There has been an increased buzz around what managed file transfer (MFT) is and how it improves security, speed, and manageability of moving large files. This talk is drawing the attention of an increasing number of business executives and managers, often unfamiliar with this term. If this is applies to you, continue to read.
As defined by Gartner:
“Managed file transfer software and services enable users to manage and monitor file transfers within and between organizations.”
MFT provides performance enhancements at a bare minimum to these four areas listed below:
Large files and volumes of files can be sent effortlessly using MFT solutions, and often with little or no downtime, a far improved alternative to traditional file transfer solutions, such as FTP. Some MFT solutions, like Thru, allow users to send files or folders of any size, removing the hassle of using complicated and time consuming FTP solutions or email servers that are unable to handle large files.
Security comes in the form of encrypting data in transit and at rest, which is just one aspect often necessary to achieve compliance both for internal and external stakeholders. According to Wikipedia, managed file transfer applications also “generate detailed reports on user and file transfer activity.” Furthermore, MFT comes with authorization policies which grant users different levels of clearance to files which can be accessed or transferred. For Cloud MFT solutions, features like datacenter and network security including firewall and intrusion protection devices may be provided. Backup, redundancy, and disaster recovery may be ensured by the use of multiple servers across geographical locations. There are a plethora of other security features available and features continue to accumulate rapidly.
Management is provided in the form of functionality such as monitoring, visibility, scheduling, and reporting. Monitoring allows the tracking of messages, files and transactions, enabling operations such as notifications whenever files are downloaded. Visibility gives insight into existing file transfers, processes, systems, and people who interact with messages and files. MFT solutions can also allow for schedule transfers to be done automatically in the future, as well as detailed or summarized reporting, all from one centralized location.
Integration with third party applications enables MFT solutions to be implemented with little or no change in workflow. Examples of such applications are email clients like Microsoft Outlook, or CRMs like Salesforce, as well as many other applications through Web Services API.