Which MFT Vendor Should You Choose?
Finding the right managed file transfer (MFT) solution for your organization can be a complex process, but it doesn’t need to be.
Let us help you tackle the first and most important step – finding the right solution. If you’re in the process of choosing an MFT vendor for your organization, this blog is for you.
Choosing an MFT Vendor Pt. 1 – Know Your “Must Haves” and Ask Questions
Whether your organization is seeking a new way to automate file transfers, ensure compliance with data regulations, or get better insight into data movement and user access, your “must haves” are important to lock down.
Determining your MFT “must haves” is a key step to address as soon as possible, especially as you start to compare candidates. It’s important to know exactly what your unique business needs are, what your future requirements might be, and how well each provider can meet them.
To better assess what your organization must have fulfilled through an MFT vendor, it’s a good idea to ask yourself relevant questions right off the bat, such as:
- What is your daily file transfer volume?
- How large are the files you typically send?
- How sensitive is the information you need to transfer?
- How much time a day is spent performing manual transfers?
- Do you anticipate needing additional modules for emails and forms?
- Do you need to meet regulatory requirements?
- What’s your budget for an MFT solution?
- Are you looking to manage the application on your own or have someone else do it?
Related Reading: Managed File Transfer (MFT) Software Impact Guide
Choosing an MFT Vendor Pt. 2 – Pre-Search Considerations
After determining your “must haves” and key questions, the next step would be to assess the MFT vendor and confirm if they can provide the things you must have and can sufficiently support your needs like daily file transfer volume, level of security, and more.
The most important pre-search considerations will depend on your specific needs, but it’s well advised you keep a look out for game changing factors like:
On-Premises vs. the Cloud vs. Hybrid
With the cloud growing in popularity, MFT vendors are working hard to make sure organizations have the flexibility they need to meet their business requirements. This includes the ability to work in multiple environments – from on-premises to the cloud, to a hosted (SaaS) environment, to somewhere in between (hybrid). Some even offer cloud versions of the MFT solution alongside vendor-hosted environments. Determine which environment you plan to integrate your MFT solution in before you start your search.
Keeping industry-specific needs in mind when evaluating MFT solutions will make the decision processes much easier, as you’ll be able to vet what will and won’t work right away. For example, if your organization is in healthcare, consider your need to secure electronic protected health information (ePHI) data. Or, if your industry falls under the public sector category, consider your accountability for FISMA. The right MFT solution can help with all of this – and more.
Cybersecurity and Data Breach Defense
With data breaches rising at an alarming rate, it’s no surprise that IT teams are focused on implementing strong cybersecurity practices in their organizations and ensuring they incorporate proper and stringent encryption practices.
When evaluating managed file transfer solutions, consider what vendors offer for security and data breach defense. Make sure they’re putting security first and ask how they’ll work with you to protect the sensitive information you share on a daily basis.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What types of encryption standards are supported?
- Does it use FIPS 140-2 validated encryption ciphers?
- Can I restrict users to specific directories and subfolders?
- Does the solution track all user events and file activity?
- Can I generate management reports of trading partner activity?
Related Reading: 10 Tips to Protect Your Company’s Data in 2021
Choosing an MFT Vendor Pt. 3 – Features
At the bare minimum, you’ll want your MFT solution to be easy-to-use, have the capability to encrypt sensitive data, the power to automate transfers, the capacity to help you meet compliance regulations, and the ability to work seamlessly across multiple platforms.
However, you should also consider choosing an MFT vendor with the following features in order to get the most out of MFT at your organization:
- Advanced auditing and tracking: Audit logs help you to monitor and track the data you transfer each day. Reporting metrics provide statistical details and more for export as needed.
- Clustering: This allows you to distribute a heavy workload for higher availability and supports load balancing across multiple systems.
- Cloud integrations: Utilize built-in web and cloud application integrations that connect to your MFT projects and workflows. Integrate with popular services like Salesforce, SharePoint, Dropbox, and other out-of-the-box options securely.
- EDI file translation: Many traditional EDI tools are complex and time-consuming to configure. A robust solution with EDI file translation should support critical X12 and EDIFACT standards and combine file transfer and EDI into one, easy-to-use solution for reading, writing, and mapping X12 and XML files between databases.
- Remote agents: Automate file transfers and workflows on systems throughout your enterprise. Managed by a central deployment of the product, processes and transfers can run remotely across multiple locations.
- Secure email capabilities: A solution that offers a secure way to send email will help ensure the security of your messages and files by turning them into encrypted packages. These packages can then be downloaded through a protected HTTPS connection.
Choosing an MFT Vendor Pt. 4 – Read the Reviews
See for yourself what customers have to say about their own experience with an MFT vendor. Some great places to start include Capterra, Gartner Peer Insights, SoftwareReviews (Info-Tech), and G2. You can also see how popular MFT solutions and vendors stack up in third party reports like the related readings available below.
Related Reading: MFT Vendor Comparison | 2020 Info-Tech Report
Related Reading: MFT Vendor Comparison | G2 Crowd Grid Report Fall 2020
Choosing an MFT Vendor Pt. 5 – Request a Demo/Trial
After reading reviews, requesting a demo or trial for your top-identified solutions is a great final step.
What to Consider in a Demo
During a live, one-on-one meeting with the vendor’s product experts, ask any questions that haven’t been answered yet with prior research. Ensure the vendor show you areas of the product you’re especially interested in, so you can see the solution in action.
What to Consider in a Trial
During this set time period, typically anywhere from 14 to 30 days, you will have the opportunity to use the product and see how it performs. Take this chance to see what the encryption process looks like, how long it takes to set up a file transfer, and more. A trial is more hands-on than a demo, so be sure to explore features in your own time, on your own system. It’s the perfect time to make sure the solution works for you.