What Is a Managed File Transfer (MFT) Agent?


A managed file transfer (MFT) agent is a key component for cloud MFT in a distributed hybrid architecture to facilitate file transfers within and/or across networks. The agent is deployed on networks and responds to commands from the MFT cloud service. Typically, the agent makes an outbound connection to the MFT cloud over HTTPS to receive file transfer instructions and report back metadata and file transfer status.

The agent runs as an extension to MFT on Windows or Linux file systems. Most agents are designed to be lightweight to minimize the need for complex on-premises deployment and maintenance. The agent can be configured to automatically retrieve updates from MFT in the cloud.

enterprise network and internal systems using mft agent to transfer files in the cloud to partner networks

What are the use cases for an MFT agent?

There are two common use cases for MFT agents:

  1. LAN to LAN file transfer

  2. When an enterprise shifts MFT to the cloud as part of a cloud-first strategy, there may be use cases where file transfers are between systems on the network. In this instance, the agent facilitates these transfers while the core MFT engine runs in the cloud and orchestrates transfers on the network. The agents connect to MFT and report on file transfer status to maintain a fault tolerant system.

  3. Retail point of sale (POS) file transfer back to HQ and vice versa

  4. When an enterprise has a remote network of retail or distribution outlets on a wide area network (WAN), MFT agents provide a hub-and-spoke model to connect these entities to the central hub. These remote retail or distribution locations are usually low tech with limited IT resources. MFT agents provide a no-code solution to these environments. Once installed, they are controlled and maintained by the MFT cloud.

3 benefits of using an MFT agent

  1. Cloud first

  2. The enterprise migrates legacy file transfer systems to the cloud without compromise to file transfers within a network.

  3. Simple and secure

  4. MFT agents use port 443 to make an outbound connection over HTTPS, removing the need to whitelist IP addresses or manage SFTP certificates.

  5. Control

  6. MFT agents are updated from the MFT cloud, which has complete visibility of the agent’s health and file transfer activity.

The Thru Node as an MFT agent

The Thru Node is our MFT agent that can handle internal and external file transfers. The easy-to-install node resides on your internal network but is orchestrated from our cloud.

To learn about how to achieve a more integrated IT landscape with Thru, read our integration page »


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