Is OpenBOM safer than Excel to manage Bill of Materials? 

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
30 July, 2020 | 5 min for reading
Is OpenBOM safer than Excel to manage Bill of Materials? 

These days more and more software is available as a service (SaaS). And many engineers and companies are asking the question of how safe these solutions are comparing to conventional systems installed on your company servers or Excel spreadsheets located on your desktop of company servers. 

The concern about cloud software (SaaS) is much lower these days comparing to what I’ve seen 5-10 years. Nevertheless, users and customers are often asking us about data privacy and security. To some people and companies, “the cloud” sounds like your data is vaporized somewhere and their losing control (and their sleep sometimes) about what will happen if… While physical location still provides a feeling of better safety feeling, I want to give you some ideas in this article that might convince you differently. 

Let me give you a perspective of what potentially happening with your “safe” data in Excel spreadsheets when you managing Bill of Materials,  changes, vendor information, and purchasing using Excel or various spreadsheets. 

1-  Physical servers 

Physical devices are the first place where you risk the data located in files such as Excels. Let say you do an export from the CAD system (eg. Solidworks) to send it to your procurement or used for purchasing. The file is physically located on your computer. I bet you have tons of these files data from each export you made. Everyone who has access to your machine will have access to these files and they “typically” located in the convenient place (eg. Downloads). USB stick placed or script activated on your computer to copy the “Download” folder is a place you exposed the most. The same about network drives. When you send Excel files to somebody via emails, it is not unusual to expose files to unsecured email service. 

Completely opposite to that, OpenBOM runs on AWS (Amazon Web Services), which means no physical access possible to these servers infrastructure. The data is extracted directly from your CAD systems bypassing all local storage (for Excels) and transmitted securely to OpenBOM virtual platform in the cloud. Even in the event of your computer be stolen or hacked, the data about BOMs, Parts, Cost, Vendors, and many others are never exposed. 

2- Account security and data access 

Company computers and servers are physically accessible to many people. The data hosted on these servers can be accessed by authorized users and IT personnel. Desktops and laptop computers can be hacked and open in the event you lose the computer or if the computer is stolen. Spreadsheets files can be extracted from these computers and data is accessed freely. 

Opposite to that, OpenBOM data is accessed only for your personal account with user name and password. Nobody else can access this information (unless you share it). If you share data, the access can be revoked at any time and whoever got access to your data will lose it immediately. 

At OpenBOM, only authorized users can access our infrastructure for maintenance and testing. The data in your accounts is not available without your permission. So, even your data is located in the OpenBOM platform, access to this data is completely restricted. 

3- Encryption

If you work with Excel, you save these spreadsheets “as is” in many locations – network drives, local disks, emails, and many others. The data is most probably is not encrypted. The data is available “as a whole” when you see it and it provides a much easier way to find this information. At OpenBOM, the data is encrypted from the transmission to the servers. OpenBOM encrypts the data in the transmission and also at rest. This means all the data is always encrypted and nobody can access it.

4- Open and Secured

There are a few other questions, our users and customers typically asking us. Here are some of them. 

  • Will everyone gets access to my data because OpenBOM is “Open”. 
  • Can I get my data back from OpenBOM? 
  • Can I completely delete my data? 

These are great questions and we understand them and appreciate the importance of these questions. Even we call OpenBOM “open”, it doesn’t mean everyone has access to the data. The meaning of openness is more about ease of access and use. Besides you, nobody has access to your account and data stored there. OpenBOM Export capabilities are very strong and important for us. At any moment of time, you can export data from OpenBOM and put them back in Excel or another system. Last but not least, you can delete data permanently, by requesting account termination and data deletion. 


I hope you get a better understanding of how secure is OpenBOM and why working with cloud solutions can be a much more secure option than holding BOMs in Excel files on your disks. At OpenBOM we laser focus on how to make our infrastructure and security procedures better each day. Because information must be shared and travels between you and other people, you introduce multiple points of failure and opportunity for your data to leak outside. 

Check out OpenBOM by registering for free and creating 14 days free trial today. Navigate here to create an account here. Check our how OpenBOM helps thousands of users and manufacturing companies to manage data and consider to contact OpenBOM consultants and partners about custom import projects.

Best, Oleg. 

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my Beyond PLM blog and PLM Book website

Read OpenBOM customer reviews on G2 Crowd to learn what customers are saying about OpenBOM. 

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