Engineering and Manufacturing IP Security
No company is immune from the possibility of cybercrime and data theft. Engineering data is a manufacturing company’s crown jewels; making sure data is always secure, even while taking advantage of the latest cloud and mobile technology, must be a top priority. Security does not mean lack of accessibility.
Some engineering-driven companies are more open to security problems due to reluctance to update software and IT infrastructure to modern capabilities. These same companies are also more likely to treat engineering IT as “their problem” and not include it in more general IT oversight.
If poorly managed or neglected, IP security can lead to lost production. Incorrectly configured firewalls, viruses, or outdated system patches become open doors. Older PLM systems were built with data, speed, and functionality in mind; security was a minor concern limited to user access rights. Today’s global networks, dispersed workforce, and cloud and/or mobile access to manufacturing data completely changes the security scene.
Razorleaf understands IP security for engineering environments. We know the external firewall provided by corporate IT is not enough; engineering data needs its own safeguards. Your PLM or PDM system must be separately protected from unwanted entry with multiple layers of security.
Creating an IP Immune System
Think of security as the equivalent of the immunity system in the human body. The skin is just the first layer of protection. Each organ and functional system has its own immunity elements. The organ that controls it all, the brain, has its own separate security protocol, the blood-brain barrier. Your engineering IT needs to operate in a similar fashion. If the “skin” of your company is breached, the engineering data inside should still be secure.
Proper security for engineering data does not mean one more module in a PLM system. Security should not be an overlay; it should be embedded into all systems at the lowest possible level. Security should never be separate from any aspect of using, managing, and storing data.
An engineering data system based on finding files in folders on a network is a recipe for security disaster. Once the external firewall is breached, these files become easy pickings. A comprehensive IT security solution for engineering/manufacturing data will include the user, the PLM/PDM software, and the network, as well as such areas as application layer interfaces and interconnecting systems (such as PLM to SCM).
There is no out-of-the-box solution for security in engineering and manufacturing. The software in use, the number of sites sharing data, the corporate IT policy and the standards for personal use of company data are three of the many issues that must be solved on a case-by-case basis. Each PLM and PDM product has built in security for access and user rights; this level of security must be supported by the surrounding IT infrastructure.
Tailor the Solution to the Infrastructure
Because PLM stores all data in a relational database, it can apply security down to the object level. PDM products are based on file management, so the built-in level of protection extends to the file, not generally to individual objects or fields inside a document. Most data management software also offers support for workflow-level and user-based security.
Razorleaf can help you create a reliable, multi-level engineering IT security system, to consistently track, guard and efficiently deliver engineering data. We may recommend updates to engineering change instruction processes or a complete overhaul of your project management system.