December 13, 2016

Some VUMC public Internet Protocol Addresses to be made private for security reasons

There are currently many devices throughout the Medical Center that have been assigned public Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that are open to the Internet and easy targets for hackers. This is a security risk that VUMC IT takes seriously and is addressing in an ongoing effort to create a more secure, robust and highly available network.

No one will have their Internet access cut off; however, as part of the Public IP Address Reclamation initiative, VUMC IT Network Services will be converting all possible devices on public IP addresses to private IP addresses. In addition, devices and systems that currently require a public IP address to properly function will be assessed by Network Services. If a device or system is able to properly function with a private IP address, the Network Services team will work with the device/system owner to convert its IP address to a private address. The entire project will require close coordination with system owners, support personnel and end-users, and will be executed through the standard Change Management process.

VUMC workstations, laptops and printers use an IP address to communicate on the network. In the past, some segments of the network were assigned public IP addresses while the majority were assigned private IP addresses. There are valid reasons for a device to have a public IP address, but having a public IP address makes a system more vulnerable to security attacks from the Internet. The Reclamation Initiative will move networks and devices that do not require a public address space, to a private address space. These migrations will address security concerns while allowing these systems to communicate as needed on the Internet.

If you have any questions or concerns related to this initiative, please contact Mike Krusbe, director of Data and Voice Network (mike.krusbe@vumc.org) or Steve Hansen, manager of Network Services (steven.k.hansen@vumc.org).