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How LTO tape can safeguard 3D printing intellectual property and help forge new revenue streams

With the 3D printing industry projected to be $40-50 billion by 2025, find out why LTO Ultrium tape is the perfect solution for protecting 3D IP and helping forge new revenue streams.

3D printing is going to transform society and business. 3D printing will permit more people to manufacture objects than ever before, leading some experts to refer to its potential as the Second Industrial Revolution. The value of the 3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), market could be worth somewhere between $40-50 billion by 2025.

But markets that grow fast often generate unforeseen challenges as users adapt and invent workflows. And a recent report, Aviation Cybersecurity highlights how 3D printing will create new cyberrisks that will almost certainly need strategic focus.

There have been several research projects covering cybersecurity vulnerabilities in AM. In one project, researchers found that it was possible to compromise either the printer or the design in such a way that the product was weakened in a manner undetectable with standard quality control methodologies. A different set of researchers demonstrated the ability to weaken a design by accelerating the fatigue life of a propeller so that it failed catastrophically after two minutes of use.

If left unguarded, AM workflows are vulnerable to compromise through multiple means. These include—but are certainly not limited to—disruption or deletion of firmware or product design, the compromise of intellectual property or sabotage of the printing process with the intention to weaken the products.

And as the use of 3D printing becomes pervasive across multiple industries, almost every kind of business will need to consider how they will protect their intellectual property and minimise the risk of cyber sabotage. Many of these companies may be smaller "makers" unused to thinking about cybersecurity issues.

Mitigate risk and create new value using LTO Ultrium Tape

The answer is simple.  LTO Ultrium tape. The marriage of this proven, reliable storage solution with cutting-edge additive manufacturing methods is compelling for addressing AM cybersecurity issues. Tape can guard against both the theft of 3D printing intellectual property as well as deliberate attempts to tamper with designs in such a way as to weaken or damage the finished output.

Whilst tape cannot address malicious interference with the actual printing process itself—e.g. if a hacker was able to intercept data being sent between host and printer, tape is a very effective means of protecting 3D intellectual property at rest. With built-in AES-256 LTO hardware encryption, data can be secured while writing to backup or archive, and once offline, it’s all but immune to digital tampering unless one was able to steal the physical cartridge itself. And even that would be pointless without the requisite encryption keys.

Keeping the CAD file offline and encrypted guards against hackers building in failure points in critical areas without the designers’ knowledge, which would then be included in any object printed from that file. For example, the ACAD/Medre.A worm steals CAD files; another example, CryptoLocker Malware, infects a file and locks it, rendering it inaccessible to the user unless a ransom is paid. Storing CAD designs on LTO tape would neutralise those threats completely.

Tape’s core strengths align with AM cybersecurity requirements

  • The most cost-effective and scalable storage:  It seems that LTO tape is a perfect fit for the ‘spare parts forever’ scenario that I described above. It would not make any sense to keep component levels for a for a long obsolete product on an expensive piece of storage like a flash array. Such a request might only be received a handful of times per year and the timing of those requests would typically be entirely non-linear. But information stored on LTO tape can be retained for up to 30 years - and to all intents and purposes indefinitely if the data is migrated to newer formats. Whilst the cost of storing that file is only a fraction of a cent, the value to the customer will be far greater.
  • Simple and appropriate access: Nor is fast access to that design likely to be a paramount requirement for a customer who could have a 3D print task lasting several hours or even days awaiting them once they have downloaded the AM instructions. Linear Tape File System (LTFS) makes viewing the contents of a tape as easy as navigating a Windows, Linux or Mac desktop environment. A retrieval time of several minutes from archive tape is a perfectly acceptable trade off for being able to download the design for a component that otherwise would have been consigned to history. And of course, the supplier could always keep recently downloaded files on a disk cache in an "active archive" solution should some event happen to trigger a higher volume of requests—for example, the re-appearance of a classic toy in a movie or hit TV show.
  • Keep and make availability legacy IP for profit: A number of solutions are being investigated to find ways of ensuring that customers who download a 3D printing CAD file cannot then simply copy or modify that information in an unauthorised manner—much like a streaming music service such as Spotify allow customers to fully access and listen to songs but not to duplicate or modify the source file itself. Tape could be the backbone of this innovation.
  • Tape is faster than disk for streaming: This kind of workflow will be increasingly valid in the future for products and parts that may only ever have existed as CD or 3D printed designs. Some of these CAD design files can be very large—not large as in HD video but easily in excess of a few hundred megabytes. And the flexibility of CAD design and 3D prototyping makes it easy to generate lots of them. Again, tape is the ideal format for the fast streaming and efficient storage of these large individual files—more so than disk—and even the most prolific AM design process can be accommodated by Qantum Scalar i3 and i6 Scalable and Overland NEOxl LTO-8 tape libraries with their multi-petabyte capabilities.

 

LTO-8 Tape Libraries and LTO-8 Tape Drives

 

Contact your BackupWorks.com Account Rep today at 866 801 2944 and ask about LTO-8 Tape.

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