Posted by Kalyani M. on Jul 17, 2013
The cloud has offered businesses and enterprises the technological leverage to stay one step ahead of the competition. But wordsmiths ranging from authors and bloggers to copywriters and technical writers can also use the cloud to gain a competitive edge. The cloud can save writers from the nightmare of losing a manuscript without backup or having an idea stolen. As a writer, your words are your livelihood. Writers can secure their ideas with the same degree of protection that some of the biggest businesses employ. Through a secure third party cloud service provider, seasoned writers can keep their words and manuscripts private. And cloud computing in general enables unpublished writers to reach a global audience, bypassing publishers entirely.
Before the cloud, the only way to get published was to impress an agent with a stellar sample or slowly build up credentials through small presses before sending off a full manuscript one at a time through expensive snail mail. But now, writers no longer need to rely on publishing houses at all. With unlimited space online to upload works to, writers can tap into potential readers from all around the world. Unpublished writers can collaborate with others and get real-time feedback from editors through threads and blogs.
Developers have already tapped the collaborative potential of the cloud with mobile workforces. But now, freelance writers are using the technology to collaborate with clients from around the world. Projects no longer need to be restricted to time zones with the cloud. All that writers and clients need to stay in touch is a secure cloud service provider and an Internet connection. And with the rise of smartphones, most interactions could even be done via iOS or Android. Freelancers never have to worry about losing a project or sensitive client email, as all data would be securely backed up to the cloud. Storing projects online is much more secure than just leaving them backed up on a user device. Laptops and PCs could lose data during a crash, meaning that unless a writer’s done the work of backing up their work, that painstaking manuscript that’s been fiddled with for ages could disappear with just one power outage. And trying to recover such data could be impossible and at the least, expensive. Think flash drives are a better option? Think about what would happen if that tiny piece of plastic were to get lost. With a secure cloud storage and sync service, writers can rest assured that multiple online copies and backups will preserve their work.
Uploading works to the cloud also helps protect the copyrights of writers. Writers may not know it, but once a work is written, it is automatically copyright protected. But the problem is being able to prove primary authorship in court if needed. Once a file is uploaded to the cloud, writers can have a digital upload timestamp so that if needed, they could prove copyright of a project or work.
Technical writers have perhaps benefited the most from the cloud as applications, storage, and sync, make project security, mobile collaboration, and development easier, more convenient, and cost effective. The cloud covers a wide range of applications that technical writers use everyday, from terminology databases to authoring systems, that could all be maintained on a cloud server, freeing up space and reducing the need for expensive onsite servers. And writers no longer need to be chained to a desk with an expensive company computer as the cloud enables a mobile workforce, remote collaboration, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.
Writers wanting to protect their manuscripts and projects with the cloud should first follow the steps found in the Journalist Security Guide, especially if leaks or sensitive data is an issue or concern. Many cloud services on the market have wide security gaps that leave projects and manuscripts wide-open to data breach or leaks. But for SpiderOak, this private cloud service provider offers the full benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data privacy for writers of all sorts.
As for just how SpiderOak protects projects and manuscripts, the service offers two-factor password authentication and 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Two-factor authentication is just like the process used by some banking services that require a PIN as an extra precaution along with a password. Through SpiderOak, users that select two-factor authentication must submit their private code through SMS as well as an individual encrypted password. Writers can store and sync new works with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user data, a perk especially useful for ghostwriters. Plaintext encryption keys are only stored on the writer’s chosen devices, so authors can keep rest easy knowing their works are protected. SpiderOak’s private cloud services are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for flexible solutions for writers on the move.