As IPv6 day approaches, Mark Lewis, Director Services Development, Interoute comments on the driving factors behind the migration to IPv6, the challenges faced and how these can be overcome.
“The migration to IPv6 is the millennium bug hype equivalent of the 21st century. There will be inevitable technical glitches along the way, but there won’t be a crunch time for the switchover as IPv4 and IPv6 will need to run simultaneously as the migration takes place. And there is no deadline for most environments – the only essential piece, the internet, is IPv6-ready now.
“It is security that could become the Achilles heel of the IPv6 switchover. In the IPv4 world, securing the LAN from cyber-attacks and intrusions is far easier. With multiple enterprise devices sharing a single IPv4 address, internet facing devices such as firewalls act as a single point of protection and control. Contrastingly, IPv6 is designed for a world where everything can speak to everything else. With IPv6 becoming ubiquitous, every PC, mobile phone, tablet, printer, vending machine, could potentially be an undercover agent inside the office, working to bring down the corporate network. For organisations, it could mean they are left wide open to attack given how many of those devices are portable and neither controlled by IT nor sitting inside IT-secured networks. Every device will need to be identified and protected, including every new phone, tablet and laptop, before it is allowed to engage with the corporate network, creating a significant headache for enterprise IT teams to solve.
“If you consider each employee has on average three IP devices, as well as the myriad of infrastructure and personally owned devices in each office, the scale of this task is immense. We will have no choice but to migrate eventually, and those that deploy an effective security strategy early on will be best prepared for a smooth transition.”
Europeans trialling Google and Facebook on IPv6 day will more than likely be running over Interoute’s IPv6 infrastructure, which has been up and running for more than three years.