What is Managed File Transfer? Answered

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Regularly, everyone transfers multiple files, and an enterprise is no exception. However, an enterprise would engage in numerous file transfers. This aspect is crucial for business operations as file transfers convey the required information as and when required.

However, organizations must deal with the burgeoning load of file transfers as the world is increasingly aligning itself with the cloud and other such digital technologies. With increasing data sizes and transfers, even the most advanced corporations use managed file transfers or MFTs to meet their data requirements.

Part of the reason for this spike in data transfers is the pandemic and the increased demand for a shorter time to market. As a result, organizations are increasingly reliant on MFTs’ to keep their productivity up. However, the reliance on various tools to fulfil the data and non-data file transfer requirements is risky. It can essentially leave a gaping hole for threat actors to exploit.

While a wide range of tools may solve your problems, they would create new ones due to the lack of coherence and many existing processes. Imagine a scenario where your company gets necessary pricing inputs that would allow you to send a time-relevant quotation. Should the transfer get bungled up, your company may send in an impractical quote which would incur undesired consequences. Numerous instances can roil a company’s voyage, which underscores the importance of establishing a pragmatic MFT protocol and policy across the organization. Let’s dive deep into what an MFT is and the key factors one must include in their MFT policy.

What’s an MFT?

Managed file transfer is a technical bridge that establishes a secure transfer protocol for organizations where the data can be relayed between the designated servers and people. The MFT would be compliant with the organization’s security policies, and it can be offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). The primary advantage of MFT is that it allows organizations to have a single pane for visibility and management.

While there are other ways to transfer files, MFT is far more reliable and efficient for data security and file transference. Well-known protocols such as FTP, HTTP, and SFTP pale in front of MFT.

MFT Benefits

In the age where information is everything, data transfers will never cease to exist. Their growth shall be directly proportional to your company’s growth. A study conducted by Vanson-Bourne observed that 51% of the system-to-system is realized with file transfers. However, the porous data policies, or the lack of one, would leave the company’s data for manipulation and potential espionage. While these potentialities are enough to motivate MFT adoption, let’s look at the benefits.

  • Data Security: Data breaches are happening worldwide, and some of them could be averted with an MFT. The data protocol is effectively a pre-emptive measure against these threat actors. It allows the companies to monitor real-time and protect data while in use or while idling.
  • Compliance: From payment to customer credentials, there are many compliance regulations a company would have to deal with. If a breach unwittingly throws light on a company’s rough data handling, it would only be an insult to the injury. An MFT, which is rightly configured and encrypted, would not allow a safe passage of information but also helps the organizations comply with the law of the land.
  • Bulk data handling: The current times demand swift data transfer speeds, and MFT enables such speeds. Additionally, an MFT supports IoT and other IT infrastructure.
  • Visibility: The visibility offered by MFT allows the companies to mitigate the risks and potential data loss. With better control, one can identify and reduce unwanted incidents such as failed data transfers or data loss.

While these are the benefits, they can be better realized if one includes certain aspects in their MFT. So, let’s look at the key aspects that MFT should have.

Key Aspects of an MFT

An MFT should be well-integrated with your infrastructure and processes. Only then will the MFT work well for your company. This includes automation and other key aspects, which we will dig deep into.

  • Automation of transfers: There will be multiple servers and users across the company, which would make it tough to regulate and enforce stringent policies. It is wise to automate data transfers as it lends higher visibility to the company and keeps everyone happy. Additionally, it would be wise to manage the data from a single platform or a node to avoid confusion. The same platform will facilitate the data and application orchestration. The same platform enables the user to build workflows that govern the data transfers and management. Deft and seamless automation requires cloud technology integration as the cloud has all the required capabilities to address the multiple automated file deployments across infrastructures.
  • Effective and secure management of external file transfers: A third party is inevitably let in. Whether due to outsourcing or auditing purposes, isolation doesn’t work. This brings forth the requirement for easy and effective data movement with external parties. The platform should allow your collaboration partners to upload and download files as & when required. With collaborators spread across the world, MFT and cloud complement each other by enabling swift file transfers. The MFT of the company should also support the popular protocols, which range from FTP to PGP transfers.
  • Enable Simplified Auditing: The platform should provide comprehensive reports regarding the file transfers. While this sounds like a ‘good-to-have,’ it is a must-have feature as the law of the land mandates compliance, which would require easily accessible records. (To avoid the legal barbs, most companies rely upon the famous cloud trio (AWS, Azure, and GCP) as they are compliant with the law of the land.
  • Stunting unnecessary complexities and costs: Productivity will only come down by bringing in unwanted scripts and other time-consuming processes. The company’s MFT should enable deft file transfers across the company’s infrastructure. A good MSP would take care of the licensing and tailor a cost-effective cloud solution.
  • Wick away errors: Human errors and unexpected outages tax companies, and it is in everyone’s best interest to integrate the MFT with robust cloud technology such as AWS, Azure, or GCP. All three of them come with data automation tools that are highly compatible and robust.

Capping it off

MFT has a plethora of benefits. In this age of cloud, this is the file transfer your company needs. From its compatibility to ease of access, MFT should be integrated with your cloud solution. However, most enterprises haven’t realized the advantages of MFT as they employ various data transfer tools. Each of those tools has its unique orchestration, and this variety only bogs down the MFT execution. Also, the variety shrouds the MFT, and its purpose is defeated.

Pitfalls such as this are aplenty, and it is wise not to dive into the MFT integration without an experienced MSP by your side. It is in everyone’s best interest to rope in a service provider for seamless integration and execution of MFT in your enterprise.

Writer’s bio:

Vamsee Ajjampudi is a senior content writer at the Veritis Group. He authors blogposts on tech, market research, and news articles. Apart from professional writing, he doles out career advice and lifestyle related answers on Quora to his numerous followers. He loves to stargaze or play with his pet dog while he is not clacking away at his keyboard.