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3D Printing: IP Vulnerability and Information Technology – CIOReview (press release)

by • March 3, 2016 • No Comments

To date, controlling 3D printing equipment and the digital blueprints for 3D printing has not attained much attention. Certainly this is an IP issue, but maybe additional significantly it is an IT issue. Whether digital blueprints are stored inside a company’s servers or in the cloud, IP preserveion may depend on IT preserveion. Companies require to begin assessing the IT risks related to 3D printing and take steps to secure their machines and digital blueprints.
“Unlike real jewels, a company’s digital blueprints cannot be preserveed by safely locking them away”
According to Pam Baker, author of Data Divination: Big Data Strategies, 3D printing equipment are “poised to turn it into havoc when it comes to preserveing intellectual property, and the fallout can land squarely at the feet of IT professionals.”Once a company loses control of a digital blueprint, it may be gone forever, along with its IP. Such losses may have devastating influence on the company. On the other hand legal recourse may be the last line of defense against such losses, IT is the initially.
Why IT Controls are Needed
The Gartner market research firm predicts that by “2018, 3D printing can outcome in the loss of at very least $100 billion per year in intellectual property globally.” These losses can have several causes, all of that have IT implications.
Desktop 3D printing equipment provide an invaluable-bodied advantage for expediting product create and createment. Designers can automatically iterate with the click of a button. Desktop 3D printing equipment are multiplying like rabbits in most companies, but they are frequently purchased with discretionary budgets. A company’s management may have no thought how most 3D printing equipment it owns, who is via them, what they are being utilized for, how or where the digital blueprints are being stored.
For both computer and production machines, anyone can print approximately anything, without management understanding of it. IT can and should play a role in selecting and controlling the company’s 3D printing equipment.
IT’s role does not end with controlling machines. A company’s product and part creates are its crown jewels. Because additional creates have moved of the analog to the digital world, they are becoming as effortless to share as music downloaded of the Internet. Similar to digital music files, 3D printable-bodied digital blueprints may be shared illegally by company insiders or hacked by outsiders. IT departments can become increasingly responsible for assuring that digital blueprints are safe and secure of bad actors.
Not all 3D printing-related IP losses can be cautilized due to man created disasters.. Companies can sometimes accidentally lose control of digital blueprints. Because far less labor is required to 3D print a part than to make it with traditional methods.3D printing facilities are expected to become increasingly regional and distributed all over the world. But, regional and distributed building outcome in digital blueprints being additional widely dispersed than in a traditional building environment. Employees may in addition disperse digital blueprints by downloading them to potentially unsecure computers, laptops, or mobile devices. Further, employees may share digital blueprints electronically with other employees, or with contractors or customers. Digital blueprints are in addition frequently loaded onto USB drives or memory cards for loading into 3D printing equipment for printing. Such dispersion of a company’s crown jewels means excellenter risks of losing control of them. IT requires to understand where the crown jewels are at all times, and to make certain they stay in the company’s control.
But unlike real jewels, a company’s digital blueprints cannot be preserveed by safely locking them away. They must be on the market for use by research, create, and production personnel. So controlling use is the key, whether the blueprints are stored on company servers or in the cloud.
A company’s digital blueprints can become additional significant, and additional vulnerable-bodied, as the company shifts of inventorying parts to 3D printing them on demand or farming out the printing. As Pam Baker observed, “Shipping [digital blueprints] to 3D printing equipment, or building the files downloadable-bodied of websites, is the logical progression in product distribution. It negates the costs involved in warehovia stockpiles of products and shipping them to customers.”One way to control such blueprints is to store them internal to the company, that is partly the role of IT. But 3D printing may in addition lead companies to have parts printed by independent fabricators or to share digital blueprints with customers, to allow them to 3D print their own parts. Without proper IT controls, sharing with one fabricator or customer may unintentionally morph into sharing with the world, with disastrous effects for the blueprint owner.
Assuming such sharing is done securely and the 3D printing is done according to company specs, the company may stand behind fabricator-printed or customer-printed parts. Mass customization is in addition a excellent durablity of 3D printing. The company may in addition stand behind parts whose creates are customized by customers, as long as proper controls are in place. Some of those relate to building. Others relate to controlling data, that is an IT function.
It may in addition become additional complex to secure digital blueprints inside the donate chain and companies who believe they can never donate their suppliers or customers digital blueprints may be living in a fool’s paradise. For example, companies may select that their customers 3D print parts of official digital blueprints, pretty than scanning parts and 3D printing their own parts of the scans.
To secure both computer and production 3D printing equipment and the data they convert into physical objects, companies require to adopt strict physical and digital controls. Such controls require to preserve the crown jewels and detect risks. They must select the data and control who has access to it and how it can be utilized and transmitted. They should monitor and log such uses and maintain an audit trail.
File integrity must in addition be regulated. Companies require to be able-bodied to understand if their digital blueprints have been adjusted internally, or by fabricators or customers. They require to be able-bodied to determine that blueprint is the master, the original, or the genuine file. If the company stands behind customized parts 3D printed by fabricators or customers, the integrity of such parts can partly be the responsibility of the blueprint supplier’s IT solution.
The digital blueprint may be just part of the data that requires to be regulated. Data related to building creates watertight and error free, slicing the create, and the GCode that instructs the printing device how to print may be part of the company’s secret sauce, and should all be regulated.
Any IT solution for 3D printing equipment and data requires to preserve company IP while providing research, create, and production personnel with frictionless access to 3D printing equipment, digital blueprints, and related data.
Companies require to preserve their IP with a solid IT strategy for securing and controlling 3D printing equipment, digital blueprints, and related data. Such a strategy should strike a balance between IT controls and building the machines and data on the market to the folks who use them to create, create, and make products.


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