CAD Manager's Newsletter (#451)

12 Aug, 2020 By: Robert Green

Whose CAD Is It, Anyway? Part 3

A recent attack on GPS juggernaut Garmin shows that any company can be vulnerable to potential losses when data is stored in the cloud.

In the last two editions of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I posed several questions about how our CAD tools and data are managed, with the core debate being whether the cloud is a good idea or not. I then opened the floor to debate via email and my CAD Managers Unite! Facebook group. The feedback indicated that there is broad debate out there about the inevitability — and trustworthiness — of combining CAD with the cloud.

This time around, I'll discuss a cautionary tale drawn from recent headlines, share some great comments I received about cloud-based CAD, and draw a few conclusions along the way. Here goes.


The Recent Garmin Debacle

I don't know if any of you noticed, but a couple of weeks ago, GPS device manufacturer Garmin was taken totally offline by a ransomware attack. This had the results of shutting down the company's subscription data services; applications including pilot flight planning, maritime navigation maps, fitness trackers, and a variety of third-party tools that linked to Garmin services were offline for as much as two weeks.

This episode forces me to draw the following conclusions:

• Cloud data corruption/loss/interruption can happen to any company, even a large and well-established one. Garmin is a huge player in the industry, and if it can be taken totally offline, then so can your CAD vendor. In fact, big companies, such as Garmin or Wells Fargo, have been targeted more frequently than small companies.
• Services delivered via cloud can be fundamentally disrupted at high cost to you. Nobody will go broke because they can't track their bike ride on a fitness watch, but aircraft that couldn't file flight plans and ships that couldn't obtain the latest navigation maps experienced profound disruptions. Will Garmin compensate them for their loss? Not likely, given the terms of service in their standard product agreements.
• If your data resides on the vendor's server, you may lose it. It seems as if Garmin recovered much of their data, but there is conflicting information about whether they did so by paying off the attacker, and nobody knows how much confidential data may have been compromised as a result.

Because of these factors, given the choice between trusting my data to somebody else or securing it and backing it up myself, the latter option seems more conservative. Is this paranoid rambling on my part? Certainly not — this type of incident is happening more and more often. Think on it. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Alex Herrera Provides Guidance on VR/AR for CAD
For decades, virtual reality (VR) has conjured compelling applications that promised to change the way we live and work. VR — and its sister solution, augmented reality (AR) — have struggled to live up to that potential, however. A new free guide, "Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for CAD," compiles guidance from industry expert Alex Herrera, who shares insights and predictions about how VR/AR is overcoming the challenges of the past, where the technology is heading, and how it might help you.

What's New at

Lenovo, AMD Partner to Introduce the First Ryzen Threadripper PRO Workstation
Based on AMD's new workstation-specific Threadrippper PRO processor, the ThinkStation P620 is a high-core-count, single-socket platform that promises performance for multithreaded and lightly threaded workloads alike. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Chiplet Architectures Emerge as One Arrow in Industry Quiver of Technologies Extending Compute Performance
As the trend described by Moore's Law approaches its inevitable end, CAD users and other compute-hungry professionals need the industry to find ways to deliver generation-to-generation improvements in performance. Read more »

Sponsored: With New Reverse-Engineering Capabilities, VGSTUDIO MAX Makes CAD Models from CT Scans
New scan-to-CAD capabilities and enhanced digital volume correlation in version 3.4 of Volume Graphics' industrial CT software support simulation validation and creation of part digital twins. Read more »

Advocating Innovation in Trying Times, Siemens Accelerates Xcelerator Portfolio, Part 2
NX software, part of Siemens's Xcelerator portfolio, adds unconstrained concept design sketching within the 3D environment. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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