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An update from Infosecurity 2012

Yesterday was the first day of Infosecurity 2012 one of, if not the biggest IT Security Shows in Europe – and it was a busy one.  Not only that, the war of the most outlandish gimmick was in full force, so be prepared for talking dogs and 7-foot robots if you’re planning to visit!

We’re helping out on the GlobalSCAPE stand this year (check out their stylish booth), as they’re showcasing their latest products for the first time here in the UK – Hosted Enhanced File Transfer Server™ (EFT Server™) and Secure Mobile Access™. As GlobalSCAPE’s primary reseller’s in the UK, it’s been a great opportunity for us to spend some more face-to-face time with the GlobalSCAPE team.

GlobalSCAPE Stand - Infosecurity

There’s been a lot of interest from businesses spanning all sectors, looking secure their data transfers and comply with regulations such as PCI DSS and The Data Protection Act.  We’re looking forward to being kept busy for the remainder of the exhibition, so if you’re heading down to Earls Court come see us at stand F82.

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Enabling the mobile workforce with Managed File Transfer

The proliferation of mobile devices within the enterprise is undeniable with tablets and smart phones becoming key tools for employees looking to ‘get the job done’.  Many CIO’s and IT Directors know they have a problem with ensuring the secure and controlled mobile access to data, but what’s the solution?

Should access be restricted completely and a ban be placed on BYOD (Bringing Your Own Device) to work?  Or should your staff use internal tools such as Sharepoint, live with its inadequacies and struggle on with their limitations knowing that its not specifically built for the job?  Or do you take on the challenge of choosing the right tool for the job?  Realistically the choice is already made as there’s no easy way in which to stop people using mobile devices.  The most effective route is to provide them with the right tools to be successful in their jobs, whilst giving IT and security teams the tools that they need to manage users, set security policy and privileges.

Some key thoughts you should consider when selecting a mobile enabled managed file transfer solution are:

Mobile File Sharing

  • What mobile / tablet platforms do you need to support?
  • Is there a business need for a mobile application or will a browser based interface suffice?
  • How many users do you intend on providing the technology to?
  • How will you restrict access to data, e.g. users home folders only?

At Pro2col we’ve been helping companies to secure their data since 2003 and securing the mobile workforce isn’t a great deal different.  Of course there are a few different considerations to take into account, but that’s all part of what we do.  We work with a wide range of managed file transfer vendors, not all of whom want to be listed on our web site but who are taking the secure exchange of data with the mobile workforce very seriously.  Different vendors take different approaches to addressing the problem.  We work with vendors who have approached mobile file sharing from very different perspectives, which might form another blog item.

The experience we’ve gained in helping other enterprises address their mobile file sharing problems can help your business too.  Overcoming the challenge of securely exchanging data with remote workers across a range of mobile or tablet platforms, doesn’t need to be a hassle.  Get in touch with our team of technical specialists on 0333 123 1240 to work out what’s most suitable for you.

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Hosted v’s On Premise Managed File Transfer

Over the past couple of years there has been considerable hype around saas, hosted or cloud based solutions – the managed file transfer marketplace has been no different.  We speak to many businesses on a daily basis about their file transfer requirements and inevitably, a number of them ask for a cloud based solution. So we’ve been speaking to a range of our vendors, natural leaders in the software field, but many of them seem unwilling to step out of their traditional marketplace and into the cloud space.  There are of course good reasons for this.  For example, the impact on existing software sales, the responsibility that goes with managing other peoples data and probably most importantly, the size of the market. According to Gartner only 10% of the managed file transfer marketplace actually relies upon a cloud based solution.  With the managed file transfer sector experiencing +20% growth year on year and the shift to cloud solutions not likely to slow any time soon, transition to cloud services could become the next major battlefield for vendors. However as it stands, this certainly isn’t reflected in the managed file transfer marketplace as there are many more software vendors than service providers.

Laptops in the Cloud

If you’re thinking about implementing a hosted or on-premise managed file transfer solution, there are a number key points to consider.  Here are a few to start you off:

Cost of Ownership

Cost is the number one factor influencing the choice of managed file transfer solution for most businesses.  Implementing and managing an on-premise MFT solution can be pricey, some of the costs to consider are:

Software – The initial software purchase price can range from £5,000 to in excess of £50,000 but once this has been paid, the solution is yours.  Although hosted services appear cheaper in the short term, ongoing subscriptions can be costly in the long term.

Hardware – Providing an environment to install and run the MFT solution can also add up, especially when you take into account disaster recovery or high availability.

Infrastructure – Hosting files on your own server can prove a problem, bear in mind the impact on your Internet connection when a 1Gb file is shared with 50 or more external users!

Support & Management

Another point to take into account after the initial go-live of a managed file transfer solution are the costs associated with ongoing support and management. Specifically:

Internal Support – If you deploy an MFT solution, the responsibility of support and management falls on internal team members, whereas with a hosted solution much of the ongoing support is outsourced to the service provider.

Availability – Generally hosted services run in high availability data centers.  Therefore, they offer guaranteed uptime with load-balanced solutions as the norm and include SLA’s.

Scalability – In a hosted environment, scalability of your product is generally available on demand or at the touch of a button.  It’s not always quite so simple with an on-premise MFT solution.

Back-up/disaster recovery – Usually provided as part of the service by hosting providers, back up and disaster recovery can be costly when purchased as part of a solution package.

Deployment

Bringing an on-premise managed file transfer solution online has its challenges. Ports need opening on firewalls, rules need setting up, plus there are considerations about the design of the solution and how it will sit within the corporate infrastructure.  Hosted solutions are incredibly fast to deploy given that much of the above doesn’t come into play.

Functionality & workflow

Typically, functionality and workflow features are key drivers in the decision making process. On-premise managed file transfer solutions offer far more in the way of a comprehensive feature set:

Bottlenecks – Having files local to you, when you need them can save a considerable amount of time in terms of loss of productivity, especially for larger enterprise deployments.  Pushing data to remote services can impact upon an end users time or can delay internal processes.

Integration – More often than not, hosted solutions are somewhat limited in the level of integration capabilities they offer.  This is an important factor to take into consideration as lack of integration reduces the potential to automate tasks and minimise the man hours wasted on routine tasks.  There are of course exceptions to the rule as there are some very capable hosted technologies.

These are just some of the key areas to be mindful of if you’re weighing up the pros and cons of hosted vs on premise managed file transfer solutions.  Ultimately, the decision will be fueled by the scope of your requirements and the size of your budget.  Whatever these may be, there is a managed file transfer solution out there to fit your business needs.  If you want some help pinpointing the right solution for you, please contact Pro2col on 0333 123 1240.

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Box, DropBox, YouSendit vs Managed File Transfer: How secure is your data?

File sharing applications are often free or at least cheap, simple to use and very often difficult for an IT department to trace.  This presents a major problem for the enterprise as highlighted in a recent study by Palo Alto Networks which showed that of the 1,636 enterprises surveyed, a staggering 92% of companies had an average of 13 different browser based file sharing applications in use within their network.

With recent announcements such as the DropBox security loophole and the MegaUpload service being taken down, the net is closing in on file sharing applications and services, and rightly so.  Pretty much all businesses need to share files with colleagues, customers and trading partners, but at what cost? Recent studies by the Ponemon Institute found that the average data breach costs UK firms £1.9m prompting the question, “what would be the impact of a data breach on your company”?

browser_based_file_sharing_apps

Figure 1 – Most frequently detected browser based file sharing apps

Over burdened IT departments throughout the UK are faced with the challenge of enabling their users to carry out day to day tasks, whilst ensuring that their activities don’t compromise the very future of the business they work for.  With legislation surrounding data breaches putting increasing pressure on IT departments and data controllers, the implementation of a secure, managed file transfer solution has never had a higher priority.

When it comes to providing users with a simple, secure file transfer solution, we can help.  Pro2col represents a number of managed file transfer vendors here in the UK and has 10 years experience in finding the right solution for businesses.  Whether its providing cross platform applications for Windows, Mac, Linux or Unix, mobile application integration for iPhone, Android, Blackberry or the iPad or email integration with Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes, we have the solution to fit.

If your company is still using online file sharing technologies ask yourself this question – which is right for my business?  A technology over which I have no control or visibility or a secure, managed file transfer solution providing guaranteed delivery, auditing and reporting capabilities and complete control.

For a free consultation contact Pro2col on 0333 123 1240 and speak to a managed file transfer specialist with no obligation.

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Powys County Council might have saved £130,000 by using Ipswitch MOVEit DMZ

This month the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office has served a Monetary Penalty Notice of £130,000 to Powys County Council, after the details of a child protection case were sent to the wrong recipient. The penalty is the highest that the ICO has served since it received the power in April 2010. The severity of the penalty reflects the fact that the local authority had already received a warning from the ICO to tighten up its security measures following a similar breach.

Over the past 18 months Pro2col has worked closely with a number of County Councils looking to implement a simple way of securing person to person, ad hoc   file transfers.  Additionally, with County Councils looking to centralise or share the cost of services (Shared Services), Ipswitch’s MOVEit DMZ with the Ad Hoc module has proved a very popular choice, especially considering the cost of the Enterprise licence in comparison to other vendors.

MOVEit DMZ has another extremely popular feature – the option to licence multiple organisations on the same server, providing separate branding options for other services, e.g. Fire, Police, District and Borough Councils, whilst keeping users and data separate.  This dramatically reduces the total cost of ownership.

If you’re a Council with a requirement to secure person to person file transfer whilst benefiting from an industry leading secure file transfer server, then speak to one of our consultants. We’ll assess your individual requirements and help you to evaluate the best solution for your needs from the market leading managed file transfer vendors with whom we work.

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Should I Use Transport Encryption Or File Encryption

This morning I was asked if I recommended using transport encryption or file encryption to protect company files and data.

My answer: “Use both of them, together!”

For starters, here’s a real quick summary of both encryption types:

Transport encryption (“data-in-transit”) protects the file as it travels over protocols such as FTPS (SSL), SFTP (SSH) and HTTPS. Leading solutions use encryption strengths up to 256-bit.

File encryption (“data-at-rest”) encrypts an individual file so that if it ever ended up in someone else’s possession, they couldn’t open it or see the contents. PGP is commonly used to encrypt files.

Encryption Code

I believe that using both together provides a double-layer of protection. The transport protects the files as they are moving and the PGP protects the file itself, especially important after it’s been moved and is sitting on a server, laptop, USB drive, smartphone or anywhere else.

Here’s an analogy: Think of transport encryption as an armoured truck that’s transporting money from say a retail store to a bank. 99.999% of the time that armoured truck will securely transport your delivery without any incident. But adding a second layer of protection – say you put the money in a safe before putting it in the truck – reduces the chance of compromise exponentially, both during and after transport.

One last piece of advice: Ensure that your organisation has stopped using the FTP protocol for transferring any type of confidential, private or sensitive information. Although it’s an amazing accomplishment that FTP is still functional after 40 years, please realise that FTP does not provide any encryption or guarantee of delivery – not to mention that tactically deployed FTP servers scattered throughout your organisation lack the visibility, management and enforcement capabilities that modern managed file transfer solutions deploy.

Original: Ipswitch File Transfer

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Moving On From FTP: Where To Begin

“My company still relies heavily on FTP.  I know we should be using something more secure, but I don’t know where to begin.”

Sound familiar?

The easy answer is that you should migrate away from antiquated FTP software because it could be putting your company’s data at risk – unsecured data is obviously an enormous liability.  Not only does FTP pose a real security threat, but it also lacks many of the management and enforcement capabilities that modern managed file transfer solutions offer.

No, it won’t be as daunting of a task as you think.  Here’s a few steps to help you get started:

FTP

  1. Identify the various tools that are being used to transfer information in, out, and around your organisation.  This would include not only all the one-off FTP instances, but also email attachments, file sharing websites, smartphones, EDI, etc.  Chances are, you’ll be surprised to learn some of the methods employees are using to share and move files and data.
  2. Map out existing processes for file and data interactions.  Include person-to-person, person-to-server, business-to-business and system-to-system scenarios.  Make sure you really understand the business processes that consume and rely on data.
  3. Take inventory of the places where files live.  Servers, employee computers, network directories, SharePoint, ordering systems, CRM software, etc.  After all, it’s harder to protect information that you don’t even know exists.
  4. Think about how much your company depends on the secure and reliable transfer of files and data.  What would the effects be of a data breach?  How much does revenue or profitability depend on the underlying business process and the data that feeds them?
  5. Determine who has access to sensitive company information.  Then think about who really needs access (and who doesn’t) to the various types of information.  If you’re not already controlling access to company information, it should be part of your near-term plan.   Not everybody in your company should have access to everything.

Modern managed file transfer solutions deliver not only the security you know your business requires, but also the ability to better govern and control you data as well as provide you with visibility and auditing capabilities into all of your organisations data interactions, including files, events, people, policies and processes.

So what are you waiting for, give Pro2col a call on 0333 123 1240 and let us help you replace your legacy FTP solutions.

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Email Attachment Management: Facilitating Secure, Large File Transfer

Typically, email is the first port of call for all non-technical staff members when faced with the task of sending large documents quickly. We’re now in an age where data leaks are common place and authorities are cracking down on insufficient security policies. According to figures published by IDG Research Services, the companies that they surveyed rated email as the third highest area of concern when it came to the security of their data. The fact of the matter is, standard email is just not capable of meeting modern day security requirements. Not only this, there are other associated problems to consider when using email for large file transfer such as email attachment management, size limitations, unpredictable deliverability of files, bandwidth utilisation and storage problems.

So businesses are reacting to these issues by implementing sophisticated technologies that address these concerns – which is great – but unfortunately, this is a 1-dimensional solution to a 2-dimensional problem. Providing the facilities to send files securely is one thing, guaranteeing that all file transfers within the business are completed using these facilities is another matter altogether.

Email Attachment

The question is, how do you stop staff members bypassing new technologies in favour of good old trusty, familiar solutions such as email? The answer is – enable them to continue to use it. Alongside web browser upload options provided, email attachment management solutions offer plugins that can be integrated with existing email clients, to enable ground level users to attach files and send them securely via email.   The difference is that rather than filtering through email servers, large email attachments are handed off to the email attachment management solution where they are encrypted, stored and a notification email sent onto the recipient containing a secure download link to the file.

So…

  • Your confidential information remain secure.
  • You avoid the fines and penalties being enforced by authorities such as the ICO, for failing to meet security compliance legislation.
  • The reputational risk associated with loss of customer data is negated.
  • Email servers and storage systems are not overwhelmed by a mass of large data files.
  • File transfers come with a full audit trail.
  • You can be notified when a recipient downloads a file, providing accountability and more reliable file transfers.
  • Large file transfer is quick, secure and user friendly for staff, allowing them to concentrate on being productive.

Take a look at this short video to find out more about what an email attachment management solution can offer you…

 

 

If you’d like to find out more about email attachment management, Biscom Delivery Server or any of the other secure, ad hoc file transfer solutions we provide, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0333 123 1240.

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Secure Managed File Transfer: On Premise v’s The Cloud

Everybody is talking about the cloud; its today’s hot topic with more and more organisations considering a cloud-base (hosted) solution as an alternative to their current on-premise solution.  The shift to cloud based computing is gathering pace and consequently this is an area we’ve been looking at quite closely.

So, is Cloud based secure managed file transfer for me and what are the biggest drivers behind this trend?

1.  Its cheaper! Many IT departments spend at least 50% of their budgets on salaries, and up to 70% of IT staff time is spent on maintenance, according to analysts. In-house IT specialists cost companies for IT management resource. A hosted service, on the other hand, may charge a much-reduced figure for its service along with 24–7–365 monitoring and higher uptime than many companies can achieve with on-premise staff and systems.

Managed File Transfer in the Cloud

2.  Hosted providers can do it better. Hosting vendors store the information on their own servers and manage the entire system for you, drastically reducing the time and energy you spend on keeping your MFT up and running. A growing number of companies just want MFT isolated as an enterprise-class cloud service, with all the modern archiving, compliance and virus protection features they require along with a scalable infrastructure their IT staff never has to worry about or manage.

3. The cloud has gone mainstream. Primed for enormous growth and widespread adoption, recent research indicates that 84 percent of small and mid-size companies and 69 percent of large companies are willing to consider, currently reviewing or already using software-as-service (SaaS) solutions. A big part of this growth is a result of the increase in broadband Internet access, but another key factor is that cloud MFT vendors are making better, simpler and more affordable software that doesn’t require a technical degree to setup or use. It’s also more widely accepted as a safe alternative to on-premise solutions.

4.  Pay as you go. As budgets tighten in this tougher economic period, more and more companies are gravitating toward cloud-based solutions. With no technology to maintain, total cost of ownership is five to 10 times less than installed software, so it’s easier to budget and scale as you add and subtract users. In addition, cloud-based solutions do not require ongoing maintenance, time or complex upgrades, so what was once a capital expense becomes a more balance sheet-friendly operating expense.

As this shift to cloud based computing continues to gather pace, Pro2col is at the forefront of assessing the industries leading vendors to ensure we know which solution is right for your budget and set of requirements.

But, the Cloud isn’t for Everyone

Despite all this optimism for the cloud, we know there are plenty of situations where it may not make sense to move your MFT there. Some data may need to remain on-premise, behind a firewall for legal or regulatory considerations (e.g., HIPAA). Also, other on-premise applications (e.g., document workflows) may be tightly integrated with your on-premise MFT system, so moving your MFT to the cloud could pose challenges if you are hoping to continue coupling these solutions. Finally, many organisations may not have fully made use of their existing on-premise MFT solutions (i.e., they have already invested in it) and may not be able to easily or practically abandon it.

For independent advice on Cloud/Hosted FTP or On-Premise Managed File Transfer solutions contact Pro2col on +44 (0) 333 123 1240 or +44 (0) 1202 433 415.

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Planning Considerations for Managed File Transfer in 2011

If you’re considering implementing a managed file transfer solution during 2011 then you’re in luck.  Pro2col has been lobbying Ipswitch’s marketing team to provide a web cast specifically for the UK marketplace to address the considerations that should be taken into account when planning the implementation of a managed file transfer solution.

We’re very pleased to announce that Jonathan Lampe, Vice President of Product Management at Ipswitch File Transfer will be hosting a webinar titled, “Learn how and why MFT should fit into your IT structure, as well as insights into top security, compliance and data breach concerns.”  Jonathan will also be discussing;

  • Smart steps to lower your data breach risk
  • Tips on the “person-to-person” aspect of Managed File Transfer
  • How to evaluate, select, and implement a MFT solution with rapid time-to-value and a positive ROI
  • Strategic approach to MFT project planning

The webinar will take place on Wednesday 26th January at 3.00 pm.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED.

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