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Archive for ‘Pro2col Managed File Transfer General’

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 Managed File Transfer Comparison Guide

Download the Managed File Transfer Comparison Guide

Following on from the release of our Ad Hoc comparison guide, we’ve delighted to provide to you the Managed File Transfer comparison guide.

The guide provides a comparison of five of the leading brands including Axway, Cleo, Globalscape, Ipswitch and Jscape. Click to download it here.

If you are about to embark on a managed file transfer project for your company, we would love to speak to you. Please get in touch with one of the team on +44 (0) 333 123 1240.

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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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Cloud File transfer Services Hosted in the UK are not subject to the Patriot Act

Over the years I’ve spoken to many clients about hosted data transfer systems, and the security implications of where your data is stored.  Generally there arelots of levels of sensitivity of data that a business might have. Sometimes the more commercial, cloud based technologies can fit, e.g. sending marketing collateral to a printers wouldn’t generally be considered sensitive data.  Over recent years however, there has been a worrying increase in the amount of enterprises who have either mandated the use of cloud based technologies for the distribution of sensitive data, or turned a blind eye to what employees are using off of their own back.  Naturally there are issues surrounding compliance here and potential brand damage should the data find its way into the public domain, but that’s been covered many times before and isn’t the focus of this blog.

 

A few days ago I spoke with an international consulting firm (who shall remain nameless). They confided in me that the organisation didn’t have a managed file transfer solution in place to cater for the ad hoc transfer of data between internal staff and external parties.  They disclosed that a decision had been taken to purchase a wetransfer.com channel for their business, but this IT Manager was very concerned about compliance and security of his data.  Having had some experience of wetransfer in the past I suggested that additionally he should be concerned about where his data was stored.  Being a predominately US based company, it could be possible that their data was making its way to their US data centres and therefore be subject to the Patriot Act.  I wasn’t scaremongering, this is true as there is no way to define which server your data resides on as it’s a consumer grade solution, predominantly adopted by enterprises to get them out of a hole.

 

When looking at securely transferring business critical data I can see why a company may opt to adopt a ‘big brand’ cloud solution, but its worth pointing out they’re generally big brands because they appeal to the masses and are consumer grade.  When selecting a cloud based technology its worth asking these questions:

 

  1. Where will my data be stored?
  2. What levels of physical security are in place at these data centres?
  3. What security is in place to protect my data at rest in these locations?
  4. Is my data encrypted in transit and at rest at all times?
  5. Who within the organisation supplying the service has access to my files?
  6. What controls am I offered to administer and manage the service being used across my organisation?
  7. What compliance or data security standards do you adhere to?
  8. What logging and tracking do you provide to help me achieve compliance?

 

This list outlines some of the most important questions and is a good starting place.  If you’d like to discuss your file transfer requirements in more detail our consultants can help.  We’ve been working with file transfer technologies for more than a decade now and are well placed to be able to detail your requirements and help you identify the best technology fit.  Get in touch via our online form or call 0333 123 1240 or for International callers +44 1202 433 415.
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Socitm 2012: Managed File Transfer for Councils

We’ve been working closely with councils throughout the UK to simplify, secure and streamline their file transfer, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to attend Socitm 2012; the No. 1 UK ICT event for councils.  The conference has kicked off today (here’s a breakdown of the programme) and the Pro2col team are ready and waiting to share the knowledge and experience that we have gained from working with councils to secure person-to-person file transfers and automate the movement of sensitive data into and out of the organisation.

Pro2col Managed File Transfer at Socitm 2012

On a similar note, this is the ideal moment to publically release our lastest e-book: The Council’s Guide to Secure Managed File Transfer, which is now available for download.  It covers a range of issues surrounding the secure movement within councils including:

  • How to eliminate the problems caused when employees resort to insecure, non-compliant file transfer methods such as email.
  • Ensuring you meet with UK data security and compliance legislation including The Data Protection Act and PCI DSS.
  • Providing your employees with a quick and simple way to send and receive sensitive files both internally and with third parties.
  • Automating the transfer of files, saving time and money.
  • How to regain control over file transfer processes and user access.

If you’re at the conference and would like to speak to one of our managed file transfer experts, drop by stand 8 (piccy attached) – we’re always happy to help.  If you’ve not been able to make it this year and you’d like to talk to us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the office on 0333 123 1240.

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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 is for SMB’s too

Recent research suggests that the SMB sector is coming under an increasing number of cyber attacks from hackers and cyber criminals.  Figures published by Symantec revealed that the number of attacks on companies with fewer than 250 staff had doubled in the six months to June 2012.  Similarly AVG reported that it was predicting an increase on the £3.37 million of damage inflicted on UK SMB’s last year.  Verizon confirmed that the majority of 855 data breaches analysed in their Data Breach Investigation Report had been inflicted upon SMB’s.

The question is; why are SMB’s being targeted?  It would appear that the modest budgets available to small companies make them easier targets, Small Businessgiventhe lower level of expenditure on information security technologies.  Especially since SMB’s frequently work as suppliers for larger organisations, making them a more attractive proposition to hackers than the more conventional direct attack on the corporate target.

What does this have to do with managed file transfer I hear you ask?  MFT has generally been considered a technology more appropriate to corporate organisation’s – with its big price tag and grand title.  Times are changing for the MFT marketplace and there are now some very comprehensive solutions available at really competitive prices.  For those SMB’s considering how they should secure data transfers with their larger corporate customers, technologies exist at around the £4,000 mark which provide an equal amount of functionality as many corporate companies have.

To discuss your file transfer requirements, whether you’re an SMB or multi-national organisation, get in touch with Pro2col or give us a call on 0333 123 1240.

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Ad Hoc Managed File Transfer – Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes but nothing for Apple Mac?

It would be fair to say that a clear majority of the IT professionals we speak to on a weekly basis want to regain some control over the data that their employees send.  In the past, many IT administrators would start with the customary approach of limiting the size of email attachments that could be sent via the email server. However, this only resulted in employees searching for alternative ways of sending files – frequently the choice was a SaaS/Cloud based, consumer grade solutions such as YouSendit, Mailbigfile, Dropbox, the list goes on!

In general employees intentions are honourable but when they need to ‘get the job done’, they adopt for the path of least resistance i.e quick and easy solutions that they can sign up to for free.  This however creates a minefield for the IT and Compliance departments who tackle a daily myriad of issues around tracking, governance and security of corporate data. With no online service completely immune from attack (take the recent announcements around LinkedIn and Yahoo) the issue is very real and pressing.

Inevitably the bottom line is that the business needs to invest in an ad hoc file transfer solution that enables employees to send files on an ad hoc basis.  Fortunately for businesses this issue has existed for some time, and a number of the managed file transfer vendors we work with offer solutions to these problems.  Selecting the right solution depends upon the number of users, security requirements, size of the data sets, preferred deployment option (on-site/hosted/SaaS), specific functionality required and budget – but that’s where we come in to help you through the vendor selection process.

Finally let’s not forget that there are a wide variety of email clients used in today’s businesses.  The most dominant – Microsoft Outlook has been well addressed by the majority of managed file transfer vendors.  Lotus Notes on the other hand hasn’t received the same time and attention but there are a couple of options out there, I guess this is down to size of their shrinking market share.  When it comes to Apple however everyone falls short.  This has little to do with the developers ability – more with the architecture of Apple Mail, Microsoft Entourage or Outlook for Mac, none of which support plugin’s in the same way.  Still, all of the vendors provide a webmail facility if you need to support Mac OS users.

For further assistance in selecting the most appropriate ad hoc file transfer solution for your business please get in touch with the UK’s leading MFT experts on 0333 123 1240.

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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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