Where is my File?
Organizations would have no need for Managed File Transfer (MFT) if all
their digital data was created and stored in one central physical location, applications were also centralized in that same location, people needing access to that data were all co-located in that one physical location, and there was no need for organizations to share data with each other. This environment perhaps describes a typical small business LAN (Local Area Network) environment of the late 1980’s.
Today, we find it difficult to even imagine. Organizations operate today in a global hyper-connected network involving constantly emerging new forms of digital data (packaged in the form of “files”) that must be moved, duplicated, synchronized, and shared. People perceive the world as a “global Internet-connected LAN”–even though the truth is of course much more complex—and expect instant response times for any kind of application and the use of the most current data.
This is impacting MFT approaches and product requirements in several ways:
- Batch processing windows for traditional batch processes continue to shrink, while data volumes are growing. Today’s workload requirement for MFT tends to be higher-frequency batching and larger and more varied files than in the past. It also leads to innovative application processes that exploit IBM MFT capabilities for streaming
- Cybersecurity concerns continue to heighten, leading to adoption of newer security technologies, which often increase the security processing overhead of applications,including but not limited to MFT. It’s important for MFT systems where possible to “compensate” for security processing overhead, through support for hardware-accelerators, high performance security process software, and ongoing file transfer throughput improvements.
- Organizations are more widely deploying MFT technology, beyond its traditional role to enable bulk transaction file exchange, such as IoT data analysis or other big data analytics.These scenarios typically demand the use of current (today’s or yesterday’s), not aging
(last week or last month’s), data. This puts a premium on speed of file transfers in all situations. Also, the data volumes are constantly growing since analytics improvements are often based on analyzing deeper, more detailed forms of data. This one-two punch of speed and file volume creates a special challenge for MFT.
MFT for “Always on” Global Digital Business MFT systems are deployed as critical IT infrastructure, and in today’s globally connected world of digital business, this means no “down time”–as perceived by external business partners, existing customers, and prospective customers.
MFT systems, at a minimum, must be able to accept incoming files from external partners and customers at any time. MFT has the key role of helping to ensure frictionless commerce; if a key service enabled by MFT infrastructure is unavailable when needed, it has a cascading effect with external partners or customers and internal business units providing the service that processes incoming files.
It therefore must be possible to deploy an MFT infrastructure in a redundant distributed manner sufficient to ensure “continuous availability” for core MFT services. It also means rapid response to avoid or mitigate an outage if an unexpected physical disaster impacts the hardware servicing MFT workloads in a data center.
Why you need Managed File Transfer (MFT)
Why Managed File Transfer Files deliver the information that drives today’s business processes. Managed File Transfer (MFT) brings security, reliability and governance to the movement of these files inside and outside your business. Most organizations start their MFT journey because a compelling event, like a failed security audit, or a specific project that needs more than FTP plus IT scripting to handle. But every organization transfers files today, and is therefore somewhere on their own MFT journey. While most start with a pressing project, they soon find they own several “project” based MFT products through departmental buying or acquisition. The next step on the journey is the move to an “operations” MFT which focuses on consolidation and modernization of all the pointproducts for better control and delivery.
What is wrong with FTP?
Most organizations start their journey in file transfer with a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) problem. The following scenarios are the most common challenges that lead to an IBM® Sterling Managed File Transfer solution:
Failed security audits – With the growth in data security breaches, and the increased amount of sensitive customer data traveling in files, security is a critical concern for all organizations.
Slow transfers – Digitization, globalization and outsourcing have all contributed to larger file sizes. As file sizes have ballooned, so has the time to transmit them between systems.
Lengthy onboarding – Across all industries, organizations are experiencing rapid growth in their trading partner networks. Companies are expanding their businesses, both organically and through mergers and acquisitions, which compounds already slow onboarding timeframes.
“Where is my file?” – Where is the file? With industry error rates running at an average of six percent, you probably get this question more than you want.
Regulatory compliance – Do you find yourself dealing with compensating controls, certifications, regulatory reporting, and security audits?
File sharing problem – As users have brought their personal devices into the enterprise, many times they bring their cloud sharing applications with them.