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Six Managed File Transfer Experts Give Their Top File Transfer Automation Tips

Six Managed File Transfer Experts Give Their Top File Transfer Automation Tips

One of the biggest driving factors behind businesses implementing Managed File Transfer (MFT) is to ‘improve productivity’ and one of the biggest ways in which MFT can improve productivity is through File Transfer Automation.

So we decided to ask six file transfer experts from Cleo, Coviant Software, Globalscape, Ipswitch, JSCAPE and South River Technologies for their ‘Top three file automation tips.’ Unsurprisingly our experts had diverse views on what they believed to be important about file transfer automation, but we didn’t quite expect the variety of answers we received.

Joe Dupree, VP Marketing, CleoJoe Dupree, VP Marketing, Cleo

“Manual workflow functions hold businesses hostage. MFT automation can make your organization faster and more nimble by:

Delivering at a greater scale: There is a growing need for file transfer solutions that address all types of data management and integration use cases. Automation eases deployment and operation. Even better, solutions that are agnostic to all data formats and transfer protocols provide more versatility. But in today’s business that’s not enough. Automated MFT needs to massively scale as more digitized business workflows require rapid movement of more data to parallel the movement of their business processes, team members, goods, and services.

Achieving high availability: Customers expect full uptime, but how do you get there? Can your solution automate failover, and can you implement it without a small army of consultants?

Onboarding faster: How long does it take to onboard one new trading partner? What if you need to add lots of new connections? Ditch the manual configuring with a solution that comes pre-loaded with 900 preconfigured connections to the world’s largest trading hubs. Choose a proven solution that streamlines operations by enabling faster onboarding.

Don’t get caught doing things manually while revenue awaits and productivity drains. An advanced and automated MFT solution enables greater operational efficiency.”

Pam Reid, CEO, Coviant Software

Pam Reid, CEO, Coviant Software

“When a file transfer automation application is deployed, business users may have the false expectation that file transfers will always be successful. File transfer automation does greatly reduce the number of file transfer errors, but it cannot eliminate them altogether. File transfer errors occur for many reasons – network outages, locked files, a new password or encryption key that was not updated in the file transfer automation application and many other issues.

So, my three top tips on how to live up to high business user expectations is to look for a solution that:

Reduces overall file transfer errors. When transient errors occur, such as a network outage or a locked file, jobs should automatically wait and retry the connection before failing the job.

Minimizes the time to diagnose and resolve errors. Look for a solution that sends all of the diagnostic information directly to an IT support email account, which enables IT support to identify and attempt to resolve the issue right away.

Gives IT support time to resolve errors before business users are notified.  Assume a weekly payroll file is supposed to be ready for pick-up at 2pm on Thursday and must be delivered by 5pm. If the file transfer job runs at 2pm and does not find the file, the job should notify only IT support that the file is not ready – which gives IT support several hours to resolve the problem before business users are notified of a failure.”

Matt Goulet, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Globalscape

Matt Goulet, CEO, Globalscape

“Automation is an effective way to improve file transfer efficiency. Manual, intermittent batch processes are an unreliable method of data delivery because of limitations such as lack of staff, turnover, and human error. Below are just a few ways you can streamline the file transfer process.

Program Workflows: Create programmatic workflows that can be used to trigger events and actions based on specific conditions. From being aware of multiple invalid logins to processing and scanning all incoming files, being able to program workflows saves time and minimizes errors.

Streamline Business Processes: Automated workflow tools that are used with managed file transfer solutions can help optimize business processes, even when sophisticated and complex workflows are needed. MFT automation tools help administrators perform complex tasks and remove the possibility of human error.

Process Files with Added Security Measures: Antivirus scanners and Data Loss Prevention tools can permit or prevent file transfers based on your policies and help keep your network free of infected files, and can help comply with regulatory standards by preventing personally identifiable information from being transferred.

If you’re ready to simplify your file transfer process, automate with an MFT solution.”

Kevin Conkin, VP of Product Marketing, Ipswitch

“Do you find yourself spending too much time on manual tasks related to file transfer such as tracking lost files, reworking custom scripts, or creating audit trails? Automated file transfer can make your job a lot easier to do, while improving the IT team’s positive impact on the business. Here are three ways automating file transfer helps IT teams:

IT productivity improves. Many file transfers are initiated on a recurring basis. IT teams can get bogged down confirming transfers to meet service level agreements. The automation that comes with a Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution promptly pushes data to the right person at the right time. This means that the IT team doesn’t have to think twice and can remain focused on other tasks.

IT makes users happy. Automated, managed file transfer will help you find a new way to work with your end users—to give them an easy-to-use solution that integrates seamlessly with what they’re already using.

IT becomes compliant. The automation that comes through Managed File Transfer can identify an audit trail, and at a moment’s notice, provide a real-time status of the transfer. As a result, MFT helps the organization become more compliant, especially when it is integrated with security controls such as encryption and data loss prevention technology.”

Van Glass, CEO, JSCAPE

Van Glass, CEO, JSCAPE

Simplify: Many legacy file transfer implementations are home grown solutions that have evolved into an ever growing number of disparate and undocumented scripts and processes. These scripts are often written in arcane programming languages and are difficult to maintain. This can be particularly troublesome in cases when the original authors leave the organization and this knowledge is lost. When automating file transfers it is important to try and centralize all file transfers under a single application that has a holistic view of all file transfer processes and does not require specialized programming knowledge.

Failures: It’s inevitable that some automated file transfers are going to fail. This can happen for a variety of reasons including invalid credentials, network connectivity issues or hardware failures. Regardless of the reason, it’s important that you be able to automatically respond to these failures in the most efficient way possible. Network connectivity issues are common but often short-lived, so rather than give up immediately, it is common practice to retry failed transfers with a certain wait period between each attempt. For example, you may configure your file transfers to retry up to 3 times with a wait period of 60 seconds between each retry. This gives the target server or network time to recover from the failure. Additionally, provided the protocol used supports it, retries should resume file transfers from the last byte successfully transferred instead of attempting to transfer the entire file in order to reduce bandwidth consumption and complete the transfer more quickly. This is especially important in very large file transfers of several GB or more. The ability to notify administrators via email or other means in the event of a hard failure is also key.

Track Results: Automating your file transfers is just one of the first steps in implementing a Managed File Transfer solution. Tracking the results of file transfers is equally important in that by doing so you gain improved visibility into your file transfers. This information will help you not only in troubleshooting failed file transfers but also in better understanding file transfer trends which can prove useful when scaling up hardware or network resources. The results of your file transfers should at a minimum be able to answer the following questions: Who initiated the file transfer? What is the path and size of the file transferred? Was the file transfer successful? When was the file transfer initiated and if successful when was it completed?”

Michael Ryan, CEO, South River Technologies

“For a Managed File Transfer implementation to be successful and truly improve productivity, it must consider both automated transfers and user initiated transfers.  Both aspects should be balanced, while also considering security implications.

Easy User Access.  Make sure that your Managed File Transfer solution makes it easy for users to access and collaborate on files.  If there are additional security steps that users have to perform, they may work around the security measures.  Security should be invisible to users, who need to focus on accomplishing their work.

Integration capability.  It’s important to consider solutions that will easily integrate with both existing corporate applications, as well as desktop user applications.  This extends your investment in existing technologies and reduces the training requirements for your MFT implementation.

Provide optimal performance.  Load balancing and automated failover are key requirements for performance and high availability, but also consider the server architecture.  Native 64-bit applications take full advantage of the resources of each individual server, which makes a load-balanced implementation even more effective in achieving high throughput and performance.”

In conclusion, we can see that our experts have differing opinions on what are important considerations for file transfer automation. All of them are very valid and I’d suggest that you take into account as many as possible when considering a Managed File Transfer solution.

Of course, there are many solutions in the marketplace, all with their slight differences in features, benefits and total cost of ownership. If you’re considering implementing Managed File Transfer software to provide file transfer automation, or reviewing what you already have in place, then we’d be happy to help. You can speak to one of our friendly MFT experts by calling 0333 123 1240 or get in touch here.

Resources Available For You

The Expert Guide to Managed File Transfer

Includes definitions, requirements assessment, product comparison, building your business case and much more.

Managed File Transfer Needs Analysis

200 essential questions to consider before implementing your chosen Managed File Transfer solution.

Managed File Transfer Comparison Guide

A full feature comparison of Managed File Transfer solutions from the eight leading vendors in the industry.

GoAnywhere MFT is now Drummond Certified for AS2

AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) is one of the most popular methods for transporting data securely and reliably over the internet. Linoma’s GoAnywhere software has supported AS2 for many years to simplify the exchange of data like EDI, XML, documents, PDFs and text files with trading partners.

AS2_3Q15_DrummondCertified_seal-300x169That commitment to excellence was recently tested against the world’s highest standards for AS2 automation, as set by the Drummond Group, LLC. And Linoma are pleased to announce that the AS2 automation features in GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer solution, (GoAnywhere MFT™) were recognised as Drummond Certified™ in the AS2-3Q15 automated interoperability test event.

Drummond Certified products are compliant and interoperable to make sure they truly interface with the systems of customers and partners. A report listing the test results and technical parameters of a specific test may be downloaded from the www.drummondgroup.com website.

GoAnywhere streamlines, automates & encrypts file transfers using standard encryption and protocols including: Open PGP, SFTP, FTPS, & HTTPS. For questions or to schedule a personal demo of GoAnywhere MFT, contact a Linoma representative today on 0207 118 9640.

“Although GoAnywhere has supported AS2 for quite some time, our customers were telling us that becoming Drummond Certified™ would help them in meeting trading partner requirements” Commented Bob, “to be Drummond Certified™ means being part of an elite group of software solutions, and one of the few that can also offer on-premise file collaboration and managed file transfer capabilities too.”
Bob Luebbe
Chief Architect, Linoma Software

In addition to becoming certified as an AS2-3Q15 product, further testing of GoAnywhere MFT confirmed its compatibility with RFC 4130 and verified compliance with optional profiles for;

  • FN (Filename Preservation)
  • MA (Multiple Attachments)
  • FN-MA (Filename Preservation with Multiple Attachments.)
  • CTE (Chunked Transfer Coding
  • SHA2 hash algorithms supporting SHA256, SHA384 and SHA512

Other currently Drummond Certified for AS2 Managed File Transfer Solutions include;

Axway SecureTransportCleo HarmonyCleo VLTraderCleo Lexicom

MOVEit Central 8.1 Released

MOVEit Central 8.1 Released

MOVEit Central 8.1 is the latest release of the File Transfer and Workflow Automation Product. Version 8.1 is a generally available maintenance release that fixes several significant defects and adds a number of new features also.

  • Preview of New Web-based Admin Client:The new Admin Client supports all the major browsers and replaces the functionality of the Windows Admin Client.
  • Support for 64-bit Windows operating systemMOVEit Central will install as a 64-bit application that provides greater memory utilisation for improved task processing. (The 32-bit version will still be available via the Modify function of the installer.)
  • More PlatformsLeverages current industry platforms– Support for Windows Server 2012 R2– Support for MS SQL Server 2014

    – Updated MySQL 5.5.43

  • Enhanced PerformanceFaster start-up, encrypt and decrypt (via PGP), which transfers files more efficiently. Improved session reuse, background clean-up, and new OpenPGP libraries (Didsoft).
  • Customer ImprovementsOver 50 customer identified improvements.
  • Ipswitch Failover ManagerMOVEit Central provides the Ipswitch Failover Manager– reducing cost for organisations to recover data, and to further satisfy regulation requirements. Ipswitch Failover Manager integration includes:– Rule-based failover and switchover– Monitoring

    – Remote (WAN) Disaster Recovery

    – MS SQL database recovery from separate server

NOTE: The Ipswitch Failover Manager will be available in the second half of 2015. Ipswitch will
continue to support Legacy Failover installations for MOVEit Central release 8.1. The Legacy
Failover system is built into MOVEit Central whereas the new Ipswitch Failover system is installed
separately and managed externally. The Legacy Failover system is still in the MOVEit Central
documentation. The new Ipswitch Failover system is documented separately.

Version 8.1 includes all fixes from and replaces all MOVEit Central 8.0.x.x patch releases.

If you own MOVEit Central and are under a current maintenance agreement you can download 8.1 from the Ipswitch Customer Portal.
If you don’t own MOVEit Central, Pro2col can arrange for a 30day trial of MOVEit Central Corporate for you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the team on 0333 123 1240 if you would like to find out more.

Moving files, fast. Really fast!

Moving files, fast. Really fast!

FAST-FILES

Most of the companies that contact us do so looking for guidance on automating their file transfer. Automation is primarily for B2B and predominately involves using SFTP, a simple but typical example might be that an insurance company receives files from a bank and the files need to be moved to another internal system for processing. Of course there are usually a wide range of other complex processes that accompany it, but you get the idea.

Making files fast BIIn recent times however many of our conversation have gone along the lines of, “How can we move REALLY large files?” With the continuing explosion in data creation companies are having problems moving the large sets of data, many that are gigabytes in size.  All variations of FTP can deliver large volumes of data, but when you add in to the mix that it is in a far flung location and you’ve got a dodgy internet connection, suffering from latency and packet loss then FTP becomes pretty much ineffectual. Latency on the line, measured in round trip times (RTT), is a measure of how long it takes for a packet of data to get from point A to B and back again. We won’t go into the reasons in this blog, but suffice to say the longer the RTT the less efficient FTP becomes as can be seen in the graph here.

However all is not lost, there is an resolution to this data transfer problem. A select few vendors have built proprietary protocols based upon the open standard UDP to move data faster. A lot faster! Their protocols generally work the same way in that they maximise the utilisation of the bandwidth available to them by flooding the connection with data. Of course, controls are built in to ensure other network traffic doesn’t suffer. This approach can increase the speed by up to 1,000 times depending upon the network conditions and bandwidth available.

These UDP based solutions are now reaching a level of maturity enabling the software to be used in many scenarios, for example:

  • Disaster recovery and business continuity
  • Content distribution and collection, e.g., software or source code updates, or CDN scenarios
  • Continuous sync – near real time syncing for ‘active-active’ style HA
  • Supports master slave basic replication, but also more complex bi-directional sync and mesh scenarios
  • Person to person distribution of digital assets
  • Collaboration and exchange for geographically-distributed teams
  • File based review, approval and quality assurance workflows

Not only are files getting bigger but the environments within which they are implemented are evolving, the technologies with which they need to interface are changing too. Our expert team analyse complex requirements daily, providing companies of all shapes and sizes with solutions to their tricky file transfer conundrums. If your business needs to share large or sensitive data either in an automated of manual process, we can help. Contact one of our file transfer experts on +44 1202 433415 or get in touch via the web site.