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The Security Implications of 3D Printing
When not designed and enforced properly, your IT security can have vulnerabilities and holes that allow unauthorized access to your critical data. Customer credit cards, company financials, strategic plans, and product designs may be obtained by competitors and prove cataclysmic to your organization. The risk increases to the extent that your organization processes information. A bank that suffers information theft may be able to point to that event as the reason they go out of business. For a manufacturing firm, loss of data does not necessarily mean loss of product control… but it could lead to that.
With more and more houses using 3D printers to “print” a product from a design file, it is now relatively easy to enable another entity to quickly generate your product with their name on it) without you even knowing it. And it is easier than you would hope… the most notorious file sharing sites, The Pirate Bay, now has an area for “3D Designs.” This means if your product design gets out, it could be copied freely like MP3 music files are now. While there is admittedly not a large market now for 3D printing, it is a growing manufacturing area that will attract pirates who can obtain your design source files, and easily run them locally to generate an identical product to the one you produce. They can start where you left off with “improving” the product and creating their own offering based on your initial labor.
A video of how these printers work can be seen here…
The bottom line for manufacturers is that they need step up their security protocol to protect themself, showing the same concern about piracy and security as the recording industry does. It means ensuring that you are kept updated on operating systems and their patches; applying security rules to limit access, improving physical and logical access to systems and data, and other measures. As the recording industry has shown, once the cat is out of the bag it is almost impossible to put it back, so looking at your system now and getting ready has to be in your plans.
If you would like an opportunity to discuss how you can put the right systems and polices in place, feel free to drop me an email or place your feedback below.