The Minimalist’s Guide to File Security

14 Oct, 2015 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager Column: Keep your data safe by checking these key parameters.



As our day-to-day work becomes more complex, there is a human tendency to skip the things that seem simple. In a CAD management context, we spend ever more time dealing with intricate software deployments, while glossing over very basic needs, such as securing our data.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll give you a high level checklist of some basic but essential file security measures you need in your CAD environment. As we go, I'll provide some contextual examples for each scenario to provoke thought and self-auditing of your security controls. Here goes.

File Security is Paramount

To begin, let's start with this assertion: All the high tech tools in the world are worthless if you lose your files.

While file security may not be glamorous, you must be proactive when dealing with your data. Thankfully, tracking file security risks and establishing a preemptive action plan is simply a matter of auditing your current situation, and then dealing with any gaps detected. We'll need to address how to:

  • stop accidental file deletion/overwrite,
  • avoid cloud data risks, and
  • implement reliable data backup procedures.

Let's expand these topics into a series of action items that you must take to ensure high file security. Your task is to consider any areas where your security controls are deficient so you can start taking corrective actions.

Stop Accidental Deletion/Overwrite

By far, the number one cause of file security problems I've experienced is accidental deletion and/or overwriting of files. If you do nothing else, take strong action against these problems by considering the following:

Stop C drive hoarding. The surest way to lose files is to let users store large caches of data on their C drives. When users copy/move files from network drives to their own drives, chances increase exponentially for multiple users to work on the same file at the same time and eventually overwrite needed data. If someone violates the "no C drive" policy, put them on notice immediately!

Stop cloud hoarding. When users copy files to their own cloud data storage utilities (such as Dropbox or OneDrive), the possibility of accidental deletion or overwrite is just as high as it is for the C drive case. Simply put, when users start copying files from your controlled network drives to their personal storage, trouble will be with you soon. Consider unauthorized cloud storage violations the same way you would a C drive storage violation.

Review network folder security. Most projects use a directory structure to manage files, and some of those directory folders contain files that are project standards (such as blocks, families, standard parts, submodels, and the like) that should never be deleted. The surest way to deal with these types of accidental deletions is to review your network security group structures to keep standards secure. As a side note: Don't just make the standards folders delete-protected; rather, keep them nonwritable if possible so no one can add nonstandard content into the folder in the first place.

While you can't eliminate accidental deletion, you can greatly minimize it by ensuring the above procedures are in place. By minimizing accidental deletion, you'll have fewer panic moments and won't have to rely as much on your backups.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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