File Transfer Glossary

Tech talk can be confusing when you don’t know what something means. Find definitions to file transfer terms by clicking the corresponding letter in the navigation menu, below.

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Ad hoc file sharing

Also File sharing, Manual file transfer, User-centric file transfer

When people share files with each other manually through email or another application.

Antivirus scanning

When managed file transfer (MFT) software scans files for viruses to keep the environment secure.

Application programming interface (API)

APIs let a user control an application without logging in. In the case of managed file transfer (MFT), APIs can funnel alert information from the MFT application to another application.


Storing files for a certain time, typically to meet compliance requirements.

Automated file transfer

Describes a use case or software that automates file transfers.


Describes a software’s ability to handle increasing usage without human involvement.



Checkpoint restart

Describes the ability for managed file transfer (MFT) software to resume failed or delayed file transfers from a certain checkpoint.


A piece of hardware or software that requests information from a server. It is typically used by individual users on the network.


A global network of servers. Resources can be accessed anywhere if there is an internet connection.

Cloud managed file transfer (MFT)

Software that automates file transfers and runs in the cloud.


Describes software that is built in the cloud, unlike software that is built on-premises and then adapted for the cloud.


A process to make a file take up less storage space. Compression is typically done to speed up file transfer.


Also Integration

A specific connection to an external resource of any kind, whether it is a

  • Generic protocol such as HTTP, FTP, etc.
  • Java-based database
  • Specific third-party API

Connectors may be operation-based or endpoint-based, but these terms refer to a difference in how they are configured, not in what they do.


Data replication

When data is copied to an off-site location in case of a disaster.

Data sovereignty

The idea that the data any organization collects, stores and processes is subject to the nation’s laws where it is physically located. Data sovereignty affects which data centers a company should use.

Data transformation

When data is changed to meet a business need. Examples of data transformation could include adding, deleting, standardizing or re-organizing data.


Restoring a compressed file to its original size. A file must be decompressed to be used.


Making data readable again when the person receives it.

Defense-in-depth model

A cybersecurity strategy that uses multiple layers of security to protect information. This model should include policies to ensure physical, operational and managerial security.

Demilitarized zone (DMZ)

An area outside a company’s firewall. Companies will put publicly accessed servers in the DMZ to keep hackers from accessing sensitive data behind the firewall.


The steps required to make software available to its users. Cloud deployments are typically easier than on-premises deployments.

Digital transformation

Implementing new technologies, talent and processes to improve business processes and satisfy customers.

Disaster recovery

The ability and methods used by an organization to get its IT infrastructure functional after a disaster.


When software is not working. This could be due to scheduled updates or maintenance, a cyberattack or another disaster.



Describes a software’s ability to accommodate increases in demand.


Making data unreadable before it is sent to keep it secure.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE)

Encrypting a file during transfer and in storage. End-to-end encryption can also be described as a combination of encryption in transit and encryption at rest.


A term describing the origin(s) and destination(s) of file transfers. Endpoints can be clients or servers and use various protocols.

Electronic Software Distribution (ESD)

Also Electronic Software Delivery (ESD)

Sharing software manually with customers via an online interface.

Event-driven managed file transfer (MFT)

Setting up managed file transfer (MFT) software to act when a certain event occurs. For example, if your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system places files in a specific location, the MFT software can collect and distribute the files, then report the status back to the ERP system so that the process can be marked as successful.

External file transfer

Also Business-to-business file transfer

Transferring files with customers, wholesalers, resellers, retailers and other third parties.


File name filters

The ability to filter files based on file type or a part of the name.

File renaming

Changing the name of a file while it is being transferred. Examples of file renaming could include adding the date or time of transfer, adding a text string, or replacing part of the file name with something else.


A network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic. It allows or blocks traffic based on a set of rules.


Also Transport, Workflow

A flow is a pathway created to transfer files between endpoints. In Thru, you can modify flows at any time by adding or removing organizations or endpoints.

Flow-based system

A system with workflows or flows as the primary component. Folder paths are added to endpoints.

Folder-based system

A system with folders as the primary component. The ability to make workflows is limited or nonexistent.


Stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is unencrypted, meaning that anyone can intercept and read information in files. Many companies have been gradually phasing out FTP file transfers.


Stands for File Transfer Protocol over SSL. It encrypts files with Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, which used to be known as SSL.


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

A law created by the European Union to protect EU citizens’ data. GDPR regulates the collection, use and deletion of personal data.

General “Good Practices” (GxP)

GxP refers to general “good practices” regarding quality guidelines and regulations, with the “x” standing for various fields or industries.

Guaranteed delivery

The ability of managed file transfer (MFT) software to keep trying to deliver files if it is having trouble transferring them.


Headless managed file transfer

Using APIs to control managed file transfer (MFT) software without logging in. IT teams can simplify monitoring and processes by using headless MFT.

High availability

Describes a software’s ability to run continuously without failing. High availability and disaster recovery are often discussed together.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects patients’ protected health information (PHI). Any company that has access to PHI must achieve and maintain HIPAA compliance.


Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It sends requests and responses in an unencrypted format, meaning that bad actors can intercept and read the information.

Many websites used to use HTTP, but most have switched to HTTPS.


Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt data. HTTPS is often used by websites because it keeps users’ data secure.

Hybrid architecture

Also Hybrid managed file transfer

A situation in which a company uses cloud managed file transfer (MFT) with an on-premises agent to handle transfers within the company’s firewall. The on-premises agent is orchestrated from the cloud.

Hybrid architecture gives a company the advantages of cloud MFT without sacrificing the security of its internal file transfers.


Inbound connection

A connection from outside a company’s network to within the network.

Integration platform as a service (iPaaS)

Also Enterprise integration platform as a service (EiPaaS)

A cloud service that allows software developers to automate how on-premises and cloud-based applications share data by providing a selection of pre-built connectors and business rules that make it easier to standardize integration flows.

Internal file transfer

A file transfer that occurs within a company’s network, behind its firewall.




Local area network (LAN)

A collection of devices connected in one physical location, such as a building, office or home.


Managed file transfer (MFT)

A technology that secures and simplifies the process of exchanging files internally or externally to an organization.

Managed file transfer as a service (MFTaaS)

Also Managed file transfer platform as a service (MFTPaaS)

A cloud managed file transfer (MFT) solution in which the vendor handles software updates, disaster recovery, high availability and scaling.


A file transfer pattern in which many organizations are sending files to one organization.


In Thru, adding different source and target folder paths to the source endpoint(s).


Information about data. File metadata could be the name, creation date, etc.

MFT agent

For Thru, an application that is installed on-premises and orchestrated from the cloud. It handles file transfers within a company’s network.


The process of switching from one software or system to another.


The ability of a managed file transfer (MFT) application to record information about file transfers and alert administrators in case a file transfer fails.



Describes software that requires no coding knowledge to use.



A file transfer pattern in which one organization is sending files to many organizations.


Groups of people you want to send files to in Thru. They can represent internal teams (your accounting or marketing teams) or other companies.

Outbound connection

A connection from within a company’s network to outside the network.



Any group of people a company exchanges files with, including clients, distributors, manufacturers, resellers, subsidiaries, suppliers, etc.


The ability of managed file transfer (MFT) software to store files until they are successfully delivered.

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption

A type of encryption that protects the file itself. It uses two keys: one public and one private. The public key is shared with anyone and used to decrypt the message. The private key is never shared and decrypts the message.

Point-to-point connection

A connection between only two points to exchange data. Point-to-point connections are coded and maintained by the IT team. Over time, a company could accumulate hundreds or thousands of point-to-point connections.

Private cloud

Also Virtual private cloud

When a company sets up a cloud that is only for its use. It manages its own high availability, disaster recovery and scaling within its private cloud.


A set of rules or procedures for transmitting data between electronic devices, such as computers.

Public cloud

Also Multi-tenant model

When multiple companies use the same cloud and keep their data separate. The software vendor manages high availability, disaster recovery and scaling.

Publish/subscribe model (pub/sub)

In Thru, the ability to replace point-to-point connections by adding as many organizations as needed to one flow. Endpoints can be changed at any time and flows automatically adjust.


Deleting files after they are successfully delivered.



Isolating a file that might have a virus to keep it from harming other files or parts of the system.



REST stands for Representational State Transfer. REST APIs work with plain text, XML, HTML and JSON. They require less bandwidth than SOAP APIs.


Keeping files after they are transferred for compliance or other purposes.



Setting managed file transfer (MFT) software to check for files at certain times of the day, week or month.


A piece of computer software or hardware that fulfills requests from the client. It typically has resources shared by every user on the network.

Service level agreement (SLA)

An agreement between a software provider and its customers about how much uptime the customer will experience. If the SLA is broken, the vendor may have to reimburse customers for the downtime.


Stands for SSH File Transfer Protocol or Secure File Transfer Protocol. SFTP is a file transfer protocol that uses Secure Shell (SSH) to encrypt files.

Shadow IT

When employees find a way around a cumbersome IT process that is not secure or trackable by IT. For example, employees might work on confidential documents in a collaboration website that is not secure.


SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. SOAP APIs only work with XML formats and require more bandwidth.

Software as a service (SaaS)

A software licensing model in which access to the software is provided on a subscription basis, with the software being located on external servers rather than on servers located in-house.


Where a file is coming from.



Where a file is going.

Trigger file

Also Semaphore file

A file used to keep managed file transfer (MFT) software from pulling partial files from endpoints.



When software is working and available for use.




Also IP address whitelisting

When all IP addresses are blocked by default and must be approved individually for security purposes.




Zero trust (ZT)

Summarized in motto: Never trust, always verify.
As defined by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Zero trust (ZT) provides a collection of concepts and ideas designed to minimize uncertainty in enforcing accurate, least privilege per-request access decisions in information systems and services in the face of a network viewed as compromised.

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