CAD File Sharing in the Cloud

One of the recurring themes of this blog is the massive sea change that computer-aided design brought about in the architectural industry. Advances in technology have made virtually all aspects of the designing process much easier. But apart from the enhanced design options available with CAD, progress in the tech world has also granted us access to the powerful tools associated with cloud computing. The popularity of cloud computing has exploded in recent years, and its importance seems likely to expand in the future. More to the point, the cloud will become increasingly important to anyone who uses CAD files in a professional capacity. With that in mind, let’s take a look at cloud computing and its relevance to the CAD drafting process.

Put simply, cloud computing creates a virtual network for storing various files, software, and just about anything else. Depending on operating restrictions put into place by the users, any particular portion of this shared environment can be accessed by the general public or only those granted permission by the admins. Multiple users from various locations may have access to the network simultaneously, which provides an excellent environment for collaborative work.

How does this aid people who work with CAD files? Without a CAD-friendly cloud solution, people find themselves with limited options when it comes to sharing files. It’s certainly possible to email files back and forth, but this simply can’t compare with the collaborative options provided by cloud computing. A cloud environment allows users to share their work instantaneously. Better still, multiple parties can view and make edits to a file at the same time, which averts the organizational nightmare of dealing with separate files that must somehow be collated. Furthermore, a cloud-based solution provides an easy way to share all the dependent files (e.g., font files) associated with a particular CAD project. The shared environment also allows companies to save on server costs.

Cloud storage also provides a convenient backup for those who would rather not keep everything on personal computers that could experience a data-destroying crash at any time. It allows an individual to access their data from multiple locations; this is particularly beneficial for on-the-go types who may wish to retrieve and edit files from a mobile device when they’re away from the PC.

Another benefit provided by CAD file sharing is the ease in which one individual or organization can share designs with another. Many cloud solutions provide tools to enable a client that lacks CAD software to examine a shared file. This can vastly simplify the designer-client relationship, as well as allow the involved parties to save money on CAD licenses.

Cloud storage solutions are controversial among many people who fret about the security hazards associated with this technology. It’s not an entirely unreasonable concern—after all, the cloud storage service Dropbox fell victim to a well-publicized 2012 data breach. It should be pointed out, however, that there are an increasing number of reputable cloud providers that cater to the specific needs of the architecture and engineering industries, providing high levels of security (including the ability to configure user-access permissions) and an array of CAD-friendly tools (including embedded CAD viewers). Some companies have decided to take matters into their own hands by constructing their own private cloud solution.

For world-class CAD services, including 3D design, AutoCAD drafting, and PDF to DWG conversion, contact us today. Our team of drafting pros has years of combined experience in the field.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

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