In today’s fast-paced and interconnected business environment, product design and development are crucial in helping businesses stay competitive and innovative. Whether it’s developing cutting-edge technologies or creating state-of-the-art solutions, many companies use Computer-Aid Design (CAD) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software to optimize the design processes and ensure effective product management from ideation to retirement. As product designs contain highly confidential information that is shared internally with employees and externally with partners and suppliers, they are often considered the organization’s intellectual property (IP). Due to an increasing threat of IP theft and data breaches, it is imperative for organizations to prioritize protecting CAD and PLM data for the sake of their long-term success.

The importance of Protecting CAD and PLM Data

Securing the Company’s Most Valuable Secret

Product designs symbolize a company’s years of research, development, expertise, and creativity, making them a highly valuable intellectual property (IP). Safeguarding confidential product information in CAD and PLM files from wrongful disclosure, throughout its lifecycle and across the extended enterprise, is vital. However, once CAD and PLM data is shared beyond its origin, maintaining control over its security becomes difficult. Since data can be downloaded, copied, and accessed by different users, it can lead to intellectual property theft, which strongly affects the company’s performance. Therefore, it is crucial to implement robust security measures to protect CAD and PLM data at every stage of its lifecycle.

Navigating Extended Sharing

Across a global supply chain, collaboration that involves sharing CAD and PLM data with internal employees, external partners, suppliers, and contractors is crucial for the sustainable growth of businesses. This external sharing, however, presents the risk of intellectual property (IP) leakage or theft, posing significant business losses. Indeed, each participant in the supply chain may have different security measures, which creates potential security vulnerabilities to organizations. To counteract these risks, implementing a robust and centralized data protection system is necessary for the need to balance between sharing information and safeguarding sensitive assets. Using a dynamic data-centric security model ensures that critical information in CAD and PLM files are protected as they are accessed by different users and moved across different systems within the supply chain.

Ensuring Business Compliance Readiness

Achieving an end-to-end protection of CAD and PLM files is of utmost importance since it plays a critical role in ensuring business compliance readiness. In the current digital area, breaches or wrongful disclosure of such critical and proprietary data are on the rise, and they pose significant threats to organizations, causing reputational damage, legal consequences, and financial losses. To avoid those risks companies should consider implementing robust security access control, encryption, and auditing mechanisms, which allow them to meet different stringent regulations and compliance requirements. In addition, controlling access dynamically allows organizations to quickly adapt to changing requirements. Enhanced transparency and monitoring can also contribute to audit readiness, enabling companies to efficiently maintain comprehensive audit trails and simplify investigations. By protecting CAD and PLM files, enterprises can effectively adhere to compliance requirements and ensure their preparation to handle potential data leakage.

A Powerful Security Model to Secure CAD and PLM assets

An Enterprise Data Digital Rights Management (E-DRM) model addresses enterprises’ data protection needs, allowing secure collaboration and sharing of business information with internal and external teams. With E-DRM technology, organizations can protect its critical data by automating the protection of content shared and downloaded from cloud platforms, access control, sharing, editing files on the end user’s device, and secure confidential data in the cloud. While E-DRM is already an efficient approach to protecting unstructured data, like product assets, applying Zero Trust principles to this security model will take data protection to a more powerful level. With the integration of zero trust principles, including “never trust, always verify,” “assume breach,” and “least privileged access,” with E-DRM, organizations can add an additional layer of security and control, enabling constant validation of access, proactive detection of any irregularities, restricted permissions to authorized individuals for the company’s IP.

Benefits of E-DRM with Zero Trust Principles

Implementing Zero Trust principles in E-DRM architecture is crucial in today’s dynamic digital environment to safeguard confidential business assets. This powerful security system provides significant advantages to enterprises that heavily rely on electronic documents not only for information sharing and distributing but also for seamless collaboration with partners and clients without concerning about data leakage. Implementing Zero Trust principles in E-DRM architecture is crucial in today’s dynamic digital environment to safeguard confidential business assets. This powerful security system provides significant advantages to enterprises that heavily rely on electronic documents not only for information sharing and distributing but also for seamless collaboration with partners and clients without concerning about data leakage.

Granular Access Control

Through the adoption of zero trust principles in E-DRM model, companies can establish a granular access control using Attributed-Based Access Control (ABAC). ABAC dynamically evaluates the context of each access requests, taking into various attributes such as user identities, device characteristics, and environmental conditions, providing greater flexibility and security compared to the traditional access control that has static rules for access. This aligns perfectly with the principle of least privilege access, giving users only the necessary permissions to perform their tasks and minimizing the potential threat caused by unauthorized access, data breaches, and IP theft. Real-time evaluation of access requests based on users’ needs and the sensitivity level of CAD and PLM files strengthens data protection and persistently keeps the confidentiality and integrity of all sensitive data assets.

Secure Collaboration with Internal and External Teams

One of the key benefits of applying zero trust principles to E-DRM to protect CAD and PLM files is the ability to enable secure collaboration between internal teams, external partners, and global stakeholders. The “never trust, always verify” principle ensures that every access request is always authenticated and authorized to reduce the potential threat caused by unauthorized access and data exposure. By continuously verifying user identities and device integrity, E-DRM can establish a more collaborative environment where CAD and PLM data protection is prioritized. Additionally, the integration of E-DRM with “least privilege access” principle grants users the minimum entitlements necessary to perform specific tasks in the files. By strictly enforcing access controls, E-DRM prevents the risk of overprivileged access and misuse of confidential CAD/PLM product assets. Combining zero trust principles to E-DRM enables a smoother and stronger partnership among authorized participants along with boosting workplace productivity and increasing business agility.

Proactive Threat Detection and Response

Zero Trust principles, particularly the “assume breach” principle, integrates with E-DRM significantly strengthens the protection mechanism for CAD and PLM data. By assuming a breach has already happened, E-DRM will implement multiple layers of defense, such as advanced threat detection to allow organizations continuously check and track user activity and information interaction in the CAD and PLM files. Utilizing centralized management in combination with E-DRM enables swift actions, boosting the company’s overall security posture and providing them with greater confidence in protecting CAD and PLM product assets in the face of sophisticated data attacks.

Compliance and Regulatory

Following strict regulatory requirements and compliance obligations is essential, especially for companies handling CAD and PLM files. Incorporating the zero trust principles in Enterprise Digital Rights Management (E-DRM) technology can ensure that strict regulatory requirements will be met through the automatic application of security controls. In addition, monitoring and audit access by centrally tracking IP usage across the partner network will provide insights into potential issues before they occur and increase visibility for compliance. With E-DRM powered by zero trust principles, companies can proactively prevent the potential risk of penalties associated with data breaches and build long-term trust among partners and customers.

To read more about Enterprise Digitial Rights Management for PLM and CAD assets protection, visit Digital Rights Management for PLM & CAD Applications.