Today I came across a forum post which apparently quoted another post which contained an email purportedly sent out by Cisco, announcing that changes are being made to CCO in order to clamp down on unauthorized software downloads. Since I haven't been able to confirm the legitimacy of the email, I won't repost it here. However, a little digging did turn up an article from Cisco's October 2010 Services Partner Newsletter (European Markets) which appears to confirm the story:
Software Download Centre Entitlement Controls Improved to Protect your Investment
To improve your experience with Cisco and protect your investment in Cisco Products, we're upgrading Software Download Center entitlement controls.
In preparation for this change, we ask partners and customers to complete the following actions before January 2011:
- Verify that all applicable Cisco Products are covered under Cisco Service contracts, and that you have a valid license for Cisco Software.
- Verify that your Services contracts are accurate and make necessary corrections - serial numbers, part IDs and locations must be accurate on each Services contract.
- Associate all Services contracts to applicable Cisco.com user IDs.
- Verify that all Cisco.com user IDs for your company are valid and properly assigned to individuals in your company.
Starting January 2011, software downloads on Cisco.com will be verified against Products registered on your Services contract. Attempts to download Software for Products not registered on your Services contract will not be permitted.
In an effort to minimise entitlement issues, we encourage partners and customers to directly manage Services contract associations to Cisco.com user IDs via the Service Access Management Tool (SAMT). This tool enables administrators to manage which individuals are allowed to request Service from Cisco (e.g., technical support/TAC, hardware replacement/RMA).
Cisco.com users can use the Cisco.com Profile Manager to view which Services contracts are associated to their profiles.
The article does not mention the 13 December date quoted in the email linked above, but rather suggests the changeover will occur during or after January 2011. Also note that, as far I can tell, the article has only appeared in the European Markets newsletter; it is possible that the change will be phased in by geographic region.
While the instructions given in the article appear quite reasonable, the administrative burden of actually implementing strict CCO rights assignments for companies with many millions of dollars worth of Cisco equipment and dozens or hundreds of IT support staff is... substantial. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.