Many companies in the manufacturing and engineering environment use AutoDesk Inventor in their processes, and in these designs, they include highly sensitive and confidential information for them. They contain competitive information about the company, specifications and details that if they reach the hands of those who should not, can cause significant damage to the company.

AutoDesk Inventor and the challenge of protecting information in 3D CAD designs

AutoDesk Inventor AutoDesk is a 3D solid parametric modeling software developed by AutoDesk. It competes with other CAD programs such as SolidWorks, CATIA, Solid Edge or Pro / ENGINEER. It enables the building and testing of large and complex computer-aided model assemblies.

With Inventor it is possible to design parts, combine assemblies, correct them, obtain variants, etc. It is used in engineering design to produce and perfect new products. Allows you to model the geometry, dimension, material so that if the dimensions are altered, the geometry is automatically altered. It also allows you to build assemblies based on parts or subassemblies. Additionally, inventor has stress analysis by finite elements and dynamic analysis.

Inventor uses specific file formats for parts (.IPT), assemblies (.IAM), drawing view (.IDW and .DWG) and presentations (IPN), but the AutoCAD file format .DWG can be imported / exported as a sketch.

Many companies in the manufacturing and engineering environment use AutoDesk Inventor in their processes, and in these designs, they include highly sensitive and confidential information for them. They contain competitive information about the company, specifications and details that if they reach the hands of those who should not, can cause significant damage to the company.

As we already discussed in this blog article, these types of files are shared throughout the supply chain with internal users, subcontractors and external partners, customers, etc. It is difficult to maintain transparency over sensitive information in the design and manufacturing process, which increases the risk of leakage of intellectual property and trade secrets.

Companies working in this sector with AutoDesk Inventor require the ability to protect and control their 3D designs with product details, parts, etc. when shared internally and with other partners in the supply chain. Auditing access, controlling what they can and cannot do and being able to revoke access to designs when they stop working with a certain partner or when an employee leaves the organization.


How can SealPath help to protect information in Inventor?

SealPath protection for AutoDesk Inventor, through its SealPath Security Sandbox technology, adds persistent Information Rights Management (IRM) / Enterprise Digital Rights Management (E-DRM) protection to CAD designs no matter how they are shared within or outside the organization. The platform allows companies and engineering or design personnel to establish usage controls over designs (e.g., view only, edit, print, copy and paste, etc.), and monitor file usage.

Even though they are shared, the company protecting them will retain ownership of these designs so that if there is a potential risk of data leakage they can remotely delete these files or see who has attempted to access them without authorization. When you no longer wish to collaborate with these designs, the owner of the design can destroy it with a simple “click” of the mouse.

How does it work?

SealPath for AutoDesk Inventor is a solution that integrates with SealPath Enterprise SaaS and SealPath Enterprise On-Premise solutions. Users protect designs through the SealPath client by indicating the users, groups or domains with access to the information and their permissions (e.g. view only, edit, print, etc.). They can add expiration dates, and other controls such as offline access capability.

Protection can be manual or automatic, integrated with different information repositories: File servers, SharePoint, O365, G-Suite, Box, etc. In this case, just by storing or copying the designs in the repository they will be protected with the selected protection policy.

Once shared internally or with external partners, users can access the designs protected with AutoDesk Inventor, without external viewers. The user must first install the SealPath thin client with SealPath Security Sandbox technology, which will validate the user, control the user’s permissions and only allow the user to perform the actions permitted by the information owner. For example, you will not be able to export content, copy, or print it.

User permissions are displayed in a floating bar above the design. In case the user tries to perform an action that is not allowed he/she will receive a notification on screen indicating that the action is not allowed.

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On the other hand, the owner of the designs, will be able to see who is accessing, when, if someone tries to access without permissions, ultimately having full control of their files regardless of where they are.

What Inventor Versions and Formats is SealPath compatible with?

  • Supported Versions: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021. 64 bits.
  • Client Platform: Windows 7 to Windows 10.
  • Formats: .IPT, .IAM, IDW, .DWG.
  • Available Permissions: View, Edit, Export (STEP, PDF, Save As, etc.), Copy & Paste, Print (Plot, Batch Plot, 3D Print), Add Users.

SealPath is the only information protection solution for Inventor that supports designs with references to other parts or subassemblies contained in other files.

It allows importing files with external extensions from sources such as CATIA, SolidWorks, Pro / Engineer, etc.

It allows exporting files to other formats such as .DWF, .STEP, .JT, .SEP, etc.


SealPath for AutoDesk Inventor in conjunction with SealPath Enterprise On-Premise or SealPath Enterprise SaaS offers the following features:

  • Protection of CAD designs by controlling the identity of the user with access to the document and their permissions.
  • Assigning permissions to individual users, AD groups, domains (e.g. * or sub-domains.
  • Application of time controls, offline access, etc. to designs.
  • Facilities for sharing with external users: self-provisioning, sending personalized access invitations, etc.
  • Automatic protection of designs stored in repositories such as file servers, SharePoint, O365, G-Suite, Box, etc.
  • Manual protection by the user or in batch mode
  • Monitoring of file access, blocked access attempts, statistics, risk levels on protected documentation.
  • Real-time remote file access revocation by file or policy.
  • Integration and automation with other systems through SDK .Net and REST.
  • 100% On-Premise or SaaS/Cloud deployment possible.
  • Support of additional formats such as Office, PDFs (including 3D PDF), images, etc. through the SealPath Enterprise On-Premise or SaaS solution.
  • Integration with DLP tools (Symantec, ForcePoint, McAfee), SIEM, information classification, identity management, MDMs, etc.


Benefit Summary

SealPath for AutoDesk Inventor provides the following benefits in summary:

  • Prevent potential data leakage by controlling who can access designs and with what permissions.
  • Ability to monitor access and have complete visibility throughout the supply chain and when collaborating with partners or global engineering teams.
  • Ability to revoke access to information by preventing users from accessing it once they have left the organization or stopped collaborating with a partner.
  • Ease of use and management, allowing users to work with native CAD tools, without viewers, and with protection automation capabilities.

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