If you need Compliance you need Smart Net
If compliance is important to you then keeping your network software current is going to be essential, you will need to update the software on your devices, and the only way to get those updates and maintain compliance is from an authorized source.
What is an Authorized Source?
Only Cisco and Cisco Channel Partners are authorized to provide bug fixes, patches and software updates; some third party maintenance providers also provide software updates but not with Cisco approval.
Software updates from an unauthorized source may violate Cisco’s Licensing Terms.
What is a Third Party Maintenance Provider?
Cisco say “A Third Party Maintenance Provider is a company that is not a Cisco Channel Partner and offers maintenance services for Cisco products.”
Are any Third Party Maintenance Companies approved by Cisco?
The software that runs on Cisco devices is not free, and you need to have a “right to use” license for your device. If you purchased your Cisco device from an authorized Cisco reseller then you would have received a perpetual right to use license and any software updates you apply would be covered by that license.
If, however, you purchased your device from another channel and a license transfer was not included, then you are not entitled to use or upgrade the software on that device.
Do you need Software Updates?
Cisco devices working in the inside of your network generally do not require constant software updates, and unless you are using advanced features the original software will normally continue to work perfectly.
It’s good practice to update the software once you receive your new Cisco product, but you can get that update for free from the Cisco TAC.
We do advise getting a Smart Net Contract three months before the end of your products support life to ensure you have the final software updates before support is stopped.
Internet Connected Devices
If your Cisco devices are Internet facing, then it is vital that any security updates released by Cisco are applied as soon as possible. Zero day exploits do happen and if you are relying on Cisco to protect your network then it’s good practice to ensure that the latest software is installed.