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Hybrid Managed File Transfer: Its Strategic Importance in a Hybrid Enterprise

Pro2col finally saw the anticipated increase in demand for hybrid managed file transfer (MFT) solutions in 2020. The jump in interest was significant, with demand increasing by more than 400% from 2019, largely being driven by Enterprises and Public Sector entities. Will 2021 be its coming of age?

What is Hybrid MFT and how does it fit with today’s modern hybrid Enterprise?

For many years organisations have invested in MFT solutions to replace in house developed scripts for the movement of files into, out of and around organisations. Out of the box it provides extensive functionality for file based workflows. It’s therefore become a traditional mainstay of enterprise architecture.
Organisations have accelerated their ‘digital transformation’ journey with a relentless march to a cloud first infrastructure. As a result, business workflows are being re-architected for the cloud, or being natively built for the first time. It would be safe to say, once built and saving the business from disaster, they’re not likely to move elsewhere any time soon.
Enterprise architects are presented with the need to address a problem they’ve solved before, albeit in a different environment: which is the best way of getting files to my business process?

Innovation

Platform innovation is something the majority of MFT vendors tended to shy away from leading up to 2018. Every one of them knew they needed to be ready for the cloud. But with significant revenues coming from on-premise, perpetual or subscription licenses, the risk of canibalisation led to many becoming stuck staring into the headlights of the onrushing customer demand.

Fast forward to 2021 and managed file transfer has become an even more crucial component of enterprise architecture. On-premise software estates have continued to grow. Single server installations are being upgraded to highly available infrastructure, which is fast becoming the norm. Deployments frequently span multiple geographically dispersed data centres to deliver business continuity.
The conundrum MFT vendors expected the cloud to present hasn’t materialised. Rather than replacing on-premises MFT solutions with cloud based alternatives, pretty much the opposite is true. Organisations are enabling their hybrid infrastructure with hybrid MFT, a combination of cloud and on-premise platforms to meet their evolving requirements.
This proves to be a really interesting time in the evolution of the MFT industry, as enterprises are thinking about their solution of choice for the cloud. It also brings on-premise solutions into focus. It raises the question: should the solution of choice be standardised across cloud and on-premise to provide common interfaces and functionality for those responsible for supporting and maintaining them?

What is Managed File Transfer as a Service (MFTaaS)?

MFTaaS, is the cloud hosted component of hybrid MFT. The technology is still rapidly evolving, but with the global marketplace worth a billion dollars or more, we’ll likely see further innovation with new entrants shaking up the landscape as the marketplace matures.
Currently it’s contested by the main vendors of on-premise, enterprise MFT software. Their focus is predominately on medium to large enterprises and the offerings and prices reflect that.
The challenge for MFT vendors over the past three years has been to work out how their feature-rich software might become a viable and profitable cloud offering. The resulting solutions are largely either multi-tenant or single tenant deployments of the same software, or subset of the original code base, with varying platform options. As software vendors, understandably there is little in the way of professional services, the focus being to deliver the platform rather than building large service teams. Thankfully, that’s where a consultancy like Pro2col steps in.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget there are cloud native offerings. However, there are none currently, that I’m aware of, that deliver the level of functionality offered by the main MFT vendors – specifically when a hybrid approach is required. This really calls into focus the functionality of on-premise solutions. However, the marketplace is changing rapidly.

Comparing Hybrid MFT Solutions

Choosing the right MFTaaS platform to become the ‘file transfer gateway’ to an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure. It’s an important decision to get right, to support digital transformation strategies. With the marketplace still fairly new, this decision is made more challenging by the different delivery mechanisms, pricing models and the frequent consideration given to standardising platforms.
It’s certainly a complex challenge for enterprise architects and other IT personnel to get to grips with, amongst all the other projects likely being undertaken simultaneously.

In order to make your Hybrid MFT project a little easier to knock into shape, we’ve created a checklist of our top things to consider before reviewing and comparing solutions. We are happy to share this with you – just email sales@pro2colgroup.com.

Alternatively, our free comparison service provides an independent assessment of the best secure managed file transfer solution for your organisation. Answer a series of questions and our technical experts will match your security, compliance, automation and integration requirements against the leading products on the market. It’s what we do every day so we can help to cut through the noise, shortcut the process and get to the right decision with more accuracy.

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