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Managed File Transfer & Gartner’s Application, Architecture, Development & Integration Summit.

Gartner AADI Summit

I’ve long held the opinion that the marketplace for Managed File Transfer, as a standalone technology, was coming under pressure from many other technologies, so I jumped at the  opportunity to attend the Gartner Application, Architecture, Development & Integration Summit in London, courtesy of Thru Inc.

Attended by many of Europe’s largest Enterprises, Gartner’s AADI provided me with a unique insight into the challenges Enterprise Architects and CIO’s currently face, in integrating a wide variety of applications within their business.  Of course the main focus for the many sponsors of the event was API’s, what API’s they had, how they could be scaled, how they could be secured and so on.

Being at the show with Thru enabled me to have some interesting conversations, which went far deeper than our typical discussions about how file transfer automation, or how an ad hoc file transfer solution enable companies to meet their customers’ needs. The conversations we’ve had at this event have been much more focused on how Enterprise Applications can leverage APIs to provide Managed File Transfer and the subsequent governance and audit of the data.

Thru’s API differentiates them from many Ad Hoc File Transfer vendors and their wide range of current case uses support this.  For example, well known ISV’s use Thru’s platform to enable software and licence delivery, enabling customers to download large ISO’s or software packages, completely unaware that Thru is doing the grunt work behind the scene.

Thru don’t just have deep integration capabilities via their API, they also have connectors for Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Sharepoint and Salesforce.com.  Coupled with their Cloud, Hybrid or On Premises deployment options, they have a compelling offering to support the continuing drive to leveraging existing Enterprise Applications.

 To learn more about how API’s can ‘off load’ file transfer from your Enterprise Applications, call our consultants on 0333 123 1240.
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Download Our Latest Ad Hoc File Transfer Comparison Guide

Ad Hoc Comparison Guide v2 2014

Hot on the heels of the first release we’re delighted to announce that the version 2 of our Ad Hoc File Transfer Comparison Guide now includes Thru Inc.

Pro2col’s comparison guide features the worlds leading file transfer solutions, helping you to choose the right technology for your business. Click here to download the latest guide.

 

 

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Is PSN approval enough?

Anyone associated with local government right now is aware of the headache of PSN (Public Services Network) approval, the evidence trail, the multiple iterations and the tight timescales. However, with the constant squeeze on local authority budgets and the drive to working with partners to deliver services, is PSN enough? How do you protect the information about a vulnerable child, when sharing it with the school, NHS, Police, private counselling contractor and so on. In a recent survey* 67% of councils stated that they are sharing data with 5 or more partners to deliver the Troubled Families initiative. This number can only increase as other programmes such as the move of children’s public health commissioning to local authorities next year.

Troubled Families

 

One of the issues thrown up by this approach is the ability to share data. Survey respondents raised this as one of their primary concerns: ‘Data Sharing between organisations’; clear and consistent co-ordination and information sharing’; ‘Culture shift from silo working and inconsistent collaboration’. Pro2col already help several councils to address these issues with cost-effective, secure file transfer solutions, including Cambridgeshire County Council.

“Our users and partners are very happy, we have successfully changed our file transfer methods with minimal disruption, we have very robust measures in place to prevent leaked data, and we’ve exceeded all of our objectives for the project.” ALAN SHIELDS. IT Architect Team Manager

If you would like more information on the solution we provided for Cambridgeshire, please download the case study from here.

 

 

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Criteria to consider when choosing the right Managed File Transfer product

Why is it important to have some understanding of the product lifecycle when selecting a MFT solution?  Feature matching is not enough when a solution will become a critical component of your organization’s business workflow.

As with everything in life there is a natural evolution or life cycle that every product will go through i.e. inception, growth, maturity to decline. Of course the length of time in each phase will vary based on a number of different factors like marketing, on-going product development, customer input and a strategic commitment to R&D.  Under these conditions a products growth can continue for a long time.

But there are some things that you can help identify a product that is in or near the declining phase of its lifecycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are 10 things to look out for when evaluating a solution:

  1. No product development road map.
  2. Road map is primarily made up of sustaining fixes.
  3. No big enhancements being released in the near term i.e. 6 -  8 months.
  4. No big enhancement(s) released in the last year i.e. reporting, dashboards, etc.
  5. Not up to date with the basic table stakes of MFT functionality.  This could also apply to an immature product as well.  But if a product has been around for some years and is lacking some basic MFT functionality that should be a big red flag.
  6. Declining Sales.  It is easier find out this information for publicly traded companies than private ones.
  7. Little or no marketing promotions for the product(s) you are evaluating.
  8. Still using Old Technology Paradigms.   Sign a company is milking revenue as long as there is a profit.
  9. Little or no R&D infrastructure.
  10. Based on the competitive dynamics of the MFT industry, if company is not electing to employ one of three strategies: Maintain, Defend, or Innovate your product is in the declining phase of its lifecycle.

 

We work with some of the industry’s leading vendors.  In addition to having a close relationship with them, we understand their position in the marketplace, where their product roadmaps are headed and can help to steer you towards the most appropriate technology for your requirements.  Give our offices a call on UK 0333 123 1240 / USA 707 685 7705 to see how we can help with your file transfer project.

 

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Globalscape Mail Express Integration with EFT

By Eric Hall – Globalscape Channel Engineer Executive

What does Mail Express integration really mean? What benefits does it offer to those looking for both a back-end automated MFT solution as well as a solution to make available large or sensitive file sharing between people via email? Might it make sense in some cases to combine EFT Server with Mail Express? I’ll address the Top 3 key points below.

Globalscape Mail Express Reporting Window1)    Reporting – All the information required by IT personnel on their users’ activities is already available in the Mail Express database. Mail Express includes some reporting and auditing capabilities out of the box. However, those reports are more suited to drilling down to individual packages for auditing and spot-checking, and if you have EFT already, then it’s an additional place you have to go to for reports. Many of our existing EFT customers voiced that they preferred EFT’s Auditing and Reporting Module (ARM) reporting style and capabilities, especially as integrated with EFT’s ability to generate reports on a scheduled basis and either store them in PDF format or embed them as HTML into an email sent periodically to the appropriate parties. So we expanded Mail Express to communicate its activities to EFT so that they can be recorded to ARM and reported on in the same set of reports already available for SAT. If you have EFT 6.5 with ARM, and you add Mail Express 3.3, you can optionally integrate the two together for consolidated reporting. These reports are all available under the list of built-in reports as “Activity – Ad Hoc …” with the various flavours supporting it. If the customer has not completed the upgrade to Mail Express and is still running SAT somewhere in their organisation, these reports will be combined, ensuring a smooth transition.

Globalscape Mail Express Automation2)     Automation – One piece of functionality not offered out of the box by Mail Express on its own is the ability to automate processes on files being sent via Mail Express. Unlike EFT, where files tend to be moving through EFT to their final destination on, files sent via Mail Express are effectively parked in the Mail Express storage, waiting for the recipients to authenticate themselves and retrieve the individual files or complete package. This makes it well situated to allow antivirus and Data Loss Prevention solutions to passively scan the files on writing or reading from disk.

However, not all storage systems are so conveniently configured. Therefore you now have the ability to leverage EFT’s simple and powerful Event Rule system to automate processes as required by company or regulatory policy. Do files need to be retained for a period of time? Copy them to an eDiscovery or archival storage area. You can even encrypt and sign them to compress the files for long-term storage and ensure the file integrity to both protect the contents and avoid tampering. Do AV or DLP scans need to be run? Use EFT to call the appropriate utilities either directly via command line using a Command or invoke their DLLs programmatically with the Advanced Workflow Engine (AWE).

Whatever the requirement, you can now leverage EFT to make sure that need is fulfilled. And of course all such automated activity will also be recorded by EFT to the auditing database with ARM.

For example, as in the screenshot shown here, I have:

  1. Created an “On File Uploaded Rule”
  2. Added the condition so that it is only triggered if the upload has occurred where the Protocol is “Ad hoc Over HTTP/S Protocol” which is how it defines an upload through Mail Express
  3. Execute a “DLP Scan” command invoking a command line DLP tool
  4. As long as the scan does not fail, copy the uploaded file to an archive directory
  5. Encrypt (and compress) the archive copy

3)      Configuration – In the spirit of avoiding the duplication of effort, having to make the same changes multiple times or in multiple places, Mail Express can now synchronise its configuration with EFT, if desired. You do not have to do this at all, of course, but it’s available for those who find it valuable.

NOTE: Only 32-bit Mail Express installations can communicate with EFT. Mail Express is now included in the EFT installer, and that included version is the 32-bit version for precisely that reason.

There are three key configuration areas that Mail Express can synchronise with EFT: SMTP server details, DMZ Gateway connections, and SSL certificates. These configurations may be synchronised wholesale, or the administrator may pick and choose the specific aspects of the configuration that will be appropriate. For example, for the SMTP settings, you may wish to synchronise the host address, port, and so on, so that if it ever changes for EFT it will automatically change for Mail Express, but you may want to modify the “From” address so that email notifications sent by Mail Express do not appear to be sent by EFT. Or for another example, the DMZ Gateway configuration may need to use the same host address that EFT is using but use a different port in order to attach to the Mail Express specific DMZ Gateway profile. Each aspect of the various configurations is available to be synchronised or not, as desired. See the Mail Express help page for more information.

This integration helps make Mail Express and EFT even more complete and powerful duo when implemented together, and we intend to continue expanding this integration and leveraging the dynamic capabilities of Mail Express to increase the value of our solutions.

Have any questions? Would you like some further clarification? Please don’t hesitate to let Pro2col know on 0333 123 1240.

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Dropbox Alternative – Day Two at InfoSecurity Europe

With the sun beating down outside you could have been mistaken in thinking the IT community would stay away from Earls Court, but day two of InfoSec was packed.

Pro2col had the pleasure of assisting on the Globalscape stand, on what is traditionally the busiest day. With Chaz and Chris Thacker both providing demos the stand was busy and the message was coming through loud and clear; IT Professionals want a Dropbox Alternative.

A study by security distributor e92plus that I read at the show highlighted that some 76% of IT Professionals in the UK had Dropbox at the top of its list of banned Globalscape and Pro2col at Infosec
technologies. This was very much reflected by the conversations we had and the demonstrations of Globalscape solutions provided.

The most popular solution by far was Mail Express. Visitors loved the web based functionality and MicroSoft Outlook plugin. The Drop Off Portal also proved a big success as IT admins learned how they could provide a hands off facility for large files to come into the business without the need for setting up FTP accounts or clogging up email servers with attachments.

If you’d like to learn more about how Globalscape solutions could help your business Replace Dropbox, contact Globalscape’s UK Master Partner here.

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Five things every business manager should know about file sharing practices

A blog written by Jeff Whitney, vice president of marketing for Ipswitch File Transfer

Businesses face a real threat – their employees. That’s right, increasingly tech-savvy employees have turned to a diverse range of file transfer tools that are beyond the sight of IT management.

Employee File Sharing FactsEmployees see webmail, file sharing services, cloud storage, USB sticks and smart devices as easier to use than traditional corporate tools to transfer files. But this trend ignores the security risks and regulatory implications of using file transfer methods entirely outside of corporate control.

Here’s five things you should know about your employees’ habits and the need for secure file transfer technology:

1. Insecure means are used to send confidential files.  Recent surveys we have run to monitor user behaviour found that a vast majority (84%) of respondents send classified or confidential information through corporate email attachments. Of those, 72% do this at least weekly and 52% daily. That means employees are using unsanctioned tools in record numbers, resulting in a lack of visibility and control.

2. Many employees use personal email to send company documents and data.  Users may think they can’t afford delays or slowdowns associated with jumping through perceived hoops to send out information and files that keep business humming. And if the business doesn’t provide the tools they need to send large and confidential attachments, or if the processes and technologies are too difficult to use, then users will take matters into their own hands – and their own email.

3. Employees are using consumer-grade file transfer services for business purposes.  If the corporate email system limits the size of file attachments or if IT vetoes service requests, resourceful employees don’t throw up their hands in resignation: they look for workarounds. And the growing popularity of file transfer sites and cloud services aimed at consumers is making it easier for business users to sidestep IT. More than half of the users we surveyed admitted they use these services.

4. Risk of data theft is high.  When business users aren’t turning to personal email accounts or free file-sharing services, they may be putting files on USB thumb drives, smartphones or other external devices. Unfortunately, our market research shows that almost one-third of users had lost a USB device, smartphone or other external device containing business or personal information – a tremendous risk for any organisation.

5. IT Management Visibility into Data Management is Low, Putting Businesses at Risk.  Most companies create and maintain policies that mandate the use of approved tools for moving and sharing information. However, our research shows fewer than 32% strictly enforce these policies, making these mandates largely meaningless. No visibility means no compliance with internal policies or external regulations and laws.

The file sharing habits of employees can be risky but is driven by their desire to get work done. The business need and IT desire to control file sharing is equally important. Fortunately, companies don’t have to choose between risky behaviour and productivity. Using secure file transfer technology, employees can get the convenience, ease-of-use, and speed they need while IT and the business get the control, visibility, security and compliance they need.

Click here to download a free report, published by Ipswitch File Transfer that provides insights into causes and trends in risky data and file sharing, ways in which IT has fallen behind in safeguarding information, plus the associated dangers and proven means to safeguard corporate data without impeding user productivity.

Pro2col are a certified Ipswitch File Transfer Elite Reseller and have been working with Ipswitch since 2010 to supply, deploy and support their range of managed file transfer solutions to UK businesses.  If you like more information on secure managed file transfer, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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Ipswitch MOVEit Ad Hoc shortlisted for SC Magazine Technology Award

Ipswitch File Transfer MOVEit Ad Hoc has been shortlisted by SC Magazine for a Technology Award in the category of ‘Best SME Security Solution’. Our secure person-to-person file transfer solution has been recognised among the most innovative products addressing the security demands of smaller enterprises today. Winners will be announced at the SC Magazine Europe Awards on 23 April, to be held at London’s Hilton Park Lane.

MOVEit Ad Hoc ensures secure sending and receiving of sensitive files and messages between individuals and groups. It provides peace of mind for businessesSC Awards sharing mission critical digital information with their employees, partners and customers using Outlook or any simple browser interface. A recent Ipswitch study reveals that more than a third of people sharing information are doing so insecurely, through personal email or consumer file-sharing sites. MOVEit Ad Hoc provides a simple yet secure solution to sharing files which avoids this increasingly prevalent risky behaviour.

For over 20 years Ipswitch has been a leader in providing secure Managed File Transfer solutions. So it is an honour to be recognised by SC Magazine, not just for ourselves, but on behalf of the many businesses and industries that already depend upon Ipswitch File Transfer to protect their most valuable and sensitive information. It’s also particularly rewarding for MOVEit Ad Hoc to be recognised on the heels of our recent launch – our easy-to-use, IT-approved, person to person file transfer solution.

SC Magazine is the world’s largest dedicated IT security publication, serving the industry for over 15 years. The SC Awards Europe is among the most coveted and prestigious accolades for the information security industry, honouring vendors that deliver the most innovative security technologies.

A panel of industry judges from the information security profession will now pass judgement on the products and services put before them, including Ipswitch File Transfer MOVEit Ad Hoc. Review the shortlist for every category here. Read the latest awards build-up and coverage here. Book tickets for the event here, and find out more about MOVEit Ad Hoc here.

Guest Blog by Jeff  Whitney, Vice President of MarketingIpswitch File Transfer

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Are Employees Putting Your Company’s Data at Risk?

One of our key vendors, Ipswitch File Transfer conducted a survey of over 200 IT leaders and practitioners with security responsibilities about person-to-person file-sharing practices.  From the results that they gathered, this is what they found…

These results should alarm IT and security professionals.  Findings show that employees are circumventing IT staff by sending confidential and highly sensitive company files via means that are insecure and lack auditability. The results serve as a graphic reminder that when company systems hinder employee productivity, it’s both a security risk and bad for business.

There’s no way to sugarcoat the results of the survey, the highlights of which you can see in the Infographic below. Click here to register to receive the full research report results and recommendations.

 

Ipswitch File Transfer Survey Results - Person to Person File Sharing Risks

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Personal File Sharing in the Business: The Risks

It may be a new year, but we’re still facing the same old challenges on our return to the working world.  Personal file sharing is one of those challenges.  If employees are left to their own devices, the chances are they will turn to familiar consumer grade technologies such as Dropbox that were just not designed to adequately secure business data.

Micheal Osterman of Osterman Research succinctly summarises some of the key issues surrounding personal file sharing in his white paper, “Business-Class File Sharing Best Practices”.  Here is an excerpt from the paper:

Excerpted from “Business-Class File Sharing Best Practices”

The Status Quo Doesn’t Work

Business-Class File Sharing

  • Users are stymied because company email systems often do not permit file attachments of more than 10 to 20 megabytes to be sent, and it is not efficient at sending more than a few files at a time. Moreover, email doesn’t typically include a return receipt so the sender can know if the recipient ever received the email. Also, when email is used for file transfer, it imposes increased storage and bandwidth costs, slow message delivery, long backups, long restores, high IT management costs.
  • Many users will turn to their personal Webmail account because of their ability to send very large files through these systems. However, when users do so there is no IT visibility into the sent or received content, no tracking, no auditability, and no archiving. Moreover, corporate content can reside in personal Webmail repositories for many years, long after an employee may have left the company. While this makes life easier for users, it increases the risk to the organisation.
  • USB sticks, tablets and smartphones create the same problems: lack of security, higher costs, their likelihood of being lost or stolen, and the potential for content on them to be accessed by unauthorised parties.
  • Dropbox-like file sharing tools and cloud services can be effective, but they do not permit IT management or governance of content. And, they often are individual accounts and not under the sanction of IT which means that IT doesn’t have the visibility or insight into what is being transferred, nor does IT maintain any type of audit trail for this content.
  • SharePoint and similar tools are useful for sharing information if both senders and recipients are using it. However, SharePoint require the deployment of a dedicated infrastructure and training for end users, and it is not always easily accessible by remote workers or people external to an organisation.
  • Basic FTP client-server systems, while useful, require both the sender and recipient to have access to the FTP server to share information, which can be an ongoing provisioning burden for IT.
  • Physical delivery of information – such as CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs that are burned and sent through overnight services – is expensive and the speed of delivery is slow

If you’d like to learn more about secure file sharing practices, you can access the full Osterman whitepaper here.  Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss your specific file sharing challenges with one of our managed file transfer experts, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0333 123 1240.

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