“The cloud” is a term that we hear quite frequently when utilizing technology. At the same time, it seems that many misconceptions and apprehensions come to mind when having a cloud-based discussion. Often times, companies will shy away from anything cloud-based, citing a fear of security risks and other safety reasons. I find this trend seems to continue when talking about Adobe’s new Creative Cloud offering with my customers. 

In this Solutions Blog post, I intend to dispel the myths and misinformation that have circulated, as well as highlight some of the helpful new features of the software. Instead of generally addressing the new tools within Photoshop or Illustrator, I will be speaking directly to the IT admin, the purchasing agent and the security directors of the world. After all, these are the people that we talk to on a daily basis.

What is Adobe Creative Cloud?

Simply put, Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription-based licensing model with a small cloud component. The entire product is installed and runs locally. Therefore, the end user does not need to be online to use the product. The only cloud element of the new software (other than the name) is a storage opportunity that each user has access to, which allows them to collaborate easily within their own team or even with their clients.

Is it secure? 

Absolutely! Because the software is not running in the cloud, it is equally as safe as the security measures already in place within an organization’s technology systems (firewall, Internet security etc.). The cloud storage is hosted by Amazon Web Services and conforms to security best practices as well as industry-recognized certifications and audits.

How is Creative Cloud managed?

It is managed via the Adobe Value Incentive Plan (VIP) portal.  When CDW sets up a customer with Creative Cloud, we must first set up their VIP portal where they will completely manage their own cloud seats. Initially, an administrator is assigned and this primary admin can add additional administers if they would like.

The VIP portal is very user friendly and allows for any admin to quickly and easily see EXACTLY how many seats they have running and which end users are using them. In contrast, the perpetual licensing portal that has been in place for years, really only shows a license key that can then be used by the company. It does NOT state the quantity purchased or who is using the product.  It is up to a customer’s internal asset management tools to decipher this information. This way is not exactly streamlined for IT folks out there.

Creative Cloud addresses all of these issues in the VIP portal and then some. As I mentioned, the main page lists each user and what seat they are currently using. If an admin accidentally tries to assign the same type of product to a user who already has it, the portal will stop them with an error message. This feature is essentially a built-in audit defense. The portal will keep the admin from over deploying by accident. This way, they always have an accurate seat count for their own organizational purposes.

On the same note, the VIP portal will also show any unassigned seats that still need to be assigned to an end user. It is best to have all seats assigned to an end user at all times as these seats are paid for upfront. With traditional licensing, how many times have IT staffers purchased new licenses because they didn’t realize they had 5 unused seats from turnover within the previous months? The VIP portal makes this accidental waste of funds essentially impossible. Any seat can be reassigned to anyone at any time. If someone leaves the company, a few button clicks removes the user and reassigns the seat to another user in real time. 

How is Creative Cloud licensed/purchased? 

Creative Cloud can be purchased in two flavors: Complete and Single Apps, as it is licensed per user.

Complete includes every single creative product (20-plus) that Adobe makes and Acrobat 11 Pro.  This is over $2,600 worth of product all in 1 SKU. Single apps are the à la carte option for users who only need 1 or 2 applications. If a user needs 3 or more apps, it is less expensive to choose Complete. Only the most common 12 apps, including Acrobat Pro and Standard, are available as single apps.

Since Creative Cloud is an annual subscription, the VIP portal prorates any new orders from the customer’s anniversary date. That way any new seats are co-termed to the same renewal date, which makes the renewal process itself almost effortless.

In summation, Creative Cloud allows IT folks to securely assign and manage Adobe’s current Creative Solution to their end users with the assurance that all audit risk is self-mitigated by the VIP portal. IT Admins and purchasing professionals can know what their current seat count is at any time, by simply logging into the VIP portal and exporting a list.

Contact your CDW account manager to learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud.  Are you currently using Creative Cloud?  Add your comments below.






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