Until recently, BIM 360 only had the ability to apply permission control. It was not possible to reserve a file and collaboration was exclusive to the ghost files that are made transparent by Revit Design Collaboration.
A user can now lock files so that only they are able to edit them. The process is discussed in detail in the link below.
On the Civil side there has also been a lot of progress. Here is an article dealing with Civil 3D cloud collaboration (locks the file when it is opened).
Here is an article dealing with Infraworks cloud collaboration.
“We should get you your own safe…” Well now, what good does that do in a collaborative environment? It’s like guessing what goes on in someone else’s mind when you can’t read them. There is supposed to be one source of truth, not some half-baked scheme where files are worked on which become permanently irreconcilable. Once the deed is done, there is no turning back, and no control. Chaos ensues. This is because the first person to save back takes control of the design narrative. The project suffers the consequences: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. All the good work done by others on the file is permanently made irrelevant. In times like these: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity”. Good luck with your employee relations on the production line!
How should you fix this? Well, either your employees must remember to lock the files when they work on them, or you must spend time trying to reconcile the files after the fact. Depending on the platform, this may well prove impossible.
Besides Infraworks and Civil 3D, the cloud access is still not available on AutoCAD. If you open a file through the desktop connector, it does not automatically lock. You have been warned. It seems a bit excessive to use Civil 3D to create AutoCAD files, but this is what I would recommend you do. Then, by protocol, only open files from the cloud. That way, AutoCAD files are automatically locked.
I am hopeful that Autodesk will see the benefit of locking files when they are accessed for editing on the Forge API as opposed to setting up triggers through the user platform API. Until then there will always be some files that are open to abuse.
In the old days of manual drafting, there used to be a drawing cabinet where people would sign out drawings and sign them back in again. Clearly only the person with the drawing can make changes to it, and in secure situations the documents had to be tracked so that only those with the right to change the files could access them.
In a similar fashion, Autodesk Vault allows one to check out and check in a drawing, and one can place permissions on the folders and files. While it can upload and download files to BIM 360, it is not integrated directly into BIM 360. Since I last posted the idea to the Autodesk Community, Autodesk has made a lot of progress in this regard (as the above).