0333 123 1240 info@pro2colgroup.com

Researching Managed File Transfer? Download our independent Buyer’s Guide

Researching Managed File Transfer? Download our independent Buyer’s Guide

​We know it’s difficult to research and select new software, especially one as fundamental as Managed File Transfer. It underpins your security, efficiency, cloud strategy and digital transformation. None of these are areas where you can take risks.

That’s why we created the Managed File Transfer Buyer’s Guide. It helps you mitigate these risks, so you can confidently select the right solution for your business requirements.

Why did we create the Managed File Transfer Buyer’s Guide?

There are three main reasons we wrote this: To save you time, to save you money and because our independence and expertise means we are best placed to advise.

 

  • To save you time and money

    Managed File Transfer is a big investment. Whether you’re buying for the first time or replacing an outdated solution, you don’t want to make an expensive mistake.
    There are over forty vendors on the marketplace, each pushing their product. Of course they will tell you it is right for your business. But perhaps Managed File Transfer isn’t right for you after all? Or maybe there’s a product that will deliver your requirements better and for a cheaper price?
    To research every product thoroughly will take a lot of time and resource. We have distilled the essential information into this guide, so you can understand whether you need MFT, which business problems MFT can address and how, plus advice for the different stages of your project.

  • Other Buyer’s Guides aren’t up to much

    There’s no-one else who can create a truly independent Buyer’s Guide with our level of expertise. They are either written by vendors trying to push their product, or by businesses without our level of experience.
    Pro2col deal solely with MFT and have done for over 15 years. Each of our senior technical consultants has over nine years’ experience. We are thought leaders in the industry, assisting vendors with product research and development, and are providers and developers of the only vendor-independent training programme: The Certified file Transfer Professional (CFTP).
    Our technical expertise is sought the world-over by businesses and vendors alike. Access this expertise for free now.

What does the Managed File Transfer Buyer’s Guide include?

  • Explanation of MFT and whether you have a current or future business need.
  • A series of common business problems MFT solves, including automation, security and visibility.
  • Which MFT features or modules address which requirement?
  • Use cases explaining how different industries use MFT.
  • Advice for the different stages of an MFT project.
  • Access to more downloadable resources to help you through each stage of your product.

Managed File Transfer software comparison

Managed File Transfer software comparison

Do you need to compare Managed File Transfer solutions? With over forty products on the market, where do you start? We developed this free Managed File Transfer software comparison service to help you.

Globalscape EFT, HelpSystems GoAnywhere, Cornerstone from SRT, Ipswitch MOVEit and Cleo Harmony are all excellent Managed File Transfer products that we recommend to customers. But even from this shortlist, which is the right one for your organisation?

Every business has a unique set of requirements and each solution delivers its feature-set differently. There are so many factors that will determine if your implementation is a success. Sourcing the wrong product will cost you more in the long run.

Pro2col’s free comparison service identifies the right solution for your needs and budget. You complete a series of questions about your current and future business requirements, and receive a bespoke report from our technical consultants, recommending the best solution for you.

 

Globalscape logo
Ipswitch logo
GoAnywhere logo
Aspera logo
South River Technologies logo
Maytech logo
Coviant Software logo
Citrix Sharefile logo
Cleo logo
Thru logo

HOW DOES THE MANAGED FILE TRANSFER SOFTWARE COMPARISON WORK?

STEP 1: Complete a series of questions about your requirements, answering in as much detail as possible.

STEP 2: Our independent technical consultants will review your answers, comparing against the different solutions.

STEP 3: We will make a free recommendation, explaining which product is the best fit for your organisation and why. If we don’t supply the software, we will put you in touch with someone who does.

STEP 4: If you need more detail for your business case or procurement team, opt for our extended paid report service, with detailed analysis of three products, vendor details and pricing.

 


WHY REQUEST A MANAGED FILE TRANSFER SOFTWARE COMPARISON?

SAVE TIME

You will save weeks of research time by completing this questionnaire, making use of our technical consultants’ knowledge and expertise.

EXPERTISE

Pro2col experts have been delivering secure file transfer solutions since 2004 across 30 countries. Each technical consultant has a minimum of seven years’ experience working with this niche technology. We are also providers and developers of the only file transfer certification, CFTP.

INDEPENDENT

Software vendors will want to sell you their product, but our technical experts independently analyse the best solution for your unique requirements. They consistently review the marketplace and only select credible solutions from credible vendors, who provide excellent support and regular software updates.

FULLY SCOPE YOUR REQUIREMENTS

Your internal processes and current / future business requirements will determine which solution is the best fit. That is because different software differs in how it delivers the same set of features – the level of detail makes all the difference. Our free Managed File Transfer comparison service asks you the right questions to recommend an exact fit for your organisation, making sure your implementation is a success.

The questionnaire prompts you to consider the following criteria: Key infrastructure questions you need to think about when comparing MFT software; how your solution will be impacted by other policies within the business; requirements for automated transfers
Transfer protocols, which will depend on the security requirements for the data (eg: personally identifiable data, credit card information);
which cloud services you need to connect to; which standards you need to comply with (eg: GDPR, PCI DSS).

“James and the team provide great insight and service to the MFT industry as a key recognized partner to many of the leading vendors. He assisted us to understand the marketplace and matched it up to our requirements.”

Max Maklin

Enterprise Architect, Nav Canada


“Pro2col have been fantastically patient and have gone above and beyond the call of duty in making sure that we made the right decision and chose a product that was suitable for us.”

Sam Wong

IT Security Specialist, Brit Insurance

MFT utility case study: Water Plus

MFT utility case study: Water Plus

Managed File Transfer (MFT) reduces overheads for utility start-up Water Plus

This case study describes how Pro2col delivered a smooth launch and cut costs for a utility start-up. It is an MFT utility use case.

Water Plus needed to install a new MFT solution within a very tight deadline, otherwise they wouldn’t get their licence.

The company is a standalone venture, set up by Severn Trent and United Utilities. Deregulation in 2017 meant 400k non-household customers were transferred to the new company overnight. They had no infrastructure, a tight budget and very little time.

The solution was a system that could be set up quickly, provide the exact security and automation requirements they needed, and offer ongoing UK-based support.

Pro2col: On-tap specialists

Water Plus knew they wanted a Managed File Transfer solution, but they needed support selecting the right product and modules, then installing it. They approached Pro2col – the highly trusted UK partner of many MFT providers – who analysed their requirements and suggested an enterprise-level solution with an MFT Gateway for additional security, plus auditing and reporting features. “Using Pro2col kept start-up costs down as installation was fifty to seventy-five per cent faster with Pro2col’s engineers onsite,” said Chris Leach, Application Manager, Water Plus.

“Bringing Pro2col onsite made installation between 50-75% faster.”
Chris Leach
Application Manager

Process automation

​Managed File Transfer reduces the need for time-consuming and repetitive manual processing. Companies run more efficiently and keep costs down. It helps Water Plus manage files and data with multiple workflows in place. “We would need an additional team of five to transfer files manually at peak times,” said Chris. “Instead, files can arrive a few minutes before processing without any issues. A member of staff couldn’t do that, especially at scale. MFT doesn’t need lots of people, saving huge staffing costs. It all works in the background. There is less chance of human error and less chance of files or data being sent that shouldn’t.” For example, meter readings are automatically translated into the right format and stored in a certain place on the server. This can then drive multiple processes, such as email acknowledgements, generating bills and printing, right through to processing payment.

Security concerns

​“Security was a major factor”, says Chris. “If you have files coming in and going out all over the place, there’s a lack of control. That means no security and no audit. The solution Pro2col recommended offered one single system that only needed one external IP in the DMZ for all the files so there’s less chance of getting hacked.” The additional MFT Gateway provides a single point for files to enter or leave the network that is completely secure and under your control. Nothing comes through the Gateway without permission. There are added customer benefits, noted Chris. “I can do all my white listing from one box and customers only need to white list one IP address.”

Auditing and reporting

GDPR makes a data trail essential. You have to know who saw a file and when. Reporting can be set up to automatically deliver this visibility. “I know which files are in the system and who touched them at what time,” Chris explained. “If we have a query, I can go and pull it up. If that was done manually or via email, even using secure portals, there’s no audit and no tracking. That’s a big benefit.” Reporting is also really important to work alongside automated processes to prevent some predictable system problems. Potential issues are flagged, such as a file that is too large. Chris sets the trigger points and actions which can – for example – split the file up into smaller sizes to prevent overnight batch processing errors.

Room to grow

The MFT solution was scalable, which meant Water Plus could build it out as requirements grew. “As we began to understand the business needs better,” says Chris, “we realised we needed a process for ad hoc file transfers. The solution had a module we could easily add-on, which did that. It was quick and easy to set up.” Water Plus added this secure person-to-person transfers module to their solution two years later.

Ongoing support

Ongoing UK-based support is a major benefit for businesses using software from US MFT vendors. “The communication Pro2col provides is clear and concise. When they’ve spotted issues, solutions have come straight away. They’re always on it.” He added, “Pro2col were there in the early days to help us get the software up and running. We got ideas quickly and they found the root cause of any issues. Overall, Chris reports many benefits from their MFT solution, including “reduced overheads and reduced single-team support and development.”

“The communication Pro2col provides is clear and concise. When they’ve spotted issues, solutions have come straight away.”

Pro2col are independent experts in secure data transfer working with businesses to identify, implement and manage the right solution for their requirements. We help transform infrastructure, streamline processes, and increase productivity, collaboration and data security. Since 2004 Pro2col have helped over 800 business, spanning 30+ countries and a range of industry sectors.

Gartner Managed File Transfer Magic Quadrant – Ten years old today!

Gartner Managed File Transfer Magic Quadrant – Ten years old today!

Somewhat unbelievably it has been ten years since the release of the Gartner Managed File Transfer Magic Quadrant. When it was released it gave many vendors with whom we now work, a new phrase to represent or categorise their software: Challenger, leader, niche player or visionary.Gartner Managed File Transfer

Since it was written I’ve become a pretty good friend of the author Frank Kenney, and very much respect his opinions on all things file transfer. But if he re-wrote the report today I think it would look very different for a few reasons.

The evolution of a new marketplace, Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS), was hot on the heels of Managed File Transfer (MFT). A number of products included in the Gartner Managed File Transfer Magic Quadrant fall into this category. EFSS technology specialises in secure ad-hoc or person-to-person sharing of data, but not necessarily automated file transfer. This, in my opinion, is fundamental to MFT.

Ten years is a long time for software and the vendor landscape has changed considerably. Looking at the companies represented is a snapshot of a bygone era. Whilst some remain, others have completely disappeared. Some have been swallowed up through acquisition, others have pivoted to focus elsewhere, and a number of products continue in name alone whilst they are slowly managed during decline. Then there’s a small number still fighting their corner.

As I write this, impartially viewing the marketplace, I can see the success or health of the remaining organisations varies wildly. Having also seen many Managed File Transfer vendors acquired by larger software organisations, I expect to see further consolidation in the next 12 months.

So, what’s happened to those represented in the Gartner Managed File Transfer Magic Quadrant of 2009? Below is our analysis.

Vendors featured on the 2009 Gartner Managed File Transfer Magic Quadrant

Shortly after this report was released IBM acquired Sterling Commerce from AT&T for $1.4B in cash. At the time it was reported that Sterling had 18,000 customers worldwide.

 

Still a cornerstone of the MFT marketplace, Globalscape has undergone significant turnaround over the last two years. Their business strategy was completely realigned after some turmoil in 2018 and the tragic death of its CEO in 2019. A result of the changes, the company has experienced accelerated growth.

Microsoft SharePoint Workspace, previously known as Microsoft Office Groove, is a discontinued desktop application designed for document collaboration in teams with members who are regularly off-line or who do not share the same network security clearance. It is no longer included with Microsoft Office 2013. If still available it would likely fall under the EFSS quadrant.

Websphere MQ (message queue) or now just MQ is a middleware product, with limited MFT functionality. Primarily used only by large enterprises, it continues to be developed but isn’t considered an MFT solution.

Ipswitch was acquired by Progress in 2019 for +$200m. Ipswitch acquired Messageway in 2010 to add integration and EDI to their portfolio which now includes three separate file transfer product lines.

Accellion has never been a managed file transfer solution in it’s purest form, it’s main focus being file sharing and collaboration. More recently some basic SFTP capabilities have been added but it is still better suited to the EFSS quadrant.

Still an active organisation that has extended its capability with the acquisition of Extol. It is also where Frank Kenney, the Gartner author ended up working.

Now known as Hightail. Person-to-person file sync and share, suitable to the EFSS quadrant but not an MFT vendor.

Metastorm was acquired by OpenText in 2011. Not an MFT solution but a Business Process Management tool it doesn’t support the secure exchange of information, it is more geared up to internal approval workflows.

Axway acquired Tumbleweed, the developer of SecureTransport, in 2008 and has since made numerous further additions to their portfolio. Whilst still a significant player in the MFT industry their products are largely disparate. The biggest concern we hear is the extensive professional service costs to implement and upgrade versions.

Earlier this year CyberArk announced that their Sensitive Information Management (SIMS) was to become end of life. Pro2col was consulted on the state of the MFT industry as they wanted to ensure the easiest transition for their customers, who are largely based in Israel.

Proginet CyberFusion Integration Suite: Acquired by Tibco Software in September of 2010 and now called Tibco MFT.

CA have a product called Automic Managed File Transfer. In the past ten years we’ve never found an organisation using an MFT solution from CA.

Biscom’s main business is fax software however they have a secure email and file sync and share solution too. Biscom is another vendor which should sit in the EFSS quadrant not MFT.

Primeur’s initial MFT solution Spazio is in the process of being replaced by their latest version, Ghibli Next. When we last viewed the application it wasn’t complete but if the team deliver against their projections it should be a strong solution. Primeur’s customer base is primarily located in Italy.

OpenText acquired EasyLink Services in May 2012. Their product has been integrated into OpenText’s Bizmanager portfolio.

Inovis were acquired by GXS in 2010 with their Bizmanager product becoming the B2B Gateway of choice for GXS.

nuBridges were acquired by Liaison Technologies in April 2011 and now forms part of Liaison ALLOY® Platform

SSH’s Tectia has never been an MFT solution. As the inventors of the protocol their server and client combination doesn’t provide a large number of features expected of more complete MFT solutions.

Box provides secure content management, workflow, and collaboration. Very much in the EFSS quadrant not an MFT solution.

GXS were acquired by OpenText in November 2013. Bizmanager, formerly an Invovis solution, was adopted as Opentext’s primary B2B gateway.

DataMotion’s primary technology is SecureMail for securing email exchanges with limited automation provided by DataBridge. It doesn’t have enough expected features to fit the profile of an MFT solution.

Stonebranch has a comprehensive workload automation tool and a partnership with Jscape to deliver the ‘file transfer server’ component of their solution, having previously had a strategic relationship with Cleo.

Group Logic was acquired by Acronis in September 2012. MassTransit isn’t very feature rich and looking through the release notes it appears to be in maintenance mode with no new features but minor enhancements and bug fixes in the last few years.

iWay a wholely owned subsidiary of Information Builders continues to promote it’s Trading Partner Manager and wider iWay product portfolio. There doesn’t appear to be any focus on MFT though, however information is hard to find online and it’s a technology we’ve never seen.

No online presence, presumed ceased trading.

Messageway was acquired by Ipswitch in June 2010 providing Ipswitch with a broader integration and EDI capability.

Not one our experts were familiar with Momentum Systems, probably because it’s a quality management and business process management solution. Although like MFT, it has some integration and form capabilities.

bTrade’s website shows them as having a quite functional MFT solution, however the content is quite light and with no blog or news updates in over a year suggests that the organisation might be winding down operations.

ASG Workspaces provides online access to enterprise applications and information, together with collaborative and personal tools. Certainly not focused on MFT now and probably not in alignment with the EFSS quadrant either.

RepliWeb was acquired by Attunity in September 2011. Whilst RepliWeb MFT is listed on the Attunity website there doesn’t appear to have been a product update for a number of years and the datasheet has not been updated since 2015. It can be assumed that this product is in decline.

Leapfile is a secure email and file sharing solution with no MFT capabilities.

Tibco’s website lists their MFT platform however we can assume that the product is no longer under development with their website confirming no support for any Microsoft OS after 2010 and no TLS support, the latest being SSL v3.

SRT continues to develop Cornerstone MFT, providing a modular solution at a significantly more competitive price than other options.

Thru has evolved from being predominantly a secure email and collaboration tool, to a cloud first Managed File Transfer platform. A notable milestone was being the first MFT vendor to integrate with Mulesoft and they’ve continued to focus on solving enterprise integration requirements.

Open Text has acquired GXS, EasyLink, Metastorm and Liaison Technologies – which means they also acquired technology from Inovis and nuBridges.

NEXT STEPS

If you are looking for an MFT solution, it is important to do your research based on the current marketplace.

Most MFT solutions have the same features but differ in the level of detail and complexity, and how they are delivered. The only way you will be able to identify the right one for your business is to fully scope your requirements. Make sure you look at the vendor closely too and see what their previous development release schedule is like from published release notes. These are the factors that will determine whether your implementation is a success and will ensure you back a vendor that should meet your future needs too.

If you need help, use our free comparison tool, which asks the right questions. You enter your requirements, giving as much detail as you can, and our experts will recommend the right solution for your current and future needs and budget. It’s completely free and there’s no obligation to buy through us.

Interested in a file transfer solution?

Large file transfer: How do you move over a terabyte of data across the world quickly and securely?

Large file transfer: How do you move over a terabyte of data across the world quickly and securely?

This is a server-to-server MFT large file transfer use case for moving whole company data sets during a business acquisition.

A utilities company specialising in renewable energy needed to move very large files over long distances. They were acquiring businesses around the world including South America and Africa.

With files measuring over a terabyte, IT were writing data to disk and then shipping it to the head office in Norway. It was then taken to the data centre where it was uploaded to the server.

This was time intensive and costly. From start to finish, the process took over a week to get the data from A to B. Security was a concern too; theft or a shipping incident could result in a breach of that valuable data.

With business expansion plans expecting a further 30 acquisitions per year, the company needed a faster, easier and more secure process.

The IT team looked at ad hoc person-to-person solutions, but the TCP-based protocol is not geared up for files of that size. Transfers take a very long time and – if anything goes wrong part way through and checkpoint restart isnt available – it has to start again from the beginning rather than picking up where it left off.

A UDP-based solution

The company evaluated a solution with a UDP-based protocol and it took just five hours to move a test file of 800GB.

Businesses on both sides of the acquisition found the interface very user friendly. IT build a bespoke application, from a simple-to-use template. The acquired business drags and drops the files into the application.

The result is a much quicker, cost effective and secure method for transferring very large files.

Other large file use-cases

This is just one example of server-to-server large file transfer. There are many other use-cases, some requiring manual / ad hoc transfers like this one, and other recurring automated transfers.

Manual (ad hoc)

  • Video production companies sharing files in 8k resolution;
  • Design agencies sharing multi-layered design files eg: Photoshop, InDesign;
  • Architects or manufacturers moving CAD files;
  • Transferring big data for research purposes, such as gene sequencing (this can also be automated).

Automated

  • Any organisation needing to move very large databases;
  • Independent software vendors sharing support and log databases in a ‘follow-the-sun’ workflow, ie: providing a 24/7 support service;
  • HPC (high performance computers) sharing or backing-up large files from the data centre. Eg: satellite data which has been processed to create forecasts;
  • Any company carrying out mapping or scanning (eg: healthcare, utilities, survey organisations).

The size of the data set and the nature of the transfer determines the right solution for your requirements. Pro2col can advise you through the different stages of your file transfer project to make sure it’s a success. Whether that’s scoping your requirements, product demos and proof of concept / evaluation, negotiating the best deal with vendors or installations and training, call 0333 123 1240 or complete the online contact form.

Case study: Genomics England

Case study: Genomics England

Taking Managed File Transfer (MFT) to another level to secure genome data for vital research

Genomics England needed to speed up their complex approval system, enabling researchers to carry out ground breaking medical research within strict security protocols. They knew automation via Managed File Transfer (MFT) could be the answer. With requirements well beyond the scope of standard MFT, they turned to Pro2col for help.

Background

Owned by the Department of Health, Genomics England was set up to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project. This flagship initiative sequenced over 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients with rare diseases and their families, as well as patients with qualifying cancers. The primary aim was to establish the use of whole genome sequencing in routine healthcare within the NHS. The resulting dataset enables new scientific discovery and insights, whilst kick-starting the UK genomics industry.

Genomics England holds genomic and clinical data in a tightly controlled research environment, which authorised analysts and researchers can access for their research. The data is anonymised, but there are still extremely tight consent models to ensure absolute security and integrity at all times.

A unique requirement

Genomics England previously used a manual File Transfer Protocol (FTP) process. The team would airlock incoming requests whilst they were checked and verified, then gather additional information via email from the end user. Once approved, they’d notify the infrastructure team to transfer the files into the designated environment.

“We needed to bring as much automation in as possible in order to reduce the wait time for the researchers and create more of a self-serve system,” states Genomics England’s Research Environment Project Manager, Andy Paynton. “However, this had to be measured against an absolute necessity for any process to remain secure and in complete compliance with our strict approval and airlock policies. It also needed to be totally auditable and allow us to maintain a record of everything being transferred in and out of the research environment.”

 

A partnership approach

Knowing that their project requirements were far from standard, it was important to find both a solution that was configurable to their needs and a provider who could work with them to carry out the necessary development.

Andy Paynton continues, “A number of the solution vendors named Pro2col as their preferred supplier. This obviously gave us confidence in them, reinforced by the fact that Pro2col demonstrated a real interest in what we were trying to achieve, rather than simply describing the solutions they could provide. They demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the MFT market and of the alternatives available to us.”

Pro2col indicated an MFT solution most suited to Genomics England’s requirements, based on secure online form functionality. This was key to automating the authorisation process.

Solving complex issues

“We were confident Pro2col would be able to do the far-from-standard configuration we needed. They didn’t disappoint. Our unique challenges went well beyond the scope of a typical MFT project,” states Andy. “Pro2col weren’t phased at all, coming up with a workaround that involved designing eight different types of form to accommodate the multiple requests we deal with.”

Pro2col also developed integration between the MFT solution and Genomics England’s existing technology.

“We use LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) to verify user identities and ensure requestors have the appropriate levels of authorisation to proceed. To make things even more complex, we also have to factor in our staging environment. These complexities required some serious thinking through, but Pro2col were brilliant, acting as the conduit between us and the MFT vendor, investigating the different options available to us.” 

 

“Pro2col provide an excellent service, understanding Genomics England’s requirements and configuring the system. They provided innovative solutions to meet some of our less standard requirements, which extended the system beyond its usual configuration.”

Andy Paynton, Research Environment Project Manager, Genomics England

A successful outcome

“Aside from their impressive technical expertise, Pro2col listened and really understood what we were trying to do, going out of their way to come up with the right solution. They were very good at knowledge transfer too, so we have additional skills to do our own enhancements and changes in the future. It’s great credit to them as a supplier that they took the time to do that.”

Since the system went live, Genomics England has already seen substantial benefits across the business. The speed and efficiency of transfers has improved significantly and the time that researchers now have to wait has been reduced. Genomics England has also been able to free up valuable time within their airlock and infrastructure teams.

“We are extremely happy with how the project went. Our team’s purpose is to provide an environment where organisations can carry out ground-breaking research that can potentially change lives. The easier it is for them to do that, the better. Thanks to Pro2col we’re able to facilitate that whilst still maintaining the stringent levels of security required.”

Pro2col can advise you through the different stages of your file transfer and integration project to make sure it’s a success. Whether that’s scoping your requirements, product demos and proof of concept / evaluation, negotiating the best deal with vendors or installations and training, call 0333 123 1240 or complete the online contact form.