5 Signs Your Organization is Ready for MFT

Managed File Transfer Levels the Playing Field for SMB

Low-cost file transfer tools allow mid-market businesses to make simple data exchanges both internally and externally.  As your company grows, however, trading partners demand enterprise-level systems to improve reliability and data security. 

cityscape - mft readyManaged File Transfer (MFT) emerged to reduce the cost and programming skills required for you to meet customer requirements and stay competitive in the marketplace. According to an Info-Tech Research Group report on selecting and implementing an MFT solution, there are five signs that indicate your organization could benefit from this technology.

  1. A need for transparency and traceability in file exchange activities
  2. New business relationships mandate adherence to compliance laws and privacy regulations
  3. Traditional methods of sending data, such as FTP, aren't secure
  4. Processes need to be more agile and adapt to changing network conditions
  5. The inability to comply with government reporting requirements

MFT provides comprehensive audit trails and monitoring to document all file transfer activity. Reports generated from this data show every interaction with the files on your server in great detail and allow you to better serve customers by responding quickly when problems do arise.

When security and reporting tools are needed to meet strict regulatory compliance standards of even highly-regulated industries, MFT delivers.  These include the data protection and integrity requirements found in PCI DSS, GLBA, SOX, Dodd-Frank and state privacy laws.

In light of recent high profile data breaches, many organizations have chosen to reduce their risk by seeking alternatives to unsecure FTP.  MFT gives you the flexibility to connect with trading partners using secure protocols and popular encryption methods like SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, AS2, Open PGP and ZIP with AES.

In addition, automation and simplified workflows offered in many MFT solutions streamline the process of adding and onboarding trading partners. Companies can reduce or eliminate time spent on manual file exchanges and interrupted file transfers, thus reducing administrative costs and assuring the timely delivery of mission-critical data.

To explore MFT further, download this useful checklist to help in your evaluation of vendors and find the best solution for your organization.

Retailers Struggle to Protect Against Data Breach

data breach, data securityAs thousands of harried spouses and romantically entangled Americans scramble to find the right Valentine's Day gifts this week, many are pulling out the credit cards and ordering online or over the phone or waiting in line to swipe their debit cards at the florist or candy store.  That's a lot of personal data zooming through cyberspace, which can make the perfect gift for hackers.

One of the compliance regulations that controls how merchants and others handle credit card data is PCI DSS, established to prevent, detect and react to unauthorized access to personal payment information.  The standards are strict and penalties can be stiff.

The challenge comes when retailers, overwhelmed with busy shopping seasons and lines of customers, have so many things to manage that their vigilance protecting customer data can lose priority.  And yet, it just takes one misstep to open the doors to a data breach.

That's why it's critical that retailers and other organizations who handle credit card information regularly assess their data protection policies and processes, and implement effective encryption and data transfer tools that can automate the process of keeping data secure so they can focus on keeping their customers happy.

For more information about how Linoma Software can help keep your data safe at rest and in motion, email Solutions@LinomaSoftware.com.

Citigroup Breach Triggers Congressional Response

The data breach at Citigroup in May - a breach which reportedly exposed an estimated 200,000 customer accounts - has motivated members of the U.S. Congress to re-introduce legislation to penalize the very organizations that have been victimized by hackers.  What are the next steps your company should take?

New bills to protect consumers' personal dataLinoma Software Managed File Transfer Solutions

Two bills are proposed by both House and Senate legislators.

First, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011.  The new bill provides:

  • Tough criminal penalties for individuals who intentionally or willfully conceal a security breach involving personal data;
  • A requirement that companies that maintain personal data establish and implement internal policies to protect data privacy and security; and
  • A requirement that the government ensure sensitive data is protected when the government hires  third-party contractors.

This act would also require, under threat of fine or imprisonment, that businesses and agencies notify affected individuals of a security breach by mail, telephone or email  "without unreasonable delay." Media notices would be required for breaches involving 5,000 or more people.  The FBI and the Secret Service would need to be notified if the breach affects 10,000 or more people, compromises databases containing the information of one million or more people, or impacts federal databases or law enforcement.

But that's not the only security bill that has businesses concerned.

In the House, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Ca) is holding hearings in preparation of a bill she's named The SAFE (Secure and Fortify) Data Act that would also require "reasonable security policies and procedures" to protect consumers and enable disclosures to victims and the Federal Trade Commission within 48 hours of a data breach.

Companies no longer viewed as the victims

All this sounds good from the consumer's point of view. But what about the expense - and potential Linoma Software GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer Solutionpenalties - suffered by the "owners" of the data: the businesses themselves?

While these bills may address the public's interest for notification -- and indeed they would bring some semblance of a national standard - they also represent an interesting shift in the liabilities that companies will face.  How is that?

Though we currently have no federal data breach notification law, federal policies now view the companies that experience a data breach as the victims of crime. However, under the proposed legislative bills, companies that do not act quickly to appropriately secure the personal data of customers - or fail to report a data breach in a reasonable amount of time - would not only suffer the theft of data, but also be held liable for its loss.

This is a significant shift. Companies are now being viewed not as the owners of consumer data, but merely guardians and trustees whose job it is to protect that data or face criminal penalties. And the message is clear: if companies won't take adequate precautions to secure the sensitive data of our customers, they'll pay a hefty price.

Where does your company stand?

In a world in which diligent hackers have the power break into seemingly secure networks and systems, what can your company do?

The challenge is first to determine exactly what qualifies as adequate precautions.

GoAnywhere Secure Managed File Transfer A review of the HIPAA HITECH security provisions that took effect last year provides some insight about what the government considers adequate protection.

HITECH strongly recommends the use of encryption technology. Encryption is a good place for your company to start, especially when dealing with the data your company stores on its servers.  If sensitive data itself is kept securely encrypted, a data breach doesn't expose the content of the information itself.

Secure managed file transfer protocols - which send data using encryption - is the second place to focus attention.

If data is encrypted when it is being securely transmitted between business partners, the value of that data should it be breached - through hacking, theft, or other malicious actions - is worthless.  Encryption and secure managed file transfers can dramatically minimize the holes of technical breaches, significantly reducing an organization's liability.

Preventing exposure

The Citigroup data breach has rekindled the momentum for a nationwide, cross-industry data breach reporting standard. This standard will not to eliminate the physical breaches themselves. What's needed is legislation to encourage companies secure the underlying data that is the target of the hackers.

Isn't it time for your company to take a serious look at its liabilities and to investigate how encryption and managed file transfers can close these important security holes?