Embracing the Future of AI with Varonis

February 13, 2024

Is your organization overwhelmed with the advent of AI? If you are having trouble keeping pace with the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, you are not alone. Optiv is here to demystify and deliver on these new and rapidly burgeoning innovations.


In this blog post, I want to share two significant developments that have appeared, reshaping how organizations approach productivity and security. First, a new strategic collaboration announced between Varonis and Microsoft marks a milestone in the safe deployment of Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, and additionally, Varonis' Athena AI stands as a beacon of innovation.


If your organization is grappling with AI-related decisions, particularly focused on Microsoft Copilot or even what AI can do for your data security posture, this is the blog post for you.



Securely Deploy Copilot

The newly touted integration between Varonis and Microsoft 365 introduces a robust framework for organizations to safely leverage the power of Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. This focuses on ensuring that Copilot rollouts are secure, compliant, and effectively managed — addressing business security concerns and data exposure risks. This serves as an essential groundwork for a secure and compliant implementation.


The security framework of Copilot is built upon a user's established Microsoft 365 permissions, which dictate the accessibility of stored data when creating AI responses. This approach is amazing for productivity and efficiency, and it empowers organizations with a new understanding of their data.


However, this is often where questions emerge, such as: “What if AI uncovers data the user didn’t know they had access to?” and “Should our organization tighten security controls before deploying AI solutions?” I hear questions like this all the time. They are valid, and that is why the integration of Varonis and AI will allow you to rest easy. The native security controls within Microsoft 365 and the added benefit of Varonis integration allows for maximum data protection and loss prevention.


In addition to the inherent data protection features of Microsoft 365, Varonis offers supplementary methods for managing and enhancing an organization's data security strategy. This ensures that sensitive data remains accessible only to authorized personnel, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches. Below are key aspects of a secure Copilot rollout.


Enhanced Security Posture

Varonis plays a crucial role in continuously assessing and improving the data security posture of Microsoft 365, both before and after Copilot deployment. Importantly, it enforces least-privilege access controls so that the right people can only access the right data.


Seamless Integration

With Varonis’ deep integration, organizations can monitor their Microsoft 365 data, classify AI-generated content, and enforce strict access controls all in one place. This ensures that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data.



Varonis also aids in quantifying data security readiness for Microsoft Copilot by efficiently discovering and classifying data, including content generated by Copilot. Varonis allows you to implement essential Microsoft Purview Information Protection labels to reinforce effective data loss prevention strategies.



There is a perpetual need to be proactive in the data security space. This integration allows organizations to keep a vigilant eye on sensitive data activities and receive alerts for any unusual patterns.



Copilot and Beyond

Enhancing the inherent data protection capabilities of Microsoft 365, Varonis offers complete and robust data protection across organizational data stores. This approach ensures the prevention of data exposure by maintaining strict access controls, allowing only authorized individuals to access sensitive data consistently.


The sky is the limit to what an organization can achieve with Microsoft Copilot utilizing Varonis’ integration. This is a great segue to another exciting new avenue of AI that simplifies this integration and beyond. It will revolutionize the future of your organization’s data security journey.



Athena AI: Revolutionizing Cybersecurity

In the face of sophisticated cyber threats, Varonis has introduced Athena AI, a transformative addition to its Data Security Platform. Athena AI redefines the cybersecurity playbook, offering advanced defense mechanisms against the rapidly evolving threats in our digital world while simplifying critical insights into your organization’s data.


What is Athena AI?


Athena is an advanced generative AI layer within the Varonis Data Security Platform that enhances data protection and analysis. Its key features include an AI SOC (Security Operations Center) Analyst for intelligent threat investigation and remediation, as well as a Natural Language Search for quick, accurate security-based queries. Gone are the days of having to utilize a complex query or manually create filter-based logic.


Athena uses large language models combined with organizational data context to allow for human language to query any avenue of your data security posture.


This platform represents an expansive evolution in Varonis' use of AI in cybersecurity, while paying homage to the Greek goddess. Athena epitomized rationality, tactical thinking, and strategy. Likewise, your organization can make more efficient, effective, and strategic decisions to improve your data security posture with the help of Athena AI.


Real World Impact

Athena AI’s features, such as the AI SOC Analyst and Natural Language Search, provide organizations with a powerful arsenal to swiftly address security alerts and reduce risk exposure. Below are the key aspects important to understand about Athena AI.


  • Comprehensive Coverage: Spanning the entirety of the Varonis Data Security Platform, Athena AI combines large language models with a deep understanding of organizational data, identities, and devices. Imagine what this can further do with integrations such Microsoft 365. But it goes beyond that since Athena AI benefits span the breadth of the platform, it will cover each of your organization’s data stores.
  • Enhanced Investigative Capabilities: As mentioned above, Athena AI democratizes cybersecurity expertise, enabling users of all skill levels to conduct in-depth investigations and analyses using natural language. Imagine asking Athena, “How many files were affected?” and gaining instant context and guidance on what to do next.
  • Proactive Defense: Athena AI not only responds to alerts, but also proactively hardens environments against emerging threats. The AI SOC analyst arms organizations with sophisticated AI. Designed for conducting thorough investigations, neutralizing threats, and proactively reinforcing security measures. Now, the complexities of responding to an alert are simplified, offering immediate context and definitive actions.


Varonis' decade-long commitment to AI-driven cybersecurity, coupled with its respect for data privacy and customer autonomy, makes Athena AI a trusted ally in the battle against cyber threats.




Envision what you can accomplish with both Varonis’ integration with Microsoft for securing Copilot deployments and the benefits of Athena AI. This presents a comprehensive solution for organizations navigating the complex world of AI. While organizations benefit from the productivity enhancements of Microsoft Copilot, this approach also ensures they maintain a robust data-centric security posture.


This blend of innovation and security is crucial in today’s digital era, where the intelligent use of AI is a game changer. By harnessing the strengths of Athena AI and securely implementing Microsoft Copilot with Varonis' capabilities, organizations can confidently step into a future where their data is not just protected but empowered.


Embrace the AI Revolution with Optiv

The journey towards a secure, AI-enhanced future is clear. Whether it's ensuring a secure rollout of Microsoft Copilot or fortifying your cybersecurity defenses with Varonis and Athena AI, Optiv is your trusted advisor in navigating these technological advancements. Start your journey today and witness how the combination of Optiv expertise coupled with AI innovation can transform your organization's approach to productivity and security. Contact your Optiv client manager today for a free risk assessment.

Jeremy Bieber
Partner Architect for Varonis | Optiv
Jeremy is Optiv's Partner Architect for Varonis, specializing in understanding unstructured data, data governance/compliance and data protection.

With over 22 years of experience, Jeremy began professionally working with technology during the late 1990s at Electronic Data Systems and later at Hewlett-Packard. In 2016 he joined Varonis, consulting with clients and implementing the Varonis Data Security Platform to ensure client achievement of least-privileged access models and proactive threat detection, locating and ensuring sensitive-data compliance on-premise and in the cloud.

Over the course of his career, Jeremy has achieved a range of industry certifications including over a dozen Microsoft certifications, certifications from VMware, Hewlett-Packard, Smarsh and Varonis. He can pull from his lengthy experience including system administration, architecture, engineering and consulting to provide a seasoned focus on data security.

At Optiv, he uses this real-world experience to relate how the Varonis Data Security Platform will enhance the overall security goals for our clients, reduce risk, detect abnormal behavior and ensure compliance.

Optiv Security: Secure greatness.®

Optiv is the cyber advisory and solutions leader, delivering strategic and technical expertise to nearly 6,000 companies across every major industry. We partner with organizations to advise, deploy and operate complete cybersecurity programs from strategy and managed security services to risk, integration and technology solutions. With clients at the center of our unmatched ecosystem of people, products, partners and programs, we accelerate business progress like no other company can. At Optiv, we manage cyber risk so you can secure your full potential. For more information, visit www.optiv.com.