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Why Secure Enterprise File Sharing Is Essential to the Manufacturing Process

manufacturingplantworkspaces_squareIntellectual property is among your business’ most valuable assets, the data your competitors would most like to get their hands on. After all, what better way to beat out rivals than by rushing their product to market before everyone else? It happens more often than you’d think.

One of our clients, for example, is an industrial parts producer. Several years ago, it was working on a revolutionary new component, one that could have put it ahead of the market. Confident in its new design, the company attended a global trade show … and saw an overseas competitor showcasing its product on the floor.

What happened was simple. Though many American businesses design their products in the United States, the goods are manufactured in China and Southeast Asia. The volatile state of IP in that region aside, the manufacturers contracted by these organizations face a few challenges.

First, they’re making goods for a bunch of different companies, many of which are in direct competition with one another. Second, there are countless manufacturers with the same capabilities, often within the same city. What that means is that if you send a design to a manufacturer without proper precautions, one of two things will happen:

  1. The design will end up in the hands of a competitor, who will then manufacture it for themselves.
  1. An unscrupulous employee will take your design down the street to a different factory, which will produce identical knockoffs by the time your product goes to market.

Regardless of what industry you work in, this threatens your entire business model. It’s not as though you can simply stop using these manufacturing facilities, however. To do so would put you at a major competitive disadvantage.

apparel-manufacturing_squareOne of our customers, a large global apparel and sportswear designer, has found a solution through BlackBerry Workspaces, our secure enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) platform. At factories where their products are being produced, the company issues iPads, preinstalled with Workspaces, to the workers. When workers need to consult a design document, they do so through Workspaces.

This allows the designer to apply several layers of protection to their intellectual property:

  • Authentication control prevents files from being accessed by or shared with any unauthorized parties.
  • Access to each design document automatically expires at the end of each workday. Even if an employee took an iPad home, they’d be unable to access any sensitive files.
  • Logging and tracking functionality keeps the designer apprised of any suspicious activity – i.e. files being accessed at the factory down the street instead of the primary facility.
  • Dynamic, onscreen watermarks ensure any employee who attempts to capture a screenshot or take a picture of the design can be readily identified.
  • View-only access ensures that files aren’t downloaded to the device, but are instead viewed in a secure workspace.

A two-time visionary in Gartner’s EFSS Magic Quadrant and a leader in Forrester’s EFSS Wave Report, BlackBerry Workspaces ensures that no matter who a document is shared with, it won’t wind up in the hands of a competitor. For businesses that routinely rely on unique product designs, this is absolutely critical, especially where outsourcing of manufacturing is concerned. Through Workspaces, you can keep your product designs under the control of people you can trust – and out of the control of people you don’t.

Attention Salesforce users: secure document collaboration has arrived with the new BlackBerry Workspaces app. Get it here. You can also check out this blog to learn what’s new in the latest Workspaces release. Finally, be sure to visit the official BlackBerry Workspaces  and Workspaces Email Protector product pages.

About Dan Auker