By Jean-Claude Bellando, Product Marketing Director, Axway

In 2014 alone, 3.5 zettabytes of unique data was created. This translates into millions of data interactions every day. In most organisations data interaction means file transfers and if only 1% of these data transfers fail, that could be tens of thousands of files lost in transition. Just one of these files could be critical to business productivity — an invoice for payment, cut off for clearing, order for stores next day replenishment or salary payment. So if any files do go missing, it can have a knock on effect for the whole company.

In the face of increasingly high volumes of data, businesses need to re-evaluate their data transfer systems and check they’re up to the task. In order for each data transfer to run smoothly, it needs to tick four boxes: security, reliability, visibility and reactivity.

The four corners of managing data transfers

Security does not just apply to data in motion, but the data at rest either end of the transaction. In order to secure the entire data flow, enterprises need to implement the relevant encryption policies and ensure that only those that are authorised are able to access the data.

The cornerstone of securing data transfers is reliability. Businesses need to be able to trust their IT systems to maintain data integrity and deliver data as and when it is expected. Therefore, businesses also need complete visibility of their files throughout the transfer process. Should any issues occur, the business needs to be alerted in real time, so any issues can be addressed as quickly as possible.

In a digital business environment, new business opportunities are just around the corner and businesses need to be ready to act on them. Ready to provision new connections with partners at a moments notice.

Current approaches are struggling to keep up with high data protection standards and Service Level Agreements. Those businesses not able to guarantee data security or those getting bogged down in the details and spending hours just fixing data transfer problems, are going to find themselves on the back foot.

Not only could this result in financial penalties or damage to the companies’ reputation as time is money, lack of agility will result in a slow time to market, and reduced profits.

So how do businesses avoid these pitfalls, ensuring data is safe, managing certificates and usage rights, as well as meeting business demands for responsive, high speed data transfers? In a digital world where cyber threats are growing and governmental policies around data protection are frequently updated?

Businesses need an agile file transfer infrastructure, so a proactive approach can be implemented.

Next generation of data transfer governance

In order to guarantee a superior level of security, businesses need to be able to rely on their data governance solutions, whether it’s the ability to scale up to meet demand, to the visibility of its end-to-end journey and provide audit trails. Especially as the business ecosystem grows at such a rapid rate, trying to keep up with partner, customer, internal and governmental policies is becoming incredibly time consuming.

By removing rogue FTP sites and turning to comprehensive managed file transfers (MFT), rather than relying on old, outdated file transfer methods, businesses can gain complete insight into the cycle of their data. This enables them to react to any potential issues before they become problems.

As Ovum has pointed out “IT should focus on a shift to a comprehensive managed file transfer solution…this represents a far better option than maintaining and managing several ‘islands’ of file transfer and integration structure”.

MFT enables businesses to deploy a consolidated, secure file transfer service, which when dealing with such a diverse range of clients and complex file transfer challenges, will streamline and improve data governance throughout the business.

By allowing file transfers to and from a range of different endpoints, such as disparate servers and even legacy technologies, a comprehensive MFT solution consolidates and centralises critical infrastructure. It also secures and automates file transfers, not just from server A to server B, but throughout its entire journey, from application to partner, as well as contributing to optimising business processes and overall enterprise efficiency. This ultimately leads to reduced costs and risk, saving a significant amount of time and money.

Is my MFT ready?

Many large organisations have already implemented an MFT solution and recognised its benefits. Analyst firm Ovum has confirmed that 71% of organisations are using at least one MFT solution. However, most MFT solutions already in place have been deployed a long time ago and struggle coping with constant new technical or business requirements.

So, businesses need to take a step back and access their MFT systems and, identify the pain it causes or the limits it has. With data flow failures already impacting business activity, it’s important that each company asks the question, is my MFT ready for: the cloud and mobile platforms? Is it ready to deliver audits of activity when necessary, is it ready to scale to accommodate demand and is it ready to cope with disaster recovery situations?
By analysing each of these situations, it will help identify which business-critical situations can be enhanced by improving MFT, any vulnerabilities in their current file transfer practises and whether their MFT is up to the task.

In the digital economy, more than a third of all business-critical processes involve file transfers. This can present either a huge opportunity or risk, when it comes to implementing the right file transfer technology. It is essential that the right MFT technology is implemented to deliver secure and reliable data transfers that can drive your digital business. So what do you think: is yours MFT Ready?