Shotgun security white paper

Updated: June 8, 2017

At Shotgun, we know that the security of your data is critical to your studio’s operation. As the industry shifts to the cloud, Shotgun knows that security and service models are more important than ever.

The confidentiality, integrity and availability of your content is at the top of our priority list. Not only do we have a team of Shotgun engineers dedicated to platform security and performance, we are also backed by Autodesk’s security team, which also invests heavily in the security for its broad range of industries and customers. We constantly reassess, develop, and improve our risk management program because we know that the landscape of security is ever-changing.

In this document, we outline the practices put in place to maintain secure and dependable operation of Shotgun at your studio. If you have additional questions about Shotgun security, please contact us at:


Physical data center

All Shotgun servers are hosted in a TierPoint data center located in the United States. The TierPoint site contains certification page at giving all the details.

TierPoint has reached SOC 2 Type II certification. As of this writing, the latest version is dated from May 2016.

Our physical servers are setup by our hosting partner, RimuHosting, who acts as a value-added intermediary between Autodesk and our TierPoint data center.

Cloud storage

All Shotgun sites store media files and attachments in Amazon Simple Structure Storage (S3) in the United States by default, but a client may elect to use a location in Europe or Asia (self configured by the site's administrator). Our database backups are also stored in an Amazon S3 location in the United States.

All database backups on Amazon S3 (AWS) are encrypted at rest using 256-bit AES encryption (details at


All Shotgun servers support TLS 1.x and downgrade to SSLv3 is not possible. While the encryption level depends on a negotiation between the client and the server, we do support 256-bit encryption, but still allow 128-bit encryption in some cases.

We have an A-Rating from SSL labs as we have updated our certificates to the latest encryption level as well as updated our list of ciphers to the strongest ones only.

Network accelerator

CDNnetworks is a network accelerator that provides faster access for our customers that are located away from our Dallas data servers. It provides endpoints around the globe and connects to our data center in Dallas. From a security standpoint, CDNetwork is supporting HTTPS with the same level of security Shotgun supports (TLS 1.x with no downgrade to SSLv3). While using CDNetwork is optional, it is activated by default for new accounts; this can be changed on demand.


The Shotgun Web application is a single tenant application. Each tenant (site) runs in its own process and has its own logical PostgreSQL database.

API access

The Shotgun functionality is available through a Python API that wraps our HTTPS requests. All HTTPS requests to the Shotgun server are authenticated, and authentication can be done using either script keys managed in the Client Shotgun site or usernames and passwords.


Access to production servers

Access to our production servers is restricted to our support and operations team.

Log rotation and retention

Production logs are rotated everyday and are kept for a maximum of four weeks.

Monitoring and notifications

Shotgun uses automated monitoring tools to oversee the proper operation of the system. We employ an incident management process to quickly respond to events that adversely affect Shotgun. Incidents and maintenance of our data center are posted on the Shotgun status page to which our customers can register. We have various triggers in place to detect issues in advance that are actively monitored by our on-call engineers. These include:

  • Network connectivity
  • System responsiveness
  • Unusual load on our servers
  • Transcoding issues
  • Failed logins

Scheduled maintenance

Whenever possible, maintenance windows will be announced on the Shotgun status page at least 24 hours in advance.

Our maintenance schedule can be found in the Shotgun Maintenance Policy.

Operational support

On top of our customer-facing support team, we have technical on-call support for mission critical operational issues. Any issue is diligently reported to our Shotgun status page that we use to communicate with our users. You can also review the list of past incidents.


As reported by Pingdom ( in November 2015, our systems displayed an uptime of 99.98%. Real-time metrics can be obtained at:

Please note, although we make every effort to stay within or above the mentioned uptime statistic, this section should not be interpreted as an uptime commitment.

Key management

All keys are kept in an encrypted data repository only accessible by the operations team.

Disaster recovery

At the moment, our disaster recovery would require us to rebuild our data center using our database backups. We estimate this process would take between 24 to 48 hours depending on the nature of the disaster.

Our failover system will be located in AWS.

Application usage

Event logging

Shotgun logs most activities as events in an event log. Operations like modifying, creating, or deleting data is logged. Playing media (Versions) is also logged as an event. Although viewing any given page is not an event, users have to be authenticated and authorized to access any page.

User authentication

We support both password-based and two-factor authentication (2FA) methods. Our 2FA uses Google Authenticator.


When new users are created, they receive an email from your studio's Shotgun application site with a link. Clicking the link will then guide the user through creating a password to gain entry to the site. More information is available in the article, "Your People."

User authorization

Permissions are under the customer's control. Customers can create new roles as required by copying an existing role. There are set rules per roles (Artist, Admin, Manager, Client, Vendor) that can be changed. These rules apply to the entire site, not just a project. More information is available in the articles "Permissions" and "Your People."

Data handling

Data storage

Work, or application, files (e.g., Maya, Nuke, Photoshop files, etc.) are usually stored on a local file share and Shotgun stores metadata about these files in the cloud (revision number, location on disk, dependencies, etc.). Thumbnails and file Attachments uploaded by Shotgun users are first sent to our production servers and then asynchronously transferred to Amazon S3 storage. Each site has its own database which runs on one of our three PostgreSQL database server clusters. Each database server cluster consists of one master and one slave that are continuously replicated.

Data retention period for application data

Application data. Application data is data generated by the application, without the intervention of the users. For example, an entry created in the Event Log following a user action is application data. More concretely, if a user is creating a new Version, the Version itself is client data, while the event generated is application data. The retention period for application data is at Shotgun’s discretion and subject to change.

Events. Events are a subset of application data, but given their importance for a lot of our clients, we want to call out the events-specific data retention policy. The default retention period for events is six months. After that period, events are extracted from the database and archived on an external permanent storage. Archived events are no longer accessible through the Shotgun Web Application or the Shotgun API. However, these archived events can be downloaded in a CSV format through the Account Center. Events are archived for a period of five years.

Data encryption

All data on Amazon S3 is encrypted at rest using 256-bit AES encryption (details at Data stored in our PostgreSQL databases (entities such as Tasks and Shots) is stored unencrypted for performance reasons. Passwords are hashed and salted using a secure encryption algorithm with a high number of iterations and a randomly generated salt. Only the salt and the resulting key are actually stored persistently in our database.

Access to client data

Shotgun is bound by the Confidentiality clause in our Terms of Service and treats all client data in accordance with our Privacy Statement. Shotgun’s product and support teams may access client data in relation to a support request or for product improvement purposes.

Database backups

Our database servers are backed up to Amazon S3 on a continuous basis. We also have daily site backups stored on Amazon S3. Database backups are encrypted at rest on Amazon S3. Backups of media stored on Amazon S3 is directly managed by AWS.

Data retrieval

At any time, we can provide the customer with a copy of the data stored in their site. This includes the data and the meta-data.

Data deletion

Upon terminating a relationship with a client, we first ice the client site (meaning, the site continues to exist and could be revived, but is not accessible to the customer). After 30 days, a backup of the database is made and of the uploaded data. After another 90 days, all files (database backups, media and attachments) are then removed from our system.

Client information

Credit card and other payment information that the user enters upon signup is stored externally on a secure service called ( Customer contact information is stored in our internal database. This includes, but is not limited to client's name, email, login, country, industry, invoices, etc. We share limited client information with external services in accordance with our Privacy Statement.

Third-party access to the data

Historically, we do not grant third party access to customer data. If required by law, we will notify the customer prior to granting such access if legally permissible.

Security processes


We have a close partnership with the Autodesk Information Security, Risk and Controls (ISRC) group which is led by Autodesk’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).


We partner with Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) at to perform quarterly SAN/CWE controls and OWASP security testing of Shotgun. The audits currently cover the Shotgun Web application, the Shotgun Review iOS app, and infrastructure. Both penetration tests and source code reviews are performed. Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit is undergoing an internal audit with Autodesk ISRC and will be migrated to a third party auditor in the near future. All severe and high risk vulnerabilities are fixed as soon as they are identified. Medium risk items are put on the backlog of short term fixes. All other vulnerabilities are added to the backlog and dealt with in a timely manner.

Vulnerability scanning

This is currently done periodically since 2015, on demand for every server. We are working towards integrating such vulnerability scans systematically in our development process and to include this in our external quarterly security audits. We expect this to happen before the end of the year.

Risk management

As of September 2015, Autodesk is implementing a risk management program under the Autodesk ISRC group led by Autodesk’s CISO.

Information security policy

We are currently committed to adopt the Autodesk information security policies. We are still in the process of implementing those security policies.

Asset management

Shotgun follows Autodesk’s Asset Management Policies. All employee desktops and laptops are centrally managed by Autodesk Enterprise Information Services, which ensures all assets are tracked and properly secured. This includes the proper use of anti-virus software, automatic locking of workstations, password management, etc. We have a process to update on a timely basis the inventory of all the servers in the data center that are used in Shotgun.

Incident management

When vulnerabilities are publicly disclosed, we quickly fix the issue. For vulnerabilities identified as part of our regular quarterly security audits, we make sure to prioritize and solve urgent and high priority issues in an expedited and timely manner, while medium and low severity issues are documented, prioritized, and added to our security backlog. We have an incident management process through which we can quickly respond to security incidents.

Account management

In order to access client data, members of the Shotgun team must first authenticate through an Autodesk VPN; second they must authenticate to an internal database. Once within that database, team members are further restricted by permission rule sets determined by their role. Upon termination of any Shotgun team member, both levels of access are immediately removed.

Secure software development

We are working with the Autodesk security team to complete the implementation of a Secure Software Development Lifecycle process.

Human resources

Background checks

Background checks are required, where permitted by law, for employees with physical and/or logical access to the computing resources and support systems used by the Autodesk teams.

Security awareness

All Autodesk employees must affirm the importance of information security as part of new-hire orientation. Employees are required to read, understand, and take a training course on the company’s Code of Conduct. The Code requires every employee to conduct business lawfully, ethically, with integrity, and with respect for each other and the company’s users, partners, and competitors. Autodesk employees are required to follow the company’s guidelines regarding confidentiality, business ethics, appropriate usage, and professional standards.


New employees must sign a confidentiality agreement. New employee orientation emphasizes the confidentiality and privacy of client data. All employees are bound by non-disclosure agreements with Autodesk. Anyone found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, contract, or relationship with Autodesk.


The information contained in this document represents the current view of Autodesk, Inc. as of the date of publication, and Autodesk assumes no responsibility for updating this information. Autodesk occasionally make improvements and other changes to its products or services, so the information within applies only to the version of Shotgun® offered as of the date of publication. This whitepaper is for informational purposes only. Autodesk makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document, and the information in this whitepaper does not create any binding obligation or commitment on the part of Autodesk.

Without limiting or modifying the foregoing, Shotgun services are provided subject to the applicable terms of service located at: Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, and Shotgun are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2016 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.



Please sign in to leave a comment.