File transfer, one of the most commonly adopted software technologies worldwide, is used for file and document exchange between your different IT systems and over the Internet. But transferring files with basic technology like FTP and email is limiting; its security and tracking capabilities are fundamentally inadequate. It lacks the management, control, and integration capabilities needed to support today’s requirements for reliability, speed, complex workflows, and security.
If you are using an outdated file transfer or exchange solution, it’s likely that proprietary data, as well as confidential legal documents, patient data, or financial transactions, are at risk. An outdated solution could also cause system outages and loss of competitive edge–discrediting your organization’s reliability with partners and customers. Stringent security requirements, coupled with the shortfalls of basic file transfer technology, have dramatically increased the importance of an advanced file transfer strategy.
Traditional File Exchange Methods Fall Short
While many companies recognize the importance of file transfer technology, the adoption of an advanced solution is often delayed. Some companies use file transfer protocol (FTP), old file transfer applications, or message-based transfers to meet their file transfer needs. But these technologies often fall short when it comes to transferring large files. Take FTP, for example:
- FTP does not offer a recovery mechanism when transfers fail.
- FTP offers no centralized management options for scripts that automate transfers; for example, you cannot centrally manage where scripts reside, what they do, or how they’re working.
- FTP cannot pick up interrupted transfers where they left off.
- FTP slows to a near halt when network latency increases.
- FTP includes no provision for data encryption, which means that sensitive data is easily exposed in transit.
What’s more, traditional file transfer approaches are often unable to exchange large email attachments and increased network traffic. In fast-paced business environments, these shortfalls can dramatically impact an organization’s productivity and hinder relationships with business partners.
What to Look for in a Managed File Transfer Solution
Managed file transfer (MFT) software is quickly emerging as one of the most effective file exchange strategies available. In addition to protecting sensitive data, MFT software facilitates compliance, improves reliability, and helps to increase IT productivity. Given the vulnerability of data in motion, organizations need to consider the following factors when evaluating a managed file transfer solution:
- Support for the growing demands of partners and customers. As your business-to-business interactions increase, so will your file transfer requirements. Support for multiple platforms, secure communications, user-interface options, and scalability is essential to an organization’s file transfer strategy.
- Complete reliability. In a perfect world, file transfers would be reliable, accurate, complete, and timely. But all too often, the file transfer process is missing one of these critical elements. Capabilities such as automated retries, packet-level data integrity checks, exception alerts, and file transfer queuing will provide the reliability needed to detect problems, notify senders, and recover transfers when transmissions fail.
- Support for internal and external security mandates. Every time data moves across the network, there’s risk involved. It’s important to choose an MFT solution that provides comprehensive support for the latest authentication, authorization, and encryption technologies. The solution should also include a full set of security protocols, including HTTPS, FTPS, SFTP, and PGP over FTP.
- Ease of use. When evaluating different solutions, it’s important to ask these key questions: Is this file exchange solution easy to deploy and manage? Does the solution offer detailed reporting and auditing capabilities? How convenient is the recipient experience? An effective MFT solution will provide a positive user experience for partners, customers, and employees. It will also reduce or even eliminate manual effort on the part of the user.
Learn more about managed file transfer from Attachmate.