Original article published on IT-Daily.net (Germany)
Tim Berners-Lee famously invented the internet at CERN in the 1980s to find an easier way to share data in between research teams. The internet today has become the backbone of communication for the entire planet and is a crucial resource for individuals, entire industries or even nations that together form our modern global society.
As we move on into the digital transformation of our lives, one surprising thing has not changed much since the early days of the internet. File sharing is as important as ever but still often relies on archaic protocols and tools, developed in a time when nobody thought about massive data growth, hackers that are interested in stealing intellectual property and huge organizations with tens of thousands of employees that share data amongst themselves and with others on a day-to-day basis.
What are the shortcomings of current tools to share files? What is the state-of-the-art solution now? What technologies are on the horizon to deliver the file sharing of the future?
File Sharing Today
For many years, businesses have relied on email or FTP as their main tool for sharing files.
Both are, as we know today, not very secure. And neither are unmanaged consumer-grade file sharing solutions that run rampant in many organizations. As file sizes, the need for mobile access and corporate compliance requirements grew, CIOs, CSOs and IT managers were scrambling to gain back control of their company’s sensitive information.
The solution to the problem is an enterprise level strategy that is secure, easy to use and in the best case integrates into core business applications. More and more businesses are replacing their outdated strategies with state-of-the-art file sharing solutions that make it easy to share files of any size from any device in a simple and secure way enabling the company’s employees to exchange information daily.
Not all file sharing solutions are created equal though, and it is important that several specific requirements are included to proving long-term effectiveness and business efficiency.
A current solution must:
- Guarantee full security governance and data sovereignty set forth by legal parameters to the company
- Give the company complete audit and control capabilities
- Be easy to use
- Have APIs that let it integrate into existing business applications
- Be able to be deployed on-premises, in the cloud or as hybrid to get full flexibility and profit
Most solutions that are built on consumer-platforms and where business users and consumers share the same platform (Dropbox Inc., OneDrive or Google Drive) do not match those requirements for businesses. They don’t allow secure BYOD, don’t offer automatic workflows and generally do not increase efficiency or the security to share sensitive information.
As some vendors are grappling to deliver those requirements, including cloud deployment options, the digital transformation is moving ahead and is posing even greater challenges to improve file sharing.
Areas that need improvement are:
- File sharing over low bandwidth
- Sharing big files globally in a shorter time
- Improving collaboration through automated workflows
Thru, our managed file transfer (MFT) solution, has features that answer each of these areas of improvement. Thru can optimize bandwidth, deliver large files faster and automate file transfers.
Things to Consider in the Future
Continuous file sharing, even with poor connectivity
Transferring large files quicker
File transfer automation and workflows with centralized IT management
In urban areas, high speed internet is ubiquitous. However, businesses with widespread operations, cruise companies and logistics companies do not have the luxury of speedy connections everywhere. They need solutions that guarantee a smooth and secure file sharing experience over connections with high latency, like satellite connections.
To maximize the use of those connections, a modern file sharing solution needs the ability to optimize available bandwidth, for example, by applying parallel block streaming and data caching and prioritization of file transfers.
Connections with low bandwidth also tend to drop entirely at points due to unforeseen weather or physical conditions, so the solution should be able to pick up file transmission where it left off.
A solution that addresses those challenges will improve the secure delivery of files and messages irrespective of limited, long-distance networks. It will be able to reduce costs on satellite connections and stay on top of mission-critical needs.
As businesses continue to rely on web-based apps to collaborate and exchange content, the need for fast file transfer grows. In addition to choosing solutions that use data centers around the world, buyers should also consider vendors who offer faster file transfers using intelligent cloud-optimized routing. This technology enables users to upload and download files at the highest possible speed.
Like a GPS for file transfers, the solution should be able to use virtual routers and network measuring agents to map the Internet flow across the world in real-time. It should be able to use this mapping to automatically avoid high-traffic areas. Compliance and security should also be guaranteed with transparency to all traffic and no caching of data at any point.
File management is a growing pain for enterprises. It is complex due to growing file sizes, extensive file types and various protocols used within their systems. Organizations need specialized workflow tools within their MFT solution to easily created automated business workflows between any enterprise applications, repositories and services.
The right solution should allow enterprises to easily schedule simple and multi-step workflows. An IT leader should consider a solution that offers a centralized top-down management of workflows to avoid the fragmentation of workflows and a potential workflow mess.
Automation done right can offload mundane and tedious file transfer or file processing jobs from employees and aging systems by automating file synchronizations between various repositories, including SFTP, HTTP, Amazon S3, Azure, servers and custom file repositories.
Information exchange has become much more complex since Tim Berners-Lee first invented the HTTP protocol to share files. For a long time, people used archaic technologies like email to share files. These technologies cannot meet the requirements of modern organizations.
MFT solutions replace those tools and provide flexibility, security and ease of use. The latest solutions in the market, including Thru, will improve file sharing over low bandwidth, help users share large files fast and optimize workflows.
Businesses that are investing in MFT need to make sure that the solutions they are considering meet their current and future requirements.