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.
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.
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.