The Three Rules of Better Engineering Data Security

Occasionally cyber-security incidents make the news, but most go unreported. The numbers are staggering. The US Department of Homeland Security says US critical infrastructure experienced a 20% increase in cyber incidents in 2015 from the year before. Manufacturing was the most commonly attacked sector, representing 33% of all critical infrastructure cyber-security incidents. Manufacturing sites were attacked twice as often as the second-most attacked industry, energy.

Security experts says the most common approach to security—the IT equivalent of a single door with a strong lock—is a terrible idea. As cyber-security expert Kevin Mahaffey explained at the 2016 CeBIT Security conference in Hannover, the fortress of protection approach is not secure. “Big walls on the outside and nothing on the inside” is how he described it. Unfortunately, this is how many companies approach data security. But once that initial password screen is breached, the whole of manufacturing IT is there for the snooping or taking. Read More

When Helpdesk says it’s got you covered, who’s covering Helpdesk?

In the typical business, each department is responsible for its own productivity. Sure, there is an IT department that has ultimate responsibility for all digital resources, but software deployments specific to one operation, such as engineering, also have a helpdesk. By nature the helpdesk—whether it is one person or a team—is designed to be reactive, to be available on demand. But a world class helpdesk is also proactive, looking to solve problems before they happen. Two elements are key: Tools and procedures. “Tools” are the software products designed to manage, test, diagnose, and repair; “procedures” are the rules and routines known to solve problems in the least amount of time at the least possible cost.

Just as there are best practices in engineering, there are best practices in helpdesk support. I recently read a list of best practices published by the Help Desk Institute (HDI), a professional organization serving Technical Support Professionals. From a rather long list I pulled out six key attributes I thought were particularly relevant to companies that rely on enterprise document management software like Synergis Adept. Not only must the local helpdesk team have tools and procedures in place to serve their end users, but they must have the software development team available as a back-up and for those occasions where custom work is required. Read More

Data Efficiency as the Engine of Creativity

A revolution in IT is underway, pressured by four strong currents: big data analysis, the cloud, mobile devices, and social media. Because of the momentum of these trends, some engineering software companies now push their customers to port every bit of design and engineering data to cloud technology, so it can be reorganized for greater efficiency.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) products take this approach; they scrape every engineering document for every bit of information, and reassemble the pieces in a new database. According to this philosophy, the key to efficiency is data granularity; the more one breaks design information into its individual pieces the more efficient the organization becomes. A small army of consulting firms make a good living doing this for PLM customers.

But as the old adage states, the devil is in the details. Is a drawing or a 3D model just a geometry database that needs the information within to be extracted? Is every cell in a spreadsheet really longing to be liberated and moved to a PLM database? Does efficiency require scrambling the existing paradigm and changing work flow? No doubt, cloud technology has tremendous value when used correctly; the question becomes how to use it wisely.

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What is Your Company’s Risk in the New Data Management Age?

“No matter how smoothly your data management systems may work today, the savvy CAD manager should keep in mind that things change constantly, and a new set of data management challenges are always on the horizon. The question is, how can you proactively plan for them?”

That’s Robert Green’s advice in his latest article on Data Management.

  • Data is exploding at an alarming rate…especially in the CAD environment.
  • IT is not always fully-attuned to the data management needs of CAD professionals…and that’s getting more and more dangerous every day.
  • Cloud storage is raising a whole new list of questions…many of which are going unasked and unanswered.
  • New standards and security measures must be implemented…but are being ignored at most companies.

What is your company’s risk in the new data management age?

Robert Green provides you with all the questions you should be asking and 6 crucial action steps you must take to reduce your company’s exposure.

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