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Do you need to protect your sensitive CAD files when collaborating with third-party vendors?

Cyberattacks are becoming a regular feature in the global market. The scale and variety of these attacks have grown considerably. The recent pandemic has spiked such attacks and many Covid-19 scams ranging from social media posts, smishing (small message phishing), phishing, ransomware, have skyrocketed this year.

According to the Beazly Breach Response report, the first quarter of 2020 has seen an increase in ransomware by 25% compared to Q4 2019. While no industry was immune, the manufacturing industry experienced the steepest increase among them accounting for 156% quarter on quarter.

During the pandemic, attackers are taking advantage of the fact that many employees are working from homesharing sensitive information with third-party vendors without the technical protections their corporates provide, and many organizational policies are not designed to protect against such distributed environments. Such cyberattacks cost time and money to the industrial firms and their customers.

With the manufacturing industry becoming extremely digitized and data-driven, they find themselves under serious attack. The complex nature of a multi-organizational dependency and data-management leaves the manufacturing industry vulnerable to supply-chain cyberattacks.  

Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry still does not seem to understand the underlying risk. It is time for a wake-up call to security for the manufacturing industry especially the supply chain management where there is much connection, integration, and interdependencies with third-party organizations.  

The importance of CAD files in manufacturing 

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files which were originally invented to help draftsman draw lines more efficiently has now evolved to become the cornerstone of all the design data that is produced for the manufacturing industry. 

CAD files help to design better products faster, with fewer errors and rework. These designs are easier to understand, modify, verify for fit, and function. In a nutshell, it visually explains how a product will look and function.

Earlier CAD drawings were approved by a physical signature on a print and stored in a drawing cabinet. To copy a file, you need to get permission to open the drawing cabinet, take a blueprint of the diagramand then it was mailed to external users.


Also, Read our blog Three Simple Tips to Keep Your CAD Files Safe and Secure


With the advances in technology, now digital drawings have replaced physical drawings. The proliferation of design tools has resulted in an explosion of data. Keeping track of these data produced by the design team and the CAD systems has now become an overwhelming task.

Simply because each drawing produces 100 individual files on your hard drive for every version and revision of the design. Even before you realize, these 100 files become thousands and so on.

As these CAD files are stored on some form of digital storage media – either a hard drive, a shared network drive, an email server, or a USB drive, these files are more prone to attack by hackers.

With so many copies easily available there are more chances of these designs/copies finding their way to other users, external suppliers, or even competition, with disastrous effects.

Security risks in sharing CAD files with third-party vendors

  • Digital Security risks – Sharing and accessing CAD files requires opening information systems to external users and this poses digital security threats that can lead to incidents that can disrupt the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of the CAD files. Sharing CAD files with suppliers and third-party vendors can harm the entire supply chain. As innovation is the life-blood in the manufacturing industry, industrial digital espionage will also increase, and sometimes these attacks may be designed to damage an organization’s reputation. 

 

  • Violation of IP and other interests – Enhanced access and sharing can lead to violating contractual and socially agreed terms of data re-use, and thus lead to acting against agreed expectations of the users. It can lead to fines due to privacy violations.
  • Violations in data re-use /Snooping – Even when organizations agree to specific terms in data sharing and re-use, sometimes a third-party may intentionally or unintentionally use the data differently.
  • Loss of control over data – This is the most important issue for both organizations and individuals. Once the data moves outside the information system of the original data holder there is less control over data. Data holders lose their capabilities to control how the data is used/re-used. The risks of loss of control are multiplied when data is further shared across multiple tiers across multiple locations.

To mitigate these risks while sharing CAD files with a third-party vendor, you need good security software like HALOCAD in addition to the legal formalities that organizations have to follow to keep their data safe.

How HALOCAD helps to secure your CAD files

While many products promise to secure CAD files shared in worldwide process chains using proprietary encryption, when you have already invested in Microsoft Office 365, you can leverage Microsoft Information Protection for your CAD files using a simple cost-effective connector – HALOCAD. 

Watch the 90-Secs DEMO of HALOCAD on how to protect sensitive CAD files collaborating with vendors.

  1. HALOCAD leverages Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) to encrypt CAD files. It fully supports the Rights Management System (RMS) implementation of Active Directory, Office 365, and Azure Active Directory.
  2. HALOCAD 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.
  3. HALOCAD enables Siemen’s Teamcenter and NX/Solid Edge applications to use Azure Information Protection (AIP) to encrypt the data files along with security label and privilege enforcement. HALOCAD is seamlessly integrated with Teamcenter PLM with CAD enabling the user to work transparently on the protected data files in the respective tools.
  4. HALOCAD enables CAD applications to use MIP directly when SAP is not the CMS in the background. It applies end-to-end protection of CAD files by applying MIP templates on the CAD files at the moment of its creation. Protected files can only be opened and modified by authorized users and thus, protection continues to remain even when the file is accessed by multiple users. The user’s rights are governed by pre-established policies. 

To learn more about how SECUDE’s HALOCD can protect your sensitive CAD drawings when collaborating with third party vendors get in touch with 

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