What is managed file transfer?
Facilitates the secure, reliable and automated exchange of file-based data over the internet
Four keys to monitor and control secure file transfer
Female entrepreneurs discussing computer program at desk in creative office
What is MFT?

Managed file transfer (MFT) is a technology platform that allows organizations to reliably exchange electronic data between systems and people in a secure way to meet compliance needs. These data movements can be both internal and external to an enterprise and include various types, including sensitive, compliance-protected or high-volume data. It can be offered as software or as a service and may include a single pane for visibility and governance.

MFT is a more reliable and efficient means for secure data and file transfer, outpacing and outperforming applications such as file transfer protocol (FTP), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) and other methods.

Organizations increasingly rely on MFT to support their business needs and goals in a way that FTP cannot. FTP presents many challenges (PDF, 6.1 MB) such as data security gaps, lack of visibility when a problem occurs, timely manual recovery from failures and costly SLA fees due to poor performance.

How FTP creates risk (PDF, 6.1 MB)
Benefits of managed file transfer

Data exchange solutions will continue to be in demand because no business is an island and business networks continue to grow, requiring qualities of service that only purpose-built software can deliver," says Stewart Bond, director of Data Integration and Integrity Software research at IDC.¹

Companies rely on the exchange of electronic file data every day. According to a study by Vanson-Bourne, sponsored by IBM, 51% of system-to-system integration is achieved through file transfers. Without MFT software, unstructured data — everything from reports, contracts and project data, to customer and employee information — is open to manipulation and loss. The efficient movement of files between internal systems and external partners, securely and with an audit trail, is critical to an organization’s success.

There are several factors pushing companies to move to MFT:

  • Data security: High-profile data breaches and failed transfers can drastically impact a company’s bottom line and reputation. MFT offers a preemptive security strategy with real-time monitoring, and validation security policies and controls to protect data in transit or at rest.

  • Data growth: Data is everywhere, and companies face larger and more varied files than in the past. The number of users sharing files has grown as have the number of end-points and devices. And as files get larger, the time to move them over global distances becomes longer. MFT brings reliable, automated governance to the movement of files inside and outside the business and can accelerate big data movements around the globe.

  • Regulatory compliance: Legislative and industry requirements, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Basel II, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and others, typically have stringent data security standards. Using a properly configured MFT system to encrypt, transmit, monitor and store sensitive data empowers organizations to meet security mandates.

  • Technology megatrends: Moving files has become more complex with the adoption of transformational technologies. The growth of big data, cloud applications, artificial intelligence, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) place a premium on the speed and bulk of file transfers. MFT offers advanced capabilities and support for multiple platforms, mobile devices, applications and other existing IT infrastructure.

  • Visibility: Companies need to anticipate risk factors to mitigate damages. Operational visibility over file movements leads to proactive issue resolution, like failed transfers and improved compliance with SLA commitments.
See why IT leaders choose MFT over FTP (PDF, 899 KB)

Key capabilities of effective managed file transfer


Encrypt internal and external transfers, in motion and at rest. Secure file transfers with advanced capabilities like session breaks and protocol inspection maximize the protection of sensitive data at multiple layers.

Simplified file transfer

Offers timely and flexible data transfer across a range of file transfer activities and support for multiple file types, including multimedia, PDFs, email, XML, EDI and more.

Full visibility

Provides a 360-degree view in near-real time. Companies can see who is transferring files, what is being shared and the volume passing through the system. Potential issues like delays and failed transfers are visible before they impact downstream business processes or become missed SLAs.

Compliance standards

Strong encryption helps companies avoid compliance failures which can lead to hefty fines. Thorough audit trails confirm regulatory compliance.

Related Solutions

Enterprise File Transfer

Provides security-hardened, point-to-point file transfers to lessen dependency on unreliable file transfer protocol (FTP) transfers.

File Transfer Visibility

Tracks critical events across your B2B and managed file transfer infrastructure for improved operations, customer service and B2B governance.

File Transfer Governance

Identify and audit Connect:Direct license entitlements, schedule and deploy patches and updates, and manage server configurations.

File Gateway

Allows you to consolidate all internet-based file transfers on a single, scalable, security-rich and always-on edge gateway.

Partner Onboarding

Automates the onboarding process, reducing the time and resources required to onboard new partners while managing existing partners.

Secure File Transfer

Securely share and track mission-critical information movement within your enterprise and across your partner network.