Adobe Creative Cloud – Viable Service or Liability?

As a small design company, Adobe’s announcement of Create Cloud a year and change ago was a great, great thing.  Looking at how much we’d been spending to stay on the cutting edge with all Adobe products we, along with millions of other people and companies, jumped at the chance to reduce costs, increase capabilities and learn more about other services we’d previously not had access to.  It was a win/win!

Adobe Creative Cloud

We’ve been a pure Adobe shop for nearly 20 years and I’ve got to commend them for providing both the best software and overall experience during that time.  But as we all know, sometimes even the best companies miss the mark when things go really wrong, and that’s what has happened.

The facts as I have them are these:

In mid August Adobe received notice FROM A THIRD PARTY that they were being hacked.  They didn’t ‘discover’ the hack as their many posts and recorded messages would imply.  Yeah – someone told them about it.  It took until mid September for them to notify their users of the issue and even then we were all just told, via email, to change our passwords which most of us did.  This same email said that the hackers “may have obtained credit card data” but that it was encrypted and safe.  As it turns out credit card numbers weren’t safe!  Nor were addresses, email addresses and all other account details including security questions!

So two days ever receiving the notice from Adobe regarding the hack I get a call from my bank telling me they’ve been ordered to cancel our corporate card. (Yay!)  We pay all our company bills with that card, but that’s okay.  I’ll have a new one in 10 days.  It’s not the end of the world…

What I DIDN’T realize was that our Creative Cloud account was one of the ones that had come due. Adobe tried to collect their monthly fees from our cancelled card which obviously failed, so what do they do next?  They suspend our account!  Yeah!  Adobe, who caused all these problems and didn’t even know 2.9 MILLION ACCOUNTS and source code for some of their developer products may have been compromised, closed MY account and presumably the accounts of hundreds of thousands of other users.

To be fair, when this happens your Creative Cloud account goes into trial mode so applications will continue to work for up to 30 days.  But those of us who relied on any of their subscription services like TypeKit, Behance and others would be out of luck.  Any fonts you had synced for current projects would be kicked from your systems and websites, which is clearly NOT okay.  So being unable to access my fonts for a current project, I had no choice but to call Adobe’s support for the third time in one day.  The support lines at Adobe merit its own post, but suffice it to say that navigating the maze of hangups and bad transfers or just entirely useless or inaccurate information finally provided by some tech is beyond frustrating, especially considering that all of this is happening to Adobe’s users as a direct result of THEIR security breach.

I could go on but I have to get to work.  Here’s what Creative Cloud users and their clients should know:

1) I managed to get a 30-day credit added to my account after 5 calls and nearly 3 hours on the phone.  They told me this was, in part, due to our long history with the company.  Whatever!  If you need your stuff like most of us do, call them and be insistent!

2) If your designers ask you for an extension as a result of technical issues, they are not lying.  Adobe has made all of this entirely ridiculous for no reason and still hasn’t officially explained what happened, how they’re dealing with it and what issues we should be concerned about as a result of this hack.  WHAT’S OUR EXPOSURE ADOBE?  WE NEED TO KNOW!

3) If you’re an Adobe user and Adobe Technical Support has given you a phone number for Experian DO NOT CALL IT!  Here’s the deal:  Adobe, in a quiet bid to offer some sort of a solution to its users, has set up and paid for Experian Credit Protection Services for all their paying Creative Cloud members.  The problem is that those account numbers were only mailed to Adobe Customers on October 3rd.  YOU WILL NEED THE INFORMATION IN THAT MAILING TO ACTIVATE YOUR EXPERIAN ACCOUNT and Adobe Support’s premature ejaculation of that telephone number has caused tens of thousands of phone inquiries Experian wasn’t expecting, so just wait for your info to be mailed to you.  Check the address you have associated with your CC account to be sure Adobe has sent this info to the correct address.  If you forgot to update your address, please do it now and then contact Adobe Support to let them know they need to send those details again.
(Thank you to Achmed Maklamed for this info.  I wouldn’t have known otherwise.)

4) Without any information to the contrary, Adobe’s choice to open Experian accounts for us speaks volumes about the hack and the data that may have been taken.  Once you receive the Experian Account Details from Adobe, do yourself a favor and use it!  For many, this information is enough, when coupled with easily accessed public data, to forge your identity with.  This is a potential massive issue and many of the 2.9 million users could be paying and suffering for this hack for years to come.

The last thing I want to say is directly to Adobe:

Hi Guys.  You doin’ okay?  Man, this has got to suck.  Hey, how’s Bev?  She holdin’ up alright?  Pfff…
Anyways, this might be a good time to put your mouths where your mouths are.  You know you’re not a ‘regular company’ right?  Your users love you man.  Most of us have marveled at your quality and consistency for a long, long time.  Seriously…

If you just invited us out for coffee and were like, “Shit man…  we’re totally sorry.  Didn’t even see this one comin’.” We’d get it and understand.  We’d even think reasonably highly of you if you just broke the bad news and said, “This is really bad.  Like you gotta lock everything down cuz we f*#%ed up really bad.”, cuz you’d be telling us something we needed to know.  You’d be helping us protect ourselves from an unfortunate event.  You’d once again be empowering users, even if only in a really ironic sense.  It would still suck, but it would be entirely forgivable by most.

But that’s not what you’re doing.  You’re playing a full on game of duck-n-cover, not telling anyone shit, and leaving us to figure this crap out amongst ourselves.  It’s like driving a busload of clients into a lake and refusing to so much as open the doors as it sinks.

20 years is a long time guys.  Longer than most friendships.  I’m saying you’re better than this because you are.  I know you!  Like I said to Adobe’s PR flak, Bev on Facebook, “We want to trust you.  All you need to do is be trustworthy.”

Now suck it up.  Quit being a bitch about it and tell us what’s up and what we need to do to be cool again.


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