Managed file transfer (“MFT”) refers to software or a service that manages the secure transfer of data from one computer to another through a network (e.g., the Internet). MFT software is marketed to corporate enterprises as an alternative to using ad-hoc file transfer solutions, such as FTP, HTTP and others.
Typically, MFT offers a higher level of security and control than FTP. Features include reporting (e.g., notification of successful file transfers), non-repudiation, auditability, global visibility, automation of file transfer-related activities and processes, end-to-end security, and performance metrics/monitoring.
MFT applications are available as both on-premises licensed software packages and software-as-a-service (“SaaS”). Some are specially designed for enterprise use while others are for sale to individual consumers. A few enterprise-focused SaaS MFT providers also manage the additions of new trading partners, which can free up a lot of IT (information technology) resources.
MFT refers to a class of product that manages, secures, centralizes, and automates the transfer of files inside and outside of an organization. There are numerous MFT vendors, including some that support i OS and run on the System i server.
At the core of an MFT solution is often an FTP server—or, more likely, an SFTP (uses SSH) or FTPS server (uses SSL) that provides encrypted file transfers. Many MFT solutions also include provisions for sending files via SMTP, HTTP, or HTTPS. Still others rely on proprietary file transfer protocols, and include separate compression and encryption capabilities.
But MFT is not merely a collection of FTP, SMTP, or HTTP servers. On top of the transport layer, MFT solutions produce and provide full audit trails showing who transferred what files to where, and how and when they did it. This adds security to basic file transfer activities, and gives MFT a hand in regulatory compliance.
MFT also includes elements of automation, such as the capability to execute jobs when specific files arrive in specific folders, and to alert IT managers of unexpected situations. This allows MFT products to eliminate complicated scripting and reduce the need for expensive programming expertise.
MFT also identifies and records successful and failed file transfers to a customer or a partner. This provides elements of non-repudiation, and can help prevent those embarrassing instances where an organization isn’t sure if a critical transfer actually worked.
MFT applications are characterized by having all or most of the following features:
- Support multiple file transfer protocols including FTP/S, OFTP, SFTP, SCP, AS2, and HTTP/S.
- Securely transfer files over public and private networks using encrypted file transfer protocols.
- Securely store files using multiple data encryption methods
- Automate file transfer processes between trading partners and exchanges including detection and handling of failed file transfers.
- Authenticate users against existing user repositories such as LDAP and Active Directory
- Integrate to existing applications using documented APIs (application programming interfaces)
- Generate detailed reports on user and file transfer activity.
From its inception, FTP has made moving large volumes of bulk data between any two entities—including file servers, applications, and trading partners—possible. However, FTP (and other communication protocols such as HTTP and SMTP) do not, on their own, provide a way to secure or manage the payload or the transmission. Yet, regardless of the lack of security and management capabilities, many companies have continued to transport large batches of structured and unstructured data using these protocols.
This practice is changing, however. According to Gartner Research, “Organizations often use MFT solutions to replace FTP. This is due to increased focus on compliance, privacy regulations and corporate transparency — which demand increased auditing, management, security and process.”
While Managed File Transfer always recovers the same features—reporting (e.g., notification of successful file transfers), non-repudiation, auditability, global visibility, automation of file transfer-related activities and processes, end-to-end security, and performance metrics/monitoring—the way it is used has a major impact on the nature of the appropriate solution. Today analysts and experts agree on 6 different usage patterns for MFT:
- Ad Hoc
- Accelerated Transfer or “Extreme” Transfer
- A2A (Administrative-2-Administration)
Using a managed file transfer product can help your organization avoid data leak horror stories. You’ll gain the ability to restrict permissible senders and receivers, centrally log data transfers, securely encrypt your data, and integrate with data loss prevention products. Considering the business value delivered by MFT in conjunction with the answers to the four questions outlined above will help you determine whether MFT has a role in your enterprise.
DT Asia Group have following MFT solutions for your choice: