Thru Celebrating 20 Years of Industry-Leading Managed File Transfer Innovation


Although the internet is now ubiquitous and nearly everyone uses it for communication, it evolved from a barely workable prototype in ARPANET by the US military in the 1960s…to its adoption of TCP/IP in the ’70s to enable communication between different networks…to Tim Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web (WWW) to simplify sharing data between researchers in 1990.

image of stack of books with one titled: A History of Thru
When the WWW format introduced easy-to-access websites and easy-to-use hyperlinks, businesses quickly adopted the internet and then relied on file transfer protocol (FTP) as their main tool for sharing files. However, they soon realized it was a very unsecure way to transfer critical business data. With the rise in business adoption also came the rise in hackers and what has come to be known as cybercrimes. It was obvious that there was a need for a secure way to transfer files.
This was the genesis of Thru…

Let’s explore our history, where we are today and where we’re heading in providing secure file transfer.

How Thru Became the First Cloud-Native MFT Solution

Over twenty years ago, Lee Harrison, co-founder and CEO of Thru, Inc., decided to use his expertise in software innovations to develop a cloud-native managed file transfer (MFT) solution to fill the secure file transfer gap for businesses. We were set on a journey to revolutionize file transfer!

2001: Before and After 9/11

Initially, Lee Harrison, founder of I/O Partners, Inc., and Rick Holliday-Smith, Aegis Fund President, Australian professional director and Chairman of Cochlear Limited, were competing to purchase a digital asset management software foundation called Studio Central from high performance computer manufacturer Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI).

However, after the events of 9/11, markets were in such turmoil that Lee and Rick thought it would be better to join forces rather than compete for the Studio Central asset. The successful acquisition of this source code from SGI enabled the launch of the company to be held in Silicon Graphics’ booth at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, NV. Privately held Rumble Group International LLC, now known as Thru, Inc., was formed.

Early 2000s: Cloud-Hosted FTP Replacement Offering

Thru successfully launched in May 2002 with seed funding of $1.7M from L&P Investments and the McKay Trust. Within a year, we began offering a cloud-hosted FTP replacement service called File Transaction Hub (FTH) after having raised $2.7M in series “A” funding.

Mid 2000s: File Transfer Feature Expansion

In 2004, our file sharing service expanded to add the Thru Dropbox™ functionality to its feature list. Thru Dropbox™ allows anyone, even without a Thru subscription, to securely upload files to Thru account holders.

Next, began our push toward a unified file sharing service with our release of the first managed file transfer plugin for Microsoft Outlook. Users could securely send large files without leaving the Outlook interface.

Late 2000s: Industry Analysts Take Notice of Thru’s MFT

In the intervening years, Thru focused on ad hoc managed file transfer as a service. We developed out-of-the-box plugins for Salesforce, SharePoint and IBM Notes (please note, we no longer support the latter two out-of-the-box file sharing plugins.) Additionally, our already robust REST and SOAP APIs allowed developers to closely integrate our file transfer solution with other applications.

This growth in functionality and integration resulted in Thru being named as a Visionary in the 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed File Transfer.

Kicking Off 2010s: Continued Accolades for Cloud-Based MFT

Starting off the next decade, we continued to receive the attention of Gartner, who named us a “Cool Vendor” in its Platforms as a Service 2011 report. This acknowledged our cloud-based file transfer technology as a strategic replacement for self-managed, premises-based file transfer technologies, such as FTP.

Mid 2010s: “Ad Hoc” Becomes “EFSS”

To reflect a shift in how businesses were using file sharing software, analysts coined the term enterprise file sync and sharing (EFSS) to expand on ad hoc file transfer. Accordingly, we adjusted our terminology and product roadmap to meet the demands of the EFSS market. Our efforts paid off: Thru was named a “Niche Player” in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing. Additionally, Info-Tech, Forrester Research and other analysts included us in their coverage of EFSS vendors.

With continued recognition by analysts and exhibited proof of an established, yet agile file transfer solution, our wins against giants in the marketplace grew. This increased exposure led to Thru, Inc., filing a lawsuit against file hosting provider, Dropbox, Inc. (Nasdaq: DBX), for trademark infringement. This settlement temporarily set us back, but we pushed through and had a comeback as we neared the end of the decade.

Ending 2010s: Gaining MFT Integration Partnerships

With our maturation as a secure file transfer service provider, our focus expanded from just ad hoc / EFSS to include automated file transfers in our toolbox. In early 2018, Thru entered into partnership with MuleSoft, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS). Our MFT connector is available in Anypoint Exchange and enables seamless connectivity between file transfer flows and Mule business process flows.

In 2019, we increased our integration platform reach by partnering with Boomi. Our MFT connector is accessible in Boomi AtomSphere and allows its users to experience the benefits of separating file transfers from business processes.

Our out-of-the-box connectors consolidate file transfers in a single, centralized system giving enterprises secure and extremely fast file transfer performance, granular audits, end-to-end visibility, automated partner onboarding, reusable endpoints and the benefits and convenience of the cloud. These capabilities are also possible by use of our APIs for custom automated file transfer integrations.

2020 to Now: Today’s Cloud MFT Solution

As 2020 got underway, Thru struggled along with the world through a myriad of COVID-related challenges. The solid foundation of Thru’s people, expertise and product enabled us to continue innovation of file transfer during that time.

Through the past two decades, Thru MFT has been engineered to meet our customers’ needs, while providing a user-friendly interface and staying one step ahead in innovation of file transfer. We offer cloud-native automated file transfer and ad hoc file sharing services with a growing features list that includes end-to-end security, centralized visibility, file scheduling, file renaming, file retention, audit trails, reusable endpoints and so much more!

2020s & Onward: The Future of MFT Is Security

According to Market Research Future®, the Managed File Transfer (MFT) Software and Service Market is projected to grow at a high CAGR of 10.2% and to reach $3.12 billion USD by 2030. Unfortunately, global cybercrime and its costs also continue to grow and are expected to reach $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025.

Although fears of recession have businesses currently tightening their overall budgets, the largest share of 2023 IT software budgets will go toward security software, according to SWZD. This confirms what we as a provider of secure file transfer are seeing: Strengthening data security and remaining compliant are top priorities for businesses.

As the data sharing industry grows so do regulations requiring stricter data security and privacy protection. MFT features, such as centralized visibility, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and file transfer automations that reduce human access and error, provide a proven means for businesses to achieve their goals.

Secure and in the Cloud from Day 1

From our beginning, Thru’s cloud-native MFT platform was designed for businesses with the principles of security, flexibility and scalability at heart. Thru now serves everyone from small businesses to the largest global enterprise customers.

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