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Aerospace and Defense

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As Ernst & Young recently reported, data security is behind many of the biggest challenges plaguing the Aerospace and Defense industry today. Companies face restrictions on where sensitive information can be accessed and stored, and on which users can access it. Combined with insider threats and supply chain risks, this can create hurdles in globalizing operations, increasing time-to-market for products and affecting an organization’s competitive edge. 

BAE Systems Customer Story

Learn how BAE complies with electronic export regulations and protect IP while enabling and accelerating global collaboration

Aerospace & Defense

Explore securing enterprise information, ensuring global export compliance, and restricting data access to authorized users

Electronic Export Compliance

Explore the collaborative solution by NextLabs and SAP designed to assist aerospace and defense firms in complying with ITAR and EAR export regulations


Complex Regulatory Environment

A&D companies navigate complex regulations like Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), managing multiple legal requirements and documentation processes. They must adapt to evolving regulations influenced by geopolitics, ensuring classified information is strictly need-to-know to safeguard national security. This underscores the importance of stringent access controls to protect sensitive technologies and intellectual property, preventing unauthorized use of data. 

Supply Chain Security

A&D companies are increasingly adopting Over the Counter (OTC) components while partnering with foreign companies for manufacturing and designing the products and services, as well as maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO). With many vendors and contractors involved, vulnerabilities and unauthorized access can arise, making it crucial to ensure data confidentiality and integrity when sharing information throughout the supply chain. Cybersecurity risks can occur at any stage, necessitating robust access management systems to safeguard sensitive information, including classified data and proprietary technologies. 

Cyber Attacks

The A&D sector faces significant cybersecurity risks from both insider threats and outsider attacks, including politically motivated or state-sponsored hackers with advanced capabilities. These threats exploit vulnerabilities in the industry’s valuable assets and intellectual property. Moreover, insiders may unwittingly aid outsiders, emphasizing the urgent need for robust access control systems that enable only authorized individuals to have access to sensitive information, and robust monitoring systems to detect threats efficiently, preventing data compromise and unauthorized access. 

Outsourcing and Offshoring

Some A&D companies are hesitant to leverage outsourcing or offshoring due to the lack of technology to address concerns about inconsistent or inadequate global data protection regulations, leading to higher costs and reduced competitiveness. However, to stay competitive in the global market, there is a growing interest in outsourcing and offshoring to improve efficiency and lower costs. Sharing proprietary information with external entities increases the risk of unauthorized access or disclosure, highlighting the need for a data-centric security approach to protect data regardless of its location. 

Data-Centric Security Solutions to Safeguard Sensitive Technologies and IP

Protecting classified information such as sensitive technology and IP is crucial to A&D companies to maintain competitive advantage and safeguard national security. This necessitates a comprehensive data-centric approach that involves the following: 

Unified Policy Platform

A dynamic authorization policy engine with attribute-based access control (ABAC) enables organizations to make informed decisions and automate actions based on real-time attributes and pre-defined policies. By integrating and leveraging on existing infrastructures, identity-driven policies can be applied across users and resources. The consistent enforcement of fine-grained policies across systems and applications facilitates flexible adjustments to access rights on the fly without complex customization and manual procedures, enhancing scalability and security. 

Data-Centric Security Enforcement

As A&D companies work with suppliers and begin to leverage on outsourcing and offshoring, it is necessary to prevent data loss through implementing data-centric security controls. Companies can enforce data masking, data segregation, and encryption using policies to shield data from unauthorized users and to prevent wrongful extraction of data. Furthermore, fine-grained access control such as ABAC can address cyber-attacks by preventing identity-theft and stolen credentials. 

Automation and Prevention

A policy engine automates security controls and compliance procedures by centrally updating policies, and enforcing them based on real-time data contexts, preventing unauthorized access or data breaches. With preventive controls, unauthorized access, disclosure, modification, or destruction of sensitive information can be averted, enhancing data security. This ensures compliance with evolving regulations while safeguarding national interests. 

Centralized Audit and Reporting

Data activities and transactions from multiple sources can be logged continuously in real-time as they occur within an information system. By consolidating activities and transactions onto a centralized platform, organizations can have complete visibility, streamlining the audit and reporting process. This enables monitoring over data access and usage to detect anomalies and remediate issues to ensure compliance. 


Complex Regulatory Environment

Companies need to comply with regulations that place stringent controls on the export of military and dual-use goods, software, and technology, which involves tracking and controlling access to sensitive data. Under the DoD, contractors are required to be CMMC compliant and have appropriate security controls governing CUI.

Regulations Include

  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) 
  • The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) 
  • German BAFA 
  • UK Export Control Act  

Supply Chain Security

The A&D industry is heavily reliant on global supply chains that often involve numerous vendors and contractors. Information about these supply chains are trade secret and must be protected. Additionally, data sharing across a complex supply chain renders sensitive information vulnerable to breaches. 

Top Supply Chain Securiy Concerns

  • Data Protection 
  • Data Locality
  • Data Visibility and Governance 
  • Fraud Prevention 
  • Third-Party Risk 

Insider Threats

A&D companies are prime targets for insider threats and must prepare for scenarios where employees or contractors could be tempted to misuse or steal sensitive data. These attacks can often be extremely sophisticated and challenging to identify, due to the advanced resources and techniques available to malicious insiders

Types of Insiders & Threats:

  • Malicious Insider 
  • Negligent Insider 
  • Unintentional Insider 
  • Supply Chain Threats 

Approach to Overcome Challenges

To overcome the challenges surrounding regulations, supply chain security, insider threats and globalization, A&D companies need to segregate Controlled Technical Data (CTD) across the organization, apply consistent controls to prevent unauthorized access. A comprehensive and proactive approach to data security must contain the following elements:  

Robust Data-Security Policies

Policies that cover data classification, access controls, data retention, and data breach response, while remaining up-to-date and effective.

Data-Centric Security

An approach that ensures data is persistently protected throughout its lifecycle, from creation to disposal enabling A&D companies to protect their sensitive data against insider threats and cyberattacks.  

Continuous Monitoring & Response

A&D companies must have real-time visibility into their data and network activity to identify and respond to potential threats.   

Compliance Auditing

Compliance audits must cover data security policies, data access controls, data handling procedures, and employee training. With regular audits, A&D companies can identify and address vulnerabilities in their security.

Automation & Prevention

Automating data security policies enhances preventive controls, averting breaches before they happen, reducing security risks and compliance costs.

NextLabs Solution

Robust Data-Security Policies

NextLabs’ unified policy management platform, Cloud Az, enables companies to create and implement data security policies that are enforced dynamically at that time of access request.  The policies can apply the regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time.   

Data-Centric Security

The solution provides data-centric security controls to protect sensitive data at all times, regardless of its location. It encrypts data at rest & in transit, controlling data access based on policies, and applies dynamic data masking to protect sensitive data. Companies can define & enforce granular data access policies based on user role, location, and device. 

Continuous Monitoring & Response

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events. This allows organizations to monitor data access and data usage to detect potential security incidents. CloudAz can provide alerts based on security policies, enabling rapid response to security incidents.

Compliance Auditing

CloudAz provides centralized auditing and reporting capabilities that enable companies to demonstrate compliance and ensure the integrity of their data security policies. Compliance reports can include data access, data handling, policy enforcement, and insights into potential security gaps.

Automation & Prevention

With dynamic authorization and ABAC, the NextLabs platform automates the enforcement of data access policies, improving data security by reflecting changes in attribute values immediately and reducing the cost of policy management.  This allows enterprises to reduce the operational expenses of R&D and COGS as well as decreases the time to market.   

NextLabs Solution

CloudAz Centralized Policy Platform

CloudAz applies the zero trust principles to secure access and protect data across silos using attribute-based policies. CloudAz secures resources by eliminating implicit trust and verifying every stage of a digital interaction. This reduces the risk of cyber-attacks and external adversaries in this sector where national security and proprietary technologies are of prime importance.   

SkyDRM Digital Rights Management

Many A&D sensitive technologies and designs are stored in PLM or CAD applications, underscoring the need to protect data in PLM and CAD. SkyDRM enables seamless global sharing of valuable intellectual property from PLM applications, such as Siemens Teamcenter and Bentley ProjectWise, with real-time access and usage controls. Furthermore, it can protect the rights of CAD files, such as AutoCAD and PTC Creo, ensuring organizations share critical information securely with third parties, including offshore, outsourced, and supply chain partners. 

Data Access Enforcer (DAE) Data-Level Security Controls

DAE enforces “need-to-know” data access at runtime using fine-grained attribute-based policies. DAE provides dynamic data masking and segregation capabilities compatible with cross-domain policies. By dynamically segregating data based on policies, data can only be viewed by authorized users with permitted access. The content can also be modified according to attribute-based policies with data masking, and with format preserving encryption (FPE) capabilities, confidential information such as export controlled data can be protected even if shared with unauthorized users.  

Application Enforcer

In the A&D industry, valuable information is often shared internally or externally with vendors and contractors via various applications such as SharePoint and SAP. NextLabs’ Application Enforcer for SharePoint automates information controls by identifying, classifying, and persistently protecting data uploaded to SharePoint, even after it leaves the application. This supports a collaborative culture and governance process that enables secure sharing of information with external parties. NextLabs’ Application Enforcer for SAP ERP enforces real-time segregation of duties policies to prevent single individuals from controlling all process phases or transactions, safeguarding sensitive SAP data and meeting compliance needs.  

CloudAz Report Server

CloudAz simplifies audit processes with centralized logging and reporting of all data access activity and authorization decisions. Reports also notify project managers and team members whenever a user tries to export classified data outside of the export-regulated project collaboration locations. Centralized visibility enables organizations to prevent non-compliance activities and maintain comprehensive reporting for audit and compliance purposes. 

NextLabs Resources