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CAD Security

Protecting CAD Files: Preventing Costly Consequences in Manufacturing

In the digital age, the protection of CAD files is crucial for both engineers and manufacturers. These files contain valuable intellectual property and detailed engineering data essential for product development. If they fall into the wrong hands, the consequences can be costly, including significant financial losses, compromised competitive advantage, and diminished employee morale. Ensuring robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard these assets is vital to maintaining a competitive edge and securing the future of the manufacturing industry.

June 26, 2024
Protecting CAD Files: Preventing Costly Consequences in Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry has undergone a remarkable digital transformation in recent years. While these changes have significantly increased productivity and performance, they have also introduced new pressures, particularly in the realm of cybersecurity. As the industry embraces advanced technologies, it finds itself a prime target for cybercriminals. In 2023 alone, the United States experienced approximately 260 data breaches within the manufacturing sector, affecting around five million individuals. These breaches often result in attackers demanding ransom, usually in cryptocurrencies, or selling stolen data on the dark web.

The dual nature of digital transformation in manufacturing—bringing both immense benefits and serious challenges—highlights the urgent need for robust cybersecurity measures. As digitalization progresses, safeguarding engineering data against cyber threats becomes paramount.

The Importance of Engineering Data in Manufacturing

Engineering data, especially from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), plays a crucial role in product development. Design engineers rely on CAD data to validate designs through simulations and generate the Bill of Materials (BOM). This data also includes essential manufacturing details such as numerical control codes, machine specifications, and material properties.

Throughout the iterative design process, CAD data accumulates rapidly, creating a vast repository that is challenging to protect. If compromised, this data can be deleted, corrupted, or encrypted by ransomware, leading to significant design setbacks, revenue losses, and decreased employee morale. Protecting this data is not just a technical necessity but a strategic imperative.

Protecting Your Engineering Data: A Strategic Imperative

Most engineering data constitutes the intellectual property (IP) of an organization. Every iteration of a CAD design falls under this category. Even a minor security breach can result in substantial financial losses and damage to competitive advantage. In today's fast-paced and highly competitive global market, the risk of competitors emerging with similar products is ever-present. Secure CAD solutions are essential to prevent unauthorized replication and protect years of research and development efforts.

Organizations that develop niche and highly differentiated products are particularly vulnerable. For these companies, a single security breach can lead to a catastrophic loss, undermining their market position and long-term viability. Therefore, implementing comprehensive security measures to safeguard engineering data is not just advisable but critical.

Extending Protection

CAD software systems themselves do not provide inherent security and encryption. CAD vendors may offer some user login options on their networks or clouds, but this is not data centric security.

Secude’s HaloCAD extends Microsoft Purview Information Protection (MPIP) to your CAD applications, embedding Zero Trust protection from creation and closing potential security gaps (i.e. shutting the window between creating a drawing, saving it unprotected to a disk and then adding protection). HaloCAD logs the classification, labeling and encryption activity of CAD files, while the Purview Audit captures data around file access attempts, making it easier to prove CMMC compliance to external auditors (i.e. as you not only know where all your CUI lives - both internally and externally - but can turn access on and off as simply as using a light switch).

Here’s how HaloCAD Protect your CAD files:

  • Leverages Microsoft Purview Information Protection (MPIP) to encrypt CAD files. It fully supports the Rights Management System (RMS) implementation of Active Directory, Office 365, and Azure Active Directory.
  • Automatically applies Microsoft Purview Information Protection (MPIP) labels to CAD files during checkout from the product lifecycle management (PLM) system vault.
  • Enables PTC Creo and Windchill applications to use MIP directly whenever the CAD files are checked out for editing or exported for sharing with partners.
  • Enables Siemens Teamcenter and NX/Solid Edge applications to use MPIP to encrypt the data files along with security labels and privilege enforcement.
  • Seamlessly integrated with Teamcenter PLM with CAD enabling the user to work transparently on the protected data files in the respective tools.
  • Enables CAD applications to use MPIP directly when SAP is not the CMS in the background. It applies end-to-end protection of CAD files by applying MPIP templates on the CAD files at the moment of its creation.
  • Extends CAD data protection and supports multi-file formats.
  • Seamlessly extends data-centric security across PLM and Multi-CAD integrations.
  • Conclusion

    The digital transformation of the manufacturing industry brings unparalleled opportunities for innovation and efficiency. However, it also exposes organizations to significant cybersecurity risks. By prioritizing the protection of engineering data, manufacturers can mitigate these risks and secure their competitive edge in the global market. The journey toward a digitally advanced manufacturing landscape must be accompanied by robust cybersecurity strategies to ensure sustainable growth and resilience against cyber threats.

    Interesting in exploring how HaloCAD can secure you CAD file? Contact Secude

    Protect your data.
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