The Yin and Yang of Security and External Collaboration

The principal of Yin and Yang has been around for centuries. Opposite things can be interconnected and interdependent which then form a complementary dynamic; day and night, hot and cold, product and engineering, progress and failure, structure and function.

Or most importantly in my case, according to my grandmother, should I be a wiley temptress and be like a magnet (yin) that draws men to me, or should I be a bee that chases (yang) after men?

All kidding aside, this balance applies to a plethora of things; today between physical and digital, and in digital between 2D and 3D.

Thanks to 3D we’re on a whole new frontier of innovation for businesses.

For example, the worlds largest industrial companies like GE, Ford, and Airbus are reinventing themselves through 3D printing applications, while the world’s largest digital companies like Facebook and Microsoft are changing the game with a multitude of AR and VR applications.   

Airbus 3D printed satellite bracket design

Ok so that’s great and all, but where’s the downside?

As they say, any new innovation presents new risks. I’d be toying with you if I said otherwise.

In this new digital realm, security risks and stealing IP is prevalent. A company’s 3D files, their crown jewels, can be reduced to a simple copy and paste function, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars!

But before we get into the nitty gritty of that, let’s take a quick look at how 3D is our Moses forging this new path to the promised land.

Everything is 3d printed

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of printing, layer by layer, any three-dimensional object based on a digital file. Today we can 3D print almost anything; any color, material or shape.

A molecular biologist from the University of Victoria is printing brain tissue with “bio ink”, the Marines are printing Nibbler drones to offer surveillance and carry supplies, and aerospace and automotive companies are prototyping and printing spare parts.

Augmenting the Physical World

Augmented reality (AR) takes your view of the real world and adds digital information and/or data on top of it.

Construction companies use AR to have constantly updated blueprints, measurements, and data, medical students can navigate through human anatomy without touching a physical being, and online retailers can provide consumers with a virtual fitting room to try clothing on before buying.

These are just a couple of examples illustrating how 3D applications are driving this new frontier, and changing the way business operate and innovate.

External collaboration and security risks

In this increasingly global and competitive economy companies thrive on collaboration with contractors, vendors, and customers, which exponentially increases the risk of IP theft; and with cyberattacks on the rise, this problem will continue to grow.

Businesses today aren’t prepared to address cyber threats because they make the mistake of overlooking data protection as a significant legal obligation and risk management issue when devising their outsourcing strategy.

Companies must take proactive steps to govern their information and prepare accordingly when collaborating with third party vendors and contractors.

Next Steps: Secure External Collaboration and Rights Management

With all of this in mind, how can companies protect their 3D data when outsourcing work?

Companies need to have the 4 W’s for control

-Who has access to their file

-Where they are accessing the file

-When they accessed it

-What they can do with it (view, edit, print, etc…)

….And they need to do all of this while still maintaining work efficiency.

3D artists and designers spend years building custom workstations, enabling them to be as efficient as possible. This means custom RAM, multiple graphics cards, and surface interfaces.

Companies outsourcing work need a secure and EASY method for enabling the contractors and vendors to work in their own environment- meaning their own platforms using their own tools, shortcuts, and capabilities.

But what about the contractors and vendors? Companies aren’t the only ones getting the hard end of the stick…

It’s very common for contractors in architecture, engineering, and construction as well as media and entertainment to send over bids (detailed 3d models) for a potential project, told they didn’t get the job, and then see their work being used by that same company.

How can 3rd parties ensure that they get credit for their work and that their secret sauce isn’t spread to competitors like the plague?

They need a secure method to send bids and contracts stating IP ownership assignment for all components of the project upon bid acceptance.

Shaping the future of 3D collaboration

We are dedicated to making this dream of secure 3D collaboration on both fronts a reality.

We are facilitating outsourcing in a secure and easy manner. IP owners can efficiently contract work out to 3rd parties without risk of their property getting stolen, while still enabling those 3rd parties to work in their own environment.

Most solutions make companies feel overwhelmed by the complexity surrounding these threats. 

Our solution takes the guesswork out of the equation. Contractors and vendors simply access the 3D file through our platform, open it in their 3d software program of choice, and work as they normally do.

No need to train them on how to use certain softwares or security protocols.

In the end it all comes down to the Yin and Yang of progress. The light side is innovation and the dark side is destruction. The one cannot exist without the other, but too often we focus our attention on the light and try to ignore the dark.

We need to shape a future that champions creation, innovation, and success, but also recognizes and actively prevents the opportunity for destruction and failure.

I think my good old buddy Kramer from Seinfeld says it best,

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