Cortana in Microsoft 365

Cortana, your personal productivity assistant, offers AI-powered experiences to save time and focus attention on what matters most. Cortana will help your users increase their personal productivity for their whole day across both work and life. When signed in with valid work or school accounts, users can get cloud-based assistance services with Cortana in Microsoft 365 experiences that meet Office 365’s enterprise-level privacy, security, and compliance promises (“Cortana enterprise services”).

As a personal productivity assistant, Cortana is designed to deliver features that safely and securely process and reason over Office 365 data like emails, files, chats, etc., to save time, increase efficiency, and enhance your users’ productivity.

Moving forward, we're focusing Cortana on enterprise productivity.

  • Consistent with other Office 365 services, Cortana enterprise services meet the same enterprise-level privacy, security, and compliance promises as reflected in the Online Services Terms (OST).

  • New Microsoft 365 experiences, such as the Briefing email and Play My Emails, will be enabled using Cortana enterprise services and fully comply with those promises. These features are currently available worldwide (standard multi-tenant). For more information on finding the usage location, please visit View additional property values for accounts.

  • Users may connect to Cortana enterprise services described here through Cortana in Windows 10 (version 2004 and later), as well as client applications, such as Outlook for iOS and Android, subject to separate licensing terms.

  • Existing consumer experiences, including Cortana in Windows 10 (version 1909 and earlier) and the Cortana app on iOS and Android, are governed by the Microsoft Services Agreement and Microsoft Privacy Statement (see “Existing services for consumers” section below). These terms will also govern Cortana enterprise services provided to the user when signed in with their consumer credentials.

What data is processed by Cortana enterprise services?

Cortana enterprise services process queries from the user, Office data needed to fulfill the user's request, and other telemetry generated by Microsoft systems to run the service. The data collected by Cortana enterprise services include the text representation of the user’s spoken queries (i.e., transcriptions from speech recognition). This text data is Customer Data, and it is managed in accordance with the Online Services Terms. It is only used to develop and improve machine learning models consistent with the Online Service Terms.

What is the governance model for Customer Data in Cortana enterprise services?

Consistent with other Office 365 services, Cortana enterprise services are secured and subject to the Online Services Terms. This includes a set of promises for protection of Customer Data against accidental loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure or access, or unlawful destruction. Customer Data is also subject to strict access limitations. Microsoft uses Customer Data only to provide the services agreed upon, and for purposes that are compatible with those services. See the table below for details.

How does Microsoft store, retain, process, and use Customer Data in Cortana?

The table below describes the data handling for Cortana enterprise services.

Name Description
Customer Data is stored on Microsoft servers inside the Office 365 cloud. Your data is part of your tenant.

Speech audio is not retained.
Stays in Geo
Customer Data is stored on Microsoft servers inside the Office 365 cloud in Geo. Your data is part of your tenant.
Customer Data is deleted when the account is closed by the tenant administrator or when a GDPR Data Subject Rights deletion request is made.

Speech audio is not retained.
Processing and Confidentiality
Personnel engaged in the processing of Customer Data and personal data (i) will process such data only on instructions from Customer, and (ii) will be obligated to maintain the confidentiality and security of such data even after their engagement ends.
Microsoft uses Customer Data only to provide the services agreed upon, and for purposes that are compatible with those services. Machine learning to develop and improve models is one of those purposes. Machine learning is done inside the Office 365 cloud, and there is no human viewing, review or labeling of your Customer Data.

Your data is not used to target advertising.

Cortana enterprise services in Microsoft 365 experiences

Cortana in Windows 10 (version 2004 and later)

The Cortana app in Windows 10 helps users quickly get information across Microsoft 365, using typed or spoken queries to connect with people, check calendars, set reminders, and more.

Cortana in Windows can assist users in better managing their schedule and tasks. They can add to their lists in Microsoft To Do, look up local information, get definitions, and keep track of the latest news, weather, and finance information with Bing search.

Cortana in Windows 10, version 2004 and later, meets the same enterprise-level privacy, security, and compliance promises for Cortana enterprise services, as reflected in the Online Services Terms (OST).

How to opt out of Cortana in Windows 10

Admins can configure Cortana in Windows 10 for their organization using the Experience\AllowCortana MDM policy or via the Group Policy: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search\Allow Cortana.

Beginning with Windows 10, version 2004, Cortana is a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app preinstalled with Windows and is regularly updated through the Microsoft Store. To receive the latest updates to Cortana, you will need to enable updates through the Microsoft Store.

Learn more about Cortana in Windows 10

Cortana voice assistance in Teams

Cortana voice assistance in the Teams mobile app and on Microsoft Teams display devices enables Microsoft 365 Enterprise users to streamline communication, collaboration, and meeting-related tasks using spoken natural language. Users can speak to Cortana by selecting the microphone button located in the upper right of the Teams mobile app, or by saying “Cortana” in the Microsoft Teams display. To quickly connect with their team hands-free and while on the go, users can say queries such as “call Megan” or “send a message to my next meeting”. Users can also join meetings by saying “join my next meeting” and use voice assistance to share files, check their calendar, and more. These voice assistance experiences are delivered using Cortana enterprise-grade services that fully comply with Office 365's privacy, security, and compliance promises as reflected in the Online Services Terms (OST).

Admin control

Cortana voice assistance will be enabled by default for tenants. Admins can control who in their tenant can use Cortana voice assistance in Teams via a policy (TeamsCortanaPolicy). This policy can be set at either a user account level or tenant level. Admins can also use the CortanaVoiceInvocationMode field within this policy control to determine whether Cortana is disabled, enabled with push button invocation only, or enabled with wake word invocation as well (applicable to devices that support it, like the Microsoft Teams display). Note that at the time of the initial release for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users in the US in English, the Teams mobile app will not support wake word activation, but it will be supported in the future.

User control

Individual users can try out Cortana voice assistance in the Teams mobile app by clicking on the mic button. They can try out Cortana voice assistance on Microsoft Teams display devices by simply saying “Cortana.” They can also control whether Cortana in Teams is enabled for their device via a setting in the Teams mobile app or on the Microsoft Teams display:

  1. Open the Teams mobile app, or go to the ambient (home) screen of the Microsoft Teams display.

  2. In the Teams mobile app, go to Settings. On the Microsoft Teams display, select the user avatar, and then select Settings. If Cortana is enabled, say, “Cortana, go to Settings.”

  3. Select Cortana.

  4. Move the toggle to On or Off, depending on whether you want Cortana voice assistance on the device.

Learn more about Cortana voice assistance in Teams

Conversational AI in Outlook for iOS with Cortana

In Outlook for iOS, Cortana’s voice-driven conversational AI experience enables users to ask their productivity assistant to schedule meetings, compose emails, manage their calendar and inbox, and find all kinds of information.

Using natural language, speech recognition, machine learning, and linguistics based on Microsoft AI technology, Cortana gets to know your context to help you stay organized, connected to the people and things that are important to you, and in control of your day.

Simply use the microphone button to ask Cortana to add meeting recipients, or change dates, times, or locations. You can also ask Cortana to find specific events. Lastly, you can ask Cortana to compose quick emails, forward messages, or reply to threads. Cortana’s mic can also help you start Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS, so you can listen to your inbox hands-free.

Initially, this new conversational AI capability with Cortana will be available in English for customers in the United States using Outlook for iOS with a Microsoft 365 work account. To learn more, go to Start a conversation with your personal productivity assistant in Outlook with Cortana.

Conversational AI with Cortana in Outlook with iOS is an opt-in experience

Individual users will be prompted to opt in to the conversational AI experience the first time they select the “Ask Cortana” mic button in Outlook on iOS.

Play My Emails

Play My Emails (as connected to through Outlook mobile) is a voice-driven, hands-free experience for users to listen to new messages in their Focused Inbox and changes to their day via the speakers on their phone, headphones, or connected audio device. Users can ask Cortana to read their recent emails aloud, and ask Cortana to take actions such as flag, archive, delete, and skip messages. This feature is especially helpful to catch up on your email while commuting, multitasking, or on the go. When the user talks to Cortana in Play My Emails, the speech audio request goes directly to Cortana enterprise services. A text to speech readout of the user's email is processed inside the Office 365 cloud. During this process, no Office 365 data is processed on the user's mobile device and no email data is saved. A transcript of spoken commands (i.e. "mark as read," "next," "flag," etc.) may be retained in accordance with the Data Protection Terms in the Microsoft Online Services Terms.

Cortana will call out when an email is protected and briefly pause before reading the message to give users enough time to pause playback or skip to the next message. Similar to a private phone call, users should exercise caution when initiating playback in locations where confidential information could potentially be overheard. In these instances, it's recommended that employees of your organization wear headphones in appropriate environments when using Play My Emails in Outlook mobile.

Opt out of Play My Emails

Individuals can opt out of Play My Emails using the following steps.

  1. Open Outlook mobile.

  2. Go to Settings.

  3. Select Play My Emails.

  4. Move the toggle to off on the accounts you want to disable.

Learn more about Play My Emails

Briefing email

Cortana sends a personalized briefing email with tasks and commitments you made with a convenient way to mark them as done or schedule focus time to get them done. It also includes a summary of your meetings and relevant documents for your day. Cortana extracts information from a user’s email messages and stores it in their Exchange Online mailbox until it’s consolidated into the Briefing email. At no time is personal data accessible outside of your Exchange Online mailbox.

How to opt out of Briefing email

Admins can configure Briefing for their organization using PowerShell in Exchange Online. Individuals can opt out of Cortana's Briefing email by selecting Unsubscribe in the footer of the message.

Learn more about the Briefing email

We'll continue to introduce more experiences like the above to help increase your organization's productivity.

Learn more about Microsoft Compliance offerings

How is the delivery of Cortana enterprise services different from the delivery of other Cortana features I may have previously experienced?

Here are the two ways to think of how Cortana works in your enterprise:

New experiences for organizations with Cortana enterprise services: Cortana enterprise services are designed to meet the security and compliance needs of organizations:

  1. This is a new service and is discussed here in this document.

  2. For services subject to the Online Services Terms, Microsoft is a data processor: Microsoft collects and uses Customer Data from customers only to provide the online services requested by our customers and for the purposes instructed by our customers. Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the customer is the data controller of their data. See the Online Services Terms and Introducing more privacy transparency for our commercial cloud customers.

  3. As an example, Play My Emails is a Cortana service that your users can connect to through Outlook for iOS and utilizes Cortana enterprise services.

  4. IT admins will always have controls for optional connected experiences for Cortana, similar to optional connected experiences while using Office ProPlus applications.

Existing services for consumers: Cortana optional connected services are designed primarily for consumer experiences and are currently delivered in Windows 10 (version 1909 and earlier) and the Cortana app on iOS and Android.

  1. These experiences enable features such as weather, news, and traffic.

  2. Tenant admins can control whether Cortana in Windows 10 (version 1909 and earlier) and the Cortana app on iOS and Android are able to allow Cortana to connect to Office 365 tenant data.

Turn off Cortana access to your organization's Microsoft hosted data

  1. In the Microsoft 365 admin center, select Settings > Org Settings and select Cortana.

  2. Unselect the checkbox for Allow Cortana in Windows 10 (version 1909 and earlier), and the Cortana app on iOS and Android, to access Microsoft-hosted data on behalf of people in your organization to disable Cortana connected experiences.

  3. Select Save changes.

For services governed by the Microsoft Services Agreement and Microsoft Privacy Statement, Microsoft is the data controller. As the data controller, Microsoft uses data to improve products and services in accordance with the Microsoft Privacy Statement.