The amount of digital data shared over the internet every day is absolutely staggering. In fact, data from Varonis revealed that 39% of data uploaded to the cloud by businesses is used for file sharing and the average company will share files with over 800 different online domains including employees, partners and vendors. As most professionals will know, file transfers and file sharing are crucial for the everyday running of the business. These processes allow people to move information from one location to another, whether that’s circulating documents and data internally or sending it to another business.
Many professionals may also know that file transfers are so important and so prominent in a business that this is actually classified as a core business process. And it doesn’t matter what industry you work in or what your company does, file sharing is important in almost every professional capacity. It’s what facilitates collaboration amongst employees, partners and customers.
But as with every aspect of the digital world, there are a number of security issues surrounding file transfers. In a nutshell, files and information are leaving the security of your business and your database and being sent to others. Many of which could contain sensitive data.
Yet despite this, many businesses simply reach for a basic File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server to fulfil their file sharing needs. Not only this, but they use these to create spaces where users can drop files and the recipients can simply collect them.
But when you have vulnerable systems with poor security and files/documents saved in several different locations, you lose control of them and can increase the risk of files being mishandled or stolen.
The good news is, there is a better way! Businesses should consider using Managed File Transfers (MFT) instead.
Not sure what this is or what it means for your business? Let us tell you.
What is a Managed File Transfer?
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) might have been sufficient once but now with the amount of data being shared online increasing by the day, there needs to be a better solution. Managed File Transfers (MFT) offer the simplicity and reliability of an FTP but with a variety of additional benefits.
So what exactly is an MFT? Simply, it is a file transfer software that encompasses the basics of FTP technology but it has more enhanced security and stronger encryption, as well as better capabilities for automation, scalability and compliance.
This means that IT teams can offer businesses a more sophisticated and controlled way to transfer files that is going to be more secure and much better for the company as a whole. With these new capabilities available, more and more IT teams are taking on the challenge of implementing and leveraging the power of MFT solutions.
How Managed File Transfer Works
Now you know what a Managed File Transfer is, let’s look at how these actually work. For the most part, an MFT solution will run on a dedicated MFT server or cloud service (although this isn’t always the case). This provides the security and control that is needed to transfer high-volumes of files and documents in a secure manner.
The IT team or dedicated security professional within the business will have complete visibility over file transfer activities. This way they can check and assure the reliability of core processes through the secure transfer of any sensitive data. Whether that’s between employees, customers, vendors or partners.
What’s more, once they have a good understanding of MFT and are using standardised file transfer protocols with all the right security measures in place, businesses can then automate their file transfer across internal networks and cloud environments. This can make file sharing within the business much safer but also more efficient.
To get a better understanding of exactly how this all works, we’ve taken an average MFT solution and broken it down into the six steps it will typically follow:
- The MFT solution will authenticate an internal or inbound user, possibly through multi-factor authentication for extra security
- It then permits them to upload files, though what they can upload will be based on any permissions assigned to that user
- The file is then stored and encrypted securely
- The recipient is then notified the file is there for collection
- Step one and two are repeated as the recipient must be authenticated before they can collect the file
- All activities that take place during this action are logged and audited
Why choose MFT?
We’ve already briefly touched on some of the key benefits of using Managed File Transfers, but in this section we’ll look at why your business should consider this type of solution.
If your current system is outdated and offers poor security it could be time to upgrade. An MFT has become indispensable to so many companies already as it can help to eliminate data errors and security breaches, as well as reducing costs and making life easier for users.
By conducting all file transfer activity from one system, not only can businesses get more security measures in place, but they can also take advantage of centralised access control, file encryption and logging all activity in one place.
Finally, another key benefit of choosing an MFT is that it can help with compliance, something which is very important as a result of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Are there any downsides to MFT?
Before this guide comes to an end, we thought we’d better address whether there are any downsides to this type of solution.
There is one major drawback when it comes to using an MFT and this is that it is a very complex protocol to deploy in the early stages. That being said, new cloud solutions are slowly making this easier.
Though it might be a big undertaking at first, it is definitely worth investing the time and effort into getting a Managed File Transfer solution in place as this will be more beneficial to your business in the long run.