The IT Department’s philosophy at the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) for the state of Maryland is short and to the point: "Keep infrastructure simple and easy to manage."
Adapting to new state and federal requirements without reinventing the wheel or increasing taxpayer costs can be anything but simple and easy. Thankfully, GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer (MFT) delivers at every turn for Maryland's DLLR.
The Challenge with Unsecure File Transfers
The main challenge for the DLLR was transferring sensitive data in a secure and reliable fashion. In addition to ensuring information was protected in transit, each DLLR trading partner required information to be sent in different file formats, such as fixed width, Excel, CSV, or XML.
It was becoming difficult to develop and implement an efficient and reliable process for the growing number of new daily tasks. Manually handling these file transfers left little time for training staff on new software and procedures.
The evident need for an automated and secure managed file transfer solution came around the same time as a new Maryland state law. The new law required DLLR mortgage lenders to register with a central federal agency. This high-visibility requirement only added to the stack of information transfer requests the DLLR needed to meet for private entities and public agencies.
Setting the Stage: File Transfer Processes before MFT
Before GoAnywhere came into the picture, DLLR developers manually downloaded and uploaded the Excel, CSV, or fixed formatted files between their IBM i system and desktop computers. Performing these tasks across different PCs and various platforms consumed IT staff time, taking their focus from other productive development tasks.
In addition, there was no central tracking or logging available to record completed requests, like if a recipient received a file or if a developer even sent the correct file. Attempts to go back and determine the source of an error were next to impossible for the DLLR team.
The Search for a Powerhouse MFT Solution
Like many offices, adding more people was not an option for the DLLR. Neither was buying more hardware. The IBM i mid-range servers they used were able to handle the traffic, and the DB2 database could store the data. What the DLLR needed was a solution that would help accomplish their file transfer goals.
- They needed a user-friendly solution capable of processing secure file transfers that didn’t require learning how to use file transfer protocols like SFTP, FTPS, and HTTPS.
- They needed a secure, automated file transfer solution that could run 100% natively on the IBM i without requiring additional hardware.
- They wanted easy data translation between their backend DB2 database and files formatted in fixed length, Excel, CSV, or XML.
- They needed to handle all sensitive data and documents securely, with proper file encryption practices, in order to meet requirements for the state/federal regulations that apply to them.
Then there were advanced requirements to meet too, like detailed audit logs, proof of delivery for sensitive files, secure online access, centralized job monitoring, and exceptional technical support.
GoAnywhere MFT: The Relief Pitcher Maryland’s DLLR Needed
Out of all the managed file transfer solutions on the market, GoAnywhere singularly met all the DLLR's requests. The product was easy to implement and use. Its ability to securely automate the DLLR’s processes natively from the IBM i allowed staff to focus on their regular development tasks again.
GoAnywhere was selected over other products for many reasons. The biggest reasons included the fact that it could restart failed transfers and that it easily "sliced and diced" data between the DLLR's backend DB2 database and the file formats used by trading partners—especially XML-formatted files.
A Curve Ball? No Problem
Adaptability in an enterprise-class application is not always expected.
Maryland uses the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), a web-based system that allows state-licensed mortgage companies and loan officers to apply for, amend, update, or renew a license online for all participating state agencies using a single set of uniform applications.
Under a new requirement, all mortgage licensees would now submit license applications and/or registrations to NMLS daily. This requirement stipulated that the vast amounts of this time-sensitive licensing data be sent securely in XML format.
Many other government organizations scrambled to meet these requirements. But with just a few clicks and a few new definitions of some GoAnywhere settings, the DLLR found data transmission requirements were not an issue.
Simplifying Licensees’ Uploads of Sensitive Documents
Before GoAnywhere entered the picture, supplemental sensitive licensee documentation was collected through email. This process had file limitations and wasn’t as secure as the DLLR liked. Their IT team added logic to protect email recipients against error or malicious intent, like receiving the same document multiple times, but the process remained complex. To get submitted files to the right record and the right board, the IT team created a makeshift document imaging solution that required manual intervention by clerical staff to work.
But it was only a temporary fix. When the makeshift document imaging solution couldn’t keep up with their needs, Joe Petrosino, DP Programmer/Analyst Supervisor at the State of Maryland DLLR, discovered a safer and easier way for licensees to upload documents—and for different boards to receive/approve those documents. The long-term solution was GoAnywhere’s Secure Forms module.
"We regulate 40 different boards and occupations. Credit reports and other sensitive documents are vital to the verification of their continued licensure," Petrosino said. The critical nature of this process meant dealing with a heavy load of documents on a regular basis, especially since they need to reapprove licensure every two years. With Secure Forms in place, Petrosino and his team were able to replace their existing manual process with a front-facing website that included an embedded GoAnywhere form.
"With this form, the licensees simply type in their registration number, which is basically the key of the document," Petrosino said. GoAnywhere then determines which of the 40 boards the document should be submitted to. "The board then gets a notification once they receive the document so they can review to make sure it meets their standards before they issue a license."
Petrosino and another developer on his team use GoAnywhere’s projects, workflows, and forms to ensure all of this happens smoothly. "We rely on GoAnywhere’s workflows quite heavily," he said.
The use cases for GoAnywhere’s Secure Forms module are endless. "We use it for many other purposes besides just credit reports," Petrosino said. "We allow them to upload any documents the board may need for each of their licensees. That way it’s flexible, not just dedicated to one function."
Ultimately, Secure Forms has helped save the DLLR time and money. "The time [saved]," he explained, "is the time it would take to find the expertise or software that would allow us to upload external documents into our system and satisfy the requirements of sending documents securely." With GoAnywhere, they were able to avoid a cumbersome request for proposal (RFP) process because they already owned the software. Adding Secure Forms and a DMZ Secure Gateway, GoAnywhere Gateway, was easy to do and reasonably priced.
The software also helped eliminate the time staff spent on received emails. "[GoAnywhere] could save a staff person at least 30 minutes per document," Petrosino said. "That’s a big time savings." Before, when customers would send in documents, they would sometimes email the documents to DLLR staff by accident. The staff would then need to look up the sender’s name and license registration number, and manually upload the documents to the project they created. Now, GoAnywhere automates this process, eliminating the possibility of user errors, misplaced files, or overlooked documents.
A Positive MVP Performance
GoAnywhere performs well for the State of Maryland’s DLLR. Not only is it easy to use, the flexibility of the software to perform so many tasks has provided a great return on their investment. From the automation of data translation and critical file transfers to the notifications that are sent after each complete or failed transfer, GoAnywhere MFT and its many features help everyone at the DLLR remain confident that their business tasks are running flawlessly.
You can learn more about the State of Maryland DLLR by visiting their website.
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