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Managed File Transfer software comparison

Enterprise Managed File Transfer Software Comparison

We review the MFT vendor landscape for 2021-22

Managed file transfer is an important investment. It’s a critical part of an enterprise hybrid integration infrastructure, sitting alongside iPaaS, EDI and other middleware. Put simply, there is no better technology for moving files.

If you choose the right managed file transfer right solution, you’ll quickly see a return on investment, benefiting from increased security, simpler compliance, business efficiencies and a real-time view of your file transfers. You can read up on these success stories in our case studies.

Get it wrong, however, and you’ll most likely be back comparing products again within a few years.

So the question is, how best to compare enterprise managed file transfer solutions when there are so many on the market?

This blog contains simple steps to follow, and includes our independent viewpoint of the marketplace and the products you should consider.

How to Compare Enterprise Managed File Transfer Software

Step 1: Avoid out of date comparisons

There are a lot of these online. People still use the Garter MFT Vendors Magic Quadrant, for example, but it’s over ten years old! The marketplace has changed so much in that time that these resources have little relevance to the current vendor landscape.

Step 2: Avoid vendor comparison

A vendor will naturally be selling their product, so it’s impossible to get an independent recommendation as to whether it is the best fit for your needs. If you use these resources, make sure you go to each vendor to get a complete picture. This is time consuming though, so short cut the process using our free, independent comparison service.

Step 3: Make sure you're comparing like-for-like

MFT (on-premise) should have, as a minimum, a gateway, file transfer server and automation/rules engine. Many online comparisons include simple ad-hoc person-to-person file sharing solutions. And the G2 comparison’s top-rated product is actually a workload automation tool, not MFT. If you’re not comparing like-for-like, you can’t get an accurate viewpoint.

Step 4: Consider more than just features

Products will mostly do the same things. They all support the major transfer protocols, deliver high security with PGP encryption and other measures. They all have sophisticated enterprise schedulers, workflow triggers and cloud connectivity, plus excellent visibility / SLA monitoring capabilities. What matters is how they do this. You need to consider vendor support, how regularly they bring out new releases, and other factors. We only recommend vendors who bring out regular releases and are responsive to any issues.

Step 5: Check the information below

At Pro2col, we are independent experts and have worked with secure, managed file transfer solutions since 2004. We are also providers and developers of the only vendor-independent training programme: The Certified File Transfer Professional (CFTP). We’ve distilled this knowledge below.

Step 6: Complete the free comparison questionnaire

It’s a completely free and independent recommendation. You answer a series of questions about your requirements and our experts match the best managed file transfer software for your needs.

Enterprise Managed File Transfer Vendors

These on-premise solutions are in alphabetical order – we haven’t listed them by which is best. They are all strong products and the right one will depend entirely on your business and budget.

Axway SecureTransport

Coviant Software - Diplomat MFT

Axway have been specialising in enterprise data integration for 20 years. They acquired Secure Transport from Tumbleweed in 2008.

It is a mature product, but a recent addition to our list of top four MFT solutions. Recent price changes have made Secure Transport more competitive, which is why we’ve included it.

The product provides most out-of-the-box MFT features and wider integration requirements can largely be delivered from an extensive portfolio of their other complimentary technologies, such as CFT, B2Bi and multiple API toolsets.

Axway is based out of Phoenix, Arizona, USA, but with regional headquarters worldwide.


Globalscape EFT


No MFT comparison would be complete without including Globalscape EFT Server. It has been a cornerstone of the MFT marketplace for well over a decade. It has always been a strong automation platform for Windows and they bring out a major new release each year.

Globalscape EFT, which stands for Enhanced File Transfer, comes in the Express edition, for smaller to medium-sized businesses or tactical deployments. Then EFT Enterprise for enterprise managed file transfer capable of scaling to meet the most demanding environments.

EFT has a modular structure, so organisations can easily scale their solution by adding new features.

The privacy and compliance features are ideal for supporting GDPR or other regulations. This is – without a doubt – the product’s USP. It includes settings that map to the sections of the GDPR, a built-in risk assessment report to identify compliance fails, the ability to assign tasks to Data Protection Officer (DPO) and a lot more!

The company was acquired by HelpSystems last year and remains based in San Antonio, Texas, USA. HelpSystems will continue to develop Globalscape EFT alongside their other MFT solution. A great benefit of this acquisition is tighter integration between EFT and HelpSystems’ DLP product.

Managed File Transfer software comparison

HelpSystems GoAnywhere MFT

Helpsystems - GoAnywhere MFT

The original developers Linoma were acquired a few years back, bringing GoAnywhere MFT under the HelpSystems umbrella. Since this acquisition, they have continued to prove themselves to be an innovative vendor.

GoAnywhere MFT is a cross-platform application and very strong on connecting to cloud storage and an increasing number of SaaS applications. HelpSystems have put a considerable focus on out-of-the-box cloud connectors. We’ve seen how this has simplified cloud strategies for a lot of business – both global enterprises and smaller businesses.

They bring out a major new release each year and are continually adding new cloud connectors to their portfolio. GoAnywhere MFT is another easily scalable solution and a big advantage is its seamless operation with other HelpSystems products, such as their DLP and RPA offerings. HelpSystems also recently acquired File Catalyst and will be looking to integrate UDP, for faster file transfer, in the near future.

HelpSystems’ CEO is Kate Bolseth and the organisation is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Managed File Transfer software comparison

Progress MOVEit

Helpsystems - GoAnywhere MFT

The MOVEit product suite includes MOVEit Transfer the server component, and MOVEit Automation for the workflow automation element of their managed file transfer suite. Users can choose either the Corporate or Enterprise tier on Automation – the latter providing more extensive functionality.

MOVEit has been known and loved for many years. It is very well established and has a loyal customer base. People trust it because it has always had a strong reputation for security. Its multitenancy capabilities for example, are among the most secure on the market.

MOVEit Transfer can work out more cost-effective for smaller organisations due to discounts applied to bundles. Another plus is that MOVEit Automation (Enterprise) users can automate the movement of files between unlimited servers.

The previous vendor Ipswitch was acquired by Progress in 2019 for +$200m and there have been some positive recent developments, such as API enhancements and executing custom scrtipts in PowerShell . Overall, we’ve observed a lack of development in the last couple of years, but new pricing packages mean this continues to be a competitive solution.

Ipswitch was formed in 1991. Progress was founded in the 1980s and is based out of Massachusetts, USA.

Managed File Transfer software comparison

Enterprise Managed File Transfer Comparison: The Rest Of The Market

Of course, there are many other solutions on the market that haven’t made our top four. So here’s a brief explanation of some of the other products you’re likely to come across in your Managed File Transfer comparison, again in alphabetical order:

Attunity Managed File Transfer

Attunity Managed File Transfer

Since acquiring the technology from Repliweb in 2011 there appears to have been little focus on this product.

Cleo Harmony

Cleo - Harmony

Cleo Harmony is a solid managed file transfer solution, providing integration capabilities through the acquisition of Extol a number of years ago. Cleo is led by a very impressive leadership team. Cleo is configured in a different way to many other MFT systems; there is a concept of first defining a host, then creating ‘mailboxes’ beneath each host.  Automation is configured by building lists of commands to execute against a host. While this method works well and provides a certain degree of flexibility, it does mean that workflows are effectively built using scripts, rather than some form of GUI.  This can make it less appealing to administrators who need to manage the MFT system.


JScape MFT Server

JScape MFT Server

Another good managed file transfer product which has stood the test of time. It’s a java application providing cross platform server installations and extensive functionality. It was acquired in January by Advanced Systems Concepts – manufacturer of ActiveBatch workload automation – because the company wanted to add MFT to their product portfolio. We had some concerns about their support in the past, but the combined team at ASC have already taken steps to address this by launching a 24×7 support offering, delivered by the larger team.

Primeur Data One

JScape MFT Server

DataOne is the next generation MFT platform from Primeur. It was recently rebranded from Ghibli Next and it ticks many of the boxes for standard MFT workflows. It is, however, lacking in cloud integration and cloud storage, with S3 and Blob storage notable absences. Nor is the user interface very intuitive. There has been a recent increase in focus on features addressing GDPR compliance.

Seeburger Business Integration Suite


Still an active MFT vendor with a major focus on their home market of Germany. We don’t know of any company in the UK that runs it and haven’t had any exposure to it so could not comment on either product or company.

South River Technologies – Cornerstone

South River Technologies - Cornerstone

SRT continues to develop Cornerstone, which is a modular solution at a significantly more competitive price than other options. An extension of their industry-leading Titan SFTP server, Cornerstone provides a lot of functionality for its price.


South River Technologies - Cornerstone

Thru is probably the only cloud-native MFT product, so it’s a common choice for enterprises wanting to move from an on-prem to a cloud solution. Thru has strong connectivity with integration platforms, providing the file transfer gateway to the iPaaS marketplace, with connectors for the leading solutions. This allows file exchanges to very simply integrate with any number of other applications. The no code set-up simplifies and speeds up integrations. It allows a ‘citizen integrator’ – someone without niche scripting skills – to integrate internal and external systems within hours rather than weeks.

Excluded Products

If you’re familiar with the managed file transfer marketplace, you’ll notice we’ve excluded some solutions. We’ve done this when we don’t think they make the grade, so we wouldn’t want to endorse them. Remember MFT (on-premise) should have, as a minimum, a gateway, file transfer server and automation/rules engine.

Coviant Diplomat

Coviant Software

Diplomat primarily delivers automation. It is excellent value for money and has an increasing number of application and cloud integration points. However, it doesn’t meet our definition for enterprise managed file transfer.


Oracle MFT

Coviant Software

Oracle MFT has limited features and capabilities. It was developed to protect their SOA/B2B install base and has been in maintenance mode for some years, with the focus shifting to the Oracle Integration Cloud.


SolarWinds Serv-U MFT

Coviant Software

Solarwinds only offers two of the three basics – the proxy and the server – meaning that by our definition, and that of Gartner, it isn’t a managed file transfer solution at all. We also have concerns about the support and recent issues resulting in corrupted passwords following a simple update. You can read our full review of SolarWinds Serv-U MFT.

So Which Is The Best Managed File Transfer Solution?

Sorry, but there just isn’t a simple answer to that questions. It’s going to depend entirely on your unique set of requirements. Ultimately, there is no ‘best managed file transfer’, but the best fit for you. That’s why we’d recommend you complete the comparison questionnaire. It will identify your current and future needs and provide a simple, free recommendation based on over 16 years of independent expertise in this niche technology space. You’ll save a huge amount of time reviewing documentation from different vendors, and be confident you are choosing the right solution for your organisation.

Solution comparison tool

Take the risk out of selecting an MFT solution with our free, independent comparison service!

Enterprise Managed File Transfer FAQS

Which is the best Managed File Transfer vendor?

As independent experts with over 15 years’ experience working with MFT, we’ve whittled it down to the four best (in alphabetical order).

  • Axway Managed File Transfer
  • Globalscape Software – EFT Server
  • HelpSystems – GoAnywhere MFT
  • Progress  – MOVEit MFT

Who are the Enterprise Managed File Transfer vendors?

Our top four in alphabetical order are:

  • Axway – Axway Managed File Transfer
  • HelpSytems – EFT Server
  • HelpSystems – GoAnywhere MFT
  • Progress  – MOVEit MFT

But there are over forty on the market including:

  • Attunity
  • Axway
  • Cleo

See full list here…

How do I compare Managed File Transfer software?

Online comparison articles can only tell you so much. The right solution is going to depend entirely on your unique business requirements. Our free comparison tool will identify the right solution for you.

Solarwinds Serv-U MFT Server review

SolarWinds Serv-U MFT Server Review

July 2021

At Pro2col, we regularly review the managed file transfer market place. This means we can give the most up-to-date advice to our customers. Reviews might be prompted by an acquisition or merger, as well as ongoing monitoring of customer support, product updates and roadmaps.

The latest Solarwinds Serv-U MFT server review, July 2021

The latest SolarWinds security vulnerability finds the much maligned Serv-U product line under the spotlight. Microsoft discovered the vulnerabilities and reported them privately, explains SolarWinds in its published advisory notice.


James Lewis, Managing Director of Pro2col commented, “Pro2col has helped many users to migrate off the SolarWinds Serv-U product line, largely due to the lack of support and product development. Personally, I believe calling it an MFT tool is misleading, it doesn’t meet with the market definition for MFT, which is further validated by its exclusion from Gartner’s MFT Market Snapshot 2021. As independent experts in secure, managed file transfer we strongly advise against running Solarwinds Serv-U MFT and Serv-U Secure FTP.”

If you’re a Serv-U user, it would be worthwhile to read the rest of this review, the advisory and apply the hot fixes. Our expert MFT comparision service is designed to help you find the right MFT soultion to fit your business needs.

If you’d like independent, expert advice on your options, contact our expert team who will walk you through the process of migrating to an actively developed/supported MFT platform, fit for the modern enterprise.

Examining Solarwinds Serv-U MFT server, March 2021

Recently, a company alerted us to an issue with SolarWinds Serv-U MFT, which our experts swiftly looked into.This particular Serv-U customer is a well-known global enterprise who – unfortunately – was given poor advice by the SolarWinds support team. It related to running a simple update to patch some bugs and provide some much-needed security enhancements. The customer’s technical team even took the opportunity to call the SolarWinds support team to double-check that users would be able to log in as stated below once the update had been run.


However, upon running the update, upwards of 5,000 trading partners’ passwords were corrupted, resulting in mission-critical transfers failing. A quick glance at the SolarWinds Serv-U message board shows that many users have been having the same issues since September 2020, but there has been no official response from the Serv-U team, despite repeated requests for an update.

The company’s frustrated technical team, backed by the board’s financial approval, engaged Pro2col to be their trusted advisors in finding an alternative platform.

Is it really managed file transfer?

Pro2col defines managed file transfer as needing to cover three key areas:

  • The secure gateway or proxy
  • The file transfer server
  • The workflow automation engine

There are frequently other elements to a solution but the above three are the basics. Gartner’s definition is slightly different but covers the same core features.

“MFT on-premises offerings usually comprise four discrete functionalities that organisations can deploy separately. However, organisations often deploy them as a suite. The functionalities basic to MFT are server, client/agent, proxy and plug-in for ad hoc transfers.”

Gartner – January 2021.

Solarwinds only offers two of the three basics – the proxy and the server – meaning that by our definition, and that of Gartner, it isn’t a managed file transfer solution at all. It falls short on the most important element; the one which provides the most significant value to an organization. The workflow automation.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what you don’t get when investing in Serv-U MFT Server.

Serv-U MFT product analysis

As mentioned before, the basic building blocks of a managed file transfer solution comprise of the proxy, server and automation. We’re going to take a look at some of the limitations.

Forward and reverse proxy

The proxy is the simplest element of any managed file transfer solution. It acts as perimeter security, providing two functions:

  • To allow incoming file transfers when agreed by the file transfer server (reverse proxy)
  • To route outgoing transfers sent by the file transfer server’s workflow component (forward proxy)

Serv-U has a reverse proxy that positively differentiates it from other inexpensive file transfer servers. Where a proxy isn’t available it is necessary to rely on the firewall to provide port forwarding. For example, SFTP traffic hitting the firewall on port 22 is forwarded to the file transfer server. Many ‘SFTP servers’ are still being deployed in the DMZ, rather than sitting behind a proxy. This is not considered best practice.

Serv-U does not have a forward proxy to route outgoing transfers, however. So whilst it is competitively priced at £804, it is missing this key feature that you’ll see in products from the market leaders. You can find out more about forward and reverse proxy in our blog, The Advantages of Using a Forward and Reverse Proxy.

Serv-U MFT Server

Serv-U is essentially a solid SFTP/FTPS server.

Solarwinds website states it’s possible to “upload and download files quickly and easily”, and that “ad-hoc file sharing is easy”. However, almost all file transfer vendors made the shift to using HTML5 to govern file uploads/downloads in the web browser between 3-5 years ago, but not Solarwinds. This places it at a disadvantage compared to almost all the solutions we work with.

serv-u key features

Serv-U’s standard option only allows single file upload and download so, in order to upload larger files, users are required to install a Java client into the web browser. This technology is old, insecure and most modern web browsers flag up security warnings when it loads. You risk damage to your company reputation if a trading partner attempts to upload a file, and receives a security warning that is prompted by the web browser – something you as a Serv-U user would have no control over.

To give this some context, Solarwinds’ competitors, Progress, replaced Java applets with HTML5 in 2017 and Globalscape completed the switch in 2018.

The management console interface isn’t a great deal better. The website claims to have a new GUI. It was delivered pre-2019, and clearly frames the previous application interface in a modern browser and menu system:


Serv-U MFT’s claims of providing automation are, in our opinion, overstated. In fact, what they offer is the ability to execute an event based upon certain server events and criteria filters. The server events are limited to:

  • Send an email notification
  • Show a balloon tip in the system tray
  • Write to a Windows event log
  • Execute a command

This is an extremely limited feature set compared to best in breed manage file transfer solutions. The ability to execute an external script or programme does add some value, but there is no further control over the failure of that script to execute, thus failing to provide the visibility and control that are the key drivers behind implementing managed file transfer.

Standard automation features you’d expect from any basic managed file transfer solution, such as folder monitors or timer/scheduled events, are missing. In fact, I would go as far as to say that any workflow automation would need to be driven from outside of Serv-U, begging the question: When a standard SFTP server is half the price, why would you purchase SolarWinds?



I spoke with a previous Serv-U product manager back in 2019 and his response was pretty conclusive:

“Serv-U is not scheduled for anything but maintenance as far as I know. It received an administration facelift but that was just about it; since we added the MFT proxy and there was no appetite to pursue scheduled transfers in a meaningful way, the product is essentially complete.”
Past Serv-U Product Manager

The limited progress Serv-U is making is made worse by irregular software release cadence and the lack of any new features. The release notes clearly show that updates are delivering security enhancements and patches. The Serv-U community board shows an increasing frustration by existing customers wanting answers, specifically to the Java issues, but getting no feedback.



Review websites are becoming an increasingly valid way to gain an understanding of how well a product or company is performing. There are lots to choose from, but in the software marketplace G2 and Capterra are two of the best.

Upon checking G2, we found it has five four-star Serv-U reviews, but even those provided the following feedback:

  • The software depends on Java to run so, if you do not have it installed, Serv-U will not go anywhere
  • Support level could have been improved
  • The user interface can take some time to realise all the features it offers
  • UI is kind of outdated and not responsive – and quite expensive

There have been no positive reviews since 2019.

Most interesting was Solarwinds’ extensive catalogue of product reviews on Capterra. In total, 32 products are listed, and interestingly Serv-U was not among them.

Solarwinds uses a number of reviews on its Serv-U website claiming it’s the best solution. However, what it fails to tell you is that the research firm, Techvalidate, which they used to capture the reviews, was engaged in 2015.



Given both ours and Gartner’s definition of managed file transfer, in my opinion, Serv-U is not MFT. It doesn’t have the requisite basic features and has largely remained the same since it was acquired from the previous vendor in 2012.

If you’re looking for a no-frills, file transfer server, and don’t need a modern interface and the use of a Java applet is acceptable to you and your business partners, then you can still include Serv-U in your shortlist. For most organisations though, for most, that isn’t practical.

    Serv-U MFT Alternatives

    Serv-U is inexpensive in managed file transfer software terms, but the implication of implementing it might cost significantly more further down the road.

    As the independent experts, our team can help you determine which features you’ll need, both now and into the future, based on the challenges you’re likely to experience. Additionally, we’re best placed to help you find the right solution to meet your infrastructure, compliance, security and budgetary needs.

    If you’re considering Serv-U for your project or would like assistance implementing an alternative to replace it, we’re here to help. You can either speak to a technical consultant about your requirements or visit our comparison questionnaire below to get a bespoke recommendation report.

      Gartner on government digital transformation

      Gartner on government digital transformation

      Tackling crisis recovery, data standardisation, governance and security

      Digital transformation, crisis recovery and data standardisation were important themes discussed at the Government ICT conference last week. Pro2col’s Ailsa Gibbs considers these against Gartner advice, and offers pragmatic solutions to some seemingly insurmountable challenges. This information from Gartner comes from the Government Digital Transformation and Innovation Primer for 2021, which was published on 5th January this year.

      “Data is at the heart of the digital transformation of government.” Gartner

      This was the overarching message of the presentations during the GOV-ICT event last week.  As an attendee, I found it particularly helpful to get such a wide range of perspectives on the challenges surrounding data usage and the modernisation of government infrastructure to enable new ways of working.

      “Communities in crisis, or recovering from crisis, expect their governments to be agile, proactive, connected, informed and outcome focused.” 


      Government Digital Transformation and Innovation Primer for 2021, 5 Jan 2021

      There were several examples of this agile approach over the course of the day, from the DVLA enabling quick access to data for approving grants, to the changes at the DWP to get staff working from home.  Clearly the planned digital transformation agenda for 2020 adapted to address the urgent need to enable remote working and digital delivery of services.  This year’s digital transformation agenda therefore starts from a place where “The digital, business and social ecosystems in which governments operate are looking to the government to share and facilitate the movement of data to help drive their recovery.” This will require a continued focus on data sharing, legacy modernisation and enabling staff to deliver services from wherever they are.

      Data standardisation

      Data standardisation was a theme that linked many of the presentations as the ultimate solution for simplifying data sharing across departments and silos.  This is a mammoth task. In the meantime, pragmatic solutions will be required to classify and govern data sharing so that the right information is shared with the right departments and systems.  Unstructured data in particular will be need to be assessed and granular tags applied to enable accurate file sharing; much more useful than just marking it as confidential.  As outlined in the opening remarks, these conditions for success will enable data sharing around a common purpose with urgency and accountability.

      “CIOs are still tackling the challenges associated with managing largely untapped content and data, identifying and managing new data sources, and improving data quality.” Gartner

      In addition to data standardisation, accountability and governance was a common theme.  We heard examples including tracking what information is being shared and why, auditing to ensure legal compliance and to raise public confidence, and even clinical protection.  The benefits of being able to share data today – securely and strategically – were best demonstrated by the presentation on the Shielded Patient list.  The more we know, the more targeted help we can provide.

      Our own experience of working with government clients in recent months includes projects to secure transfers of genome data between network zones and partners, local councils moving data between schools and partners, automating and securing the data transfers from councils to central government for juror selection, housing associations receiving data from DWP, NHS units consolidating legacy systems and migrating to cloud and more.

      File transfer

      File transfer plays a key role in enabling data sharing and acts as the stepping stone between the future cloud first strategy and the reality of today’s legacy systems.  For assistance with data sharing, control and moving to cloud, please get in touch.

      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.

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

      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?


      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.

      Four common MFT automation case studies

      The four most common MFT automation and workflow automation use cases

      This year alone we’ve helped countless businesses with MFT automation workflows – sourcing the right managed file transfer solution and building their workflow automation. In this blog we’ve summarised four of the most common MFT automation examples we deliver, plus the benefits of MFT automation.

      Business growth is hindered by manual processes or outdated, inefficient scripts. They are time intensive, costly and more susceptible to human error. Ultimately these processes generate little job satisfaction and employees’ time could be much better spent on tasks that add more value to their customers or service users.

      Sophisticated automated file transfer is far more efficient in comparison. The quicker response times can give organisations the competitive edge, reducing costs and increasing margins.

      MFT automation will encrypt and transfer data between systems and endpoints, eliminating the need for manual processing, scripts and multiple FTP servers. From simple transfers to complex multistep workflow automation and transfers from remote systems, most MFT solutions have an easy-to-use tool to build and schedule workflows. For example, monitoring folders to execute workflows when new or changed files appear. The scheduler allows you to set specific times to execute workflows, such as night time to minimise load on the server, or delay sending if users are on leave or absent.


      Most common workflow automation use cases

      We asked the Pro2col technical team to tell us the most common automation use cases they see, working with organisations from all industry sectors.

      1. Securely pushing and pulling files to and from S3 and blob storage.

      We’ve recently set this up for a customer for long-term archiving of financial data, and for a healthcare organisations for simple retrieval of patient data held across multiple disparate systems. This functionality is either enabled via an additional cloud connector module, or through capabilities native to your file transfer solution.

      Managed file transfer solutions now have an increasing number of connector to cloud storage sites, including: Amazon S3, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox, Google Cloud, Google Drive, Microsoft Azure, Box, OneDrive, Oracle Cloud and more.

      The benefits of automating the integration of cloud storage into business processes are clear. Reduced manual intervention, near to real-time file based workflows, notification and audit trails are some of the most obvious, reducing processing time and therefore providing significant ROI. Whilst the same could be achieved by orchestration, Managed File Transfer provides a competitive, feature rich, competitively priced option for file-based workflows.

      Managed file transfer solutions are also increasingly facilitating cloud-to-cloud workflows, so that businesses can link together best in class cloud technologies.

      2. Collecting files from a defined location, extracting data from Excel and inputting it into a database.

      We set this up for an insurance broker recently, who wanted to automate policy updates between their customer and the insurer. This is delivered using advanced workflow capabilities with conditional logic.

      3. Extracting files and converting them into different data formats.

      This is another common insurance use case. The workflow would pull customer information from a CRM system (eg: Salesforce) into a JSON file, move it to a secure folder location, convert it to a CSV file then email it to a specific person or department. When someone makes an insurance claim, this process is executed to provide the claims handler with the complete customer record. This is delivered using a Salesforce cloud connector, a secure folder module, folder monitoring and advanced workflow capabilities.

      4. Integration with cloud-based applications (eg: ServiceNow, Jenkins).

      We’ve recently worked with a help desk to replace an outdated script with seamless integration with ServiceNow via a cloud connector. ServiceNow is a ticketing / job management tool. When an email request is submitted to a defined inbox, the automated workflow executes. It collects the email, converts the content into a ServiceNow ticket and sends an automated email back to the sender with a ticket number.

      As you’ll see from these examples, automation can take different forms: System-to-system automation, triggering regular batch transfers and onward data gathering processes; person-to-system automation, such as web form data capture or order management with automate onward processes; and system-to-person automation which can manage the secure distribution of data. Whichever use case fits your business, we guarantee you will soon reap the benefits.


      We are currently offering up to a 10% discount on modules that address these or other automation use cases. Please get in touch to discuss your particular use case. Alternatively if you need help building your workflows, download our template. Our expert engineers have put this together to help you organise your file transfer automation workflows and file recipients before building or moving legacy workflows across.

      Managed File Transfer Buyers Guide

      Do you need help? Pro2col’s expert consultancy will save you time and stress

      What is MFT and how does it enhance security, productivity, compliance and visibility? This free guide is compiled from 16+ years’ experience. It includes definition, product features & use cases.

      3 Powerful Examples of MFT and DLP Paired in Action

      How linking MFT and DLP can power pack your business' cyber security

      Maximise the power of MFT by pairing it with a DLP solution

      An MFT DLP pairing allows businesses to scan all the data coming into and going out of your managed file transfer server. This mitigates the risk of a user accidentally exposing the wrong information, or malware being sent from a trusted partner. Without it files transferred via MFT may bypass security policies.

      On paper, combining two robust software products to form a more complete solution is a no-brainer. But how does it actually work? First, let’s take a look at what the two solutions – adaptive data loss protection (A-DLP) and managed file transfer (MFT) – each offer users. Then, we’ll highlight a few specific use cases where the combination of DLP and MFT elevates an organisation’s cybersecurity position, better than each solution could alone.

      DLP offers content inspection:

      • Replacing sensitive text – including PII, PCI, and HIPAA – with asterisks.
      • Detecting and redacting text contained in images, even scanned ones.
      • Redacting text but allowing for files to still be delivered, minus offending content.

      MFT delivers secure file transfers:

      • Dashboard-friendly, centralised control
      • Auditing and reporting
      • Advanced workflow automation
      • Document collaboration
      • File transfer security

      What level of data security does the DLP MFT pairing provide?


       With MFT in place, the movement of files inside and outside of your organisation is secure and automated, with the collaboration and data tracking functionality not available with DLP alone.

      • MFT securely transfers attachments between organisations and trading partners
      • The ICAP Gateway intercepts content when threat protection and DLP requirements exist
      • ICAP runs rule sets (keyword search, executable renaming, script removal, etc.).
      • If the content can be sanitised the transmission is allowed and continues
      • If content cannot be sanitised the transmission is blocked

      Together, HelpSystems’ Clearswift A-DLP solution and MFT provide a layered, unified, and web-based solution – from the content contained, to the secure data transfer of the content. Both solutions are trusted worldwide for their ability to provide enterprise-level protection against data breaches. When software is paired from a single provider, it provides stability and superior customer service.

      MFT DLP Use Cases: Combined for End-to-End Security

      Use Case #1: Defence sector vendor needs to transfer attachments between employees and trading partners.

      Originally, this vendor used MFT to securely transfer the attachments sent between its employees and partners. They decided to also add deep content inspection to these file transfers by integrating their MFT with Secure ICAP Gateway, adding Structural Sanitisation and Anti-Virus for additional layers of security. With both solutions in place, the vendor can:

      • Intercept content when threat protection and DLP requirements exit.
      • Run the proper rule sets (keyword search, executable renaming, script removal, etc.).
      • Control whether content is allowed or blocked. If content can be sanitised, then transmission continues. However, if content cannot be sanitised then the transmission is blocked.

      Use Case #2: A credit card vendor needed insight into when customer, employee and/or patient records in a file were being uploaded to MFT.

      This credit card vendor needed to detect when records contained in files (for employees and/or patients) were being uploaded to MFT. They also needed to be able to count the records and maintain an audit log showing what data was being shared and with whom, and to have the ability to corroborate files from a single record. The vendor was able to do all of this by integrating the secure ICAP Gateway with MFT. In addition, with this combination of solutions, they can take advantage of Lexical Expression Qualifiers and trigger different actions based on the number of records detected – actions such as an audit, refer to sender, redaction or block).

      Use Case #3: Government agency needed same level of security from uploads received as they got from their MFT transactions.

      This government agency regularly needs to accept file uploads from partners and the public. However, because this action can be exploited to deliver active content or even viruses and malware, they knew they needed to achieve comparable threat protection to what they had in place with their MFT file transfers. The agency integrated the Secure ICAP Gateway with their MFT for a combined, secure solution. Now, any file can be scanned before it is either passed or accepted and infected content is then destroyed or redacted. They also have the choice of triple-AV (Kaspersky/Sophos/Avira) and constant Active Content Protection in place.

      Not all MFT products support this integration. If you would like to discuss whether yours does, please get in touch. 

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