When the cloud bursts…

Here’s a story that ties together many of the themes we’ve discussed during the previous term: Cloud computing, corporate blogs, the limitations of technology, and crisis handling in public relations.


Two days ago, the Adobe Creative Cloud system, widely used by businesses around the world, went down for the count – and stayed there. And this wasn’t just a 10-count. The system didn’t come back online for nearly 24 hours. During the interval, its users were cut off from using the system, as well as the data stored on it. Translation: That’s bad.


In an effort to control the damage once the system was restored, Adobe posted this message on its corporate blog. In the statement, Adobe’s Customer Care Team described what happened and then took several important steps. First, Adobe reassured customers that the problem was technical, not related to security – in other words, their information had not been hacked by outsiders. Then, the company explained why it took so long to repair the outage, stating that it was necessary to take time to make sure that the problem would be fixed permanently. Finally, the company issued a forthright apology to its customers:

We are aware that we didn’t meet your expectations (or ours) today. For this, we apologize. Thanks for bearing with us as we worked to resolve this – and know that we will do better.

Here are a few questions to think about. Do you have any views on the strengths or weaknesses of Adobe’s approach? Did the company follow the principles we discussed in our class? How do you think Adobe’s customers will respond? It’s food for thought as we enter the summer months.


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