Perils of 3D Printing Technology

Perils of 3D Printing Technology

July 13, 2016 | 3D Printing, Computer Assisted Design

Cost, quality, and efficiency, these are the key metrics that any organization--be it a manufacturing company, financial institution or a service agency-- strives to improve, relentlessly. A sound operations management forms the basis of a fundamental strength of a company.

For manufacturing companies, it becomes all the more important to constantly improve the process management. Needless to say, operation and R&D managers are in a grinding pursuit of improving every aspect of the manufacturing processes through innovation, and sometimes, automation.

3D Printing is the latest innovation which helps streamlining manufacturing processes. The technology, which allows computers to direct the software embedded with a product design to multiple printers, creating an end product, stage by stage, from several types of materials like metals, plastics or even drugs, is the latest buzzword in high-tech manufacturing. New York University estimates that the 3D Printing industry now is a $4 billion business, with a potential to expand by four times, by the end of this decade.

The technology raises few security concerns though. As 3D printers connect to a network, possible cybercrime incidents such as hacking, theft of sensitive data (intellectual property) could badly damage a company.

You see, 3D printing process involves a computer assisted design, called as CAD file. A computer sends this CAD file to a printer or a set of printers. Now imagine, if any malicious insider or a third-party gains access to CAD file, and manages to alter codes or steals data then a company could face serious repercussions.

While an intentional alternation in a CAD file would lead to a defective production, resulting in product recalls and a loss of productivity, a possible breach of sensitive data might inflict material financial losses or even result in lawsuits.

The bottom-line: Firms need vigilance while adapting 3D printing technology. Just as organizations’ servers-- which form a large pool of data base--, remain vulnerable cyberattacks, CAD files are susceptible to malefactors.

 So, the next time, if a R&D or operation manager insists adapting 3D printing technology, Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Information & Security officer (CISO), needs to make sure implementation of proper cybersecurity and IT security measures. 


ARCON is a leading enterprise risk control solutions provider, specializing in risk-predictive technologies. ARCON | User Behavior Analytics enables to monitor end-user activities in real time. ARCON | Privileged Access Management reinforces access control and mitigates data breach threats. ARCON | Secure Compliance Management is a vulnerability assessment tool.

Need a solution for safeguarding critical IT assets? Please contact us

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