How Blockchain Ensures Security of CAD Data and Beyond

The rapid advancements in digital technology have introduced many new challenges in data security. Especially in the manufacturing industry, since it is the field that actually makes things.

Today, manufacturing is stretched across the world because producers always seek a place with cheaper labor, more accessible resources, or easier taxation policies. This forms  production chains, with a huge amount of data flowing back and forth all the time. 

As companies and manufacturers get bound closer together, a single critical failure in the chain can disturb the whole system. The most vulnerable part here is CAD files. If malicious actors lay their hands on them, the market will be flooded with counterfeit items. Today, blockchain is a technology trustworthy enough to address the challenge and secure the data.

How does it work?

Blockchain technology is based on principles of decentralization, cryptography, and consensus. This is primarily the cause why blockchain-based transactions have become popular in the financial sector, with a projected market value reaching $39.7 billion by 2025. 

Secure transactions are the key for any enterprise, but they are hardly as important as a CAD file for a manufacturer. Let’s figure out how this technology can protect sensitive information.

Blockchain isa chain of data blocks stored in a distributed public database and linked together. The “distributed” part means that the data is spread among nodes in a network and no one can have direct access to it without other parties’ approval.

The blocks are “chained” cryptographically, meaning that every block stores information about the previous one in the form of a hash. This makes the technology tamper-resistant, as changing information in one block requires doing the same for the other blocks in the chain. Otherwise, they will stop “recognizing” the modified block, rendering the whole chain useless.

Another blockchain feature is that it timestamps files when moving them down the chain. It is also possible to digitally sign files by linking your ID to them. This is the method CADChain uses in our BORIS solution.

Our approach mainly focuses on analyzing the geometry of a CAD model and creating a geometric twin of a file. So we don’t store your file on blockchain, we operate solely with its twin, which is time-stamped and digitally signed with your ID. 

And even if ill-intentioned people manage to get access to your file, the ID and timestamps will serve as proof of ownership. This not only helps fight counterfeit but also serves as evidence in a court of law.

Blockchain use cases in data protection

There are quite a few ways to use blockchain-based systems, apart from safely storing data as CADChain offers. 

In the manufacturing industry, the usage of blockchain can help achieve better supply chain transparency. Sharing files with third parties on the other side of the planet may be risky. Doing so via blockchain makes it possible to track all the useful actions related to CAD files. So you will always know where exactly a problem occurred.

Another supply-related use case is management. Blockchain allows you to pre-verify supplier information, for example, automatically issuing data transfers when funds are delivered. This may also help when it comes to issuing permissions to load or unload cargo. 

Logistics may be simplified greatly with blockchain. For example, more than 150 transportation companies use the TradeLens blockchain system to oversee logistics worldwide. This helps  organize the work of thousands of people and operate large fleets of freighters, ensuring the on-demand supply of goods.

Decentralized databases on blockchain help mitigate the effect of data breaches. Many security breaches lead to catastrophic consequences just because companies tend to store all information in a single centralized base. The notorious Equifax breach could’ve been avoided if the technology had been accessible back in the day. 

Enhancing track and trace. The main use cases here are asset tracking and inventory management. Companies can use the technology to record and digitally sign materials, parts, and products. This not only provides end-to-end visibility but also ensures trust within the company’s working environment. 

Smart contracts are blockchain-based computer programs set to automate the execution of contracts when certain conditions are met. The programs are based on a simple code “if… then…” and are an alternative to paper contracts. The technology is already accepted by governments searching for ways to improve financial security. It also helps freelancers, as there are platforms such as Upwork that automate the whole process of hiring a person and paying them when the job is done. 

Factories, governments, and societies of the future will inevitably use blockchain in their daily routine. This is bound to happen simply because all devices are already interconnected. And building a safe and transparent blockchain infrastructure seems a logical thing to do.  Try our product Boris for CLO3D to enable your 3D designs protection.