Pros and Cons of File Transfer in Enterprise Application Integration

by Tom Scearce on January 14, 2014

managed file transfer - pros and consIn enterprise environments, integrating applications can help you meet business objectives and boost the value you receive from technology investments. But integrations nearly always involve file transfer – a process that, if not handled properly, could delay your project or even lead to a failed implementation.

How can you address common file transfer problems – scalability, adaptability, and security – to ensure that data-related issues don’t hinder successful integration? To find out, let’s consider the pros and cons of file transfer in enterprise application integration (we’ll start with the cons) with an eye toward the advantages of using a modern managed file transfer solution.

The cons: scalability, adaptability, and security
Let’s say you’re about to integrate two applications. One stores information about customer purchase history and the other aggregates supply chain data. The purpose of the integration is to better map wholesale purchases to historical trends in customer demand. Without question, transferring data from one application to another will be a key part of the integration, but what are some issues you’re likely to encounter?

One is scalability. What if the volume of backend data grows substantially after developers “finish” the integration? File transfers could take much longer to complete – too long for the integration to be useful – or cease working altogether. Developers will then have to revisit the code to handle increased data loads.

And what about adaptability? Many users will request modifications almost immediately after you launch a new application. If the integration needs to accommodate ongoing changes, file transfers relying on custom ad hoc scripts may offer inadequate flexibility.

Security, too, is a serious issue – especially when confidential customer information is at stake. For example, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Secure Shell (SSH) encryption are often desirable or even necessary for compliance purposes. If developers don’t know those measures are required or have trouble implementing them, your integration could end up with less-than-robust security protocols.

The pros: reliable integration through managed file transfer
Using “pros” (plural) to describe the benefits of file transfer in enterprise application integration is a bit of a misnomer. There’s only one real “pro,” and it’s the fact that you can reverse virtually all of the cons of file transfer and make the entire process far less problematic.

A managed file transfer solution can help you scale for varying data loads by using checkpoint/restart actions. Data quality controls are automatically incorporated into the transfer process to avoid the risk of insufficient disk space and costly delays. The result is a more reliable file transfer that allows you to scale for the future.

Of course, a more reliable file transfer is more flexible, too. Managed file transfers offer a framework for selecting transfer options. This functionality allows you to modify file transfer parameters as changing requirements dictate and avoid the time and expense of recoding and adjusting ad hoc scripts.

A modern managed file transfer solution will also support advanced encryption. There shouldn’t be any question about whether confidential information is safe (it will be) or if ongoing file transfers between integrated applications meet compliance requirements (they will).

For more information on the advantages of managed file transfer in enterprise application integration, download our article series, “Controlling Costs, Improving Compliance, and Streamlining Integration with Managed File Transfer.” You’ll discover more reasons why eliminating common file transfer drawbacks can help you pursue leaner, more efficient integration projects and improve business innovation.

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