Stratasys announced a new data security platform called ProtectAM.
The company developed a new security platform based on Red Hat Linux, a popular server operating system, often used in government installations. While Red Hat is not particularly unique, the important thing here is that Stratasys built their security platform to adhere to the US Defense Information System Agency’s Security Technical Implementation Guide.
This means that this software is certified by the US military and government for use in a number of critical applications.
The system’s functions were not described in detail by Stratasys, but rest assured that the purpose of the system is to ensure data is not exposed during the multi-step processes involved in 3D printing parts. This likely includes encryption, security procedures and maintenance procedures, all designed to ensure stability and robustness of data protection features.
This may seem to be a minor thing, but it really isn’t. The fact is that certain areas of the US government are simply not allowed to procure items that don’t comply with security requirements. By offering ProtectAM, Stratasys is now able to sell product to these agencies.
More importantly, Stratasys is able to sell equipment to government contractors and suppliers who must also comply with the regulations. That could represent a significant new market that was previously inaccessible to the company.
“The release of Stratasys’ ProtectAM system opens Stratasys systems to new applications within the government that extend well beyond R&D settings. For example, adherence to STIG security controls enables the U.S. military to more readily deliver a geographically distributed enterprise network of 3D printers across and even beyond U.S. military bases. Furthermore, Stratasys’ technology is built on the FIPS and Common Criteria government-certified foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so mission-critical digital files can be sent wherever they are needed faster and parts can be quickly 3D printed locally.”
Initially ProtectAM will be compatible with equipment typically procured by the US military, which includes certain Fortus devices. However, Stratasys said they will extend the functionality to other models in the future.
The company also said they would be able to provide ProtectAM to “industry segments beyond government” that would also benefit from improved security.
Our now-digital world faces cybersecurity threats daily. We regularly hear of ransomware incidents, data exposures and stolen digital property from private companies, but one can only imagine what is happening behind the scenes at government operations. The new ProtectAM should greatly assist government, but also allow Stratasys to gain access to lucrative manufacturing applications in government, which are far larger than the prototyping they’ve been doing up to this point.
For Stratasys’ competitors, this is certainly bad news, as they will have to offer similar functionality in order to compete. However, by the time they do it may be that Stratasys will be well-entrenched into government processes and supply chains, providing a huge barrier for competitors.
Good move, Stratasys!