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Vuuch: Addressing Social Insecurities

Vuuch, an enterprise socio-collaboration system, now offers added security layer for each connection.

Vuuch, an enterprise socio-collaboration system, now offers added security layer for each connection.

Activities related to a Vuuch project shows in a smartphone, via RSS-feed function.

Activities related to a Vuuch project shows in a smartphone, via RSS-feed function.

It’s just a single letter, but what a difference it makes. With the power to block unintentional leaks and intrusions while you’re online, that letter could mean the difference between compromised IP and protected IP. I’m talking about the lowercase s that follows the http in a URL. When you connect to a database or a cloud-hosted file via https:// instead of http://, you get the benefits of a secure socket layer/transport layer security protection. If you’re using Vuuch — an enterprise social system, as its makers call it — to share files and collaborate online, you’ll notice that, in Vuuch 4.5 (released June 6), your Vuuch sessions are on https://.

According to Vuuch’s announcement, “The Vuuch server will negotiate the strongest possible encryption cipher with browsers for each session, up to and including AES 256-bit encryption. Users who attempt to connect to Vuuch 4.5 using a non-encrypted session are immediately redirected to a secure session.”

Another improvement: Vuuch 4.5 is RSS-enabled. Should you choose to monitor all activities associated with a certain design file (say, RFQs, edits, revisions, and comments from suppliers) from an RSS reader (usually a web browser, an email client, or a smartphone app), you may export the RSS code right from the file’s home page, then plug it into your RSS reader. That means, even though you’re using Vuuch, either as a desktop client or a plug-in to your CAD software, you may be able to send and receive many Vuuch-hosted communications without launching the program.

At the moment, Vuuch is concentrating on perfecting the platform as an internal (that is, enterprise-wide) socio-collaboration system, but, according to founder Chris Williams, Vuuch has a software architecture that also allows receiving RSS feeds from public sources (the function is not turned on currently). In the future, depending on customer demands, Vuuch may let you subscribe to RSS from certain online communities. For example, if you and your teammates are working on a wind turbine, and you happen to know about an online community where engineers often discuss wind turbine-related compliance issues, you may want RSS feed from this community as part of your Vuuch sessions. While Vuuch doesn’t offer this option to you currently, it’s part of Vuuch’s strategy for future enhancements.

Also new in this release, Vuuch can identify potential collaborators within the enterprise based on their interaction with certain files. “Based on its understanding of the social nexus — that is, who is working with whom on which products — Vuuch can actually suggest additional users who might help make a product better or resolve an issue faster,” explained the announcement.

Like many businesses in the SaaS (software as a service) market, Vuuch uses amazon EC2 (elastic compute cloud) to deliver a majority of its functions. In April, during Amazon’s unexpected outage that left many SaaS providers scrambling for recovery, Vuuch luckily escaped the same fate. The server clusters where Vuuch was operating was not among those affected, according to Alex Neihaus, marketing chief for Vuuch.

Though Vuuch is meant as a socio-collaboration tool, specifically designed for sharing CAD and CAD-related documents, Vuuch’s founders have noticed that some customers also use the system to archive project documents online, along with the socio-professional interactions associated with the project. Therefore, soon, Vuuch may be forced to confront the question where to charge customers for storage or not. (Storage space on Vuuch is currently free, but file attachment size is limited to 100 MB.)

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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