Reducing operational costs with managed file transfer

by Sam Morris on April 21, 2011

Quick and cheap isn't always the best way of reducing operational costsEverywhere you look people are trying to save a buck or two, but even when you have a goal of reducing operational costs there are some things that aren’t worth shortcuts. In fact, these shortcuts can actually cost you more money in the long run. File transfer is one example of a place you don’t want to cut corners.

We talk a lot about file transfer on the Data in Motion blog, and when it comes to why having a well-designed solution is important, like Deep Throat said in the film “All the President’s Men”, “Follow the money!”

Transferring files seems straightforward; the actual copying process is readily implemented with common networking and server infrastructure. But there are hidden costs that quickly begin to appear without the benefit of a strategic approach to file transfer. Here are three key reasons why failing to make an upfront investment in a managed file transfer solution will result in higher costs down the road:

  • Maintenance and support. One of the reasons homegrown file transfer programs can be written so quickly is that they tend to have minimal features. But over time, business requirements change and become more complex. For example, a simple transfer from point A to point B might now need to go to C and D, as well. Expanding a homegrown solution can be costly when you add up the time needed to program and fully test the new solution.
  • Opportunity costs. Skilled developers have no shortage of potential projects, which means they don’t have a lot of time to devote to troubleshooting a homegrown file transfer solution that will likely have holes. This means that code will likely fail at inopportune times and developers will be forced to develop, debug and resolve these issues. This isn’t a good use of resources when a developer could otherwise be working on high return-on-investment development initiatives.
  • Potential security risks. Data disclosure can have one of the most devastating impacts to a business. Imagine an attacker finding a privileged username and password embedded in a file transfer script. That now-compromised account could be a stepping stone to compromising a server and collecting any data stored on that system. With homegrown solutions, there may be limited or even no protection against unauthorized access which could financially impact an organization in a number of ways.

These hidden costs lurk among homegrown file transfer solutions and controlling these costs is where managed file transfer solutions excel. Imagine being able to easily address these money-draining issues; translating them into long-term savings, and in the long term reducing operational costs.

By providing a more declarative approach to automating file transfers, managed file transfer solutions deliver the flexibility to quickly support new processes. Reusability is key to saving time and money, and this is at the heart of a good managed file transfer offering.

Supportability is another built-in function offered in managed file transfer. What if your file transfers automatically alerted your operations team if there was a problem? Reducing operational costs often means getting more done with fewer IT staff.  What if the file transfer was automatically started again after a failure?  No more lost opportunity cost as your developers tried to figure out where the problem was.

Finally, managed file transfer solutions are built secure. What if your architecture team could quickly set up a secure method of exchanging files over the Internet with business partners and customers?  Imagine a solution that masks the complexity of encryption, protocols, firewalls and DMZs from your developers. 

When it comes to homegrown or even free file transfer solutions, be sure to carefully assess your needs and resources in order to choose a solution that best fits your specific environment. The right fit has the potential to save you more money in the long run.

If you would like more information on how Attachmate’s FileXpress allows your organization to build a strategic and cost-saving file transfer infrastructure, check out our Solution Brief titled “Controlling the Cost of File Transfers“.

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