What Is Headless Managed File Transfer (MFT)?


Illustration comparing traditional managed file transfer and api first mft

Managed file transfer (MFT) technology ensures file data is securely transferred from source to targets for business-to-business (B2B) and application-to-application (A2A) use cases. Typically, file transfer workflows are configured via a graphical user interface (GUI) in the MFT system to create, manage, automate and monitor file transfer integrations. With the growing application network, each with their own GUI, enterprises seek to consolidate interfaces by using APIs to control these applications and automate processes.

Headless MFT is a term that describes MFT functions being programmatically controlled via APIs without the need to access the GUI. Hence the term “headless.” By leveraging MFT APIs, IT can integrate MFT into core systems to create event-driven workflows for end-to-end automation.

Benefits of Headless MFT

By outsourcing the management of MFT tasks to APIs, an organization can:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Achieve a more integrated IT landscape
  • Accelerate digital transformation

Use Cases of Headless MFT

By leveraging MFT APIs, IT teams can automate manual processes and become more API-centric. Here are five examples of how headless MFT can be used:

  1. Monitoring – Connect MFT metadata and file activity to your security information and event management (SIEM) software. This allows the IT Operations team to aggregate file delivery status into one dashboard, simplifying monitoring.
  2. Orchestrate – Control MFT GUI functions programmatically such as add/remove participants to a file transfer workflow.
  3. Error Handling – Automatically create support cases for file transfer failures for immediate remediation. If an endpoint is down for more than an acceptable time, your case management system can automatically create a ticket for IT Operations to remedy.
  4. Partner Onboarding – Use applications such as Boomi Flow to create a self-service portal for partners to manage endpoints and subscribe to MFT workflows that you publish.
  5. Event-Driven MFT – Remotely enable endpoints based on an event. An event could be that your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system such as SAP has generated files and placed them in a specific location. This event can trigger MFT to collect and distribute the files, then report the status back to the ERP system so that the process can be marked as successful.

The use cases outlined above describe only a part of what MFT and APIs can do together. The possibilities are nearly endless – only limited by your team’s skills and creativity.

If you purchase Thru, our cloud MFT solution, you can also get access to two APIs: one connects metadata and file activity to your SIEM software, and the other allows the automatic configuration and modification of entities.

To learn more about these APIs, see our file transfer integration page.


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