The answer is: 'IPv.what?'

Studies show few agencies outside of DOD are planning ahead

Separate studies by the Government Accountability Office and Juniper Networks Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., reveal little awareness in this country of the next generation of Internet protocols.

Despite the Defense Department's mandate to move to IP v.6, the remaining 23 major agencies examined by GAO 'report little progress in planning for an IP v.6 transition,' the study found. 'For example, 22 agencies lack business cases; 21 lack transition plans; 19 have not inventoried IP v.6 software and equipment; and 22 have not developed cost estimates.'

The GAO report, Internet Protocol Version 6: Federal Agencies Need to Plan for Transition and Manage Security Risks, said the IP v.6 transition is already under way because much of the hardware and software the government buys is IP v.6-ready. Of 23 major executive branch agencies, only the National Science Foundation reported having a transition plan, and only the Small Business Administration and the departments of State and Transportation have inventoried IP v.6 assets.

GAO recommended that the Office of Management and Budget instruct agencies to begin planning for the transition by:
  • Inventorying assets and assessing risks of implementing IP v.6

  • Creating business cases

  • Creating policies and enforcement mechanisms using the new protocols

  • Determining costs

  • Creating transition timelines.

In the Juniper survey, only 7 percent of 349 participants rated IP v.6 as very important to achieving their IT goals, and a whopping 91 percent either did not have or were unsure if they had plans to migrate to IP v.6.

What's more, there appears to be a significant difference between government's and industry's stands on IP v.6. Juniper found most notably:
  • Just 54 percent of government respondents were aware of IP v.6, compared with 69 percent in the private sector.

  • Only 7 percent in the government sector reported having a transition plan, compared with 10 percent in the private sector.

  • 37 percent of government respondents were unsure if they had a transition plan, compared with 15 percent in the private sector.

  • 51 percent in government were unsure if there is a regulatory requirement for moving to IP v.6, compared with 23 percent in the private sector.

  • Only 35 percent of those in government felt that IP v.6 is important to achieving IT goals, compared with 46 percent in the private sector.
  • About the Author

    William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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