Secure collaboration: How the cloud fuels creativity across geography

Technology Writer

Secure collaboration in the cloud often summons images of desk-bound workers in white collar professions teaming up to execute work that's destined to perhaps support a creative mission, but isn't creative in itself. But as we enter 2016, artists will likely embrace the security and ease of the cloud as well.

Bohemian types might prefer vinyl over digital streaming for music delivery, but they doubtlessly rely on the latest digital technology to ensure secure collaboration across geographic boundaries. Using such cloud-based productivity tools, artists in Williamsburg can collaborate in real time with their compatriots in Silver Lake, Wicker Park, Dalston or any other such creative enclaves around the world.

Musicians paving the way

Though there has clearly been a need for such collaboration for years, it wasn't a reality until fairly recently. Even as recently as 2001, the aptly named band Postal Service used snail mail to send digital audio tapes (DATs) to L.A. and Seattle and back to craft their early songs. These days, there are several services that let musicians collaborate online including Kompoz, Indaba Music and SoundCloud that make the actual postal service superfluous.

Such collaboration can also occur via Dropbox or Box. In such cases, musicians save early drafts of tracks to a shared folder. Subsequently, collaborators can record different tracks over the original and save them. Such collaboration can be enhanced by real-time conversations via text, Skype or other messaging services. Some musicians even crowdsource their work.

Cloud-based collaboration in the film industry

The tools of the cloud can be used across artistic industries. Just as musicians can collaborate remotely on a song, writers can work together on a script and whole movies can be created in a decentralized way across the cloud—at least, in theory.

For instance, 75 creative professionals, including animators, painters, musicians, production staff, a sculptor and an editor collaborated via Box for an animated short film titled The Dam Keeper that was nominated for the 2014 Oscar for Best Short Film. Rather than act merely as a repository for files, Box allowed for real-time communication during the making of The Dam Keeper.

"Communication was instantaneous and remote," Director Robert Kondo tells Mashable. "Our first treatments were written from the comfort of our home studios, cafes and spaces that encouraged our creativity—so long as they had Internet."

Plus, the Social Workflow features of Box allow users create tasks, track projects, launch conversations with teammates, leave comments via email and edit content. Kondo and his team of more than 70 volunteers used these alerts to notify one another when a new painting or animation was ready for review.

Others in the film industry have seen the benefits of cloud-based collaboration as well. Shane Brennan, the executive producer and show runner of CBS's NCIS: Los Angeles also uses such tools to work on his show from his native Australia, as Medium reports.

Putting the "secure" in secure collaboration

The downside of such collaboration is that sometimes, sensitive material gets leaked. In recent years, the scripts for blockbusters such as the Entourage movie, Twilight: Eclipse and Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight have all leaked online. While any system could potentially be hacked, these days cloud storage companies have amped-up security features including audit trails, strong authentication and data encryption to prevent such leaks.

Creative professionals now have solutions that for the first time can offer full collaboration across the word. Media and entertainment companies can analyze data from these productions to collect objective insights from a typically subjective, fluid creative process to inform future investments and strategic plans. The implications for creative industries, both from an artistic and monetary standpoint, are considerable.

Learn more on IBM solutions for Media & Entertainment.