Control File

A control file is a special file that is sent along with one or more data files to tell applications that handle the data files how to handle them.  Control files are typically created by the same application that original sends files into a file transfer system. The most common type of control file is[..]

Cut-Off Time

In file transfer operations, a cut-off time is a specific time of day a processor must receive a batch or file by so processing can begin on that day.   The processor, not the sender, decides the cut-off time. For example, if a processer publishes a cut-off time of 5pm, then a file received at 4:59pm[..]

FTP with PGP

The term “FTP with PGP” describes a workflow that combines the strong end-to-end encryption, integrity and signing of PGP with the FTP transfer protocol.  While FTPS can and often should be used to protect your FTP credentials, the underlying protocol in FTP with PGP workflows is often just plain old FTP. BEST PRACTICE: (If you[..]


In file transfer, “metadata” usually refers to information about files moved through a file transfer system.  Examples of metadata include usernames of original submitter, content types, paths taken through the system so far and affirmations of antivirus or DLP checks. Metadata such as suggested next steps is often submitted to file transfer applications in control[..]


Middleware is a software architecture concept that refers to integration of disparate applications to facilitate reliable communication.  Middleware frequently relies on encapsulating inter-application communications in the concept of an “message”, and often has the ability to queue or perform optimized delivery or copying of messages to various applications. Common types of middleware include EAI (“Enterprise[..]


OLA is an abbreviation for “Operating Level Agreement“, which is a type of internal agreement between departments that make it possible for file transfer operations to achieve their SLAs (Service Level Agreements). See “Operating Level Agreement” for more information.

Operational Level Agreement

An operational level agreement (OLA) is a less stringent form of service level agreement (SLA) typically set up between two departments in the same organisation, especially when an OLA is set up to help support a customer-facing SLA. See “Service Level Agreement” for more information


Orchestration is the ability to control operational flows and activities based on business rules, especially in multi-application systems complicated enough to require middleware such as ESB (“Enterprise Service Bus”) or the older MOM (“Message-Oriented Middleware”). In the context of a file transfer system, orchestration often refers to the ability to apply automation such as triggers,[..]

Service Level Agreement

A file transfer service level agreement (SLA) establishes exactly what a particular customer should expect from a particular file transfer provider, and how that customer should seek relief for grievances. A file transfer SLA will often contain the following kinds of service expectations: Availability: This expresses how often the file transfer service is expected to[..]


SLA is an abbreviation for “Service Level Agreement“, which is a specific contract between a customer and a provider that lays out exactly what each side can expect from the other.   The minimum amount of work and minimum level of due care that a file transfer operations team is responsible for is often determined[..]

Transmission Window

A transmission window is a window of time in which certain file transfers are expected or allowed to occur. Transmission windows typically reoccur on a regular basis, such as every day, on all weekdays, on a particular day of the week, or on the first or last day of the month or quarter. Most transmission[..]

Trigger File

A “trigger file” is a common type of control file used to initiate further processing or retransmission.  Trigger files are typically created by the same application that original sends files into a file transfer system. The two most common types of trigger files are files with similar names to the files that need to be[..]