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How HALOCAD Reader helps to combat digital security threats in CAD file collaboration

All companies are moving towards a digital landscape. Developments in the design and manufacturing industry have expanded the innovation of products as digital collaborations are increasingly enabled from concept generation to product realization and after-market.

These collaborations expand beyond the enterprise and national boundaries, leading to growing concern about the security of their sensitive information such as Intellectual Property (IP) and trade secrets.

According to Gartner, one of the largest risks right now, both perceived and real, is the security risk to the supply chain’s “information” components.  These components include a mix of data and IT infrastructure, product, and operational elements.

The Need for Security in the design industry

Advances in the information technology field along with the supported collaborative design platforms like CAD, CAPP, CAM, and real-time information flows have resulted in the effective integration of the different domain experts.

Moreover, emerging trends in sensor technologies, tracking systems, and location-based services provide real-time information to the designers about the usage pattern, performance of the product, and failures. Big data analytics, cloud computing, and machine learning also provide useful information to designers. 

While all these lead to greater CAD collaboration among the different users, suppliers, vendors, and manufacturers; it has amplified the chances of information leakage through all these channels. Vulnerabilities in such interconnections make it more challenging for the stakeholders to prevent or detect leakage of information.

When such sensitive information is leaked, it can cause damage beyond the brand and business operations. Given the high-scale impact of such damage, stakeholders should not view security as an after-thought but should make it an integral part of product realization.

Unique challenges related to security in the design industry

In the design and manufacturing industry, security to sensitive information poses limitations because of the unique features of the product. This includes:

Open Design – The engineering models involved in designing the products are readily available and accessible. This provides adequate information to the hackers about the system.

Interdependent sub-system – The interdependency among the suppliers, vendors, and other stakeholders makes it difficult to partition the system and share the information while preserving the sensitive information of the product.

Flexible system Architecture – As hackers become more sophisticated, and security solutions also evolve, it becomes necessary for the system architecture to be flexible and accommodative.

Challenges related to security in the design industry

Model integration – Model-based engineering requires the different models to be integrated. Integrating models working at different time scales is challenging from a security standpoint as it exposes the system to attacks that exploit the time differences between the models.

Design Iterations – Iterative design processes reveal unintended information, even if the information revealed is small.

Legacy systems Designers need efficient security solutions that do not limit the system functionality.

Dissimilarities in security – sensitive information need to be secure even though the stakeholders especially third-party vendors, suppliers, do not have similar security standards or resources to maintain them.

Real-time availability Availability of the product data among geographically distributed stakeholders is necessary and should have adequate security mechanisms in place.

All the above factors make CAD collaboration risky as there is always a high chance of CAD data being compromised knowingly or unknowingly when shared with 3rd party vendors, partners, and suppliers across the complex supply chains.

Access Control and CAD Data Protection

Access Control is a broad term that describes a variety of ways to control who has access to your organization’s resources. By restricting access to sensitive information or data, you will limit the potential risks associated with data exposure.

As different users work on or review CAD files, it is possible to control what they can do and who accesses the files. Even if the CAD files are shared with external third-party vendors and suppliers, you can still control who accesses the files without disrupting the normal functioning. CAD Viewers are used by engineers to review the design or drawing and provide their feedback to CAD Designers.

CAD Viewers offer users the ability to view, annotate, and sometimes edit various CAD file types such as DWG, STL, DXF, and IGES. Within CAD viewer software, designers can access all geometrical and metadata for a particular design file, which then enables them to make annotations, navigate layers and components, and measure distances, surfaces, and angles. CAD Viewer supports Siemens Teamcenter Vis, PTC Creo View, Solid Works eDrawing Viewer, SAP 3D Visual Enterprise Viewer. 

How HALOCAD Reader helps in CAD File Collaboration

HALOCAD Reader is a free standalone add-on for the native CAD applications which will be shared through a secured link upon request from the SECUDE sales team.

To request a HALOCAD reader visit https://secude.com/halocad-reader/

HALOCAD Reader can read protected files and always enforce “read-only” privileges for users who have at the minimum, view rights on the protected files. Labels cannot be set or changed.

To use HALOCAD Reader you need relevant CAD software and license.

Currently, HALOCAD Reader supports major CAD applications like Siemens NX, Solid Edge, PTC Creo, Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, and Bentley MicroStation. However, you cannot modify, print, copy, or export the CAD files.


Digital 3D modeling, computerized drawings, and digital files have improved the pace of the design and manufacturing industry. But, the worrying downside of such advancements is data theft. A good CAD Reader like HALOCAD can read protected CAD files and allow users with read-only privileges to access the file, thus protecting your precious CAD files while sharing with third-party vendors and suppliers.



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