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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Avoid the risk: 10 reasons to modernize your managed file transfers

In our increasingly connected world, critical data moves electronically from point to point every day. Servers link to one another automatically and exchange data instantaneously. Business-critical data stays encrypted until unlocked by the intended recipient on the other side of the office or the globe. When it works, it’s seamless. When it doesn’t, it makes headlines, usually featuring words like “leak” or “breach.”

In recent years, traditional file transfer tools have started to show their age, and problems like network connections severing in midstream and login timeouts have become common. In addition, older encryption algorithms can now be compromised, placing data at risk. A modern, automated managed file transfer solution can address all these issues -- and eliminate the headaches associated with them.

Unlike FTP, which was not designed to be a secure protocol, MFT offers a number of advantages in security, administration and scalability. With MFT, there is no need to develop a custom code for routine functions like delivery confirmation, reporting, audit, security provisioning and trading partner/community management. An MFT solution has all these features and, in most cases, offers application programming interfaces or adapters to address integration needs along with streamlined processes and increased security protections.

Below are the top 10 reasons government agencies should consider a modern MFT solution:

1. Proof of delivery: File transfer mechanisms, such as FTP by CRON jobs, provide no visibility. Yet, MFT guarantees the delivery of files and provides detailed status around each transfer.

2. Lower risk of compromised data or business disruption: MFT enables the newest and strongest file-level encryption algorithms and offers alternatives for transferring files via email with application integration, helping prevent breaches or data compromises.

3. Advanced notifications, analytics and reporting that provide better control and insight into the process: Literally thousands of connections and transfers can now be monitored in near real time. And, centralizing file transfers not only makes the process more efficient, but it also gives IT staff the information they need for charge backs as now they can easily report on data usage.

4. Improved ease of compliance with regulatory mandates: Sophisticated MFT solutions provide very granular control over files so agencies can define who can send, read and update them.

5. Better scalability and integration: Modern MFT solutions are better at interoperability because they are built on open protocols and integrate with modern messaging (MQ, Java Message Service-JMS) and web-services stacks and can support business process management-driven IT needs. 

6. Lower operating costs through eliminating the expense of maintaining multiple file transfer solutions: In addition to securing internal transfers between different file systems, MFT can replace legacy peer-to-peer MFT products, which are inefficient and expensive.

7. Simultaneous transfers of multiple files to multiple destinations: Modern MFT technology provides application integration to service-oriented architecture and BPM products, making many file transfer processes much faster and easier. For example, simultaneous file transfers received by the MFT solution can be handed over to the message broker for simultaneous publishing internally, which can be a real time saver.

8. Support for larger files (1GB+): As date volume and file sizes grow, MFT systems can provide acceleration for larger file transfers to overcome latency introduced by geographical separation. Modern MFT products can actually stream the files, so larger files can be processed without waiting for the full download to complete. This is a big advantage over older file transfer products.

9. Better efficiency through end-to-end automation: Once rules are in place, an MFT solution can help reduce strain on IT resources by reducing the time it takes to setup and manage connections, users and schedules. In a scenario where IT sets up and manages hundreds of file transfers, this is a huge gain.

10. Increased attractiveness as a business partner: Besides mitigating FTP risks, MFT allows for rapid on-boarding, partner self-service and enhanced reporting on service-level agreements. It makes exchanging files painless by reducing failures and SLA violations while improving the overall partner satisfaction.

When compared to legacy file transfer solutions, MFT is a quantum leap forward. It provides higher levels of automation, transparency, control and security, while increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs. The challenge in selecting an MFT offering is in ensuring that the product purchased today meets the requirements of tomorrow as well.

About the Author

Chris Steel is chief solutions architect at Software AG Government Solutions.

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