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Classifying and Protecting Computer Aided Design with Microsoft Information Protection
Published Nov 05 2019 06:58 AM 14.2K Views

Intellectual property can reside in various types of document formats. While a significant amount of business-critical information resides in Office and PDF formats, in certain industry verticals intellectual property also exists in  Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) diagrams and artifacts.  As customers have adopted Microsoft Information Protection solutions for their data classification, labeling, protection, and monitoring needs, a common request has been to  extend the same usage paradigm to CAD and CAM authoring tools. Product blueprints and designs are critical in the global supply chain and change hands regularly, both within and outside company boundaries; securing these assets at the same level as Office documents and PDF becomes paramount.


Our approach to address the CAD and CAM market

Based on customer input on how to address this challenge, we are taking a dual pronged approach, in which we will work key vendors to help them develop native information protection experiences within their applications, as well as encouraging partners to solve the integration paradigm across multiple vendors .

Figure 1 : Integration paradigms with CAD solutionsFigure 1 : Integration paradigms with CAD solutions



An example of this type of integration effort is our partnership with Secude A.G. Secude’s HaloCAD  solution not only integrates as a Microsoft Information Protection  add-in into content authoring environment but works as an add-on into the content repository and implement information protection policies with such repositories. Secude has had a track record in bringing the value proposition of Microsoft Information Protection capabilities to SAP environments - when exporting sensitive information from a SAP environment, it get the appropriate sensitivity label and protection policies. As part of our ongoing engagement, Secude’s HaloCAD solution not only integrates with tools like Autodesk to apply Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels on CAD files but also applies the label to the content repository where the engineering processes for storing and sharing CAD content are kept.


Secude’s HaloCAD solution

The HaloCAD solution integrates with both CAD content repositories and within the authoring environments. The integration with CAD content repositories currently includes:

  • PTC Windchill

In addition, HaloCAD solution integrates as an add-in into CAD applications, including: :

  • AutoDesk AutoCAD
  • AutoDesk Inventor
  • PTC Creo

The team at Secude has plans to integrate with several such CAD authoring environments.  With Secude’s integration, the extension of the CAD files does not change. For example, when authoring a CAD diagram,the Autodesk application generates a dwg file, and when the file is protected by Secude’s add-in, the add-in preserves the extension of the file, thereby allowing users not to see the difference and workflow is not disrupted. When an un-authorized user is using an AutoCAD application without the HaloCAD add-in, they will not be able to open the document, even though the application the protected CAD document as a *.dwg file.  When opening protected documents, the HaloCAD solution integrates with Azure Active Directory for user authentication; if the user is authorized by the organization’s policy then the user can open the document and proceed to author changes in the CAD diagram.

Figure 2: HaloCAD add-in into AutoDesk InventorFigure 2: HaloCAD add-in into AutoDesk Inventor


Figure 3 HaloCAD addin into PTC CreoFigure 3 HaloCAD addin into PTC Creo


With the HaloCAD add-in, users can easily apply, change, and remove Microsoft Information Protection-based sensitivity labels,and underlying protection actions such as encryption, with the click of a button.

Secude offers a free version of the HaloCAD add-in to facilitate the ease of opening and viewing of sensitive CAD diagrams and models. Howeverusers cannot change labels when only consuming (viewing) the content.

If you would like us to explore more integration options with CAD/CAM solutions, please provide feedback in the comments of this blog.  For more information about the integration capabilities and the plugin please got to the following site and to request a Proof of Concept:




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‎May 11 2021 02:05 PM
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