Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Microsoft May Offer Private ChatGPT to Businesses . . . at Ten Times the Cost

May 4, 2023

Ars Technica reported on May 2 that Microsoft is planning to offer a privacy-focused version of the ChatGPT chatbot to banks, health care providers, and other large organizations concerned about data leaks and regulatory compliance.

The product, which could be announced “later this quarter,” would run ChatGPT on dedicated servers, separate from the ones used by other companies or other individual users using the versions of ChatGPT that Microsoft is incorporating into Edge, Windows, and its other products. This would keep sensitive data from being used to train ChatGPT’s language model and could also prevent inadvertent data leaks— as the article says, imagine a chatbot that revealed information about one company’s product road map to another company because both companies used ChatGPT.

There’s a hitch though. These isolated versions of ChatGPT could cost a lot more to run and use. They “could cost as much as 10 times what customers currently pay to use the regular version of ChatGPT.”

OpenAI is supposedly planning a similar product “in the coming months,” a subscription where input fed to ChatGPT by a business’s employees and customers won’t be used to train its language models by default. The major difference is that Microsoft’s version will use the company’s Azure platform as its backend rather than competing platforms like Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft is allowed to resell OpenAI’s products under the terms of a “multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment” that Microsoft has made in OpenAI. It looks like this will result in the two companies competing for some of the same users.

Bloomberg reported that Samsung has already forbidden its employees to use chatbots like ChatGPT or Google’s Bard on their work devices after an employee entered “internal source code” into ChatGPT in April. Private ChatGPT instances could allow these employees to take advantage of what ChatGPT and other generative AI products do well without leaking internal information to other companies or the public. Companies like Verizon, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs have taken similar steps.

It may be worth the cost to larger entities, but it sure seems like it might be a prohibitive cost to smaller businesses.

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., PresidentSensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225Fairfax, VA 22030
Email:   Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology