Just what is managed file transfer (MFT)? It’s easy to think of MFT as little more than file transfer on steroids, or a super slick FTP server. MFT is more than that because the problems IT administrators solve with MFT demands more. No one move files for fun – they move files to get work done.
MFT is a category of file transfer software that emphasizes reliability and security to enable critical business processes. Even though File Transfer is at the core of MFT, it’s the M in MFT that sets the category apart.
Back in the Day...
There was a time when an organization in need of a file transfer infrastructure would reach for a basic FTP server by default. That was the answer if you needed to make files available to business partners, create a space where partners could drop files into a process, and script all around those activities to keep things moving while maintaining some sense of security. As file volumes went up, and the range of processes that involve file exchange broadened, so too did the number and variety of software solutions that could help to accomplish this goal.
In the past decade, we have seen the emergence of a new category, the so called Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS). This category of mostly personal tools helps individuals share files between their myriad of devices including: smartphones, tablets, home and work computers. While easy for end users, these cloud services have become a real security problem for IT departments. That’s because the simplicity, openness, and device-friendliness they allow come at a real cost to the control, visibility, and security protections that are the IT department’s responsibility.
New Demands for Security and Compliance
In addition to pleasing end users, IT also has to please the businesses they serve, and on that side of the ledger things have grown increasingly complex each year. Today, the variety of business processes that depend on reliable file transfer is up as is the volume of transfer activity. The need to manage all of this activity under a tighter security and compliance regimen means nothing can be left to chance.
Where simple FTP was once sufficient, today IT has to reach for more capable infrastructure that mixes the end-user simplicity of EFSS with the reliability of FTP and the business-process focus of integration middleware. They need to do this in a way that doesn’t inadvertently make what has traditionally been a solvable problem into a messy, bespoke custom development situation. The last thing you want to do is to engage “solutions vendors” with their bag of forty tools, complemented by expensive internal developers and systems integrators.
This is where MFT fits in.
MFT is a purpose-specific class of middleware focused on the reliable transfer of files between business parties, using simple, secure protocols and easy-to-understand models of exchange. But it’s fortified with secure encryption, manageability, scalability, file processing, integration, and business-reporting options that allow IT to deliver more sophisticated, controlled file-transfer solutions without slipping into the custom-code abyss.