MFT and COVID-19

MANAGED FILE TRANSFER & THE NEW COVID-19 'NORMAL'

MFT plays a unique role addressing the business fallout of the pandemic

As new cases of COVID-19 decline in the UK, lockdown restrictions are gently easing.  Business are edging back towards ‘normal’, with some staff returning from furlough and sales picking up in certain areas.

Yet COVID-19 isn’t going away. Organisations are having to adapt their IT infrastructure for this uncharted landscape. They are investing in new technology or extending existing solutions to support secure remote working, handle higher volumes of transfers and deliver automation to reduce manual processing.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a powerful business enabler that does just that. It allows transfers to take place in a centralised, controlled, secure fashion – inside and outside an organisation – between systems and / or users. Files are transferred more quickly and securely, enhancing productivity and providing visibility, with minimal human interaction.

Secure remote working

Sensitive data is no longer within the safety of the company’s firewall. MFT secures data, no matter where staff work from. It’s accessible too, giving remote employees the tools they need to ensure critical files get where they need to be. Benefits include:

  • Protected files in motion and at rest
  • Guaranteed delivery
  • Access control and authentication
  • Single-pane-of-glass visibility for IT, to maintain compliance (PCI, SOX, GDPR, ISO)
  • Accelerated transfers of large files between remote employees or locations
  • User friendly web-based interface and mobile application
  • Optional high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR)

Automation

Automated workflows can replace some manual processes that are suffering, due to staff absence during the pandemic. For example, batch processing of any repetitive process or secure data capture, to remove paper processing.

Automated file transfer also delivers file-based system to system transfers, either inside an organisation or between trading partners. Plus integration with other applications, both on-premise or in the cloud, e.g SharePoint, Amazon & Azure.

There are many benefits to workflow automation, including:

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased reliability, by reducing human error
  • Optimised performance
  • Supporting a high availability infrastructure

Getting started with MFT

If you don’t have MFT, this is a great time to invest. You will quickly see a return on investment. The Managed File Transfer Buyer’s Guide is a great starting point for your research.

If you already use MFT, considering adding functionality to support the ‘new normal’ in a COVID-19 society:

  • Secure email
  • Secure folders
  • Secure forms
  • Cloud connectors
  • Mobile app
  • Advanced workflow automation
  • Auditing and reporting

You can find more information about additional modules and functionality in the the Managed File Transfer Buyer’s Guide. Or, just pick up the phone. Pro2col experts will be happy to talk through your requirements. Call us on 0333 123 1240 or contact us online.

Certified File Transfer Professional: Getting Started

FREE FILE TRANSFER TRAINING DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

Five reasons why the CFTP is the ideal training programme for IT professionals right now

IT departments across the world have closed their offices and turned out the lights. Busy support desks are now dispersed across sofas and kitchen counter tops, and the board room has been replaced with the home study.

This global effort to keep people safe from COVID-19 and to prevent health services from becoming overwhelmed is affecting us all in different ways. While some staff have been furloughed, others are busier than ever.

Either way, the spike in home working and increased demand for automation capabilities has made secure file transfer all the more important.

That’s why we’re opening up our Certified File Transfer Professional (CFTP) training programme, completely free, for up to two people per organisation until the end of June 2020.

We want to equip organisations with the right skills to help weather the economic downturn and give furloughed employees the chance to gain new knowledge for when they get back into the workplace.

Here’s why the CFTP is the ideal choice for IT professionals wanting to learn new skills or certify their knowledge during lockdown.

      1. The CFTP certifies your existing file transfer knowledge. We know we’re heading for difficult times as the global economy recovers. Adding this to your CV will make you stand out ahead of your next promotion or job move. It’s CPD accredited, so employers know it’s a reputable qualification from a trusted provider.
      2. Learn new knowledge that’s transferable across vendors. It’s vendor-independent – the only course that is in fact – so what you learn is applicable across all Managed File Transfer solutions.
      3. Learn safely from your own home at your own pace. There’s no need to go to an exam centre or classes. It’s all online and you can do it at any time to fit it around child care or other work and family commitments.
      4. Maintain full lifetime access to the resources once you’ve finished. The video lessons and study guide are there for you to refer to whenever you need.
      5. You’ll be saving over £240! That’s what the CFTP usually costs for a single user, but we’re offering you full access the resources, exam and certification for free until 30th June 2020.
It’s easy to get started. Just visit the CFTP training programme and add it to your basket. Enter the code pro2col-free-gift at the checkout. We’ll set you up with your unique learning profile so you can get started.

Don’t forget this is only valid until the end of June. Don’t miss out.

Remember this is only available for up to two people per organisation.

Managed File Transfer software comparison

Enterprise Managed File Transfer Software Comparison

We review the MFT vendor landscape for 2020-21

There are a lot of out of date or inaccurate comparisons of enterprise Managed File Transfer (MFT) vendors online. People still use the Garter MFT Vendors Magic Quadrant, for example, but it’s over ten years old. And there are other comparisons from so called ‘experts’ who only sell one product – so of course they will say it’s the best.

So, why should you listen to us? At Pro2col, we are independent experts and have worked with secure and Managed File Transfer for over 15 years. In fact we’re often asked to assist vendors with product research and development. We are also providers and developers of the only vendor-independent training programme: The Certified File Transfer Professional (CFTP).

We’ve distilled this knowledge to create a top four Enterprise Managed File Transfer comparison, and give you an overview of the rest of the marketplace.

All the products in our top four 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.

All these vendors bring out regular releases and are responsive to any issues. That is ultimately why they have made the list.

These 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. For example, do you need enterprise Managed File Transfer or have smaller requirements? Ultimately, there is no ‘best Managed File Transfer’, but the best fit for you.

I hope this Enterprise Managed File Transfer Software Comparison helps you.

James Lewis

Managing Director, Pro2col Ltd

Enterprise Managed File Transfer comparison top four

Coviant Software – Diplomat MFT 

Coviant Software - Diplomat MFT

Diplomat MFT is one of our top four solutions because it has particular areas of strength and is really good value for money.

It has always been strong on efficiency and versatility, but it solves some specific problems very well in a rapidly changing space; especially enterprise integration for cloud storage, web services and it is platform independent.

Diplomat MFT has an increasing number of application and cloud integration points. The product is benefiting from a new lease of life under Greg Hoffer, the recently appointed CEO. He is working directly with users to understand their specific requirements and extend the product capabilities. 

But Diplomat’s USP is definitely its value for money. The product is considered by the analysts as the value player in the market.

The company was formed in 2004 and is based in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Globalscape Software – EFT Server

Globalscape Software - EFT Server

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.

There are three versions of Globalscape EFT, which stands for Enhanced File Transfer. They are EFT Express for smaller to medium-sized businesses or tactical deployments; EFT Enterprise for enterprise Managed File Transfer incorporating the whole infrastructure; and their cloud-based solution EFT Arcus.

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Managed File Transfer software comparison

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

Globalscape has recently realigned their business strategy and the release of EFT 2020 (version 8) includes some very advanced new functionality.  The privacy and compliance features are ideal for supporting GDPR or other regulations. This is – without a doubt – now the product’s USP. It includes settings which 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 CEO is Robert Alpert, Globalscape is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the organisation is based in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

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 to be an innovative vendor.

GoAnywhere MFT is a cross-platform application and very strong on cloud connectivity. 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 small businesses.

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Managed File Transfer software comparison

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. GoAnywhere MFT, for example, works together with their RPA solution, Automate. Combined, the two products enhance efficiency within a business processes, with the potential to add more processes when required. This and the product’s cloud connectivity are the big strengths for GoAnywhere MFT.

The recently promoted CEO is Kate Bolseth and the organisation is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Progress formerly Ipswitch  – MOVEit

Progress formerly Ipswitch - MOVEit

The MOVEit product suite includes four solutions: MOVEit Transfer and MOVEit Automation, for tactical deployments or enterprise Managed File Transfer respectively; MOVEit Messageway for reporting and visibility; and MOVEit Cloud, which is self-explanatory.

This product 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.

Managed File Transfer software comparison

In all honesty, we’ve observed a lack of development in the last couple of years. But the vendor Ipswitch was acquired by Progress in 2019 for +$200m and it is rapidly gaining pace. Recent developments, for example, includes API enhancements and Powershell for custom scripts.

So what differentiates MOVEit? Unlike other enterprise level solutions, MOVEit Automation users can add an unlimited number of managed servers.

Ipswitch was formed in 1991 and the CEO is Michael Grossi and the organisation is based in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.

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.

Axway Secure Transport

Axway - Secure Transport

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.

Cleo Harmony

Cleo - Harmony

Harmony doesn’t make our top four, but would make our top five. 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 and it only doesn’t make our top four because of the way in which it’s priced.

JScape MFT Server

JScape MFT Server

Another good Managed File Transfer product which has stood the test of time. A java application providing cross platform server installations, JScape has extensive functionality. The only downside users report to us is that the interface isn’t intuitive.

Oracle Managed File Transfer

Oracle Managed File Transfer

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.

Seeburger

Seeburger

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.

Solar Winds Serv-U

Solarwinds - Serv-U

On the face of it Serv-U has all the features that define enterprise Managed File Transfer, but the product is lacking in a modern browser-based file transfer mechanism, still relying on a java applet for file transfers. Customer support is only by email and some customers report difficulties accessing it. Support is, of course, just as important as the product itself. This product has no ongoing development and is in maintenance mode.

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.

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).

  • Coviant Software – Diplomat MFT
  • Globalscape Software – EFT Server
  • HelpSystems – GoAnywhere MFT
  • Progress  – MOVEit MFT
Who are the Enterprise Managed File Transfer vendors?

Our top four are:

  • Coviant Software – Diplomat MFT
  • Globalscape Software – 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.

Backing up Cisco Unified Communications Manager through SFTP

Backing up your Cisco Unified Communications Manager through SFTP

Backing up and Restoring CUCM

 

The Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) is in use at many organisations to integrate data, voice and video applications.  It’s a nice product which provides a good balance between security and functionality.

As is often the case however, this sort of product very quickly becomes a critical piece of the infrastructure and consequently needs to be treated as such.  It’s therefore important to ensure that the configuration is routinely backed up in a secure fashion in order to recover your system should the need arise.

CUCM allows you to backup the configuration to a location on your network; because there will be credentials contained within the backup, it requires that you transfer the backup using a secure mechanism – SFTP.

Any file transfer server that provides the SFTP protocol is fine to use – some file transfer vendors even publish simple guides on how to configure for their specific software, however the steps to successful implementation are straightforward.

CUCM Backup: SFTP Server Configuration

 

  1. Create an account on the SFTP server that you will use to receive the backup and set up a folder for it.
  2.  

  3. You must create a user that has the ability to connect using just a password. Even though CUCM allows the use of SFTP, it does not permit connection using an SSH key. If your SFTP server has the ability to automatically forward on files to another location, you may wish to set this up at this time.
  4.  

  5. Next, go to CUCM and log into the Disaster Recovery System.  From here, select Backup, then Backup Device.  This is where you provide the details of your SFTP server.
  6.  

  7. Click on “Add New” and provide a friendly name for your SFTP server.  Beneath this, there is an area marked “Select Destination” – here you can enter the SFTP server details, path and credentials.  You can also select how many backups you want to keep in the SFTP server – handy if your SFTP server lacks automation capabilities.
  8.  

  9. Once you have done this, you can schedule the backup.  Go to Backup, the Scheduler and click “Add New” to create a new schedule.  As you might expect, you can now add the frequency that you want to send the backup to the SFTP server, including the day of the week and time of day.  Finally, save the schedule and click on “Enable Schedule”.

 

Et Voila!  Your CUCM configuration is now being securely backed up to your SFTP server.

Pro2col file transfer experts recommend the following Cisco-certified FTP servers:

Titan FTP Server

 Choose Titan FTP Server if you need a cost-effective solution for a tactical implementation

X Don’t choose this if you need to support additional protocols and use cases in the future. Titan FTP Server has limited scope for growth.

 

Discounted Price $1249 $1124

Globalscape EFT server

 This is a scalable solution. Choose Globalscape EFT Server if you want to support additional protocols and use cases in the future.

X Don’t choose this if you just need a single tactical implementation. Globalscape EFT Server won’t be the most cost-effective.

Discounted Price $2238 $2014

CUCM Backup FAQ’S

HOW TO BACKUP CUCM USING SFTP

CISCO has recommended some SFTP servers that they certify to use for backing up CUCM. These include Titan FTP Server and Globalscape EFT server. You can see how to configure these solutions in our step by step guide here.

CISCO CUCM BACKUP BEST PRACTICES

Cisco recommends SFTP servers that have been tested internally and jointly supported by TAC. Cisco does not support using the SFTP product freeFTPd. This is because of the 1 GB file size limit on this SFTP product.
Two supported SFTP servers can be found and downloaded for a trial here.

FTPS vs SFTP?

SFTP vs FTPS?

Nine facts to determine which protocol is right for your requirements

To determine the difference between FTPS and SFTP, let’s first look at the technology behind each protocol, then the strengths and limitations.

What is FTPS?

So what does FTPS stand for? File Transfer Protocol Secure.  FTP was around first – but not in a secured state initially. FTPS uses either the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols to provide connection security through encryption. This is provided by the FTPS servers x.509 format public key certificate. The certificate may be trusted (provided by a trusted certification authority), or else self-signed. Using a self-signed certificate does not mean the level of encryption is any less, just that you have to be sure that the host is who they say they are. FTPS connections are made secure either implicitly or explicitly. FTPS servers generally listen for implicit connections on port 990 and explicit connections on port 21 – although of course the server administrator may choose to use different ports if they desire.

How does FTPS work?

An implicit connection starts with the client issuing a TLS “Client Hello” message. This message implies that the connection should be secure and if the server doesn’t receive it, the connection is immediately dropped. If however the server does receive the “Client Hello” message, it will send the server certificate to the client, which will authenticate it and use it to encrypt a session key which it then sends back to the server to encrypt the session with.

In the case of explicit FTPS, the client explicitly requests security by sending an “AUTH TLS” (or AUTH SSL) command straight after the connection is made. If the AUTH command is not sent, the FTPS server will treat the client connection as a ‘regular’ non-secure FTP session instead.

Interestingly, implicit connections are not listed in RFC 2228 (the FTPS documentation), only explicit connections.

In either case, once the session has started, the client will need to authenticate to the FTPS server – normally this will be by userid and password, but may also include client certificates if required. All FTP commands are quite naturally passed along the control channel (normally 21 for explicit or 990 for implicit), but FTPS then needs a separate channel for data communications (the actual sending of files or directory lists). The data channels are by default port 20 for explicit FTPS and port 989 for implicit FTPS. Data channels are opened as they are required, then immediately closed again (the control channel remains open for the duration of the session).

What is SFTP?

SFTP is not a form of FTP. In fact, FTPS and SFTP are completely unrelated and bear only a passing resemblance in the structure of many commands. SFTP is not FTP over an SSH connection, rather a distinct protocol in its own right which makes use of the underlying SSH protocol to provide connection security and authentication. Because it is using the underlying SSH protocol, it is normal to use the SSH port (generally port 22).

With SFTP we move away from using certificates for encryption and instead use public/private key pairs, which are not signed by trusted authorities. Like an FTPS self-signed certificate, the only area of doubt is that the SFTP server is who it professes to be – once you are confident that you have connected to the right server, you simply accept the server key and proceed to exchange files over an encrypted session.

The most important difference between FTPS and SFTP is that an SFTP server requires just one port to operate on – there is not a separate data and control channel to take care of.

In contrast to FTPS where clients occasionally provide a certificate for authentication, it is common practice for SFTP batch clients to authenticate by key only to avoid the need to store and maintain passwords.

When comparing SFTP vs FTPS speed, SFTP can be slower because there are more steps to secure the transfer.

SFTP vs FTPS: Nine differences

So having considered some basics of both FTPS and SFTP, let’s look at the difference between FTPS and SFTP. Mostly speaking, what one can do the other can too – there are a few exceptions though:
  1. FTPS will allow you to create custom commands
  2. SFTP has better control of file permissions, ownership and properties
  3. FTPS allows use of Trusted x.509 certificates
  4. An SFTP server only requires a single port to be open on the firewall
  5. FTPS supports EBCDIC transfers
  6. SFTP allows creation of symbolic links
  7. Windows servers and clients don’t natively support SFTP
  8. SFTP is simple to install and manage on Linux and Unix servers
  9. SFTP will be slower than FTPS because there are more steps to secure the transfer
Mostly the decision on which protocol to use comes down to the requirements of the organisation. If there is a prevalence of linux/unix servers in a network, SFTP may be the better choice. However, for Windows server SFTP is not the answer. It would require SFTP clients to be installed everywhere.

In addition, some firewall administrators would be happier to use SFTP with its single port, while some server administrators may not want SSH access to their servers enabled.

Otherwise it makes sense where possible to invest in file transfer server software that supports both protocols and leave the choice up to the clients.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is FTPS secure enough?

Yes, both FTPS and SFTP are considered secure because they provide connection security through encryption. There are nine main difference between the two and the right one for you will depend on your requirements. Read more…

What does FTPS mean?

FTPS stands for File Transfer Protocol Secure. It uses either the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols to provide connection security through encryption. Read more…

Which is faster SFTP or FTPS?

FTPS is usually faster than SFTP because there are fewer steps to secure the transfer. Read more….

What is the difference between SFTP vs FTPS?

There are nine key differences:

  1. FTPS will allow you to create custom commands
  2. SFTP has better control of file permissions, ownership and properties
  3. FTPS allows use of Trusted x.509 certificates
  4. An SFTP server only requires a single port to be open on the firewall
    Read more…

Tuckton does #ChristmasJumperDay

#ChristmasJumperDay 2019

Let's get Tuckton involved

Businesses across Tuckton teamed up to raise a fantastic sum of money for Save the Children’s #ChristmasJumperDay on Friday 13th December. We smashed our original target, raising over £1600 in total, making us the top fundraiser across Dorset, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

Tuckton High Street was a hub of activity, with fundraising activities throughout the day. Jasmina from Pro2col won the Pigs in Blankets – Mince Pie and Spoon race. Her time of 12.75 seconds was honoured despite allegations her mince pie was glued to her spoon. Pictures in the gallery!

Local boxing celebrity Kate Farley judged the Christmas window competition, awarding prizes to the most impressive displays:

  • ​First place: Wilton’s Funeral Services
  • Second place: Hairworx hairdressers
  • Third place: Matthew Furnell Health & Nutrition

“I am writing to say a huge thank you to you and your team for supporting Christmas Jumper Day again and raising a fantastic £1,609! That’s amazing, massive well done to you and your team.”

Dania Shaw, Community Fundraising Manager South West at Save the Children UK

Three pupils from Stourfield Infant School won prizes for their beautiful Christmas jumper designs, judged by the team from Pandemonium. The day was rounded off with a warming winter BBQ and mulled wine at Flat White

Winners of the raffle – which include prizes from Lemon Tree Nails and BeautyTuckton Podiatry and Tuckton Dental Practice – will be notified in the next few days.

Thank you to all the businesses who got involved and the local residents who donated. Special thanks to our business partners who made generous donations that made up a large chunk of the funds raised.

All money raised has gone to Save the Children, changing children’s lives around the world. It’s surprising how even a small donation can add up to make a big difference:

  • £210 could equip 200 children in Indonesia with everything they need for school.
  • £100 could buy the essentials a family fleeing conflict in Syria need to survive the winter cold.
  • £50 could provide a child with a month’s supply of high-energy peanut paste, helping them recover from malnutrition.
  • £20 could provide a newborn baby and mother with the vital supplies they need to get the best start in life.
  • £10 could pay for a child’s schoolbag kit in Kenya to help children learn.