The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing For Designers

There’s no doubt that cloud computing is changing the way people work. Hypothetically, cloud computing enables you to access data from any computer or device, at any time. Of course, this is only possible if you have a computer, tablet, or smartphone handy, and if you have access to the internet. But for most people in most places, cloud computing really does achieve what it purports to: your data, files, and software are all within easy reach. For a thorough breakdown of what cloud computing really offers, refer to this cloud computing guide.

Image credit: Cloud computing photo by Shutterstock

The Pros of Cloud Computing

    • Data is Safe
      Although some people fear that they might lose their data if they save it to the cloud, the truth is that your information is far safer on the cloud than it is stored in any physical object. Computers, phones, even external hard drives can be stolen, corrupted, or broken. But the cloud is protected by extensive systems that ensure your data’s safety far more reliably.
    • Projects are Streamlined
      Probably the most ubiquitous function of the cloud is its sharing capacities; group projects are now a breeze compared to the clunky processes that designers once had to rely on. Other great cloud applications for designers include:

      1. GridFox: An extension to the Firefox browser that superimposes a transparent grid over any web page
      2. GitHub: A hosting service that’s extremely useful for for web designers and developers
      3. TypeTester: A tool that allows you to test and compare several different typefaces side-by-side

      In the near future, there will be even more tools and uses for the cloud; already Codeanywhere offers a cloud-based coding tool, and Adobe Kuler lets you generate color palettes in your browser. And these are probably mere precursors to even more powerful editing capacities that will emerge in the next few years.

The Cons of Cloud Computing

Internet Connections are Unreliable
Definitely the biggest detractor to the benefits of cloud computing, your access is dependent on your internet connection. While internet connections and browser capabilities are getting stronger and more reliable every year, you still might be frustrated by a slow connection. There are usually three factors that contribute to a slow Internet connection:

      1. The amount of bandwidth you’re using
      2. The number of devices that are connected
      3. What kind of wireless router you’ve chosen

For example, if you’re watching a high-definition video, that will take up much more bandwidth than reading a blog; use a networking guide to learn more.

Using services like Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox has made a significant difference to most designers’ workflow and sharing practices. And while it’s true that any user might encounter technical difficulties with cloud computing, it’s rare for most designers to bother working in an area without a stable connection. So the occasional inconvenience is quite minimal, and thoroughly outweighed by the benefits.

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