In today’s digital world people want easy access to everything. Do you need to look at your bank statement? Load an app on your smartphone. Order a pizza? Log onto Domino’s and order away.
Going with that trend, Adobe has decided to add new capabilities to their entire Creative Suite for collaboration and distribution on the “cloud.” By paying a subscription based fee, one can work on projects in Creative Suite from multiple machines with the CS software installed. The idea that you can access your creative & design work from anywhere and at any time is a very intriguing prospect, especially for our graphic design department.
Creative Cloud for example would allow a graphic designer in Alaska to collaborate with their client across the globe at any time of day and on any computer they wish to access it from as long as the necessary software is installed. Or if you’re on the road traveling and only have access to edit your web design project for 30 or 40 minutes a night then you can easily log-in with your laptop work on it a bit, save it for later, and instantly send it back to the office for review.
Data Asset Security
Another positive aspect of putting everything on the cloud the risk of losing data is signifigantly minimized. If you have Adobe’s Creative Suite installed locally and it wasn’t backed up properly or if something haywire happened with your systems or hard drives then you could potentially lose a lot of
very important data.
Putting your work on the cloud eliminates the risk of loosing your work in the event of a computer crash. If your computer won’t boot up then you can always use another machine and instantly access the cloud based creative design project you had been working on.
The ease of use and accessibility cloud services gives the end user is amazing but I think what attracts people the most to the cloud phenomenon is the freedom it gives you. The very fact that a video editor or web designer could collaborate on a project anywhere and at any time is enough to attract customers
to cloud based subscription services like Creative Cloud.
I’ve been late to the party most of my life, so it’s no surprise to me that I’ve only now discovered Dropbox, while I’m sure the rest of the world has moved onto the Next Big Thing. But that’s okay, I’m here to tell you that I’ve spent a fair amount of time flailing about the Cloud to no avail. Mostly I’ve been working through Apple’s buggy MobileMe service, which Apple converted to iCloud when they updated Mac OS X late this summer. But it has its limitations with our despotic router, mostly with reliability. I keep asking myself this question: if I go home without today’s work on a flash drive, can I get to my data at work if something comes up? The answer always seems to be, “Possibly, but probably not tonight.”
Similarly, I’ll inevitably forget some—or all—of my work at home and rather than have to go home and get it, I’d really like to be able to log into my computer at home and retrieve the data. But the answer to the question, “Can I log onto my Mac at home through Back to My Mac?” is a fairly steady, “No.” Our router does not allow shenanigans of this nature. Honestly, this router would be right at home leading a large, Central-European country in the 1930s (whose ancestors are also famous for sacking Rome, probably because there was nothing on TV that night).
There are plenty of solutions. Most corporate entities employ some form of VPN scheme, but that usually means having to configure your router and employ VPN clients, which is an allocation of IT resources that doesn’t make sense when all you did was foolishly forget your work at home. I imagine I could enable my iMac at home to allow me to tunnel in via SSH (all Macs are essentially Unix boxes at heart) and retrieve the data that way if I had to. But ick. And asking our router to do anything it doesn’t want to do is like asking Queen Latifah if she likes girls or boys: it’s apparently none of my business.
Enter Dropbox. The beauty of this software is that a) it exists on multiple computing platforms, meaning Mac, Windows, mobile operating systems, even Linux; and b) it’s free. It’s like having your data on a flash drive that you can access from any of your computers or mobile devices, but that you don’t have to put in your pocket. Dropbox, in short, means never having your data put through the laundry.
I could take space up here describing what it is, but the Dropbox folks do it better (which saves me from having to do it at all). Suffice to say that it’s changing my life. And it’s saving my company money: I think I may have put our last flash drive through the wash.