November 2013 - Mosaic NetworX
Here in San Francisco, it’s not unheard of to see a shopper in your local farmer’s market sporting their new Google Glass while picking up dinner. A new era, with a surge of different PC-like devices, is dawning. Customers are consuming more data in apps, games, and communications, and the way they are accessing data continues to move away from the desktop into the realm of wearable mobile devices. Not only do companies need to keep pace with new demands in the mobile device market, such as an increasing focus on wearable devices, but their data streaming capabilities will also need to match that vigorous pace. The efficiency, location, and speed of the data center will be mission critical to many companies. In order to remain competitive and capitalize on these changes in mobility, your users’ data must be accessible on their mobile device at any time from anywhere in the world.
Wearable Products, Alternative Displays, and the Importance of Data Analysis
A new Juniper Research report recently revealed that retail revenue generated by wearable mobile devices is expected to reach $19 billion by the year 2018. These developments are changing the ways in which users interact with their devices, and new optical technologies need to be ready to change, as well. While current mobile devices rely heavily on display screens, as devices continue to evolve, IT will increasingly need to focus instead on the stream of data.
Wearable devices are increasing the demand for data. Image Source: Cbsinteractive.com
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Many organizations have not developed monitoring and defense mechanisms to tackle the security issues of IPv6. Networkworld has compiled a list of some of the biggest security risks with IPv6. Some of the familiar issues circulating the tech world have been “lack of IPv6 training”, “lack of security controls”, “lack of IPv6 support”, and “weak security policies.”
“Lack of IPv6 support” is straightforward to address. Although IPv6 was officially launched on 6 June 2012, adoption has been relatively slow, and only 2% of current Internet traffic is through IPv6. As seen from the list here, the list of IPv6 enabled websites and providers is woefully short. This procrastination of adopting IPv6 is delaying proper identification of security issues, as well as implementation of proper security controls.
If you’re wondering whether you can access IPv6 at home or at work, try going to this link. I conducted the test myself and found out that my current Internet connection is not IPv6 capable. Apparently Comcast has achieved 18% IPv6 deployment as of Nov 2013, but more needs to be done on this front. If I don’t see a change as IPv6 becomes more widespread, I’ll be following up with Comcast about getting an upgrade.
A test done by the author to determine IPv6 readiness.
It is well recognized that implementation of any new standard or protocol invites the attention of hackers eager to try to break into the system, and therefore “lack of security controls” makes it to the list of top IPv6 risks. To thwart these malicious actors, we look to implement IPv6 security controls. The status quo is tunneling IPv6 packets over IPv4, and you need to connect to a service provider (which provides IPv6 connectivity) from your network and from there you can access “regular“ IPv6 Internet. This chain of network connections increases security complexity and provides an opening for man-in-the middle and denial of service attacks.
The current infrastructure for network logging also sets up a security risk for the IP transition. Current network logging systems are handling IPv4 traffic with ease. However, IPv4 addresses are stored in a 15-character field, and IPv6 has 128–bit addresses and needs to be stored as a 39-digit string. So, when the current logging system encounters the IPv6 traffic, then either it will crash or only log 15 characters. For security purposes, organizations will also be addressing an updated network logging system to support the longer IPv6 addresses and keep traffic and data safe.
IT professionals have had eons to address IPv4 security issues, but IPv6 technology is a new realm; that’s why “lack of IPv6 training” made the list of top security risks. Enterprises and IT professionals will be well-served by jumping ahead of the curve and getting certified IPv6 training. Well-educated employees at all levels of the company can contribute to well-defined security policies to limit risk and liability.
Transition to IPv6 is inevitable – it is only a question of when. An early transition may give a company the competitive advantage of perfecting the security procedures surrounding the new protocol, and therefore save some time and headache down the road.
To ensure a smooth transition for your operations and customers, it takes proper planning, implementation, and testing of IPv6 addressing for IT organizations. If you have IPv6 transition questions or needs, get in touch with our experts at Mosaic NetworX.
Cloud computing is here to stay, but should you choose a public, private, or hybrid option? Image source: Techland.time.com
If your head is in the clouds, you might get blown away by all of that data! Cloud computing is here to stay, and your business operations, proprietary information, data processing, and storage are all waiting for you in the cloud. Despite technical concerns about security, reliability, and performance, users are flocking to cloud applications. Without underestimating these important risks, the competitive business advantages are pushing more and more users to the cloud. At this point, the question is not whether to incorporate the cloud in your operations, but rather, whether you should opt for public, private, or hybrid cloud solutions. Your company must weigh the relative security risks and liability of the public cloud with the necessary expenditures and manpower required to maintain a private cloud option.
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When making the move to IPv6, you and your IT team probably think first about fending off denial-of-service attacks and any dual-stack and tunneling-related exposures. Of course, you’re right to consider the ways to secure your network and protect your customers’ private information. Luckily, your tools for fighting off malicious actors can be found right inside your walls. In-house education is the foundation of your secure IP upgrade. Your team must know the ins and outs of hardware, testing, and security. How can you ensure that your team has the background they need?
IPv6 Forum Accreditation Makes Sure You Get the Best Training
The IPv6 Forum is devoted to the promotion of IPv6, and they participate in qualifying IPv6 certification courses. It’s helpful to look for their badges when seeking out an IPv6 certification program. The badges help identify programs that have been reviewed and deemed comprehensive by the IPv6 Forum. For example, Cisco’s range of certification courses have some IPv6 Forum accreditation, specifically CIEE and CCNP having gold status.
You may be looking for training company-wide, and especially for those employees who are technical decision-makers. One resource you have is Nephos6, which offers training not just for network engineers, but also for organizations as a whole. They have four different courses of certification: IPv6 for Decision Makers, IPv6 Foundations, Securing IPv6, and IPv6 eLearning.
Sample of an IPv6 Forum badge. Look for these when searching for certification options. Image Source: Nephos6
Free IPv6 Certification Is Available
If cost is an obstacle to any sort of education or training for IPv6, then you have the option to find training for free. Global internet backbone provider Hurricane Electric is an early and aggressive adopter of IPv6 solutions. They have a comprehensive set of resources to help organizations to prepare for IPv6, and part of that is a free IPv6 certification program.
If you weren’t aware of the bounty of IPv6 educational resources at your disposal, this list is a good place to start. There are many other training organizations with IPv6 Forum approval, depending on what’s right for your operations.
It’s time for an initiative of IPv6 education, even if a business has not started yet, or you run the risk of exposing yourself to security vulnerabilities, connectivity problems, and more. Adoption rates are on the rise, but users are still slogging along. Staying ahead of upgrade issues fends off any potential liability issues with your IP network security. Many users don’t need a background in IPv6 hardware, testing, or security, but their trusted IT professionals certainly need to be well versed in IPv6 to protect user information.
Do you want to reap the rewards of getting ahead on IPv6 issues? Get a trusted and knowledgeable partner for your networking needs today. Contact Mosaic NetworX today for a consultation about advanced IPv6 solutions.
An IPv6 technician at work. Image source: FlukeNetworks.com
Most IT professionals are keenly aware that IPv6 is the future. It has been for over a decade, as IPv4 addressing space has been running out of room.
While many proclaim the shortage is not as bad as it seems and that techniques such as subnet masking can help alleviate the upcoming shortage to some degree, at some point the move to IPv6 is inevitable.
Some operation within the confines of IPv4 is going to have to occur. In the grand scheme of things, there is simply too much network equipment out there to expect everything to have IPv6 capabilities yet. IT will have to decide whether to tunnel IPv4 devices to a backbone for IPv6 support or use dual IP.