How to Onboard Partners with SFTP Servers Faster


Partner onboarding is a common challenge for IT organizations in every industry as they seek to simplify and move away from manual file transfer processes. Partner onboarding isn’t very simple when departments are still using point-to-point integrations to connect these file transfers with external trading partners.

Many companies still use custom scripts to automate transfers across clients and servers. This works fine with just a few users, but doing this on an enterprise scale causes problems. File transfers often break, there’s no centralized way to track transfers between servers/clients and scripts are very time-consuming for developers; especially when onboarding new users and making changes to scripts.

In this post we will show you a key part of our automated file transfer software. Thru can be used to easily onboard partners with SFTP/FTPS endpoints and provide complete tracking of activities; all with no scripting requirements. View the steps below:

Step 1 – Enterprise Creates Flow and Partners Subscribe

Thru is an enterprise-grade solution that automates file transfers on a schedule between enterprises and their partners.

Thru works like a post office. The enterprise and partners each drop off and pick up files in folders from different endpoints (e.g. SFTP, FTPS, Amazon S3, ERP) and the “post office” (Thru) orchestrates deliveries between source and target endpoints based on workflow processes set up by the enterprise called “flows”. Each flow type is used for different use cases (e.g., receive files, send files, receive files with possible return to sender). Flows can also be integrated with integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) such as MuleSoft and Boomi via Thru’s iPaaS connectors.

Figure 1 – Thru’s platform architecture. All automated file transfers across the enterprise and partners can be orchestrated by Thru.

Thru's platform architecture with MFTaaS

Figure 2 – The enterprise can choose from 6 different types of flows to create a file exchange process. For example, an enterprise can use the “One to Many” flow when it needs to push files from a single source to multiple partners and departments.

Partners subscribe to flows either through a self-service portal or can be manually added by the enterprise.

Figure 3 – “Flow Dashboard” where partners subscribe to file exchange processes.

Thru Screenshot - Transport Dashboard where organizations subscribe to file exchange processes

Figure 4 – Partner selects a flow to subscribe to.

Thru - Organization selects a transport to subscribe to

Step 2 – Subscribers Choose Endpoints and Set Transfer Schedule

After subscribing to a flow, partners can start adding endpoints where they would like to drop off or pick up files. They also set a schedule for how frequently they want Thru to deliver files.

To pick up or drop off files via endpoints, subscribers can choose from SFTP/FTPS servers and clients. Organizations authenticate endpoints only once and can reuse them in any number of other flows. No scripting or coding required!

Figure 5 – “Flow Process” dashboard where subscribers add their source or target endpoints. Endpoints can be quickly added, edited or removed without breaking other processes.

Thru - Transport Process dashboard

Figure 6 – Partners can choose from SFTP/FTPS clients and servers to send and receive files with the enterprise.

A closer look at Thru endpoints

Figure 7 – Example of a target SFTP server endpoint. The partner chooses the folder path on the SFTP server where they want to receive files and sets the schedule (the frequency can be every 15 secs, daily, weekly or monthly).

Thru - Example of a target SFTP server endpoint

Step 3 – View All File Delivery Activity in a Single Dashboard

After files have started being exchanged between endpoints with Thru, the enterprise and subscribed organizations with self-service access can go to the “File Delivery Dashboard” to monitor file transfer activities.

Figure 8 – The enterprise can view and download files transferred across all flows from the File Delivery Dashboard including delivered/failed transfers.

Thru - View and download files transferred across all transports

Watch Demo

To see Thru in action, watch this short MFTaaS demonstration video.

[Note: This blog was last updated on November 19, 2018, and was recently updated]

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