Category Archives: GitHub Copilot

Microsoft Copilot

Getting Started with Microsoft M365 Copilot

Copilot Artificial Intelligence can help you with repetitive tasks, works using natural language description, can generate suggestions, offer multiple suggestions, Microsoft M365 Copilot

Microsoft M365 Copilot is now available to all UK businesses. Have you begun your AI journey? The technology benefits more than just accountants, travel companies, Estate Agents, and Service Engineering Companies.

The thing to grasp about Copilot is that not only will it help you within your M365 applications, assisting with tasks such as drafting emails, creating presentations, etc.

We have been assisting our customers with adopting Microsoft M365 Copilot and are now increasingly involved in its evolution within the business.

As Businesses realise that Copilot goes beyond being a personal assistant, Copilot can be embedded into functions within the business; with Copilot Studio, we create specific versions of Copilot to help with particular functions within the company based on your content.

Contact me to discuss M365 Copilot.

Build your own Microsoft M365 Copilot

Build your own assistant for Human Resources, a resource for customer services or make a help assistant where engineers can share their experience and best practices.

Copilot is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes improve their productivity and efficiency. It can assist with tasks such as drafting emails and creating presentations within M365 applications, and it can also be used to generate custom Copilots for specific business needs.

For example, a Human Resources department could use Copilot to create an assistant that helps with tasks such as onboarding new employees, managing employee records, and answering common HR-related questions. A customer service team could use Copilot to create a resource that quickly and accurately answers customer inquiries, reducing response times and improving customer satisfaction.

In addition, engineers could use Copilot to create a help assistant to share their experiences and best practices with others in the organisation. This helps to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing, leading to more efficient problem-solving and innovation.

The Tamite Secure IT Microsoft M365 Copilot Whitepaper

Here are some examples of how businesses are using Microsoft M365 Copilot:

  • A travel company in Sussex uses Copilot to create an assistant that helps customers plan their trips, providing personalised recommendations for flights, hotels, and activities based on their preferences and budget.
  • An accounting firm in Haywards Heath uses Copilot to create an assistant that helps generate financial reports, manage client records, and answer common accounting-related questions.
  • A service engineering company in Brighton uses Copilot to create an assistant that helps engineers diagnose and troubleshoot technical issues. The assistant provides step-by-step guidance and access to relevant documentation.
  • A group of Estate Agents in Brighton use Copilot to draft emails and help answer questions about Renting and buying property.

These are just a few examples of how businesses can use M365 Copilot to improve their operations and achieve their goals. With its ability to understand and generate natural language, Copilot is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all types to work smarter and more efficiently.

Using Copilot Chat

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Microsoft has recently rationalised their AI products under the Copilot brand, so for clarity, I had Copilot define precisely what it is for us.

  1. What is Copilot Chat (Formerly Bing Chat)?
    • Copilot Chat is an additional feature integrated into the Bing search engine. It allows users to search for information on the internet using an AI-powered chatbot.
    • Previously known as Bing Chat, Copilot in Bing leverages the foundation of ChatGPT and enhances it with large language model (LLM) capabilities.
    • The chatbot is designed to understand complex and natural language queries, making it easier for users to find relevant information.
  2. Features and Capabilities:
    • Search Queries: You can use Copilot Chat to search for information online. It taps into the vast amount of data collected from millions of daily searches on the Microsoft Bing platform.
    • Content Generation: Copilot in Bing can also generate content such as reports, images, outlines, and poems based on information from the internet and Microsoft’s database of Bing search results.
  3. Accessing Copilot Chat:
    • Bing Website: You can access Copilot Chat directly from the Bing home page. Click the “Chat” link in the upper menu to start a conversation.
    • Microsoft Edge Browser: To use the Microsoft Edge web browser, open any webpage and click the Bing sidebar button in the upper right corner. Then, select a conversation style to engage with Copilot Chat.
  4. Cost: For consumers, Copilot Chat is part of the free Bing search engine. You can use it without any additional charges.

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And finally, What is GitHub Copilot?

 

  • GitHub Copilot is an Artificial Intelligence-powered tool that helps software developers generate code more efficiently and intelligently. It offers real-time suggestions and autocompletion, generates code snippets, and provides documentation assistance. It supports multiple programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, Go, C#, and C++.

Enable GitHub copilot

  • To enable GitHub Copilot, you need to install the GitHub Copilot extension in Visual Studio Code. You can find the extension in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace by searching for “GitHub Copilot extension” and clicking the install button. Once installed, you’ll need an active GitHub Copilot subscription to use it. If you haven’t activated your free trial, the extension will prompt you to do so within VS Code. Sign in to your GitHub account and follow the instructions to activate your trial.

 

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Verified students and maintainers of popular open-source projects on GitHub. Benefit from a free GitHub Copilot subscription. It’s primarily designed for software developers, whether beginners or experienced professionals. Students learning programming can benefit from Copilot’s guidance and code examples, while open-source contributors can accelerate their contributions to projects by suggesting code improvements and fixes. Collaborative development teams can use GitHub Copilot to streamline workflow and enhance productivity.

The GitHub copilot extension

The GitHub Copilot plugin is an extension for Visual Studio Code. To use it, follow these steps: install VS Code from the official website, install the GitHub Copilot plugin in VS Code’s Extensions view, sign in with your GitHub account, and activate Copilot. Once installed, Copilot will be active whenever you generate code in VS Code.

In summary, GitHub Copilot is a powerful tool that combines AI, code generation, and autocompletion to enhance the coding experience. Whether you’re a solo developer, part of a team, or a student, Copilot can significantly boost your productivity and creativity in writing code-generated.

M365 Copilot as a product is already impressive, and hopefully, this is just the beginning. For Copilot to work effectively for your business, it will need what is termed grounding.

“Microsoft M365 Copilot. What is Grounding, and why is SharePoint the key?”

  • Grounding ensures the generated output’s quality, accuracy, and relevance by providing LLMs with contextual information specific to a particular use case.
  • While LLMs come with enormous amounts of general knowledge, this knowledge is general and not tailored to specific cases.
  • We must “ground” the models in our specific use case context to obtain accurate and relevant output.

Motivation for Grounding:

  • LLMs are not databases, even though they possess a wealth of knowledge. They are designed as general reasoning and text engines.
  • Their knowledge is stale, as they are trained only up to a certain point in time and don’t continuously update.
  • Large Language Models can only access public information and are unaware of relevant content beyond corporate firewalls, private data, or use-case-specific information.
  • Grounding is the key to unlocking LLMs’ full potential. We can achieve unparalleled results by combining their powerful general capabilities with specific information relevant to our use cases. With grounding, we can take our AI-powered solutions, such as M365 Copilot, to the next level and revolutionize the way we work.

Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG):

  • RAG is the primary technique for grounding.
  • When responding to a prompt, a language model retrieves relevant information to complete the task at hand.
  • RAG ensures that the generated output incorporates the necessary context and data.

Fine-tuning (Honorable Mention):

  • Fine-tuning is another technique related to grounding.
  • Additional training steps are required to incorporate task-relevant information into a new version of the model.
  • However, fine-tuning has become less relevant due to its time-consuming nature and limited improvement in accuracy.

SharePoint, OneDrive, and Data Sources:

  • Microsoft M365 Copilot can use authenticated content from SharePoint or OneDrive for Business as a source for generative answers.
  • When a user asks a question, M365 Copilot searches the specified SharePoint or OneDrive URLs and sub-paths to retrieve relevant content.
  • This content is then summarised into targeted responses.
  • Authentication is required for content analysis and retrieval.
  • Microsoft Graph connectors can also integrate external data sources with Copilot, pre-indexing read-only information for retrieval.

In summary, Grounding M365 Copilot’s responses in specific information from SharePoint and OneDrive ensures contextually relevant and accurate replies specific to your business.

Essentials for Using SharePoint Effectively

How to improve your productivity and security with SharePoint

What Is Microsoft SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint is a cloud-based platform that allows you to create, store, share, and manage documents and information across your organisation. SharePoint is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications, which means you can integrate it with other tools like Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, and more.

  • SharePoint is designed to help you work smarter and faster by enabling you to:
  • Access your files from anywhere, on any device, with secure and reliable cloud storage.
  • Collaborate with your colleagues in real-time, with co-authoring, commenting, and versioning features.
  • Organise your documents and information in libraries, sites, and hubs with metadata, tags, and search capabilities.
  • Customise your SharePoint experience with web parts, apps, workflows, and branding options.
  • Streamline your business processes with forms, automation, and integration with Power Platform.

Why Use SharePoint? The Benefits of SharePoint for Your Business

  • SharePoint can help you improve your productivity, efficiency, and communication by offering you the following benefits:
  • Reduce the need for paper, email attachments, and multiple copies of the same document to save time and money.
  •  Enhance your security and compliance by controlling who can access, edit, and share your files and applying retention and deletion policies.
  •  Boost your innovation and creativity by encouraging employee teamwork, feedback, and knowledge sharing.
  • Scale your business growth by adapting SharePoint to your changing needs and goals and leveraging the power of Microsoft 365.

1. Consistency is the key to a successful approach to naming files

In SharePoint, as in life, consistency is the key to success.

Many users are confused about how OneDrive and SharePoint relate to each other. The main point to remember is that OneDrive is designed as a personal repository for documents and can, if set up correctly, synchronise your personal Documents, Pictures, etc., from your computer to the Microsoft OneDrive Cloud storage.

It’s helpful if you work across several devices and can also be set up to create a basic backup.

SharePoint is a mature business area that centralises document storage and sharing across the business.

You may store numerous documents in OneDrive and SharePoint, so consistency in file naming is essential. If you don’t, you will soon find that searching for the current version of the document you need to access or work on is problematic.

If you get it wrong, search results will contain obscure filenames. As a result, you will need to open each file to find your desired one. Finding a specific file from thousands of documents can become impossible if different departments and colleagues follow different naming styles.

Create a short guide to file naming used company-wide and add it to your new starters training.

Use consistent and descriptive file names to make identifying and finding your documents more accessible. Avoid using vague or obscure names that can confuse you and your teammates. For example, instead of “Report.docx, “use “Quarterly Sales Report 2024 Q1.docx. ”

If you have migrated to SharePoint from a physical file server, the new folder and file structure can be especially problematic if the file server relies on folders and subfolders to define departmental working spaces.

SharePoint prefers a flatter file structure, which will cause issues later on if you have just moved documents from your old file server environment without a process for housekeeping.

2. Tagging Documents

You may still experience issues finding the required document despite following a single naming convention. Tag your documents to get the best results and make Microsoft Search show you more specific and relevant results.

Tagging is best viewed as a way to identify the business area that owns the document, such as Sales, Marketing, Accounts, Credit Control, Human Resources, etc.

Tag your documents with relevant and specific metadata to enhance your search and filtering options.

Metadata is additional information that describes your documents, such as date, author, department, project, etc. To add metadata, you can create columns in your library and assign values to your documents. For example, you can add a column for “Status” and tag your documents as “Draft”, “In Review”, or “Final”.

3. Manage Access Request

Illustration of granting access to files and folders

Imagine you shared a link with a colleague via email and left for the day. When that person tries to open the link, they find they don’t have access to that file. They can ask for file access, but they have no clue who can share approval and the turnaround time. Sometimes, multiple team site owners can get notifications about file access requests.

It’s also possible that everyone will think that others will accept the request. As a result, the person who asked for access might never get a reply. To avoid such issues, you can set up a specific support email to address such requests.

4. Restrict Library Permission

Mass permission to access the library is harmful to data security. To avoid such scenarios, restrict access to the library on any SharePoint site.

The principle of restricting access to the least possible, often called the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP), is a computer security concept in which users are given the minimum access levels necessary to complete their job functions. This principle is applied to help minimise potential damage if an account is compromised, as the amount of harm that can be done is limited by the privileges of the compromised account.

This principle becomes crucial in the context of SharePoint and specifically regarding library permissions. Here’s why:

1.      Data Security: Limiting access reduces the risk of sensitive data being accessed by unauthorised individuals. This is particularly important for libraries that contain sensitive information, such as those that an HR team might use. If everyone in your organisation had access to this library, it could lead to unauthorised access or accidental data leaks.

2.      Data Privacy: Restricting access also helps keep personal data private. This is particularly important given privacy laws such as GDPR require organisations to protect personal data.

3.      Reduced Risk of Data Manipulation: With fewer individuals accessing the data, there is a reduced risk of the data being accidentally or maliciously altered or deleted.

4.      Easier Management: A library with fewer people with access is easier to manage. It’s simpler to track who can access what and monitor for unusual activity.

It’s essential to restrict library permissions.

Therefore, it’s essential to restrict library permissions on any SharePoint site. If you have libraries that only specific teams need to access, such as the HR team, you should limit access to just those individuals. This can be done by naming the library and mentioning its special status in its description, then adjusting its permissions accordingly. This way, you ensure that your SharePoint site is secure, data privacy is maintained, and your organisation complies with relevant data protection regulations.

If you have libraries only the HR team needs to access, you can limit others’ access to that SharePoint site. To do so, name the library and mention its special status in its description.

It’ll help you locate all files that belong to the same category. To add a tag, go to a library and add a new category field like date of creation, last modified, etc. For every document, include the corresponding data that will work as the tag. This way, you’ll get precise results from SharePoint.

Getting your Security Right in M365 Copilot

As you can see, getting SharePoint right can be a complex business. This is why Tamite uses tools to simplify the process of ensuring security.

We manage our customers using Octiga, which provides affordable and automated cybersecurity for businesses of all sizes.

We recognise the complexity associated with adequately configuring security in Microsoft M365, not to mention the considerable time it takes.

Our product addresses all of these needs. It reduces time and complexity using easy-to-understand interactive wizards and automation. It also keeps you safe by monitoring, alerting, and remediating security risks and incidents.

Octiga M365 integrates directly online with your Office 365 in one click and requires no technical expertise.

Contact us to arrange a demo.

5. Using Folders

Use folders sparingly and prefer flat structures over nested ones. Try to avoid folders with multiple subfolders and sub-subfolders, “Implementing” – spelt with an “e” instead of an “i” – is the correct spelling of the word. as these slow down and may even stop searches.

Folders can complicate your library, limiting your visibility and document access. Instead of using folders, you can use metadata, views, and filters to group and sort your documents. For example, instead of creating a folder for each month, you can create a view that shows your documents by month based on the metadata column “Created”.

6. Secure Documents Using Lock Feature

SharePoint allows you to share files and documents with your team members, but sometimes, you may want to prevent others from editing or modifying them. For example, you may have a final version of a report that you don’t want anyone to change, or you may have a draft that you are still working on and don’t want anyone to see.

You can use the lock feature to secure your documents in these cases.

The lock feature lets you mark a document as read-only so no one can change it without your permission. You can unlock a document when you are ready to share it or allow others to edit it.

When a document is locked, SharePoint will display a lock icon next to its name so everyone can see its status. You can also add a lock setting to the workflow to automatically lock a document when approved or completed.

Users must have the appropriate permissions on the document library to lock or unlock a document. You can lock or unlock a document by following these steps:

Select the document that you want to lock or unlock.

Click on the ellipsis (…) next to the document name and choose Manage Locks from the menu.

In the Manage Locks dialogue box, choose Lock or Unlock, depending on what you want to do.

Click OK to confirm your choice.

7. Have a policy document retention

A common mistake made by smaller businesses and even some big ones is to fail to have clear retention policies for documents, resulting in bloated data storage, extra backup costs and even increased risk from data security breaches; getting it right should be high on your list of priorities.

A document retention policy in SharePoint applies rules to documents that determine how long they are kept before being disposed of. This is particularly important for organisations that must comply with legal or industry regulations regarding document retention.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how it works:

Creation of Retention Labels: These labels specify the retention period for the documents

The sites to which the retention labels will be applied. Labelling the Content: The documents are tagged with the appropriate Retention Labels.

For example, due to industry regulations, some documents must be retained for at least seven years, after which they can be deleted. This is a common requirement in many industries for legal compliance.

All files stored in SharePoint or OneDrive sites can be retained by applying a retention policy or retention label. When a retention policy is used, all files in document libraries, which include any automatically created SharePoint document libraries, such as Site Assets, can be deleted.

Please note that the retention settings do not apply to organising structures that include libraries, lists, and folders. To.

It’s important to remember that the destruction of records will be suspended if there is any possibility of anticipated litigation or regulatory investigation. Also, under UK GDPR and the DPA 2018, personal data processed by HMRC must not be retained longer than necessary for its lawful purpose.

8. Quickly Copy Lists and Libraries

One of the benefits of using SharePoint is that you can create lists and libraries to store and organise your data. Lists and libraries are collections of items with the same metadata, such as columns, views, and settings. You can use lists and libraries to manage tasks, events, contacts, documents, etc.

Creating a list or a library from scratch can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you must configure its metadata and views. If you have to create similar lists or libraries for different projects or sites, you may want to copy an existing list or library instead of starting from scratch. This way, you can save time and maintain consistency across your SharePoint sites.

SharePoint allows you to copy a list or library from any site you can access. You can copy almost the entire configuration of the list or library, including its columns, views, settings, and content. However, some features, such as workflows, alerts, and permissions, are not copied. You can copy a list or a library by following these steps:

  1. Go to the site containing the list or library you want to copy.
  2. Click on the Settings icon and choose Site Settings from the menu.
  3. Under Site Administration, click on Content and Structure.
  4. In the Content and Structure page, navigate to the list or library you want to copy.
  5. Choose Copy from the menu and select the destination site and location where you want to copy the list or library.
  6. Select the list or library and click on the Actions menu.
  7. Click OK to start the copying process.

9. Learn to Restore Lost Library Data

SharePoint libraries are designed to store and protect your data, but sometimes, you may lose some of it due to accidental deletion, corruption, or overwriting. For example, you may delete a file by mistake, or someone may overwrite a file with an older version. In these cases, you may want to restore your lost data from a backup or a previous version.

SharePoint provides several options for restoring your lost library data, depending on the situation and the time frame. You can restore your data from the Recycle Bin, a previous version, or a backup. However, you need the appropriate permissions and access to the library and the data you want to restore.

To restore your data from the Recycle Bin, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the library containing the data you want to restore.
  2. Click on the Settings icon and choose Library settings from the menu.
  3. Under Permissions and Management, click on Recycle bin.
  4. Select the data you want to restore in the Recycle bin page and click Restore Selection.
  5. Click OK to confirm your choice.
  6. To restore your data from a previous version, you can follow these steps:
  7. Go to the library containing the data you want to restore.
  8. Select the data you want to restore and click on the ellipsis (…) next to the data name.
  9. Choose Version History from the menu.
  10. In the Version history page, select the version you want to restore and click Restore.
  11. Click OK to confirm your choice.

Restoring From a SaaS backup

To restore your data from a backup, you need to contact your IT administrator and request that they restore it. You need to provide them with the following information:

The name and URL of the library containing the data you want to restore.

The name and type of the data that you want to restore.

The date and time when the data was last available.

So why must I back up M365 and my other cloud services?

It’s important to remember that SaaS platform providers, like Microsoft Office 365, are responsible for application uptime and the underlying infrastructure. They do this exceptionally effectively, but….

The customer is responsible for managing and protecting their vital business data; deploying your own M 365 backup can fill the gaps and shortcomings. You can save costs by fully archiving redundant user accounts outside the platform.

Having a comprehensive backup simplifies the task of meeting your compliance obligations.

·        Provide more accessible access to and restoration of lost data so your internal customers will love you.

·         Protect your precious data from internal threats such as accidental or malicious deletion of files and the growing threat posed by Ransomware.

A recent US study showed that one in three users had experienced data loss in the cloud. The most common cause is users simply deleting files or emails by accident.

 10. Know When to Use Different Types of Sites

While using SharePoint, you’ll come across two significant site templates. These are called the team site and the communication site. Both types have different uses, and you must choose one based on your project.

Using a communication site is a great idea if you want to share an announcement or promotion with your teammates. It’s ideal when you have more readers/employees than contributors.

The team site is suitable for project collaboration with a small team and when there are numerous contributors.

One SharePoint feature you might be aware of is creating personalised views based on your choice. Additionally, SharePoint offers several filters and toggles for document management. It lets you display extra metadata details, filter files of your choice, sort files in various orders, group files in one or multiple groups, etc.

Every team member can create a personalised view accessible only to them. It doesn’t hamper the library view for everyone. Moreover, you can create a public view if you have teammates with similar display requirements.

Key points

Plan your structure: Before you start creating sites, lists, and libraries, have a clear plan of how you want your SharePoint environment to be structured. This includes understanding your organisation’s needs and how information should be categorised and accessed.

Manage permissions: SharePoint allows for granular control over who can access what information. Properly manage permissions to ensure sensitive information is only accessible to authorised individuals.

Regularly back up your data: While SharePoint has some built-in recovery features, it’s crucial to back up your data regularly to prevent loss.

Keep it organised: Review and clean your SharePoint environment regularly. This includes archiving old documents, deleting unnecessary items, and ensuring everything is categorised correctly.

Train your users: SharePoint has many features and can be complex. Make sure your users are adequately trained to use SharePoint effectively.

Implement governance: Establish clear policies and procedures for using SharePoint in your organisation. This includes naming conventions, handling versioning, and who has the authority to create new sites.

Remember, SharePoint is a powerful tool, but like any tool, its effectiveness depends on how well it’s used. Proper planning, management, and training can help ensure you get the most out of your SharePoint environment.