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Connect:Enterprise Sunset Phase – It’s Time to Switch

The announced product retirement of Sterling Connect:Enterprise by IBM is not a trivial problem for organisations around the world whose critical business data run through the soon-to-be unsupported system. But this forced change does create an opportunity for users to make a switch to more advanced technology that provides better service, better scale to meet future requirements, and easier use and operation. Evaluating alternatives and planning your migration should be top of mind now, since typical migrations to similar technology offered by vendors who emphasize consulting services can take three to 12 months or longer depending upon the number of trading partner connections and implementation complexity. Replacing Connect:Enterprise End of life for Connect:Enterprise is April 2016. That is when IBM will stop supporting the system that’s running your critical B2B processes. And the monetary and productivity costs of trying to maintain the current deployment past its end-of-life date could escalate dramatically. As you look to be more agile and stay ahead of competition, and this product sunset presents an opportunity to deliver exponential value to a business. A more current secure B2B data integration solution should offer: A fresh capability set that doesn’t just maintain current capabilities, but meets them with easier ongoing operation and enhances productivity. An easy-to-use single-platform comprehensive solution, one that doesn’t require “add-ons” for basic functionality. A product that doesn’t require an army of consultants to install and implement, and subsequently operate to support your current business processes and new B2B integration requirements. Considerations for Replacing Connect:Enterprise The migration of each and every communications process being used by this end-of-life product can be a daunting...

Moving files, fast. Really fast!

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. In 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...

A look back at 2014 and our predictions for 2015

Last year saw a year of stability in the Managed File Transfer industry. The stand out news item was the reputed $195m acquisition of Aspera by IBM, which is due to complete shortly, highlighting the increasing importance of the secure movement of Big Data. A few other vendors had board and senior management reshuffles as the increasingly mature marketplace meant new business was hard to come by. This inevitably meant that vendors focused more on their existing customers as support and maintenance renewals became more important. I believe that 2015 will be an interesting year and my predictions are shaped by the maturity of the marketplace and which direction Managed File Transfer vendors decide to develop their platforms. Consolidation of Managed File Transfer Vendors During 2015, I predict that we’ll see further consolidation. Managed File Transfer vendors will find growth difficult, even in light of an increasingly optimistic economy and as a consequence could become acquisition targets. Pure file transfer vendors with little or no interests in other technologies will be the most likely candidates, as their existing client base will be of interest to those vendors with a broader portfolio. The acquisitions of Rhinosoft by SolarWinds is a recent example. Big Data in Managed File Transfer The continued explosion of Big Data will result in more Managed File Transfer vendors adding UDP based delivery protocols to their solutions. The need for timely analysis of Big Data will mean that speed of delivery becomes a higher priority than previously and Managed File Transfer vendors will look to provide this capability to retain current customers and drive new business. IBM ultimately acquired...

Biggest UK Fines By The ICO in 2014

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is a government body set up to regulate those organisations which handle personally identifiable data. Retaining a register of companies and their nominated data handler ensures that the ICO can follow up on any reported data leaks or mishandling of data. The ICO has the ability to serve a company with an undertaking, prosecution, enforcement notice or a monetary penalty. None of these are good for business or for the individual involved, especially as all details are available in the public domain. In the past 12 months, the ICO took action on 88 individuals or companies. Below is a list of the worst performing businesses and the fines levied.   British Pregnancy Advice Service £200,000 – 7 March Kent Police £100,000 – 19 March Amber Windows £50,000 – 3 April Think W3 Limited £150,000 – 23 July Reactiv Media Limited £50,000 – 28 July Ministry of Justice £180,000 – 26 August EMC Advisory Services Limited £70,000 – 1 October Worldview Limited £7,500 – 5 November Parklife Weekender £70,000 – 5 December Kwik Fix Plumbers Ltd £90,000 – 22 December   Not all of these cases were data breaches, but data had been misused or not protected sufficiently to comply with current legislation by the company or individuals involved. Without the correct processes and policies in place or tools for the job, employees can easily make simple decisions that can put personally identifiable data at risk. Implementing the right Managed File Transfer or Enterprise File Sync & Share solutions for your organisation need not be difficult and can be a key component of your data security plan. With our assistance we can help you...

GDPR – What It Is & Why You Need To Be Prepared!

As we all battle on with the day to day activities of our jobs, it can be challenging to ensure that we’re on top of changes to regulations that might affect us. This it seems is very much the case when it comes to the general awareness for the planned introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Having been in the European Commission’s think tank for nearly three years, GDPR is due to replace the outdated and somewhat limited EU Data Protection Directive. Last month our vendor partner, Ipswitch File Transfer, announced the results of a European survey of IT professionals attitudes to regulations and compliance. The results indicated a shocking lack of awareness of GDPR across the board, and with the regulation due to come into effect late this year or early next; the clock is ticking. GDPR is meant to unify and simplify data protection across 28 countries within the European Union (EU). Why should we be concerned? The range of its penalties are a little more extensive than the ICO monetary penalty maximum of £500,000 currently the most prolific threat to enterprises careless with their data. Under the GDPR, financial penalties of up to €100million (approximately £80m) or up to five percent of worldwide turnover, whichever is greater, for organisations that breach its rules. Ipswitch’s survey highlighted some interesting statistics: COMPLIANCE CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW GDPR OR ITS TIMING 56% could not accurately identify what ‘GDPR’ means 52% admitted they were not ready for GDPR 35% confessed to not knowing whether their IT policies and process were up to the job 12% percent of...

Alternatives To Rackspace For FTP File Transfer As The Costs Stack Up

Well other than having a busy week last week we also had two existing Rackspace Enterprise customers contact us to discuss moving their FTP File Transfer to another solution. We wondered if there had been some changes to their terms and conditions or pricing but it appears that the reason that these accounts we’re looking for Rackspace alternatives was down to functionality, performance as well as price. Rackspace has always been positioned as a premium priced supplier with a company mantra of providing fanatical support, however fanatical support isn’t enough these days to command a premium price, the product also needs to be fully featured. Lets be clear Rackspace is a great hosting provider and probably lots more but what we’re hearing is that when it comes to using them for SFTP file transfer they’re phenomenally expensive and don’t provide even some of the basic controls you’d expect. Additionally, but this probably isn’t all Rackspace’s fault, the latency experienced by FTP users trying to carry large data sets over long distances have irritated their customers. The two Enterprise accounts we talked to want to take very different routes to addressing their file transfer concerns. One is bringing it in house, we’re supplying a file transfer solution on an appliance which we’ll manage and support, the other is moving to another hosted provider we work with who addresses the latency issue by carrying data over their own private network between their data centres, with the end user downloading files from their ‘local’ data centre using Geo-DNS to ensure the fastest possible connection speed. I’ve no particular axe to grind with...