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Harnessing GitHub Copilot’s Data Privacy Features to Safeguard Business Data

Updated: Jan 18

Discover how to balance innovation and data privacy in GitHub Copilot.


Just a year into its launch, GitHub’s code-generation tool Copilot has been used by over one million developers and has been adopted by more than 20,000 organizations worldwide. The innovative AI-powered coding assistant empowers developers by suggesting code, autocompleting lines, and providing contextual assistance during software development.


To help organizations more effectively safeguard data, we’ll explore Github Copilot’s existing data privacy features and how to use them. We’ll also provide recommendations for additional measures businesses can take to completely protect data stored within the platform.


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GitHub Copilot’s Data Privacy Features

GitHub allows organizations to manage and customize the collection, processing, and retention of business data. This ensures organizations have complete control over data privacy while using GitHub Copilot. Some of the security features the platform contains include:


  • Data encryption: GitHub Copilot encrypts data both in transit and at rest. This means that when data is transferred between your development environment and GitHub’s servers, it’s secured using encryption protocols such as HTTPS/TLS.

  • Access controls: GitHub offers fine-grained access controls, allowing organizations to manage who can access and use GitHub CoPilot within their teams. Administrators can also restrict data access to only authorized individuals. This ensures that highly sensitive or confidential data is accessible only to approved users.

  • Data retention policies: The platform stores code and interaction data for a short period of time to improve its performance. Once finished, data is erased. Additionally, developers can review and delete specific interactions from the interface to further control their data footprint.

  • Consent mechanisms: Users are asked for explicit consent before enabling GitHub CoPilot on their repositories. This ensures that developers have full control over whether they want to use the service and share their code with it.

  • Code scanning and filtering: GitHub includes features that scan and filter code for sensitive information such as API keys, passwords, and other confidential data. It provides suggestions to remove or obfuscate such data from the codebase.


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How to Use GitHub Copilot’s Data Privacy Features

To use GitHub Copilot’s data features, follow the steps below:


  1. Review permissions: Before enabling GitHub Copilot, carefully review your repository’s permissions to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to specific data sets.

  2. Consent and data control: Next, review the consent mechanism and exercise control. This will determine what code you share with GitHub Copilot; you can review and delete any data you find unnecessary.

  3. Use code scanning: Finally, regularly utilize Copilot’s code scanning and filtering features to identify and rectify potentially sensitive data in your codebase.

5 Ways to Further Protect GitHub Copilot Data

Even with its built-in data features, security vulnerabilities and breaches can still occur. To minimize the attack surface and decrease security risks, follow these best practices.


1. Employee Training

Regularly train your development teams on data privacy best practices and GitHub’s data privacy features. Ensure they understand the importance of not sharing sensitive information unintentionally.


2. Data Classification

Implement a data classification policy to categorize data as sensitive, public, or internal. This will configure GitHub to be more restrictive with sensitive data, ensuring no unauthorized users access confidential datasets.


3. Monitoring and Auditing

Because Copilot is rapidly changing, it’s critical to implement regular monitoring and auditing procedures. These procedures should review code changes made within Copilot to ensure they were authorized and not exposing potential vulnerabilities. This also helps ensure compliance with data privacy regulations and internal policies.


4. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tools

Consider using DLP tools that integrate with GitHub to further enhance the protection of sensitive data within your code repositories.


5. Enforce Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security when logging into GitHub and can be enforced at an organizational level. Essentially, two-factor authentication requires users to verify their identity when logging in, ensuring users are who they say they are.


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JourneyTEAM: Providing Comprehensive Data Protection

By actively utilizing the platform’s data privacy features, adhering to best practices, and implementing robust security measures, organizations can harness the power of GitHub Copilot while safeguarding sensitive data.


At JourneyTEAM, we’ll help you stay vigilant in protecting organizational data. Our team of security experts stays informed about the latest GitHub security updates and follows best practices to ensure your data is completely protected.


Learn more about the extensive benefits and time savings of Copilot today.


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