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. 

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.