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iPaaS and MFT: What You Need to Know

iPaaS and MFT: What do they have in common?

Once upon a time, you carried an MP3 player to listen to music, a cell phone to text and make calls, and a book if you wanted to read. Video games and the internet? Best to use your preferred gaming device and home computer for those. Then came the smartphone – suddenly, everything is accessible from one location, and all you have to do is download the right app.

Like a smartphone, iPaaS puts all your disparate business solutions at your fingertips in one central platform. But it goes a step further – iPaaS helps each tool you use “talk” to one another, streamlining your data flow in the process.

iPaaS is a newer arrival to the cloud computing family that already includes SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS, and it takes on the role of uniting the cloud and on-prem solutions you use at work every day. Another solution can help you do that as well – managed file transfer (MFT). MFT streamlines your file transfers to reduce manual, redundant tasks, and helps move file between internal systems, trading partners, customers, and more. Read on to find out how much these two solutions overlap.

What is iPaaS?

An integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) automates processes and shares information – in short, it integrates your cloud and software solutions. iPaaS helps you connect and integrate any and all combinations of cloud-based, on-premise, and B2B solutions. Cloud to cloud? Check! Cloud to on-prem? Check! On-prem to on-prem? Yes! B2B to any of the above? Absolutely!

Vendors offer iPaaS solutions – services with the express purpose of integrating all your solutions from a single platform – as a bridge between the systems and applications you use. The main function of these basic iPaaS solutions is to standardize and simplify how data moves from point A to point B.

Related Reading: Your Guide to a Secure Hybrid Cloud

Why Use iPaaS?

While having options to use cloud-based or on-premise within a business setting solve most business needs, moving data between the two can become complicated. Rather than manually moving data (which is time-consuming, prone to human error, and may not allow for real-time data processing) or using custom in-house development, iPaaS automates and standardizes how information moves between applications.

iPaaS is more flexible and scalable than custom development, which makes it ideal for organizations that frequently add to or change the solutions in their toolbelt. It can also be useful for reducing manual tasks, automating processes, and improving accuracy and visibility into data movements.

What is MFT?

Managed file transfer (MFT) is a solution used to streamline data transfers securely. This is accomplished through encryption, automation, scheduling, and connecting users to outside systems, whether those are trading partners’ databases or 3rd party applications.

Using MFT

While many users come to MFT as a way to automate data transfers more securely than with FTP or homegrown solutions, some MFT solutions have grown to encompass more than simple file transfers. Like iPaaS, MFT can help you connect popular to web apps, get insight into your data movements, and make changes on the fly. GoAnywhere MFT is a leader among managed file transfer solutions, and prioritizes centralizing, streamlining, and simplifying data transfers. Some MFT software, including GoAnywhere, gives you the option to deploy on-premises, in the cloud, or by using a SaaS version of the solution.

Related Reading: How GoAnywhere Can Help You Transition to the Cloud

Where iPaaS and MFT Meet

Managing data is the bane of any IT team’s existence – and the problem that both iPaaS and MFT solve best. In fact, they both solve it so well that the Venn diagram of GoAnywhere MFT and iPaaS is becoming more of a circle every day. Here’s how iPaaS and how MFT stack up:

Connecting Your Services

The bread and butter of iPaaS is the ability to unite all your solutions and move your data between separate applications, whether they’re in the cloud or on-prem. Likewise, GoAnywhere MFT simplifies your data transfers internally and with trading partners, and provides Cloud Connectors for dozens of popular services, including Salesforce, AWS, and Box. Users can quickly add new Cloud Connectors and even define their own custom Cloud Connectors on an as-needed basis with no application updates necessary.

Because giving you more control over your workflows is central to both MFT and iPaaS, both solutions typically provide ways to gain insight into your data. Whether that’s through dashboards, reporting, or alerting – or a combination of all three – you have more knowledge and control over how data is moving between systems.

Transferring Data

Both iPaaS and MFT use popular industry-standard protocols to transfer data, although MFT leans towards the more secure versions. While some iPaaS solutions allow for FTP, HTTP, and AS1, alongside AS2, AS3, and AS4, GoAnywhere MFT sticks to the encrypted stuff: files are encrypted and transferred using one of SFTP, FTPS, AS2, Open PGP, and PeSIT, among others. Plus, MFT offers inbound services, while iPaaS solutions typically do not.

Another key feature of both iPaaS and MFT is workflow automation; setting off a series of events that move through your internal systems and any apps connected via Cloud Connector. With GoAnywhere MFT, you can automate processes with both Workflows and Triggers.

Data Quality

The most important part of your data: how good it is. MFT takes steps to ensure your data is secure both in motion and at rest (no corruption here!) and takes on some data validation as well. iPaaS solutions are also concerned with data quality, and both ensure that popular data formats and standards are supported, including XML, JSON, and EDIFACT. However, MFT solutions are more flexible when it comes to offering granular web user access and securing your data with an authentication layer.

To further support your data quality, iPaaS and MFT will map and translate data – although which standards typically depends on the solution.

The Differences: Is GoAnywhere MFT an iPaaS Solution?

iPaaS refers to a type of solution, while MFT is a type of software with a specific function. Any software that links cloud and on-prem applications to simplify data movements can be an iPaaS solution. MFT software must at a base level perform file transfers, but only some MFT solutions tie cloud service integration into the traditional managed file transfer processes. Further, MFT tends to offer more layers of security and streamlined data flow: not all iPaaS solutions offer inbound services, allow for web users, or have authentication layers to safeguard your sensitive data.

While MFT and iPaaS have many things in common, they’re not exactly the same. However, with GoAnywhere’s MFTaaS (MFT as a Service) option, you can deploy GoAnywhere as a SaaS solution. This hybridization takes the great things about iPaaS and MFT, and brings them together for a powerful way to link up and control your data movements.


What do iPaaS solutions and GoAnywhere MFT have in common?
iPaaS Managed File Transfer
Connect SaaS and on-premise applications
iPaaS solutions are built to connect applications, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Some, but not all, MFT solutions include methods to make connections between your applications.
GoAnywhere accomplishes this with Cloud Connectors and Agents.
Data insights
Stay on top of your data flow with monitoring and management.

Gain better real-time insight into your data movements with GoAnywhere’s dashboards, reporting, and alerting.
Use standard protocol connectors to transfer files
iPaaS solutions can employ most protocols, including less-secure options like FTP and HTTP. However, the protocols used depends on the solution.

MFT solutions lean towards encrypted methods for file transfers, including HTTPS, SFTP, FTPS, and AS2, among others.
Scheduling and automation
To be considered iPaaS, the solution must assist with routing and orchestrating your data movements.

The “managed” part of MFT, automate, schedule, and kick off data transfers with GoAnywhere’s Workflows and Triggers.
Mapping and translation
iPaaS helps different applications communicate, and it helps translate and map data between different databases and formats.

GoAnywhere MFT can translate data to and from a variety of popular formats, including Excel, XML, JSON, and EDI X12.

Connect Your Cloud and On-Prem

Organizations are moving more and more of their processes and tools to the cloud, but there are certain aspects of any business that need to remain on-site. This often results in a hybrid setup, but also makes managing data movements more complicated. Finding a way to overcome that challenge is what both iPaaS and MFT do best – so which is right for your organization? Watch a quick demo, or chat with an expert to learn whether iPaaS or MFT is best for you.

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