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A Comprehensive Security Overview of Oracle Agile PLM

Security is undoubtedly essential to the product lifecycle management (PLM) community. Manufacturing companies are always fearful of losing their precious intellectual assets. Thus, data protection is always a high-priority concern when evaluating PLM systems. Any Oracle Agile PLM professional can easily understand the need to secure the PLM system and assess its security regularly.

Securing information in a PLM system is considered to be a multi-dimensional problem. This article gives a comprehensive overview of Agile PLM security.  

Primary considerations for security in an application  

Here’s a list of actions required to keep any application secure.  

  • Install the latest available version of the application.  
  • Install and keep the application up to date with the latest released patches.  
  • Monitor system activity and keep up to date on security information.  
  • Use secure development practices.  

Security in Oracle Agile PLM   

Here are some principles that are necessary for ensuring PLM security.    

  • Keeping Agile PLM up to data

It is a good security practice to make sure that the Agile PLM system is always the most current and updated version. This involves regularly checking the Updates Page for any new releases, patches, and updates to existing and new Agile PLM versions.

  • Network Access Restrictions

You should place both the PLM application and the database behind a firewall to ensure access security. Moreover, it would be best to set an additional firewall between the application server and the database. This ensures that the system access is restricted to known network routes only and is ready to be monitored or restricted if needed.  

However, an alternate is configuring the TNS listener valid node checking feature or using a hardware or software VPN (or both) if needed.

  • Principle of Least Privilege

The principle of least privilege in oracle agile PLM states that any user with access to the PLM system should have the minimum number of privileges needed to perform their job. No extra privilege should be granted, not even one.   

Over-ambitious granting of privileges/roles to get work done quickly always leaves the system open for abuse. Thus, it almost always becomes a major concern in an organization’s PLM usage lifecycle. Therefore, you should undertake periodic reviews of privileges to ensure that users are assigned only the relevant privileges.

  • System Monitoring  

Any PLM system’s security depends on three things: its security protocols, the system configuration, and system monitoring. Agile PLM provides its administrators with audit advice for regularly monitoring and reviewing audit records.

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Resources to be considered for Security  

We have listed some examples of sensitive data that is stored in Agile PLM. It needs to be adequately protected to ensure security.

  • Product data, such as part numbers, other attributes, and product files  
  • Quality documents and quality processes  
  • Project plans and execution details
  • Project cost
  • Product compliance documentation and process details  

Securing data and predicting potential failures  

There is a need to secure data and predict potential failures or breaches in securing strategic resources. For example, there could be a need to analyze workflow statuses to determine who needs access to which data at what stage of the product lifecycle management. Similarly, you might need to protect the data of one subscriber of the application from others while giving complete access to someone from the management.  

Sometimes, the failure to secure data is nothing more than an inconvenience. However, a simple fault in the security setup often causes catastrophic damage to you or your customers. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the security ramifications of each resource to ensure its protection.  

Best Practices for Securely Configuring Agile PLM  

Password Policy   

It is recommended that you define a set of rules determining how passwords are used. Here are some rules you should consider:   

  • The maximum length of a password should be valid.  
  • The minimum number of characters in a password.
  • The number of maximum logins tries.  

Authentication 

Similarly, robust authentication processes serve as a bulwark against security breaches. They enable only permitted individuals to get access to the system and data.    

LDAPS (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol Secure)  

  • Oracle Internet Directory Server.
  • Microsoft Active Directory Server.
  • Sun Java System Directory Server.
  • Oracle Virtual Directory.  

SSO (Single Sign-On)  

  • SSO integrates with a centralized security management system.
  • Having a centralized system also helps improve user productivity in oracle agile PLM.
  • Agile PLM allows setting up Process Extensions to access the Agile server without the user having to re-authenticate. It passes encrypted SSO tokens that process the extensions and submit them back to the Agile server.

Database authentication configurations  

  • An alternative to SSO and LDAP security.
  • No centralized management and relatively easier to manage.   

Custom MFA  

Employing multi-factor authentication (MFA) software is a straightforward and effective way to guarantee that the users accessing your systems are who they say they are. Xavor’s Agile multi-factor authentication solution allows you to introduce another layer of security when accessing Agile.   

Here’s how it works. Upon login, a user must submit an access code emailed to their registered email address. 

Seamless integration with existing and future agile users removes the burden on your IT team to manage user accounts. Moreover, Xavor’s Agile MFA enables plm integration with existing third-party MFA providers.  

Configuring & Using Access Control  

User access is primarily divided into two processes.  

  • Allowing only certain users access to the process and data.   
  • Allowing only need-based access to specified users, limiting or restricting any excessive rights to the process or data.

Agile PLM

Security Audit in Agile PLM  

Agile PLM allows you to audit the system by utilizing some of the following resources.  

User Monitor  

  • Displays users currently accessing the system.  
  • Displays user details such as name, ID, host, and usage time.  

History Tab  

  • Displays any action performed for an item, e.g., creation, save as, send, print, modify, etc.  
  • Displays administrator actions for all configuration actions.  

Log Files  

  • Provide customizable logging controls to get in-depth Security related information.  
  • Generate log files for the application and WebLogic.  

SSL Configuration Setup 

Oracle supports configuring SSL on our client side to secure sensitive cookies. Moreover, it enables you to route the data/information between clients and from client to server in an encrypted, secure way.  

SSL can be set up on the following:  

  • Web Services  
  • WebLogic Server
  • AutoVue Server
  • Tomcat Server  

Xavor’s Security Evaluation Approach

Xavor’s experienced Agile PLM team provides security assessments to identify any vulnerabilities in your Agile PLM servers and its security model. Moreover, we have many years of experience serving and managing PLM customers, which puts us in a unique position to assist them in their PLM system’s security evaluation. We employ modern tools and resources to identify risks and advise improvements.   

Conclusion

At the cost of repetition, we must emphasize the importance of Security in oracle agile PLM systems. Thus, there is an obvious need to adopt best practices and periodically assess PLM security. We live in a globalized manufacturing world where PLM systems play a vital role. Therefore, identifying and rectifying security weaknesses in the PLM server and Agile PLM’s internal security model is crucial.   

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Bilal Baber

Muhammad Bilal Baber is a Lead Business Analyst with experience leading cross-functional teams in the development, documentation, and delivery of process innovations driving the attainment of business goals. He has worked with leading semi-conductor, Medical Devices, Automotive, Manufacturing and Storage System industries delivering end-to-end PLM implementations. His expertise is in Oracle PLM configurations, training, security setups, testing, data management, and migrations for leading global enterprises.