What is managed file transfer?

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.

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) and other methods.

Learn why FTP can prevent you from reliably connecting with the people, systems and data that matter to your business.

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.

Stewart Bond, director of Data Integration and Integrity Software research at IDC.¹

Why is managed file transfer important?

Companies rely on the exchange of electronic file data every day. According to a study by Vanson-Bourne, sponsored by IBM, 51 percent of system-to-system integration is achieved through file transfers.² 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Key capabilities of effective managed file transfer

Consider these capabilities when searching for a managed file transfer solution:

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.

 

Security.

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.

What can a managed file transfer solution do for your supply chain?