Executive Insight with Dale Geesey: Government IPv6: A Roadmap to Meeting the OMB Directive and Successfully Implementing IPv6 in Your Agency
Dale Geesey (CISSP), Chief Operating Officer, Auspex Technologies, is a security, networking and IT professional with over 20 years of experience in the federal and carrier community. His primary focus is on IPv6, Cyber Security, and Health IT. He was the instructor for Digital Government Institute's Aug. 30-31 training session: Government IPv6: A Roadmap to Meeting the OMB Directive and Successfully Implementing IPv6 in Your Agency. Read DGI’s interview with Dale:
DGI: Time is running out for agencies to get with the IPv6 program. Many agencies are behind the curve. What advice would you give them to speed things up?
DG: If an agency has not started their IPv6 implementation phase yet, then I would stress the need to immediately assemble an integrated, cross-agency team. Bring together the groups within an agency that are being impacted from an operational perspective with the IPv6 SMEs and planners to make quick and accurate decisions on how to move forward quickly.
Another area I would focus on is developing contingency plans in case your carrier or vendor is not able to provide the IPv6 capability you need in the short term. The 2012 milestone is not far awa,y and there will be little slack in the schedule for delays.
DGI: Does an agency need a specific person designated as the point person for IPv6?
DG: Yes! Besides the direction from OMB to identify an agency lead, it is truly necessary to have someone who has executive level buy-in to manage the entire transition. At the end of the day, the technology is not the major roadblock, it is there and working. It is the internal resistance that will be faced and the inevitable process delays that must be overcome.
DGI: Is there a place in government where an agency can go for help?
DG: Yes, OMB established the Federal IPv6 Task Force and the Outreach Chair is Steve Pirzchalski from the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA has made significant progress in their IPv6 transition activities, and he has been reaching out to other federal agencies to help.
DGI: What’s the timetable now for moving to IPv6 and how much time do agencies need to test out their systems?
DG: The next major milestone is the end of September 2012 when agencies needs to have their public-facing services IPv6 enabled. Beyond that is the 2014 milestone when their internal systems need to be IPv6 enabled as well. I would recommend agencies target completing their implementation objectives six months early to include enough time for testing as well as unforeseen obstacles.
DGI: Can you give us a roadmap of what must be accomplished for a successful transition?
DG: There are many areas that an agency will need to work on for a successful transition. The two-day class we are offering will step through many of these. Some of the major areas that must be IPv6 enabled from a 2012 milestone perspective include: external (Internet) connections; their Internet gateway routers; firewall and IDS/IPS devices; and public facing applications (web, email, DNS, etc.) Not to mention they will need to mix in the right blend of testing and training.
DGI: What are the dates where everything must be accomplished? Is there any wiggle room?
DG: There are two major milestones. The next is Sept. 30, 2012, for public-facing services to be IPv6 operational. After that, the remainder of the internal systems needs to be IPv6 operational by September 2014. And when they say operational, they actually mean in use. As for wiggle room, I would say there is no wiggle room. Even if OMB wanted to provide more time, the depletion of IPv4 addresses earlier this year will most like translate into IPv6-only users in the near future. That means if an agency does not support IPv6, they may not be able to reach their citizen customer base.
DGI: Can you point to an agency that already has had a successful implementation of IPv6 or one that is heading in the right direction?
DG: On the DOD side – the Defense Research and Engineering Network, DREN – has been fully IPv6 operational for years.
On civilian side, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been a leading agency in the transition. They were the first agency to sign up for World IPv6 Day and one of the few that has maintained an IPv6 operational presence for its main website.
DGI: Can you give agencies 4 tips for IPv6 success?
- Don’t over plan, just start moving forward and start doing it. You will not be alone; there are many IPv6 systems in operation today.
- Reach out for help. A number of agencies have made progress and more than happy to share what they have learned. VA and DREN are great examples.
- Don’t wait to get venders and carriers involved. They could be your longest lead times; you need to make sure they are on the hook to help you.
- Get executive level buy-in. Make sure your agency leads understand it is more than a mandate. This is about the continuity of services over the Internet.