All Things Apologetic: Cisco Connect Cloud Gets Overhauled

All Things Apologetic: Cisco Connect Cloud Gets Overhauled

Last week witnessed the networking giant Cisco being exposed to an immense conflagration of criticism from its customers, primarily because of policies pertinent to its novel Cisco Connect Cloud solution. A fresh line-up of Linksys Wi-Fi routers meant for home usage was revealed – the EA2700, the EA3500 and the EA4500. Cisco boasted about the ability of the amalgam of its software and hardware, which ensures administration of the wireless LAN from a remote location by means of a smartphone app or Web browser. In addition, about six third-party apps were presented, designed to fuse with the service and open up the platform for further development.

The cloud went live, and everything was running smoothly until last week when some owners of the EA3500 and EA4500 routers raised their voice on official user forums, complaining that Cisco had updated their router firmware overnight, consequently pushing them unwittingly towards cloud-based management. A stripped-down, LAN-based option was made available, lacking many features that were that were existent prior to the update.

To add to the agony, peeved customers dug deep into the Cloud Connect terms of service and discovered a clause stating that Cisco might collect information pertinent to use of the particular service, including user Internet browsing history. Yet another section stated that Cisco reserves the right to share “aggregated and anonymous user experience information” with third parties. Such clauses lead to a public outburst against Cisco, with responses as bitter as users threatening to stop purchasing Linksys routers in the future.

Cisco has been lightning fast to respond to the tsunami of customer complaints and in the healthiest of fashions. The company has taken a crucial step back from its Cloud Connect service, shunning it as the default setting selection for management of its Linksys routers. The default mechanism for controlling the high-end routers has been modified to the conventional over-the-LAN mode. Users who wish to make the most of the company’s Cloud Connect paradigm will have to choose it on their own.

Furthermore, Cisco has sincerely apologized, not once but twice, for the spread of confusion, and is whole-heartedly trying to put out the customer firestorm regarding privacy and automated firmware updates.

In a blog post declaring the changes, Brett Wingo, vice president and general manager of Cisco Home Networking division, clarified that “Cisco will not push software updates to customers’ Linksys routers when the auto-update setting is turned off”.

“Cisco Connect Cloud and Cisco Linksys routers do not monitor or store information about how our customers are using the Internet, and we do not arbitrarily disconnect customers from the Internet. The Cisco Connect Cloud Service has never monitored customers’ Internet usage, nor was it designed to do so,” Wingo stated.

Cisco has stepped up to the issue and has been prompt in modifying the default management setting of the Cisco Connect Cloud, as well as modifying its privacy policy – still, the level to which the whirlpool of customer complaints has been quashed will only be revealed in due course.

By Humayun Shahid

Humayun

With degrees in Communication Systems Engineering and Signal Processing, Humayun currently works as a lecturer at Pakistan's leading engineering university. The author has an inclination towards incorporating quality user experience design in smartphone and web applications.
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