Top 5 Ways to Save on Cisco

Networking giant Cisco offers a range of solutions to client organizations of all sizes, including network infrastructure, security and collaboration solutions, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cloud-based services.

Cisco's fiscal year-end is July, making it one of the best times of the year to negotiate non-standard concessions from your Cisco agreements, investments, and relationships.

Clients consider Cisco maintenance compulsory, not realizing that these costs can absolutely be optimized, frequently resulting in reduced costs with no diminution of business value.

Here are 5 ways to save money on Cisco that you should consider this July:

1 - Choose the right support level: Cisco offers different support levels for its products. Choosing the appropriate level for your needs can help you save money while still ensuring your equipment is properly maintained.

Cisco offers different support levels for its products, including:

  • Basic support: This level of support includes access to online resources such as the Cisco Support Community and knowledge base, as well as software updates and bug fixes.
  • Essential support: This level includes all the features of basic support, plus 24x7 access to Cisco's Technical Assistance Center (TAC) for critical issues and hardware replacement options.
  • Enhanced support: This level includes all the features of essential support, plus access to proactive services such as software recommendations, technical training, and access to Cisco's advanced support resources.
  • Premium support: This level includes all the features of enhanced support, plus personalized support from a designated Cisco technical account manager (TAM) who can help with planning, optimization, and ongoing support.
  • Software support services: This level includes access to software upgrades and updates, as well as TAC support for software issues and bug fixes.

There are also various support levels for hardware replacement with SMARTnet. Be sure to rationalize the hardware replacement turnaround to actual need (e.g. 24x7 4 hour response vs. 8x5 next business day)

It's important to carefully consider your business needs and budget when choosing a support level for your Cisco products. The right level of support can help ensure that your equipment is properly maintained, and any issues are quickly resolved.

2 - Depot your own equipment: Depot equipment yourself and providing 9-5 M-F support instead of 24x7x365 can be a cost-effective option for businesses that don't require around-the-clock support or software updates available only through a support agreement. This involves keeping spare equipment on-site and handling any maintenance or repairs during regular business hours.

However, it's important to note that this approach may not be suitable for all businesses, especially those that require high availability and cannot afford any downtime. In such cases, it may be necessary to opt for a support contract that includes 24x7x365 coverage to ensure the equipment is properly maintained and any issues are quickly resolved.

Also, if you choose to depot the equipment yourself, you'll need to ensure that you have the necessary expertise and resources to handle any maintenance or repairs. This may involve hiring additional staff or investing in training to ensure that your team is properly equipped to handle any issues that arise.

Ultimately, the decision to depot the equipment yourself and provide limited support hours will depend on your specific business needs and budget. It's important to carefully consider your options and weigh the costs and benefits before making a decision.

3 - Opt for refurbished or pre-owned equipment: Purchasing refurbished or pre-owned Cisco equipment can save you a significant amount of money compared to buying new. These products are typically tested and certified by the manufacturer or a third-party provider to ensure they meet Cisco's quality standards.

There are some potential downsides to buying pre-owned or refurbished equipment, such as:

  • Limited warranty: Refurbished equipment may come with a limited warranty or no warranty at all, which means you'll be responsible for any repairs or replacement costs if something goes wrong.
  • Compatibility issues: Pre-owned equipment may not be compatible with newer technologies or software versions, which could limit its usefulness and require additional upgrades or modifications.
  • Security risks: Used equipment may have security vulnerabilities or be at risk of cyber-attacks, especially if it hasn't been properly maintained or updated.
  • Limited availability: Refurbished equipment may be in limited supply, which means you may have to wait longer to receive the equipment or settle for a different model than what you originally wanted.

Regarding Cisco's support terms, purchasing pre-owned or refurbished equipment surprisingly does not violate any terms of support. However, it's important to note that Cisco may not provide support for equipment that has been purchased from unauthorized resellers or distributors.

To avoid any potential issues, it's recommended to purchase pre-owned or refurbished equipment from reputable resellers that have been certified by Cisco. Additionally, it's important to ensure that the equipment is properly tested and verified to be in good working condition before making a purchase.

4 - Outsource Support: Third-party support providers offer maintenance and support services for Cisco products outside of Cisco's official support channels. These providers typically offer a range of services, including hardware maintenance, software support, and network monitoring, among others.

The main advantage of using a third-party support provider for Cisco maintenance is cost savings. These providers may offer more affordable pricing than Cisco's official support channels, and they may be able to tailor their services to better fit your business needs.

However, it's important to carefully consider the potential risks and drawbacks of using a third-party support provider. These risks can include:

  • Quality of service: The quality of service provided by third-party support providers may vary, so it's important to thoroughly research and vet potential providers to ensure they have the expertise and resources to properly support your Cisco products.
  • Limited access to software updates: Third-party support providers do not have access to the same software updates and bug fixes as Cisco's official support channels, which could limit their ability to provide timely and effective support. Cisco does offer software support, particularly critical security updates, for certain classes of network hardware without a support agreement. These details are often investigated as part of the 3rd party solution evaluation.
  • Security risks: Using third-party support providers could potentially introduce security risks to your network, especially if the provider does not have adequate security measures in place.
  • Violation of support terms: Depending on the specific terms of your support contract with Cisco, using a third-party support provider may be a violation of your contract, which could result in the loss of support from Cisco.

Ultimately, the decision to use a third-party support provider for Cisco maintenance will depend on your specific business needs and budget. It's important to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits before making a decision.

5 - Optimize your SmartNet: Cisco SmartNet Total Care is a service offered by Cisco that provides technical support, software updates, and hardware replacement for Cisco products. SmartNet contracts can be a significant investment for client organizations, so finding ways to save on these contracts can be valuable. Here are some ways to save on SmartNet contracts:
  • Bundle contracts: Purchasing SmartNet contracts for multiple devices or products at once can often result in volume discounts.
  • Consider multi-year contracts: Purchasing a SmartNet contract for multiple years often results in lower pricing compared to purchasing a contract on an annual basis.

Evaluate coverage options: SmartNet contracts come with different levels of coverage, so it's important to evaluate which level of coverage is necessary for your business needs. That is, be sure to rationalize the hardware replacement turnaround to actual need (e.g. 24x7 4 hour response vs. 8x5 next business day). Opting for a lower level of coverage can result in cost savings.

  • Partner with a reseller: Under the category of inconceivable but true; working with a Cisco reseller can sometimes result in lower pricing compared to purchasing SmartNet contracts directly from Cisco.
  • Avoid purchasing unnecessary features: Some SmartNet contracts come with features that may not be necessary for your business needs. Opting for a contract without unnecessary features can result in cost savings.

It's important to note that while there may be ways to save on SmartNet contracts, it's also important to ensure that your Cisco products are properly maintained and supported. Skipping or delaying SmartNet contracts could result in increased downtime, higher repair costs, and potential security risks. So, it's important to carefully evaluate your options and choose a contract that provides the necessary level of coverage for your business needs.

NET(net) Can Help:

NET(net) has extensive experience helping clients optimize their Cisco agreements, investments, and relationships. There is an 85% probability we can help you save between 13-53%. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you save 13-53% on all your technology investments, including those with Cisco.

Call to Action

Cisco’s July Fiscal Year-End is fast approaching, making this the best time to capture value, so Act Now.

At a bare minimum, everyone should at least Price-Benchmark their Cisco proposal, renewal, and/or existing agreement. NET(net) can benchmark your Cisco deal in a matter of minutes, and show you how much you can save.

Or, Sign up now for a Savings Cloud subscription on Cisco, and we will get started right away to help you minimize costs and risks, and maximize the realization of value and benefit.


To successfully negotiate with Cisco, you need (i) a federated view of the market to understand the art of the possible, (ii) substantial buy-side knowledge and subject matter expertise to develop a plan of action that overlays the potential opportunities for value capture onto your specific environment and use cases, including, but not limited to, your business requirements, your infrastructure, your use cases, and your consumption patterns among other considerations, and (iii) deep supply-side commercial expertise to model the various deal permutations to demonstrate what actions offer the highest yield of savings and benefits. The ecosystem of consultants, VARs, and implementers are all motivated to maximize costs and minimize value, so you also need a fierce client advocate who shares your values to help you pay the lowest total amount to get the most amount of value. With NET(net), you get the right blend of technical, commercial, and contractual knowledge in a partner that is exclusively committed to you.

NET(net) has the information you need, offers the experience you want, and delivers the performance you deserve to help you minimize cost and risk and maximize the realization of value and benefit.

About NET(net)

Founded in 2002, NET(net) is the world’s leading IT Investment Optimization firm, helping clients find, get, and keep more economic and strategic value in their technology supply chains. Over the last 20 years, NET(net) has influenced trillions of investment, captured hundreds of billions of value, and has helped clients cost and value optimize all major areas of IT Spend, including XaaS, Cloud, Hardware, Software, Services, Healthcare, Outsourcing, Infrastructure, and Telecommunications, among others. NET(net) has the experience you want, demonstrates the expertise that you need, and delivers the performance you demand and deserve. Contact us at, visit us online at, or call us at +1 (616) 546-3100 to see if we can help you capture more value in your IT investments, agreements, deployments, and relationships.

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