In today’s global business environment when employees dispersed around the world need to be able to exchange data across their networks securely and effectively, a solid IT infrastructure is an organisation’s safety net.
For many enterprises, File Transfer Servers (FTS) are the back-bone of their network. Essentially a computer within the client/server model responsible for the central storage and management of data files, an FTS allows other computers on the same network to access the files and data housed on the FTS. A file transfer server adds value to any enterprise by providing users with the ability to share information over a network without having to physically transfer files with external storage devices or via email.
Yet, as business becomes increasingly global and the number of files being shared by employees across regions increases, alongside the need for real-time collaboration, organisations increasingly need both a high level of security and additional capabilities from their FTS. This is where a Managed File Transfer (MFT) offering maximum security and enhanced features comes into its own.
So what are the benefits of an MFT? Firstly, it’s important to note that both FTS and MFT platforms share some common traits, that are worth outlining.
1: Simple, secure sharing of business data
Enterprise grade, high performance File Transfer Servers enable your remote workforce to securely share and access files from anywhere. This is achieved from solutions that support an array of protocols including FTP/S, SCP, SFTP, WebDAV, HTTP/S.
2: Remote security and administration
Whether you’re a small business or a fortune 500 company, effective File Transfer Servers provide user management and permissions that are flexible enough to cater to any environment. FTS solutions should provide your network with the ability to manage users or groups with built-in directory or by connecting to your Active Directory. This includes the ability to manage permissions to all files and locations with fine-grained policies.
3: Reliability from trace-ability
Effective FTS solutions let your IT staff watch every file transfer to and from your network. This provides the ability to track every user’s remote actions and see which files they have remotely accessed. Ideally this capability should operate in real-time, and includes notification of any event happening within your network.
4: End to end remote security
Last but not least, an effective FTS keeps your data safe. This includes secure authentication across browsers and within the native clients which discourages unauthorized access to your network. This security should also include a multi-factor authentication.
In addition, MFT solutions offer a number of enhanced capabilities over and above this that give organisations with operations in various locations greater network security and peace of mind.
Some of the particular features of MFT that are worth looking out for here include:
- Ad-hoc File Sharing
- File encryption, such as PGP, Zip or SMIME
- Ability to execute tasks based on system events or automated schedule
- Anti-virus integration
- An architecture that means there is no storage of files in the DMZ (perimeter network)
- Integration with Enterprise DB
- WAN optimisation to increase the speed of access to critical applications and information
- Security to meet compliance standards including PCI and DSS
As well as these technical advantages, Managed File Transfer Servers often come with increased vendor support and additional training, vital for building employee trust and confidence as networks become more complex.
There are arguably several different flavours of Managed File Transfer Servers on the market. Assessing the above criteria will enable organisations to find the best solution – whether that’s FTS or MFT solution and ensure that their network’s back-end has a robust and secure backbone.
This Blog was brought to you by Hypersocket and its CEO, Lee David Painter. With over 20 years of industry experience as a pioneer in IT Security, Lee developed the world’s first OpenSource browser-based SSL VPN (SSL-Explorer). Today Lee runs Hypersocket, a leader in virtual private network technology.