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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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A look back at InfoSecurity Europe 2014

InfoSec was a little different for the team at Pro2col this year.  We decided to take our own stand again, rather than working on a vendors and it certainly paid dividends. Whilst the show was undoubtedly quieter, due to the Tube strikes and poor weather, it would be fair to say that those that were committed enough to come were there for a reason.  We had lots of conversations with interesting companies about their need to move data securely, from geo-physics to exam papers and everything in between.  All in all it was definitely a worthwhile investment!

Email & Sam at InfoSecurity EuropeAt the exhibition we had a competition to win £250 of Virgin Experience Day vouchers, which our lovely models Sam & Emily ran for us. To enter they simply needed to scan the badges, the girls did exceptionally well with over 1,000 entries over the three days.  We’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, 9th May so watch this space.

As per usual with exhibitions we over indulged a little with some of our vendor partners outlasting us til the early hours of the morning.  And it wouldn’t be InfoSec without some Champions League football to take in as well.  We’ll be sad to see Earls Court being redeveloped having attended some ten plus exhibitions there over the years, still I’m told Olympia has been ‘done up’ so I guess we’ll be heading there for InfoSec next year.

Finally I want to thank all of the team that helped with the event, our customers for coming along to speak to us, our vendors for their hospitality and our models for the fab job they did!

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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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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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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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Security hole in Facebook’s secure file transfer platform

As a brand Facebook is up there with the biggest of them, with over a billion users each month according to company reports .  This makes them a big target for the cybercrime community. As a countermeasure their ‘Bug Bounty Program’ encourages friendly hackers to report vulnerabilities in their systems and it was one such researcher that noted the security hole in their Accellion private cloud deployment.

Writing on his blog on this Monday, Nir Goldshalger announced that he had previously uncovered a hole affecting Accellion Secure File Transfer appliance that would allow an attacker to gain control of a users account with little more than their email address account.

Large Facebook Logo

A closer look at the date on the video at the bottom of his blog article (19th March 2012) and when the problem was patched (patch 9_1_166 released on 20th March 2012) would suggest that Nir did in fact identify this vulnerability, meaning that Facebook Bug Bounty Program is a worthwhile exercise.  It also demonstrates that Accellion took the issue seriously, quickly and efficiently addressing the problem when it came to light.

Software is rarely ever without flaws but all vendors do their best to ensure products don’t reach the market with problems and when they do, responding quickly is the key to maintaining brand integrity.  This also goes to highlight how important it is for customers to update the software patches released by vendors in a timely manner.  Nir was likely paid for his research and held off releasing this information for nine months, whilst I expect Accellion made a concerted effort to ensure all customers were running the latest versions of software. It will no doubt have a small negative impact on Accellion’s brand image but on the plus side, it appears to show that Accellion handled the matter in a professional manner.

Ad Hoc file transfer is one of the largest segments of the managed file transfer industry and we’re pleased to be working with some of the industries leading brands. With solutions from Biscom, Ipswitch, Globalscape and more, we at Pro2col are able to help you choose the right product to fit your feature requirement and budget limitations.  To speak to an ad hoc file transfer consultant call Pro2col today on 0333 123 1240.

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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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