World IPv6 Day: Why should you care?

Outside of this security boost with IPv6, companies stand to benefit from IPv6 in other ways.

When talking about the move to IPv6, the big message from tech giants has been around the need to support the growth of the internet. Of course, businesses should care about this if they want to continue making money out of customers across the internet.

"Ignoring the move from IPv4 to IPv6 will seriously hinder the growth of the internet, something companies of this stature should be only too aware of," said Melvyn Wray, senior vice president of product marketing in EMEA at global networking infrastructure provider Allied Telesis.

"A reluctance to accept the switchover could prevent UK businesses from benefiting from enhanced security features and communicating with their customers around the world, holding back the development of a new wave of connected devices something that is economically unviable in today's business environment."

Piers Daniell, managing director of business ISP Fluidata, urged companies to ensure their websites are compatible with both IPv4 and IPv6 to make sure they don't miss out on contact with customers. Daniell called on ISPs to help firms in enabling dual-stack capability.

"Even today most hardware shipped by ISPs to providers still doesn't cater for IPv6 or will only once a software patch is applied," he added.

"I am a great believer that if ISPs can assist adoption, it will speed up the development of new services, which would only be possible with IPv6. This will increase the UK's competitiveness on a global scale."

Another benefit of shifting over to IPv6 is the greater visibility of individual IP addresses something marketers could harness.

"With IPv6, for instance, organisations and marketers can immediately develop a more personal and direct relationship with the connected-device user - as all devices using IPv6 have unique publicly-visible IP addresses," noted Jeff Burdette, director of research and development at IP intelligence expert Digital Element.

"This differs from IPv4, which in a common deployment, can't necessarily distinguish whether one device or one hundred devices is accessing the website from a single IP address at any given moment."

So from security to marketing, there are clearly plenty of business benefits from the move over to IPv6.

Don't panic!

Whilst all of this may seem a little scary, a key message here is not to panic if you haven't started adapting your network already.

Even if you're not taking part in today's testing, use the event to kick-start processes on working out what needs to be done with IPv6. Then implement changes where necessary.

As we've seen with Google and Facebook, many tech firms have moved to support IPv6, so when it comes to relying on providers and other vendors, businesses shouldn't have too much to worry about.

"The internet is maturing and the protocols need to change to enable this," said Matt McCloskey, head of applications and services at Virgin Media Business.

"However, there's no need to panic; we've been expecting this for a long time and the necessary precautions have been taken to ensure a smooth switchover."

Whatever you do, don't leave it too late. Otherwise your network will be left as leaky as a sieve and as out of date as a floppy disk.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.