No Such Thing as a Free File Transfer, Part 2: Cost-effective Security

With new corporate data breaches in the news seemingly every day, it’s no surprise that security is a top concern for IT professionals. However, file transfers are an area where many companies are still vulnerable. Most file transfers still use FTP, a protocol that comes with inherent risks. It’s especially worrisome that, as TechRepublic points out, FTP is actually becoming more popular again. Other common file transfer solutions, like file sharing apps, come with their own security concerns.

GoAnywhere MFT ROIThis is the second in a series of articles about the ROI of managed file transfer (MFT), the first of which covered time savings. There’s no doubt that data breaches are costly. The 2016 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study puts the current cost at $4 million—$158 per record breached. So it’s a no-brainer that a solution to secure your file transfers would bring you a great return on investment.

And yet, when you try to get internal approval for products to help with security, proving the ROI can be difficult. A good security tool is by nature preventative. If you haven’t suffered a breach (or you have and don’t know about it yet), you probably don’t have a way to precisely calculate cost-savings.

Still, your data certainly has value, and you know you have to keep it secure. So how do you know you are protecting your file transfers with the solution that gives you the most bang for your buck? By making sure the software you choose addresses all of the top file transfer security concerns within one solution—no additional purchases or custom scripting required.

A Variety of Secure Protocols

FTP has been proven vulnerable to hacking. For example, 7,000 FTP sites, including an FTP server run by The New York Times, had their credentials circulated in underground forums in 2014. In some cases, hackers used the credentials to upload malicious files.

It’s essential for modern enterprises to turn to more modern and secure file transfer methods, such as:

  • AS2: AS2 generates an "envelope" for the data, allowing it to be sent using digital certifications and encryption.
  • SFTP and FTPS: These secure FTP protocols bring down the risk during data exchange by using a secure channel between computer systems
  • HTTPS: The secure version of HTTP, HTTPS encrypts communications between browser and website.

Which of these methods your company implements may depend on several factors, like your industry compliance requirements or what your trading partners use. Your requirements may also change over time. That’s why the best investment is a versatile managed file transfer solution that can handle any of these protocols and more.   

GoAnywhere MFT ROIProtection against People

When you imagine the security threat to your company, you might conjure up images of hackers working tirelessly to access your systems and use your data for nefarious purposes. The truth is, one of your biggest threats is probably in the office down the hall.

A 2015 study found that internal actors were responsible for 43% of data loss. Half of this is intentional—disgruntled or opportunistic employees, contractors, or suppliers performing deliberate acts of data theft. But half of it is accidental. People like to cut corners, and probably most employees in your company aren’t as concerned about security as you are.

Any file transfer solution with a good ROI has to address the threat coming from within the business.  You want to have role-based security options that limit each user to the servers and the functions of managed file transfer that they absolutely need to use. Detailed audit logs mean you always know who is doing what with the solution.

Ensure Compliance

In many industries, inadequate security practices don’t just put your own corporate data at risk, they can endanger highly sensitive information like credit card numbers and health records. For this reason, a number of regulations exist to protect personal data. A few of the most common are PCI DSS, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPAA, but your industry may have others.

A 2011 study found that while the cost of compliance averaged more than $3.5 million, the estimated cost of failing to comply was $9.4 million, showing that a solution that can help you comply with regulations has a clear ROI. In the case of file transfers, your MFT platform should have a number of encryption methods available to protect sensitive data including SSL, SSH, AES, and Open PGP encryption. Audit trails should also be in place to track file transfer activity so you can easily determine what files are being sent, what time they are sent, and who the sender and receiver are.

Modernization and Scalability

Once you go to the effort of choosing a file transfer solution that will protect your company, convince management of its necessity, and implement the software, the last thing you want to have to do is  change it two years down the road because your company is bigger, has more compliance requirements, or new trading partners.

A managed file transfer platform from an established, reliable software provider will make sure you stay updated with the features necessary to combat current security threats. Furthermore, if your volume of file transfers increases, you won’t need to invest in a new tool to handle the workload.

Bonus: Increased Productivity

If your managed file transfer solution can prevent a data breach, that alone makes it worth the investment. But what if it could increase productivity and reduce errors at the same time? The automation capabilities of managed file transfer software allow you to make a high-volume of file transfers without the need for tedious manual work. Streamlining this process—and eliminating the risk of human error—add to your organization’s bottom line.

Read more about safeguarding company data and limiting risk, or get started with a free trial of managed file transfer.

No Such Thing as a Free File Transfer, Part I: How MFT Saves Time

How MFT Saves Time - GoAnywhere MFTEvery business engages in some kind of information exchange, whether it’s a small retailer attaching an invoice to an email or a hospital sending hundreds of patient records between departments. Some methods of exchanging files, like a basic FTP server or a file sharing app, seem like an inexpensive way to deal with your transfers. In the long run, however, the shortfalls of these tools will likely cost your company significantly more than the investment in a sophisticated managed file transfer (MFT) solution.

A study by the Aberdeen Group found that every file sent “for free” actually has an 80% chance of costing your organization money. In a new series of articles, we’ll break down the reasons why MFT gives your company a better ROI than any other file transfer solution. The first reason we’ll discuss is the time you’ll save with managed file transfer.

We’ve all heard that time is money, and if you’ve ever been the unlucky person manually transferring files by FTP, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that automated file transfer software would save a bit of time on each exchange. But you probably haven’t even thought of all the ways a rudimentary file transfer tool can waste costly hours. Here are a few:

  1. Dealing with Exceptions

As with any process, your file transfers aren’t always going to go smoothly. While even a basic tool will work most of the time, you’ll inevitably run into the occasional problem which will require you to divert members of your staff away from more important projects to help get the files moving. Aberdeen’s analysis found that those who don’t use MFT have more than twice as many of these errors and exceptions as MFT users. With a single-function file transfer tool, the operator is solely responsible for checking if the transfer succeeded and trying it again if it failed. A good managed file transfer solution has ways of dealing with issues that arise—for example, the software could automatically reconnect and resume the file transfer after a problem occurs with the network.

Moreover, the MFT solution will provide visibility into the status of automated file transfers and let you know if something goes wrong. This allows you to attack the problem immediately and get back to your more strategic initiatives as soon as possible. A basic tool or script may cause you to waste hours just trying to determine what happened to your files.

  1. Upgrades and Modifications

A common solution for moving files is with custom scripts. This seems like an easy option at first. Your company has talented programmers and it’s not too hard to create a homegrown FTP script that gets the job done. The first few times you need a modification or a new feature, that’s not difficult either. But pretty soon your company is transferring thousands of files every day, your homegrown solution is severely lacking in the error-handling, security, and logging capabilities it needs, and updating your mess of sprawling scripts will cost you dearly in expensive programmer hours. Or maybe the original creator of the scripts has left the company and those hours will be spent just trying to figure out how it all works.

Managed file transfer has the features you require as your business needs grow more complex. You can trust that it will continue to be updated when necessary and upgrades won’t require the same technical expertise as creating a homegrown tool does. 

  1. Compliance Requirements and Auditing

Storing and tracking detailed audit information is crucial for staying compliant with PCI DSS, HIPAA, state privacy laws, and other regulations. A managed file transfer solution will store detailed audit records for all file transfer and administrator activity and provide that data in an easily accessible format to authorized users. If you are legally obligated to collect this information, there’s no better time-saver than implementing file transfer software that stores the data automatically.

Furthermore, compliance requirements can always change or new regulations can be put in place. While you may already have a process for complying with current regulations, MFT provides the flexibility to respond to new security requirements without creating too much additional time-consuming work.

  1. Avoiding Downtime.

Just one minute of unplanned system downtime costs a company an average of $5,600. Talk about expensive hours! Make sure your file transfers keep running even if a server goes down by implementing MFT software that integrates clustering. This means you have a group of linked servers running concurrently, with each installation of your MFT tool sharing the same set of configurations and trading partner accounts. The servers in the cluster are in constant communication with each other, so if one fails, the remaining systems in the cluster will continue to service the trading partners. With the fast pace of modern business, you can’t afford to let your transactions wait while you take the time to get your systems functioning again.

Every minute that your business isn’t paying employees to fight fires, write custom scripts, or compile audit reports is a minute that can be put towards the work that helps the bottom line.

Interested in learning more about the ROI of Managed File Transfer? Read the next installment in our series: No Such Thing as a Free File Transfer, Part 2: Cost-effective Security.


Learn more about the risks of inadequate FTP implementations or get started with a free trial of managed file transfer today. 

Four Modern Alternatives to FTP Explained

Today's data-driven world is demanding, requiring accuracy, speed, integrity and above all -- security. It's a tall order to fill, and in the past, many organizations relied heavily on the legacy FTP protocol to transmit files. But over time, the security of this method has been tested by hackers.

FTP AlternativesFor example, a serious breach occurred at Yale University in 2001, when more than 43,000 user IDs were exposed and all data was carefully harvested from an FTP server. Acer customer details were stolen in a similar fashion the same year. And most recently, 7,000 FTP sites had their credentials circulated in underground forums, including an FTP server run by The New York Times.

Security and file transfers are a significant concern for IT security professionals, but what is the best way to safeguard your company's data?

Leveraging More Secure Options

As many organizations have evolved past traditional FTP, they are opting for modern and secure options for transmitting data, including:

SFTP. Also known as FTP over SSH, SFTP brings down the risk during data exchange by using a secure channel between computer systems to prevent unauthorized disclosures during transactions. Authentication of an SFTP connection involves a user id and password, SSH keys, or using both.  It is also firewall friendly, only needing a single port number to be opened.

HTTPS. Many sites are gravitating to HTTPS instead of the traditional HTTP, but what are the major differences? For starters, traditional HTTP doesn't encrypt traffic to your browser, which poses a security risk. In contrast, HTTPS provides an added encryption layer using Transport Layer Security (TLS). This creates a secure channel so the integrity of the data is not changed without your knowledge. HTTPS is ideally suited for file transfers where a trading partner requires a simple, browser-based interface for uploading data.

AS2. This is a popular method for transporting EDI data safely and reliably over the Internet. The AS2 generates an "envelope" for the data, allowing it to be sent using digital certifications and encryption. For example, Walmart has become well known for using EDI through AS2 and has played an important role in driving adoption in the retail industry.

Managed File Transfer. A method that supports the above options and makes FTP more secure is managed file transfer (MFT). This secure option streamlines the exchange of data between systems, employees and customers. Numerous protocols and encryption standards are supported, and MFT provides extensive security features that meet strict security policies to comply with PCI DSS, HIPAA, GLBA and other regulatory requirements.

MFT solutions provide advanced authentication and data encryption to provide secure and reliable file transfers. You can also track user access and transfer activity through reporting features.

Overall, managed file transfer offers the best option for securely managing the transfer of data quickly, efficiently with detailed audit trails. It's preventive, rather than reactive, which is what security professionals in today's environment need most.  

How to Implement RSA SecurID via RADIUS with GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer

Linoma Software recently announced their certification as an RSA® Ready certified partner and the integration of RADIUS and RSA SecurID© within GoAnywhere MFT. Organizations already using RSA Authentication protocols can now easily implement RSA SecurID as a login method to be used by Admin Users, Web Users or as a second login step for Web Users in GoAnywhere MFT.

Here is a quick walkthrough of the RADIUS configuration in GoAnywhere MFT as shown in the RSA Ready implementation guide. Before you attempt to configure your software, always backup your files and be sure to consult the official implementation guide for further details and recommendations. RSA Radius SecurID GoAnywhere MFT Screens By default, Admin User and Web User passwords are authenticated against the passwords stored in the GoAnywhere database. Optionally, you can configure GoAnywhere Login Methods for basic authentication of Admin User and Web User passwords against a RADIUS (RSA SecurID) server located within your organization. Web User accounts can also be authenticated to the HTTPS Web Client using RSA SecurID tokens.

How to set up RADIUS (RSA SecurID) in GoAnywhere MFT

  1. To add a RADIUS Login Method, log in to the GoAnywhere MFT Admin Server as an Admin User with the Security Officer role. Complete the required information.
  2. From the main menu bar, select Users, and then click the Login Methods Link.
  3. In the Login Methods page, click the Add Login Method link in the page toolbar.
  4. Select Basic Authentication from the Select Login Method Type page and then click Continue.
  5. Complete the required information
    • Name - A unique name for the Login Method.
    • Description - The description field is optional text to describe the login method. Limited to 512 characters.
    • Type - The authentication type used by the Login Method. Choose RADIUS
    • Shared Secret - The shared secret provided by the RADIUS server. GoAnywhere automatically encrypts the shared secret with AES-256 bit encryption.
    • Host - The host name or IP address of the RADIUS server.
    • Port - The port number to use for connecting to the RADIUS server. If left blank, the default port number is 1645.
    • Timeout - The maximum amount of time, in seconds, to wait for a response from the RADIUS server. A value of 0 (zero) is interpreted as infinite timeout. The default timeout is 300 seconds
    • Retry Attempts - The number of times to retry the RADIUS connection if it cannot be established. This setting is used for both the initial connection and any reconnect attempts due to lost connections. If left blank, then no retries will be attempted.
  6. Click the Save button to save the settings.

RSA Radius RSA SecurID GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer If you need assistance with configuration of GoAnywhere MFT with RADIUS and RSA SecurID, our support team is ready to help. Visit our support page to get the help you need when you need it via email, phone, live online chat, forums or our customer portal.

RSA Conference 2015 Recap

RSA Conference 2015 Moscone Center South HallAfter an influx of high-profile data breaches, it was no surprise that the RSA Conference saw a record crowd this year of 33,000 attendees. The Moscone Center in San Francisco is a great venue and packed with attendees, over 500 vendors, 290 sessions and 700 speakers, there was no disputing the fact that if you were interested in anything related to information security, this was the place to be.

Walking amidst the sea of vendors in the North and South Halls it was easy to be simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of displays, gimmicks and swag tactics. As this was my first RSA Conference, I was very excited to see and experience the myriad of phenomenon that comes standard with any conference of this size. Some of the booth displays are seriously impressive, huge LED screens, Oculus Rift interactive displays, flashy lights and celebrity look-alikes were everywhere. The great thing about it is that every single person or vendor at the conference was working toward the same goal in some form or fashion...securing information. If you were on a mission to find a product or person to help you achieve a higher level of security for your company's specific needs, chances are you would find it here once you took the time to look. With so much going on, after a while everything starts to look the same, so you really have to pay attention or engage in conversations to figure out what most of the vendors at RSA Conference are representing.

RSA Conference 2015

Sharing Files, Sharing Conversations

The GoAnywhere Booth at RSA 2015In the slightly quieter South Hall, our booth saw significant and steady traffic throughout the conference. It was great talking to people and getting firsthand feedback on the challenges they face and the concerns they had about security for their organizations. One thing I found to be a recurring theme in these conversations was the desire for file sharing solutions that were not cloud-based. I thought that was interesting as it seemed there were 10 cloud vendors for every non-cloud vendor with a display at RSA 2015.

With the sheer volume of cloud products represented, it was nice seeing the looks on people's faces when they learned that GoAnywhere is an on-premise Managed File Transfer (MFT) product. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, "Not in the cloud? Oh good, better security." I think as more people come to realize that they are responsible for the security of their data no matter where it is stored, being able to encrypt, control and monitor that data in your own local environment becomes paramount for many.

RSA Conference 2015I like analogies and when it comes to cloud vs on-premise, I personally tend to think of it in terms of storage. I can store my belongings in my home or I can pay for a space at a public storage facility. If my belongings were in a public storage facility, all it takes is someone with a lock cutter to gain access and chances are with all the traffic going in and out, it wouldn't be noticed until it's too late. Personally, I prefer storing things in my basement or attic simply because I am diligent (perhaps overly so) about my home security. Sure, there are risks in any situation, but I prefer having my belongings and risk in an environment I can completely control. If I want to add Fort Knox level security measures to make it difficult for an intruder to get in, there's nothing stopping me from doing that, it's my home after all. RSA Conference 2015Given the many conversations had and overheard at this year's RSA Conference, I'm not alone in my thinking. It's astonishing how many people seemed more comfortable with the idea of their digital data staying on premise, not in the cloud. When they learn that GoAnywhere can give them the ability to send, collaborate, secure and automate data transfers on premise, it's like watching kids at a candy store. Those conversations are what makes attending these conferences so worthwhile, there is so much you can learn.

My RSA 2015 #SecSelfieOverall, the conference was a great experience, especially for a first timer. I chatted with several people who had wonderful things to say about the sessions, networking and things that they learned and the various speakers who presented. While it might be information overload to some extent with such a big crowd and so many sessions, speakers and vendors, I thought it was a friendly,energetic and informative atmosphere. I met a ton of great people, got to chat with some customers and really learned a lot about how people can/do use our software and which features truly make their work easier. One thing is for sure, we are definitely looking forward to returning next year to the RSA Conference.

SFTP vs FTPS - Best Solution for Secure FTP (Infographic)

With large data breaches recently taking center stage in the media, many businesses have begun paying close attention to internal practices and taking action to improve internal systems and processes. As a result, an increasing number of businesses (people) who rely on data transfers are looking to move away from standard FTP in favor of a more secure method.

We are often asked about the key differences between SFTP and FTPS. There are potential pros and cons with each method, which is why businesses should weigh the differences carefully to determine what option would serve them best.

Over the years, we have tried explaining SFTP vs FTPS in a variety of ways. Between lists and charts and drawings, we found that most people were easily able to comprehend unique aspects of each transfer protocol when it was presented visually.

We created the following infographic to highlight the positives and negatives of using SFTP vs FTPS. You can also view the original blog post for a more detailed comparison.

sftp vs ftps infographic  

Share this Image On Your Site

Managed File Transfer 101: What's in it for Me?

managed file transfer 101 - fileTransferGroupThe term MFT (Managed File Transfer) is not new but you may be hearing it more frequently.  Changes in data security and transmission regulations have brought this established technology to the forefront, but what exactly does it entail? Linoma Software recently hosted "Managed File Transfer 101", a webinar to present the essentials of MFT and what you should look for when researching an MFT solution for your organization.

Current State of File Transfer

In the presentation, Bob Luebbe, chief architect of Linoma Software, talked about the existing challenges of file transfer:

  • Old technology - such as Standard FTP - is still in use despite limitations and risks posed by data "sent in the clear".
  • Time consuming manual processes that might include the use of PC tools.  Scripts are also a legacy of old processes that continue to saddle IT departments.  Programmers create and maintain these scripts - often hundreds or thousands - to automate transfers.
  • File access is often too decentralized, making it difficult to control and manage.  Compliance has become more stringent in data management.
  • Lack of notifications critical to insure successful data movement, rather than waiting for a partner to notice missing or incomplete transfers.  Traditional logs can be helpful but are also hard to find and filter for adequate audit trails.  The big issue is meeting data privacy regulations (e.g., PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GLBA and SOX) without centralized logs.
  • Employees are still sending files unchecked.  Without a simple and secure alternative, employees find their own solutions for file portability to maintain productivity.

managed file transfer 101 - 58percent_send_to_wrong_personThis final point often involves employees storing sensitive files on their PCs and laptops, sending documents through email, and utilizing cloud storage providers - like Dropbox - without proper controls in place.  If a company doesn't have internal policies in place to address file sharing and transfers, the liability risk can be severe. In a 2013 study by Stroz Friedberg on Information Security in American Business, it was found that 3 out of 4 office workers upload work files to their personal email or cloud account.  Of this group, 37% said it was because they prefer using their personal computer while 14% said it's because taking their work laptop home was simply too much effort. The same survey highlighted the role of senior managers in an organization's data risk.  Often the worst offenders, 58% admitted to accidently sending sensitive information to the wrong person. Just over half also admitted to taking files with them after leaving a job. While MFT won't put a stop to this practice, a workflow built on the secure storage of sensitive business documents will add transparency to file access activity.

What is Managed File Transfer?

File Transfers, in their basic form, involve the sharing of files with others through FTP, email or a cloud solution.  In contrast, Managed File Transfer takes a centralized enterprise-level approach to automating and securing file transfers.  This produces a secured, scheduled and trackable file transfer. By creating transparency within your organization, files are tracked and logged as they enter and leave your network.  MFT is a smart solution for companies who understand the liability and risk involved in transmitting sensitive data.

  • Keep files safe and secure
  • Make sure files go where they are needed, when they are needed
  • Track files from start to finish for compliance purposes

To see what MFT looks like in a real world example, the team at Linoma would be happy to schedule a live demo of the GoAnywhere Suite.  You can also click here to view the entire webinar for free. Discover how simple and affordable it can be to utilize an MFT solution in your organization.

Managed File Transfer Mobile App Targets Cloud Storage

The introduction of smart phones and tablets quickly spawned an industry of mobile apps and cloud storage.  With the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the workplace, the demand for simple and efficient file sharing skyrocketed.  IT departments lacked the tools to satisfy internal customer demands so, in the interest of maintaining productivity, employees found workarounds through unsecured apps and public storage.

GoAnywhere mobile appsBest of Both Worlds

Today, Managed File Transfer (MFT) software is bringing document management full circle.  In addition to flexibility, automation and improved compliance reporting, MFT has dramatically simplified how trading partners and end users interact with documents.  Mobile apps and web-based clients are bridging the gap recently filled by cloud storage providers.

The real advantage lies in returning control to the network administrator.  Data remains on corporate servers so no information is uploaded to the cloud.  Authorized users are restricted to accessing designated folders and administrators control permission settings, such as read-only or upload rights.  Secure Mail functionality allows users to send email messages with a unique link to files that recipients can download securely through a HTTPS connection.

Reducing Risk of Data Loss

Reliance on policy enforcement to control data security was always an uneasy stop-gap solution.  Now, IT personnel can transition resources to focus on strategic initiatives rather than police information flow.

The GoAnywhere File Transfer app is available for download now on iTunes and the Google Play store. It is free to customers licensed for the GoAnywhere Services HTTP/s module.

If you'd like to learn more about Managed File Transfer and it's ability to transform your IT operations, contact a GoAnywhere team member today.

Linoma Joins HANDD at InfoSecurity Europe

Following on the heels of the InfoSec Conference in Orlando last week, we've crossed the pond to co-sponsor an exhibition stand with longtime partners HANDD Business Solutions at the InfoSecurity Europe conference in London.  This event brings experts from all areas of cyber, network, cloud and data security together to discuss key issues and educate IT professionals on best practices.

InfoSecurity EuropeNo matter where an organization does business, keeping private data protected, avoiding data breach, and implementing appropriate policies and procedures to meet a variety of compliance guidelines are formidable challenges.

On the top of the minds of IT professionals who stopped by our stand, #C95, was how to find a better file sharing alternative than the free cloud-based services that have become popular with employees, but that are virtually impossible to monitor and track to meet compliance guidelines.

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.