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Ipswitch Survey Reveals; Damage to Reputation Seen as Biggest Reason to Comply with Data Protection Laws.

Despite 71% believing UK data protection laws should be stronger, 53% still admit to sending sensitive documents by email and  19% have lost critical documents in transit.

A survey by Ipswitch, managed file transfer (MFT) solutions vendor, reveals that fear of reputational damage is the biggest driver for business professionals to comply with data security laws. Yet the majority are still failing to secure the transfer of critical files.

The survey, conducted at the end of April 2014, asked 415 business professionals working across the EU about attitudes, practices and technologies relating to data security and protection. The results also show that the UK is seen as having tighter data protection laws than Germany or France. However, the vast majority think the UK’s data protection laws need to be even stricter.

Key Conclusions:

  • 31 percent of business professionals say that financial censure is the biggest impetus for complying with data protection or staying in line with ICO guidelines, while nearly half (43 percent) cite fear of reputational damage to their brand as the major reason to fall in line
  • The survey also reveals that over half of respondents (53 percent) admit to sending business sensitive documents over unsecured email, while nearly a fifth (19 percent) also admit to losing critical business documents
  • 64 percent of respondents consider the UK to have the tightest data protection laws, 30 percent name Germany as having the strictest laws, while six percent of respondents say that France has the strictest data protection
  • Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of respondents believe UK data protection laws should be stronger to protect businesses and consumers
  • Over a quarter of respondents (27 percent) have never heard of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the public body which reports to UK Parliament and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice to oversee data protection and privacy
  • More than half (57 percent) agree that the ICO should be more aggressive in its data protection responsibilities

“It is clear that organisations need to take more responsibility for their own file transfer practices.  Our survey reveals that far too many still rely on unsecured procedures for transferring sensitive files to get work done,” said Loic Triger, VP International Sales for Ipswitch. “Businesses need to have systems in place to mitigate security breaches, and rigorously ensure those systems are appropriately used.”

“Enterprises have come to rely on a mix of DIY approaches for file movement, in the absence of well-defined policies and enterprise-supported alternatives. But it is entirely possible to untangle the web of file transfer applications available and talk about best practices to ensure visibility and control in an increasingly regulated market. We urge all organisations to re-evaluate their file transfer methodologies, before they end up paying the price, either in diminished brand reputation, customer losses, or financial penalties.”

“Business simply cannot afford – either in terms of cost or reputation – to deal with the potential fall-out from unsafe business practices such as unsecured file sharing, and they are clearly looking to the ICO to take the lead in implementing further, stricter regulation.”

 

About Ipswitch
Ipswitch helps solve complex IT problems with simple solutions. The company’s software is trusted by millions of people worldwide to transfer files between systems, business partners and customers; and to monitor networks, applications and servers. Ipswitch was founded in 1991 and is based in Lexington, Massachusetts with offices throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Pro2col are Ipswitch’s Elite Partner here in the UK, please do not hesitate to get in contact if you require any further information.

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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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Five File Transfer Pain Points

In a normal day, companies and individuals must transfer files containing many different types of sensitive and mission-critical information across systems, businesses and departments – everything from legal documents to X-rays to credit card statements. In an effort to get work done, employees will often skirt the rules of IT and turn to readily available file-sharing options outside the corporate IT structure. This opens the company up to a host of liabilities from security, visibility and control to inaccurate information being transferred within systems. Jeff Whitney, from Ipswitch File Transfer, has identified the top five IT pain points associated with file transfers.

  • Complexity

File sharing solutions are often complex and do not provide a unified standard for the business to automate processes.  As file sharing has been core to business process for quite some time, there are often legacy systems in place with layers of homegrown tools and scripts, as well as products from multiple vendors.

  • Limited Visibility & Control

Businesses, especially in regulated industries like health care and financial services, need to have the ability to track the movement of files. IT teams often talk about “flying blind” when they don’t have visibility into where files are or proof that they’ve been delivered.

  • Employeees Circumvent IT

Without a centralized file transfer system in place, employees will often bypass IT and use a commodity file-sharing product, subjecting the organization to added security risks. This is an escalating issue with the proliferation of consumer-based sharing applications, like Google Drive.

  • Ensuring Security

Security is always a top priority for IT teams, but there is often little insight into the way that businesses transfer critical data.  When issues do occur, IT is often blind to them since they lack general oversight of the file transfer process.

  • Insufficient Resources

The IT department, like many others within organizations, is constantly being asked to do more work with less resources. Companies are creating and transferring documents at an exponential rate and IT must find a way to scale current systems, processes and resources to meet these increasing demands.

 

How can you remedy these pain points?

Forward-thinking IT teams are adopting or looking into managed file transfer (MFT) solutions to free-up resources to focus on other critical business needs. These teams are finding that an MFT strategy allows automation and auditability of file movement.

 

About us
As the UK’s leading independent experts in managed file transfer, Pro2col is well positioned to help you to assess your requirements, identify potential solutions, demonstrate the leading contenders and help you to evaluate those that fit best.  We’ve worked with over 600 companies in 28 countries to address their file transfer challenges and we’d very much like to help you with your file transfer project.  To get started download some of the free resources or contact our file transfer specialists on 0333 123 1240.

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Most UK firms lack data transfer visibility, Ipswitch study shows

In a recent article from Computer Weekly.com, Rich Kennelly, president of Ipswitch’s File Transfer division discussed the key findings of a recent study relating to the visibility of data movement in UK businesses. Needless to say, the stats were concerning to say the least…

Four out of five UK companies have little or no visibility of data movement, a study has revealed.

Half of more than 100 firms polled by Ipswitch File Transfer admitted they have no visibility of files being transferred within and outside their organisation.Magnifying Glass

A further 30% said they have only limited visibility, despite 64% of respondents saying secure file-sharing was vital to the security of the company data.

“A high level of visibility is critical for any organisation that is serious about protecting its most valuable asset – information,” said Rich Kennelly, president of Ipswitch’s File Transfer division.

“The ability to know who is moving data, where, when, how and why across an enterprise, is crucial, not only for data security,” he said.

Kennelly said data management and visibility is also important for streamlined workflows that improve productivity, and meeting compliance requirements.

Regarding who should be blamed if valuable or confidential company data file are sent or shared unsecured, 52% of respondents said it was a collective responsibility.

More than a third said accountability should lie with the employees; 7% said management should be blamed for not having robust policies in place; and just 3% said IT departments were to blame.

“We’re seeing a real shift in attitude, understanding and acceptance of managed file transfer technologies,” said Kennelly.

“Users know that information is at the core of their business and crucial to its existence, competitive advantage and longevity.”

The survey shows there is now greater understanding that efficient data security demands collective responsibility.

However, Kennelly said users cannot play their part unless the business provides easy-to-use, accessible and simple solutions that make their jobs easier.

The survey reveals that moving sensitive information by email is most prevalent, with 44% admitting to sending classified or confidential materials by email at least once a day.

Almost half admitted to using personal email accounts to send company files, with 21% blaming the slowness of work email, difficulties in connecting and limited file sizes.

Some 11% said they used personal email because their company did not monitor what they send and 8% admitted keeping business documents to use at their next place of work.

More than a quarter of respondents admitted using unsecured file-sharing websites and cloud services to share work-related files, while almost two-thirds confess to using USB drives, smartphones, tablets and other personal devices for backing up corporate files.

About Us

Pro2col are a Certified Ipswitch Elite Reseller based in the UK.  Since 2003 we have been helping companies of all shapes and sizes to tackle their data transfer challenges and maximise their investment in secure managed file transfer products.  If you’d like to know more about how to attain full visibility and control over the data moving into, out of and around your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0333 123 1240.

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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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Managed file transfer set back after Java vulnerability in Mac OSX

TechWeek Europe yesterday reported that Apple’s latest Java update for Mac OS X not only fixes a number of security flaws, it also removes the browser plug-in from the user’s system.  This is in response to long standing problems with Java vulnerabilities after six hundred thousand Apple Macs were infected with the Flashback worm earlier this year.  Apple’s approach to controlling  software updates for Mac’s resulted in patches written by Oracle for Java 6.x being rewritten and distributed compounding serious security flaws further with the inevitable delays.  Apple  is now only responsible for Java updates on Macs running OS 10.7.2 or below, therefore upgrading the OS to a later version will result in the use of Java 7 which is developed and updated directly by Oracle although it too isn’t without problems.

Whats the problem with disabling Java you may ask?  Well its well known that Java is really the undisputed champion when it comes to carrying larger data sets Apple disables Java in OSXthrough a web browser and most managed file transfer software products use Java, almost without exception!  Why Java, well thats another discussion which has been very well documented over on the FileCatalyst web site and whilst Mac’s in general don’t account for the largest desktop market share, around 6.5% the lack of Java in OSX is a real problem for Mac users of managed file transfer solutions.

The resolution?  Well Apple aren’t stopping users from running Java on their Mac’s rather ensuring that they take the decision to enable it, this however is likely to further strain relationships between Mac users and the predominately Windows based IT departments.  I suspect that we’ll hear more about this over the coming weeks and months and given our focus on the creative marketplace we’ll keep you informed.

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Managed File Transfer in Action – Part 1

A well known utilities company in Yorkshire were using multiple legacy systems and 2 disparate FTP solutions to move data into, out of and around their organisation.  These systems had grown organically over time to tackle isolated file sharing issues when they arose.  As it transpired, this approach left the company with an ungovernable mix of system to system and FTP solutions that required manual interventions and the ongoing revision of batch scripts.

Utility Bill

The mounting costs generated by work duplication and management overheads, accompanied by the risk associated with the absence of failover was becoming a genuine concern.  Bearing in mind that these systems were executing business critical processes such as billing, debt management, banking and delivering mission dependent data to employees in the field – recreating these undocumented workflows in the event of a disaster would be costly.  Considering the sensitive nature of certain pieces of data moving through these workflows, securing data was also a priority.

Pro2col worked alongside the customer to develop an understanding of their processes and document their key requirements.  Armed with this information, we were able to identify the technologies that would meet these requirements, and help them through the selection and evaluation process.  Specifically, the company were looking to:

  1. Secure the sending and receipt of confidential business and customer data
  2. To further automate the retrieval of time sensitive data from remote systems to provide realtime updates of vital information to their workforce at regular intervals throughout the day.

In terms of features, the company were looking for:

  • A solution that would support FTP, SFTP/FTPS, HTTP/HTTPS.
  • A user-friendly GUI for administration and configuration as apposed to CLI and scripts.
  • The ability to schedule time or event driven actions.
  • Pre and post processing ability i.e.; archiving, moving, deleting files that have been processed.
  • The capability to report failed transfers and system problems.
  • Potential to integrate with HP OpenView for system reporting.
  • Ability to perform ad hoc file transfers manually and simply via web browser or email plugin.
  • Ability to run concurrent processes.
  • Automatic fail over to a backup system.
  • Compatibility with Windows 2008 R2.
  • Integration with Microsoft Active Directory.

Based upon the information we gathered through the consultancy process, we were able to recommend the most suitable solution to meet their objectives – in this case, a combination of Ipswitch MOVEit Central and MOVEit DMZ with the Ad Hoc Module.  MOVEit Central was specifically designed to automate a wide range of mission critical file transfers, enabling the company to automatically “pull, process, and push” all files to any platform, including network architectures, operating systems, and protocols.  It would integrate directly into their existing data workflows, consolidating their automated file transfer tasks and allowing IT staff to create/administer them via a user friendly GUI interface.  For the ad hoc aspect of their file transfer requirements, MOVEit DMZ with the ad hoc module provided a secure, end to end solution for employees to send and receive mission critical files.

This just gives you an idea of the potential of these solutions and the levels of automation that can be achieved.  Within an enterprise environment such as a large utility company, an managed file transfer solution can save hours of manual processing and ensure that all the information is where they need it, when they need it.  As with all of our customers, we’ll be working with this organisation in the months and years to come, and look forward to helping them achieve their maximum ROI.

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Managed File Transfer – Remote Access Removed or Remote File Termination?

Managed file transfer solutions are the ideal technology to share files securely with remote trading partners and customers.  This is what they were designed to do and in the most part, they all provide a simple interface to achieve this.  Some provide a web browser facility, whilst others offer additional plugins such as a Microsoft Outlook Plugin or less conventionally, a Lotus Notes Plugin.  However the one common way in which the majority of these technologies work is for the file to remain on a web server, to be collected by the intended recipient.  This then provides the system with an audit trail of when the file was downloaded and in most cases, to which IP address – confirming the users location.

This is great in most instances but imagine a situation where you’ve sent an email using the plugin within your email client of choice, only to later find that pull back emailyou’ve attached the wrong document.  Worse than that, it contains sensitive customer or financial data – what then?  You make a frantic call to your IT Help Desk asking them to delete the file or remove access to it.  You then get confirmation from the kind Support Desk person to say that they’ve action your request.  Great, you’re in the clear…. but upon returning to your email you see that your customer has already downloaded the file and you have the email notification to prove it.  Where you usually greet the notification with a shrug of the shoulders in the knowledge that the managed file transfer solution has once again done its job, this time it leaves you cold!

Fortunately not all managed file transfer solutions are built the same.  Some have DLP capabilities ensuring that sensitive data is quarantined whilst one vendor we work with provides a very unique capability, remote file termination.  How is this done I hear you ask, well give us a call and we’ll tell you!  Suffice to say, this type of technology provides the highest levels of security available therefore isn’t pitched at your general ad hoc file transfer users.  It’s more appropriate for those companies dealing with extremely sensitive data, e.g. data needing to be exchanged between board members, patent information, IPO, MBO, acquisitions and mergers information and so on.

If your business has a requirement to move data in a more secure manner than your existing file transfer technology allows, speak to Pro2col as we’ve got technologies that can handle the most sensitive of data.

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A Secure Alternative to Dropbox – Welcome to Managed File Transfer

Once again here we are discussing Dropbox as they attempt to minimise the damage to the company brand following the latest reports announcing a further security breach.

Dropbox announced yesterday on their blog that after hiring some “outside experts” to investigate why certain Dropbox users were getting spam to their non-public Dropbox email addresses, the experts concluded that a Dropbox employee’s account was hacked and the details were lifted from a project document.  No details were provided on the numbers of users affected, what other information was compromised or why account details were stored in an unencrypted document.

Dropbox Spamming

Ordinarily we’re singing the praise of managed file transfer solutions as an alternative to custom built, cumbersome, unsupported, legacy FTP servers. However, a quick search on Google this morning showed me that perhaps more people are now searching the internet for a secure alternative to Dropbox, likely due to the broadcast of recent security issues.

Dropbox Alternative

 

 

A business’ decision to select Dropbox or any other cloud based technology for storing and sharing company data, should be taken with caution.  Cloud based solutions in general offer significantly more advanced features than your average in house managed file transfer solution, which end users have grown accustomed to.  Why?  Because they’re developing for a single, controlled environment over which the vendor has complete control whereas a managed file transfer vendor has to develop for multiple server based operating systems and the QA process can be lengthy, thus inhibiting progress of a product.

There are however a number of reasons why a greater degree of security can be achieved by deploying an in house managed file transfer solution, here are four of them:

  1. It’s not a big Cloud brand target with hundreds and thousands of users
  2. Data is stored local to you and you have complete control over the security policies
  3. Access is securely controlled by AD/LDAP and other user group contained within corporate authentication tools
  4. Reporting and blacklisting tools mean that hackers can be monitored and banned very quickly

If you are concerned about the lack security, control, auditing and governance of your business data then speak to Pro2col.  We can help to analyse your requirements, select the most appropriate vendors and assist right through the evaluation process and beyond.  Managed File Transfer is fast becoming a necessary business tool and is certainly a more than adequate alternative to Dropbox.

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