Compared to using a variety of standalone FTP and SFTP tools and scripts, managed file transfer (MFT) technology allows professionals to streamline how data is transferred. Managed file transfers help organizations send and receive files in their cloud and private networks, create and control workflows, automate file transfers, and centralize management from a single system.
The why behind using an MFT solution makes sense. It reduces costs, improves the quality of your data transmissions, and helps you meet stringent data security compliance requirements. It also simplifies your system-to-system, user-to-system, and user-to-user file transfers—and keeps security at the forefront of everything it does.
The what of a MFT solution is fairly straightforward. Managed file transfer solutions are a type of software that use industry-standard network protocols and encryption methods to streamline the management of a company. What does “managed” in managed file transfer mean? It refers to how the solution can automate and transfer your data across your organization, network, systems, applications, trading partners, and cloud environments from a single, central interface.
So we know the what and why of MFT solutions, but we haven’t discussed the how of MFT solutions. How do managed file transfers work, and how do they affect you?
Step One: Original File is Sent from the MFT Program or Plugin
Say you need to send a confidential document to someone in a remote office. Maybe it’s a seasonal restaurant menu for another retail location, maybe it’s an audit report for a trading partner, or maybe it’s a financial document for a homeowner. Whatever the scenario, you can send the file to a third party by using an MFT solution.
The file’s journey from you to your recipient can start in many ways. You can:
- Securely send the file through a MFT email plugin
- Send it through a web client (access to the MFT solution from a browser)
- Automatically sendit directly through the managed file transfer workflow
- Place a file in a dedicated folder that the recipient can connect to securely for download
Whatever method you choose to send your file, MFT ensures the data is transferred quickly and securely.
Step Two: Your MFT Solution Encrypts the File
After you send the email, upload the file to your browser, or drop it in a monitored folder, your MFT solution receives the data and secures it in a few different ways. MFT can encrypt your files using FIPS 140-2 compliance AES ciphers or the Open PGP standard, among others. To protect your file transmissions, MFT can use SFTP, SCP, FTPS, AS2, and HTTPS protocols to encrypt the data you send. And an MFT solution like GoAnywhere MFT allows you to zip compress files before transmission.
Once your data is properly protected, you can also use your MFT solution to schedule file transfers, translate sent and received data to popular formats like Excel, XML, and JSON, update and pull files from monitored folders, and more.
Step Three: Encrypted File is Delivered to the Recipient & Decrypted
When the file leaves the MFT server, it is sent to whatever location you indicated for the recipient, whether that be a designated folder on a server, email address, or so on. The recipient at the remote office can then grab the file, decrypt it, and even translate it as needed.
For peace of mind, MFT solutions often include audit logs that store and track crucial audit information. This helps with PCI DSS and HIPAA compliance, but it also allows you to track the movement and activity of the file that occur once it leaves you, so you never have to wonder if the transfer was successful, if it failed, or whether or not the file was even opened.
If the recipient has a file to send you, they can repeat the process, starting the journey all over again!
Still curious about MFT solutions and if they’re right for your business?
You can learn more about the benefits of an MFT solution in our FREE whitepaper: