MFT transforms mortgage application process

MFT transforms mortgage application process

 

This use case explains how a mortgage provider used Managed File Transfer (MFT) to simplify the review and acceptance of an application. MFT completely transformed this complex process, using automation, streamlined security and more user-friendly steps for the applicant and solicitors.

 

 

A lengthy and complex mortgage application process

Previously, after a fact-find with a mortgage adviser, the completed documents would be zipped up, password protected and emailed to the applicant. The applicant would need to call in to be told the password, then would print, sign and return the form, along with proof of ID, details of income and other documents.

The mortgage adviser would receive it and then send it on to the underwriter to be approved or declined.

Once the underwriter had approved the offer, they generated an offer document, which was stored on an internal system.

Another member of staff would need to download the offer from that system, create a zip file, password protect it and then email it to the applicant and their solicitor. Both would need to call the company to get the password to access the offer document.

 

Streamlining the process with MFT

Using MFT’s secure email functionality, secure online forms, automated workflows and secure folders, the IT team were able to completely transform this complex process.

  • After the initial fact find, the mortgage advisor now emails the documentation directly to the applicant easily and securely, using MFT’s secure email functionality.
  • The applicant e-signs the form.
  • The email contains a unique link to a secure online form on the company website, where they upload and submit their signed form and other documents (proof of ID, income etc).
  • These documents then enter an automated workflow to be scanned for viruses and then moved to the correct folder on the network.
  • The underwriter receives an email notification, so they can review the files and accept or decline the application.
  • Once manually approved, the workflow continues, generating an offer document and transferring it to a secure folder, which can be accessed by the applicant and their solicitor.

This process saves time, reduces the complex steps and is far more customer-friendly. The mortgage advisor spends less time on manual processing and has more time to add value to applicants. The underwriter can review more applications more quickly, enabling the business to become much more efficient.

If you would like to find out whether MFT is the right solution for your business, see our online guide to MFT. This includes links to a range of free downloadable resources.

Need further expertise? Download our FREE resources

Supply chain disaster: Do you need an MFT dev environment?

The reasons why you need an MFT dev environment

MFT dev environment - lorries in supply chain disaster

 

In all the years we’ve been working in file transfer, there have been a few occasions when we’ve witnessed the financial impact and reputation damage a system failure can have. This article looks at:

 

  • Why you should think twice before testing in a live environment;
  • When you need to consider a development (dev) environment for your Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution;
  • Details of the six stages for testing and development.

“A few years ago, one organisation was developing workflows in a live environment, and broke other automated processes. The system was down for just a few hours, but the impact was huge. This business supplied products to retailers across the country, but were unable to access the order information. The lorries couldn’t leave the factory and delivery drivers had to be paid overtime. Worse still, the retailers were left out of stock, consumers bought other brands and some ended up staying with that brand. The impact on the business’ finances and reputation were catastrophic.”

 

Richard Auger, Pro2col technical consultant

This particular example could have been prevented if the IT team were developing in a test environment, instead of a live environment. But so many organisations only have a live MFT production licence. That might be to save money, or because decision makers just don’t think a file transfer server needs a test licence. But we know an MFT system is doing so much more than transferring files, so if you have any workflows involved, you need to reconsider.

Is a dev environment business critical?

This will depend on the value of the data your system is handling. Is it critical to business processes? Do you risk breaching service level agreements (SLAs)? Or will you simply not be able to operate, like the example above? While you may be able to send files by some other method for a few hours, it isn’t viable for a sustained period.

You also need a change control policy to meet ISO27001 requirements. While it is down to you to determine the right policy for your unique set of circumstances, example ISO best practice advocates testing in an isolated, controlled and representative environment. Similarly ITIL requires an organisation to follow both ‘change management’ and ‘release and deployment management’ processes from non-production to production systems. It’s an old IT joke that in weaker, less secure environments TIP doesn’t mean ‘Transfer into Production’ – it ends up being ‘Test in Production’ instead.

So to avoid disrupting your system when deploying new releases, building workflows or making other changes, you should follow these six stages for testing, developing and transfer into production:

  1. Sandbox, or experimental environment: This is a local environment no one else can access, where the developer has a working copy of the code. Here they can try it out and change it without putting it live. This environment will typically be an individual developer’s workstation. Once they are happy with it the developer would submit the code to the repository for the next stage of development. Most MFT solutions by default don’t have a sandbox but you can sometimes set it up by installing the software onto a private virtual machine.
  2. Development or integration environment: This is a clean environment where you test how your code is interacting with all the other bits of code associated with the system. The code itself doesn’t get changed in this environment – updates are made to the working copy back in the sandbox and resubmitted. When ready, the developer accepts the code and it is moved to the test environment.
  3. Testing: This is the environment to test the new or changed code, either manually or using automated techniques. You may have different test environments to focus on different types of testing. The developer looks at how it interacts with and impacts other systems and tests performance and availability. If you are upgrading, for example, this will show how your system will behave once the upgrade is in place. From here, the code can be promoted to the next deployment environment.
  4. User acceptance testing (UAT) or quality assurance (QA): In this stage users will trial the software, making sure it can deliver against requirements. Stress testing is also carried out in this stage.
  5. Pre-production, or staging environment: This final stage tests in conjunction with all the other applications in the infrastructure. The aim here is to test all installation, configuration and migration scripts and procedures. For example, load testing happens here. It’s really important that this environment is completely identical to the production (live) environment. All systems should, for example, be the same version.
  6. Production or live environment: Transfer into production – or TIP – is the final stage, bringing the updates live. This is the environment that users actually interact with. This can be done by deploying new code and overwriting the old code, or by deploying a configuration change. Some organisations choose to deploy in phases, in case of any last minute problems.

If you follow these steps you can be confident that any upgrades to the production environment will be completed reliably and efficiently. But if your budget or internal policy won’t allow you to invest in all of these, we would recommend at least a test environment, which should be an exact copy of the production environment.

All our vendors offer test licences at reduced rates. If it’s time to get this set up for your MFT solution, get in touch now. You can contact us via the website or by emailing your account manager.

Interested in a file transfer solution?

What do the new SSL and early TLS requirements mean for my file transfer solution?

What do the new SSL and early TLS requirements mean for my file transfer solution?

PCI DSS is the security standard for processing and storing credit card information. From 30th June 2018, organisations can no longer use SSL and early TLS to meet the PCI DSS standard. This blog post will remind you of the requirements and what this means for your file transfer solution.

Earlier this year we reminded you that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and early Transport Layer Security (TLS) are no longer considered secure protocols. It’s because of the growing number of attacks and vulnerabilities, with online and e-commerce the area most at risk.

From 30th June 2018 organisations will need a more secure encryption protocol in order to safeguard payment data and meet the PCI DSS standard. With just over a week to go, we wanted to share these key points, so you can check you have everything in place and understand what it means for your file transfer solution.

What do I need to put in place?

Essentially, you need to have a secure alternative – both at the network layer and at the data protection layer – and disable any fallback to SSL or early TLS. Your two options are as follows:

1. Migrate to TLS 1.2

The PCI council make a clear recommendation that you transition to TLS 1.2:

“TLS 1.2 is considered secure and is the recommended option from the council.”

SSL and Early TLS Migration webinar, Feb 2018.

TLS 1.1 is a more complicated option because it is possible to meet the requirements for strong cryptography, but it depends on the configuration, algorithms, strength of keys and other aspects of the implementation.

2. Compensatory controls

SSL and early TLS are not considered strong cryptography so they cannot be used as a security control for PCI DSS. You could add alternative security controls that remove the reliance on SSL and early TLS. Encryption would need to be in place to secure the transmission before it is sent using SSL or early TLS. Eg: at the application layer.

Exception for POI devices

This exception is in place because Point-of-Interaction (POI) terminals are not as susceptible to the vulnerabilities as browser based systems. If the device is built and configured in a way that’s not susceptible to the known vulnerabilities, it is possible to keep using it. You need to contact the vendor or support provider for that terminal, who can evidence this.

The device will still need up to date patches, must not use weak cipher suites or unapproved algorithms (eg: RC4 or MD5) and you must continually check that it hasn’t become susceptible to any new vulnerabilities. You should also have a migration plan in place that you can execute at short notice, should the device become susceptible. Any new devices should be configured to TLS 1.2.

You can find out more information on all the topics covered in this blog by watching the video from the PCI Security Standards Council.

What does this mean for my file transfer solution?

If you are running a file transfer solution and have kept it up to date, there is a good chance you won’t need any major changes. All the current versions from the main MFT vendors support TLS V1.2 and many default to only have TLS enabled.

Some products have PCI compliance scans built in, which will warn you if you are running SSL v3.0. It may not differentiate between TLS V1.0 and V1.2 though, so you will need to do a manual check. If you have a support contract with Pro2col, raise a support ticket and one of our technical consultants will find out if your solution is configured for TLS V1.2 or not.

If you are running an older version of your file transfer solution, you may need to upgrade. Again, Pro2col can advise on the process and our professional services team have experience getting out of date software up to the latest version.

If you are running an older SSL certificate built using 512-bit or 1024-bit key sizes, it is worth renewing it. The recommendation is now to use 2048-bit or greater.

To compare Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions with PCI DSS compliant features, complete the Managed File Transfer Comparison Report. This will recommend and compare solutions meeting your specific requirements.

Interested in a file transfer solution?

Leading UK Pharmacy Centralises & Automates Data Transfer Requirements

Leading UK Pharmacy Centralises & Automates Data Transfer Requirements

well-logo

Well, the UK’s largest independent pharmacy with 800 stores, 7000 employees and 73 million prescriptions issued per year, faced a dilemma. They had just been acquired by Bestway Group from the Co-Operative Group and needed to continue to seamlessly exchange business critical data with customers and suppliers after their split.

With a considerable list of challenges that needed to be addressed, Well’s team approached the independent managed file transfer experts, Pro2col.

Well wanted to simplify and better manage their automated and manual data transfer, especially those through financial accounting systems.

Key requirements also included:

1. Data management efficiency through one secure, centralised platform for enhanced visibility and control
2. File transfer integration within their environment for business critical applications AND between third-party applications with partners, vendors, or suppliers exchanging data
3. Automation of financial accounting data to save time, improve security and increase accuracy
4. Full audit and reporting for improved diagnostics
5. Rapid deployment of new transfers on receipt of business requirements

To read the case study in full, learn more about Well’s challenges, and find out which solution they selected, download the case study today.

 
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“We worked closely with Well’s IT Project Manager to clarify which configuration best met his immediate requirements, whilst ensuring the solution could grow to address their future strategic direction. Globalscape’s scalability is a great fit for customers with evolving needs.”

James Lewis

Managing Director, Pro2col Ltd

“In the case of major organizational changes, like Well’s acquisition by Bestway Group, old IT ecosystems may not be suited to handle future challenges brought upon by a new injection of resources and processes. However, by bringing on technology from Globalscape with the help of technology partners like Pro2col, Well is able to manage their data seamlessly and handle any potential requirements that arise as the business continues to scale now and in the future.”

Matt Goulet

Chief Operating Officer, Globalscape Inc.

Secure File Sharing at the Local Government Strategy Forum

Secure File Sharing being discussed at the Local Government Strategy Forum

Heythrop Park, April 12th – 13th

This month I attended my second Local Government Strategy Forum, at the beautiful Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire. Invited by our partner Maytech, I was the ‘independent industry expert’ and had the pleasure of spending two days in this lovely environment, talking with senior management and C-suite executives from councils all around the UK.

heythrop-park

Before attending these events I had, what I believe to be a commonly held opinion, that council workers were underworked and overpaid. I’d read all the stories in the local press about the six-figure salaries and the cancellation of services to ensure their lavish lifestyle. However I’d never stopped to think what they actually did. Listening intently at these events has given me a small insight into the workings of councils, and whilst I’m sure there is still more efficiencies to be realised, I couldn’t have more admiration for the wide range of services they provide and the challenges they have prioritising them to balance the books.

The financial challenges being faced by councils has lead to them adopting a more business-like approach. They are looking at every aspect of their business to drive out wastage and streamline operations, and that’s where my expertise came in.

John Lynch, CEO, Maytech – presenting Quatrix on day one

Over the duration of two days I spoke with in excess of 50 delegates about their data sharing, collaboration, secure file transfer and business process automation challenges. Our experience in this area, working with council’s such as Cambridgeshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and most recently Mid-Sussex Council, ensured we already had a view on some of the challenges being faced for data sharing in the public sector.

As ever there’s not one technology, which addresses the wide range of data sharing requirements of councils, our council customers are using solutions from five of our suppliers. The service we provide is to help them to fully understand their requirements and then choose the right solutions for their needs and budget.

If your council or company needs to address its file sharing, collaboration and secure file transfer requirements why not download one of our free resources below:

What is Managed File Transfer?

Managed File Transfer Starter Pack

Comparison Guide

Building a Business Case for MFT

Globalscape Webinar – Top Four Ways that MFT Benefits Healthcare Organisations

Globalscape Webinar – Top Four Ways that MFT Benefits Healthcare Organisations

Organisations within the healthcare industry face intense scrutiny from regulators and consumers in today’s modern data landscape. Given the high premium placed on patients’ medical records, hackers and cybercriminals are looking for any and every vulnerability to exploitThrough a Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution, IT professionals within the healthcare industry can gain the advantage.

Join us on this webinar for a strategic insight that you can apply to your healthcare organisation today!

Webinar Overview

The healthcare industry faces the immense challenge of preventing continuous data breaches from attempts by hackers or through human error. While the prevention of data breaches continues to be a priority for any IT professional managing the network and data of a healthcare organisation, ensuring operational efficiency and productivity is equally important.

A managed file transfer (MFT) solution can help an IT professional implement a data management strategy that includes a focus on efficiency, reliability, security, and compliance for all data activity.

You’ll leave this webinar with:

  • Current healthcare industry challenges with data movement
  • The top four ways that a healthcare organisation can benefit from a MFT solution
  • How Globalscape supports the healthcare industry

Event Type: Live Webinar

Event Date: Wednesday 21st January – 1200Hrs CST

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