks more accurately and immediately than what was historically possible and as an added bonus – assist in the development of their skills in the long-term.”

Copilot for Security has been offered to select organisations through the Microsoft’s Early Access Program (EAP) which kicked off in December 2023. Earlier this month it became available for general purchase to organisations across Australia on a consumption-based pay-as-you-go model.

“With recent reports exposing early moves of threat actors using AI to research and refine their attacks, we are at a pivotal moment where we need to bring new capabilities to ensure we can defend at machine speed,” said Evan Williams, Business Group Director for Security at Microsoft ANZ.

“Given the global skills shortage we are facing in cybersecurity, there is an immense opportunity for generative AI to help up-skill security teams, save them time when it matters most, and free them to focus on more complex or strategic work.”

A recent economic study examined Copilot for Security users against a control group and found experienced security analysts were 22 per cent faster with Copilot, 7 per cent more accurate across all tasks, and most notably, 97 per cent said they want to use Copilot the next time they do the same task. An earlier study that focused on new-in-career analysts, found that participants using Copilot were 44 per cent more accurate and 26 per cent faster on foundational tasks such as investigation and response, threat hunting and threat intelligence assessments.