What is Managed File Transfer and why is it needed in your organisation?

So, what is Managed File Transfer and why is it important?

In the digital economy, more than a third of all business-critical processes involve file transfers. Managed File Transfer is a solution to enable the secure transfer of data between two or more locations, connected via a network. It is typically delivered as on-site software but can also be also offered as a cloud-service.

Managed File Transfer offers a comprehensive set of features aimed at replacing: insecure, legacy FTP servers, home-grown, bespoke file transfer solutions, physical shipment of media (e.g. USB devices, DVD’s & HDD’s), consumer grade cloud based services, large email attachments or the installation of expensive point to point leased lines and VANs.

Managed File Transfer can be a powerful business enabler that reduces costs and risk, improves efficiency and agility, and opens the door to new mobile, cloud and big data initiatives.

Managed File Transfer

A recent study by Aberdeen Group* showed that 65% of businesses that implemented Managed File Transfer, did so to improve productivity. Managed File Transfer solutions typically have a range of features, which enhance productivity whilst also improving security. For example they:

  • Centralise support for multiple file transfer protocols including FTP/S, OFTP, SFTP, SCP, AS2, and HTTP/S.
  • Encrypt files throughout the file transfer process (in transfer, at rest even through automation), is managed centrally via a simple to use software interface.
  • Automate file transfer processes with trading partners, from payroll to planning.
  • Detect and handle failed file transfers including notification and initiating remedial action.
  • Authenticate users against existing user repositories such as LDAP and Active Directory
  • Integrate to existing applications using documented APIs (application programming interfaces) to reduce the costs and risks of manual intervention
  • Generate detailed reports on user and file transfer activity to highlight any areas requiring further improvement, or training.
  • Monitoring and dashboards provides a real time view of your business critical workflows.

Gartner* highlights that the two key differences between standard FTP servers and those features provided by Managed File Transfer are the ability to “manage” and the ability to “monitor”. Gartner defines these as:

  • Manage – means to manage all file transfers using one interface (one place) across all business units, operations, systems, applications, partners, etc.
  • Monitor – means to monitor all file transfers in one centralised location which in turn means better governance, compliance and reduced IT costs.

Managed File Transfer projects can range in size, scale and scope, addressing tactical problems to delivering a strategic solution to manage all of a company’s data transfer requirements.

If you think your organisation could benefit from a Managed File Transfer solution, we have a range of resources to help get your project started. Why not download our Managed File Transfer comparison guide or look at our needs assessment options.


From Chaos to Control, Aberdeen Group study, November 2013
Managed File Transfer Offers Solutions for Governance Needs, Gartner 2010


Interested in a file transfer solution?