- Chapter 1: The beginning of Managed File Transfer
- Chapter 2: What is Managed File Transfer?
- Chapter 3: Common features of Managed File Transfer
- Chapter 4: Who uses Managed File Transfer? How and why
- Chapter 5: Which is the best Managed File Transfer software?
- Chapter 6: Managed File Transfer alternatives
- Chapter 7: The future of Managed File Transfer
- Chapter 8: How much does Managed File Transfer cost?
- Chapter 9: Is open source Managed File Transfer really an option?
- Chapter 10: Next steps for your Managed File Transfer project
Introduction to Managed File Transfer
Although organisations had been securing and automating the exchange of data prior to 2008, it was at this point that the term Managed File Transfer was coined. Frank Kenney of Gartner Inc used it as a common description for a collection of solution. Gartner went on to monitor this technology under the umbrella term of Managed File Transfer for a couple of years. They used their widely acclaimed Magic Quadrant to rank vendors based upon vision and ability to execute, and the functionality afforded by the products they offered. The first iteration of the Magic Quadrant included a number of vendors and products that wouldn’t be deemed to fit the definition of MFT today. But as a starting point it highlighted a wide range of organisations providing secure file transfer. An analysis of the vendors listed in Gartner’s 2009 Magic Quadrant, the last compiled, can be found here. Gartner’s initial sweep of the market included vendors which now operate in different technology stacks such as: File Synchronisation & Sharing (EFSS), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Extreme File Transfer, Content Collaboration Platforms and Workload Automation.
- FTP – file transfer protocol
- FTPS – FTP over SSL
- SFTP – FTP over SSH
- SCP – secure copy protocol
- OFTP – Odette FTP
- HTTP/S – Hypertext Transfer Protocol / Secure
- ASx – Applicability Statement Protocols
- POP3/IMAP – Post Office Protocol and Internet Message Access Protocol
- WebDAV/S – Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning
Not only is data secured in transit using secure protocols, it is more often than not secured at rest either by encrypting the files/file system or by design of the solution and location of the data.
Reach is extended by the use of agents, which can be installed around the internal network, remote offices or customer sites. Agents provide the centralised server application with the control to push and pull files on schedules, whilst executing other commands where permissions allow.
The increased reach is supported by dashboards, which provide an overview of past and current file transfers. Some also report on transfers not occurring. This allows organisations to set alerts if mission critical transfers have failed, that would result in a failed service level agreement (SLA).
Almost all businesses have data they need to exchange with business partners, suppliers and customers. You can find industry MFT use cases here, for healthcare, financial services, retail, logistics and utility organisations.
Managed File Transfer is increasingly used to transfer commercially sensitive or customer sensitive data and, as such, needs to be handled with due care and attention. Many industry sectors and indeed countries are subject to specific legislation governing how data should be handled and protected. Some examples include:
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA)
Axway Secure Transport
Coviant Software Diplomat MFT
Globalscape EFT Server
HelpSystems GoAnywhere MFT
IBM Sterling Commerce
Oracle Fusion Middleware Managed File Transfer
Seeburger Business Integration Suite MFT
South River Technologies Cornerstone MFT
If you speak directly to the vendors remember one thing – the Salesperson can ONLY sell their product so inevitably each will tell you their solution is the best!
!! A WORD OF WARNING !!
- Addictive Tips – non MFT products listed, affiliate link for Solarwinds, out of date info
- IT Central Station – non MFT products listed
- Appuals – non MFT product listed and affiliate link for Solarwinds
- G2Crowd – non MFT products listed and multiple affiliate links
- Trustradius – non MFT products listed and affiliate link for IBM
- PC Mag – non MFT products, incorrect information and from 2017
Here is the list of other websites you might like to take a look at – but has questionable expert advice:
It’s the wild west out there, so if you want expert advice get in contact with the team at Pro2col.
We help a lot of businesses to secure and automate file exchanges. Yet as much as we love MFT technologies, it absolutely isn’t right for every company or every use case.
Over the last decade, file transfer solutions have fragmented into different categories. This means there is some overlap. That includes: Enterprise File Synchronisation & Sharing (EFSS), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Content Collaboration Platforms, among others.
In fact, there are a surprising number of other technologies that provide a degree of file transfer automation. Some do it well even though it’s not part of their core offering. Others don’t.
Over the years we’ve reviewed and replaced a wide range of technologies, documenting which features differentiate them from MFT and which overlap. If you’re considering any of these, the extra information in the links to provide some clarity during your decision-making process.
It is likely we’ll see further consolidation in this marketplace, with more mid-sized players being snapped up for their customer base to the detriment of the MFT users. It’s happened a number of times in the 15 years we’ve been working in this space and it will happen again.
Over the past ten years companies large and small have been jumping on the ‘digital transformation’ band-wagon. Yet digital transformation initiatives have a terrible failure rate; over 70% according to global consulting firm, McKinsey.
Why? Well there are many reasons. Often the scope is too huge, so when it comes to actually breaking down what the business is doing and delivering it, the task is just too large.
In our experience the most successful Managed File Transfer projects have been at a more tactical level. I’ve long harboured the view that the ‘project’ should be elevated to address more data flows than a customer is currently looking to solve. With hindsight, however, success is mostly achieved by doing one thing really well and then and only then, looking at how the solution can expand to address other use cases. I expect to see companies expanding the reach of their solution as they get a better understanding the true value MFT delivers.
Chapter 8:How much does Managed File Transfer cost?
- Single server
- Multiple servers for high availability
- Disaster recovery licenses
- Development, Test, User Acceptance Testing licenses
- Number of trading partners – a model adopted by some
- Modules – the features you require can make a big difference
- Proxy servers and load balancers
- Reporting modules or dashboards
- File sharing and collaboration users (where appropriate)
- Number of processes that can be run concurrently
Most MFT solutions fall into the £10,000 – £50,000 range however we’ve implemented solutions at three times that amount too. Support contracts are typically 20-30% of the licence cost per year, unless you’ve opted for a subscription when support is rolled into the overall annual cost. As you can see there are lots of variables and it’s not always easy to compare solutions on the same terms. Our team are here to help you get exactly the right solution for your needs and budget.
Chapter 10:Next steps for your Managed File Transfer project
We know it’s difficult to research and select the right Managed File Transfer solution. There are over forty vendors on the marketplace who will naturally want you to choose their product. But MFT underpins your security, efficiency, cloud strategy and digital transformation. These are not areas where you can take risks. You need to research each product thoroughly to choose one that successfully delivers your requirements at the best price.
We have a fantastic array of free resources available to help you with your project. Whichever stage of you are at, you will find useful information that will save you time and money. Just click the links for more details.
Lastly, we think Managed File Transfer is great but it’s not right for every organisation or use case. We’re happy to let companies know if we think there is a better, cheaper, more appropriate way of solving your challenges.
Digital Transformation Guide
Managed File Transfer underpins digital transformation. This White Paper explains the essential role it plays in transforming your operational processes.
MFT Buyers Guide
Pro2col’s Managed File Transfer Buyer’s Guide equips you with the knowledge to make the right decision when it comes to securely transferring or sharing files.
Start On Your Info Gathering
This is the ideal resource to get your started. The forty file transfer information gathering questions help you identify some of your business requirements and needs.
MFT Solution Comparison
This solution comparison service asks all the right questions about your requirements. Our experts review your answers then recommend the best solution.
Contact usWe're always happy to help - however big or small your query
Simply call or email us and one of our system integration specialists will be in touch to discuss your requirements or queries.