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File Transfer Automation Explained

file transfer automation illustrationOrganizations today are challenged with maximizing their resources in a fiercely competitive environment. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Lost time is never found again.” This is a problem that is familiar to IT departments of all sizes.

Take, for example, an IT staff member who spends countless hours waiting on inbound and outbound transfers. Or there’s the professional who still needs to manually process data — spending time translating it from one file format to another. What’s more, often many valuable hours are spent troubleshooting when a file transfer fails (and the failure isn’t discovered until after a trading partner calls to complain). Yet there is a way your existing staff can shift their focus to higher priority tasks. But how?

The Benefits of File Transfer Automation

File transfer automation is a powerful tool, as it allows IT departments to pivot away from the cumbersome tasks that surround file transfer and instead focus on more strategic and significant projects. Automation reduces human error and increases accuracy; plus, you still get communication about everything that is taking place.

For example, email notifications can be programmed at any point in the automation process to alert key personnel regarding transfer activities. This helps organizations identify failures and successes quickly and adjust accordingly. Other benefits and capabilities include the following:

Scheduling. Built-in scheduling allows for executing workflows at future dates and times. For example, schedule workflows as “one time” or set them up to run at various times — every minute, every hour or every day — or another interval of your preference. The result is fewer interactions and higher efficiency for staff.

File monitoring. Monitor your company’s files with greater accuracy. For example, through automation you can monitor or scan all the files created, modified or deleted within specific folders on your network, SFTP or FTPS servers. Greater visibility is gained with less time invested in manual processes.

Triggers. Set triggers for monitored events, such as file uploads or downloads by a specific partner. After a file is uploaded, perhaps you want it archived to a folder or processed by running a shell script. Setting a trigger allows you to set in motion a sequence of actions prompted by an event. Triggers eliminate the time consuming process of manually completing routine follow-up tasks.

Greater Efficiency for the Future

Organizations need competitive advantages that promote operational efficiency. In some cases, companies have eliminated the need for difficult-to-staff third shift positions or the reduction has happened organically through attrition and they need to maximize their existing resources. Other times, they are growing fast and need innovative tools that streamline time-consuming tasks.

Automation provides these solutions, offloading manually repetitive tasks so your existing team can refocus their talents on more strategic projects.  You can learn more by visiting our file transfer automation page.


Accelerated File Transfer and Security Domains in Latest Release of GoAnywhere MFT

Linoma Software announces two significant enhancements in Version 5.2 of the award winning GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer software.  A new file transfer acceleration protocol called GoFast™ improves delivery speed and reliability when compared to traditional FTP, and Domains allows organizations to segregate users and workflows to provide an additional layer of data security.

GoFast Accelerated File TransferThe new GoFast protocol uses multiple UDP channels to accelerate the movement of files between servers. This acceleration is especially useful for moving large files, including videos and backup sets, across the internet or wide area networks (WANs). Options are provided in GoFast to protect confidential transfers with strong AES-256 encryption, as well as compress transmissions to minimize bandwidth requirements. Since GoFast is a feature within the GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer solution, it takes full advantage of the available automation, auditing and reporting capabilities in the product.

Domains can be used to segregate GoAnywhere MFT into multiple security zones where authorized users can only work with trading partners, workflows and logs belonging to their assigned domains.  This functionality benefits organizations that need to share a single installation of GoAnywhere with multiple divisions or departments, while maintaining separation of administrative access. Each domain can be locked into certain network folders to prevent unauthorized access by other administrators.

Continuing Advancements with GoAnywhere Automation & Security

Current GoAnywhere MFT customers that upgrade to the current release also gain new functionality for workflow automation and user authentication. Highlights for some of the new features include:

  • Support for Amazon S3 Buckets and WebDAV resources that can be used as file storage for trading partners and workflows.
  • Support for popular SMS gateways and SMNP servers to make it easier to automate alerts and notifications.
  • Project revision history tracking that allows you to restore workflows to previous versions.
  • RSA RADIUS Login methods with Two-Factor-Authentication using key fobs or token apps.
  • Additional logs and change history to track administrator user activity on the system.

View the complete list of version 5.2 enhancements on the GoAnywhere MFT release notes page.


GoAnywhere customers rewarded for sharing

We hear a lot from our customers about how much they love the GoAnywhere suite of managed file transfer products. From how much time and money they save by automating processes to becoming more efficient and able to attend other tasks, customer feedback is what inspires us to continue innovating and making our products even better.

From the GoAnywhere Mailbag:

"If I ever go to work for another company, I'm not going to accept unless they agree to purchase GoAnywhere Director."

"GoAnywhere works. We have had ZERO problems with it, which is not something you can say about very many products.

It's gratifying to know that our customers enjoy GoAnywhere as much as we do. The amount of new customers referred from current GoAnywhere customers is a testament to how much they believe in our managed file transfer software and how it's often a game changer for businesses. As our way of saying Thank You, Linoma Software has created a referral program to reward our great customers for sharing their recommendations and GoAnywhere experience with others.

"How do they [GoAnywhere] make any money with the low cost and incredible support they provide?"

"Definitely buy GoAnywhere. It will be the easiest implementation...the best value of software that you've ever had"

To participate, GoAnywhere customers can simply fill out an easy online form when they refer our products to others. They will be rewarded with $500 if the person or company they referred purchases GoAnywhere! It's that simple and there is no limit to the number of people or companies they can refer.

It's our way of saying Thank You to all the people and companies we love working with. If you are a GoAnywhere customer, be sure to enjoy the rewards of our referral program starting today! For additional information or to fill out our referral form, please visit our GoAnywhere Referral Program page. You can learn more about GoAnywhere and our customer experiences in their own words by visiting our Testimonials page or viewing our Customer Review Videos.


File sharing needs to be easier for employees and more secure for IT administrators

It's the age-old file sharing dilemma: how do you make technology easy for end users without compromising the security protocols your company requires?

Workflows are moving at ever increasing speeds, and we're all trying to get more done in less time.  Employees are often juggling multiple projects at once and view having to follow complicated security protocols as an annoying speed bump.  They don't mean to be non-compliant.  They're just in a hurry and under pressure, so any shortcut they can find is tempting.

File sharing shortcuts may be easy, but are they secure?

When it comes to file sharing, especially sending sensitive files to vendors, customers, trading partners, or even other internal teams, those outside of the IT department will look for the path of least resistance.  How can I get this file to that person easily and quickly?

The answer tends to be one of two choices.  Employees will either attach the file to an email, or if it's too large, they'll try one of those free cloud-based applications like Dropbox, Box.net, or Google Drive.  As far as they're concerned, as long as the file gets to where it's going, that's what really matters. Most people in the office don't realize that email attachments aren't secure, and that the cloud tools may not meet the security compliance regulations that affect their organization.

GoAnywhere File Sharing WebinarUpcoming webinar provides a convenient and secure solution

Therefore, the challenge is finding a way to make it as easy for employees to share files securely as it is for them to use one of those shortcuts.  Fortunately, GoAnywhere has developed that alternative.

We're presenting a live webinar on Thursday, January 30, to show you just how easy secure file sharing can be.

Find out how GoAnywhere Services, the secure FTP server product within the GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer Suite, gives your employees a convenient way to share files as easily as with any other shortcut they've found.  The advantage is that those files are sent through a unique, encrypted HTTPS link that the recipient clicks to download the file.  In addition, the file transfer is tracked so that detailed audit reporting can be maintained in compliance with organizational and industry data security regulations.

Finding the right balance between convenience and security is the key to maintaining a great relationship between employees and the IT team.  


Grocery Outlet Uses GoAnywhere to Automate File Transfers

When your network of retail locations expands, how do you keep up with all the data that needs to be exchanged between stores, vendors, and other trading partners? At some point, the only solution becomes to automate file transfers. See how Grocery Outlet made the transition with GoAnywhere.

 

Read the transcript

Grocery Outlet is a family-owned company established to provide inexpensive groceries to its customers. It's now the largest deep-discount grocery store chain in America, with more than 200 stores in seven states. Many of these stores are owned and operated by local families to serve their neighborhood's needs, and the company keeps growing.

Between sharing data with store owners and communicating with vendors, Grocery Outlet exchanges more than 30,000 files every day. Steve Tuscher, the Director of IT, realized that having his staff write manual scripts for these file exchanges was time consuming enough, but tracking down and fixing problems when files didn't arrive at their intended destinations was the last straw.

He began looking for a solution that would automate file transfers and provide better error reporting, and after discovering some high-priced options, he decided to take a look at GoAnywhere.

GoAnywhere helps Grocery Outlet automate file transfers"We quickly replaced all of our internal FTP scripts and within a couple of months, we'd transformed our data delivery across all of our business partners and all our internal systems with GoAnywhere," Tuscher said. "We were surprised that we were able to do that as quickly and easily as we did."

To hear more about Grocery Outlet's success with GoAnywhere, and to find out which feature the team found most valuable in transforming the way they managed their workflows, be sure to watch the video. You can also read the transcript here.


Why Bother Upgrading Beyond Standard FTP?

Right out of the box, most operating systems come with a built-in File Transfer Protocol (FTP) tool that makes it possible to transfer large files between people, computers and servers. It accomplishes the key goal, which is to deliver the file from one place to another. However, too many organizations' philosophy has been that as long as the files were getting where they needed to go, standard FTP was good enough. That was especially true when they were transferring files internally.

The truth is that FTP alone has never been good enough, because too much information (file data, user names, passwords, etc.) is vulnerable to hackers and it only takes fairly rudimentary hacking skills to steal it. Now with increased pressure to protect sensitive data coming from regulators and consumers, it's urgent that companies implement a more secure file transfer method.

Take a look at this short video to hear Bob Luebbe, Linoma Software's Chief Architect, talk about the dangers of standard FTP.

 

 

At the end of this video, Bob mentions the value of clustering and load balancing to promote high active-active availability. Since this video was produced, we've also added these features to both GoAnywhere Services and GoAnywhere Director.


New Android Mobile App:GoAnywhere File Transfer at the Tap of a Finger

It used to be that when we left work for the day, we really left work.  With today's mobile culture, however, employees are staying on top of projects and communicating with customers no matter where they are.

Linoma Software found a way to make that a little easier by developing its new GoAnywhere File Transfer mobile application for the Android platform.

Now, GoAnywhere Services customers can securely exchange files with internal servers or trading partners using their mobile phone or tablet.  Trading partners can also download the app and access the customer's web portal to exchange files securely and conveniently.

The GoAnywhere File Transfer mobile app works much like GoAnywhere Services' ad hoc web client, and can also send files through Services' Secure Mail feature.  It is free to download from the Google Play store.

Here are some screenshots of the Android app at work:

GoAnywhere App ad hoc web client

From this screen, an employee could send or retrieve files by accessing the GoAnywhere Services ad-hoc web client.

GoAnywhere App secure mail

GoAnywhere Services customers can also send files right from their phones or tablets using the Secure Mail feature.

GoAnywhere secure mail module

As with the standard GoAnywhere Services Secure Mail module, users can choose from a variety of security settings before they send the secure email.

For more information about the GoAnywhere File Transfer Android app, you may read the official announcement, or contact us via email or by calling 1-800-949-4696. If you're not familiar with GoAnywhere Services, our secure FTP server solution that's part of the GoAnywhere managed file transfer suite of products, we'd be happy to schedule a demo with one of our product specialists.


Computing Security Magazine Reviews GoAnywhere

As you probably know, GoAnywhere is not the only managed file transfer product on the market.  A handful of vendors offer their versions of a product to help streamline the file transfer process with features that are designed to keep that data secure.

Many of the people we talk to are researching several companies trying to decide which product will best serve their needs, and naturally, all of the vendors believe theirs is the best fit.

We've been developing resources over the last few years to help define what sets GoAnywhere apart, and as a result, we've built a bigger library of case studies, added a growing collection of customer success videos, and continued to marvel at the growing list of comments that our customers make about our products on LinkedIn.

We've also built an MFT Checklist that provides a list of features and considerations organizations should investigate when talking with competing vendors. The latest evidence we have to support the fact that GoAnywhere is a comprehensive, flexible, well-supported and easy-to-implement solution that can help any industry automate, simplify and encrypt their file transfers is a product review in Computing Security Magazine. GoAnywhere Product ReviewHighlights of the review include these:

"There are plenty of MFT (managed file transfer) solutions on the market, and Linoma's GoAnywhere is one of the most versatile and secure we've seen so far."
"The enhanced file transfer interface is very simple to use, and provides drag-and-drop facilities between the client and their assigned directory on the GoAnywhere host."
"We created a project to securely transfer a large folder, using FTPS from our domain controller to the GoAnywhere host system in minutes."

To read the entire review, you can download it here.    


Hacking and File Transfers: What You Need to Know

In the battle to secure information, it helps to know a little bit about how it can be compromised. Using FTP is one way to expose critical vulnerabilities that can allow credentials to be hacked.  However, these holes in security can also be easily closed if you know how.

How Hackers Discover Vulnerabilities

Here's how hackers could access sensitive data sent via FTP.  With the use of a "sniffing" tool, an attacker could intercept and log any data traveling across the network. This log can then be analyzed to look at the content that was sent across specific TCP ports like FTP (port 21), as well as the user ID and passwords used to log in to the FTP servers that may have been sent as clear text.

managed file transfer, secure file transferStart with Networks, Routers, and Firewalls

To prevent this kind of hacking, the wired network can be secured by first making sure network ports are not available for public access, and then by separating network segments for sensitive servers and workstations.

However, many companies also have wireless networks where hackers just need reasonable proximity to the Wi-Fi signal, such as in an adjacent office or parking lot. Therefore, it is critical to secure wireless routers with WPA or WPA2 encryption options, rather than WEP encryption, which is no longer considered effective protection against hackers.

Once networks are secured, the next most effective tactic against hackers is to block all FTP traffic at the firewall. Then, for permitted file transfers, allow only secure encryption protocols such as SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, PGP, or GPG for file exchanges in and out of the network. These security restrictions will deter most hackers.

Security Measures Can Be Challenging

Implementing these security measures is important, but it doesn't come without some challenges.  The IT staff will have to handle more complicated secure file transfer management processes, and users may be inconvenienced as files are transferred to people and organizations that need them.  As a result, users may look for a workaround for sending and receiving files to avoid being slowed down by the IT staff.  Popular alternatives users may try include email attachments or browser-based cloud services such as Dropbox that present a new vector of vulnerability as these options may not meet necessary security standards.

MFT Minimizes Hassle, Solves Security Vulnerabilities

There is a solution, however, that can provide not only the highest security for file transfers, but also create fewer hassles for both the IT department and the general employee.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions increase data file security implementations and simplify the entire file management process by providing the tools for easily creating and managing all of the unique encryption keys for the company's various trading partners.  Access controls can be set up for authorizing each employee's file exchange requirements. MFT also provides a detailed log of all transactions so that any required audits may be easily fulfilled.

Some MFT vendors also provide intuitive and convenient email encryption solutions that can integrate with existing corporate email clients such as Outlook. This reduces the temptation for employees to use workaround tools that may bypass the security restrictions that have been put in place to prevent hacking of sensitive data.

Keeping data secure is an ongoing mandate that will only become more critical as industries move toward paperless environments.  Adopting a managed file transfer solution is one of the best ways to strengthen your file transfer processes and security as the pressure and liability risks continue to grow.

photo credit: kryptyk via photopin cc
 
 


Managed File Transfer is Focus of IT Jungle Coverage

Following a webinar we did last week called "Automating and Securing File Transfers," industry reporter Dan Burger with IT Jungle spent time talking with Linoma Software's Chief Architect Bob Luebbe to get his take on the challenges involved in maintaining secure and efficient file transfer processes.

Bob said that he's seeing a growing number of companies who are looking for solutions that not only manage secure file transfers with trading partners, but also can facilitate database integration and ad-hoc file transfers.

"For one thing," Luebbe said, "(organizations) want employees to initiate transfers, but with managed and audit capabilities and within an authorized and manageable FTP environment that avoids security exposure. Companies are trying to lock down email to prevent file sharing and there is an emphasis to block the use of free file-sharing sites."

Check out IT Jungle's article entitled "Managed File Transfer More Than Meets the Eye" to read more of Bob's observations, and if you'd like to learn how GoAnywhere addresses the challenges of ad-hoc file transfer security specifically, you'll want to register for this week's webinar, "Ad-Hoc File Transfer: Easy and Secure."