managed file transfer predictionsTo kick off the year, we asked two of the leading influencers in Managed File Transfer (MFT) to share their perspectives on the year that was and give predictions on what 2014 has to hold.

Stewart Bond, Senior Research Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group (@StewartLBond), netted out the Managed File Transfer trends highlighting:

  • Cloud Deployments: MFT has traditionally been deployed behind the firewalls, used for internal and external file transfer. With the growth of the public Cloud, applications and platforms are moving outside the firewalls. If applications, data and platforms are in the Cloud, MFT vendors need to be there too. MFT grew out of the need for better security, control and management of file transfers. FTP is still prevalent, especially in the Cloud, and MFT vendors have a great opportunity to leverage their history and capabilities to make the Cloud and data pipelines to/from the Cloud more secure.
  • Mobile Access and File Transfer: Computing has gone mobile, and the need to protect corporate data assets as they move through secure and unsecure networks will be critical. MFT vendors have an opportunity to apply their technology in this space to help organizations reduce data protection risks.
  • File Transfer Acceleration: Primarily for cloud to cloud, and on-premise to cloud transfer. Where we have enjoyed fast data transfer rates on LANs and within the data center, data transfer rates over the internet are still lacking and until the infrastructure can catch up, if it ever will, software based acceleration solutions are becoming more prevalent.
  • Cloud File Sharing: We are seeing overlap between the MFT space and the Cloud file sharing space. Vendors such as Ipswitch are finding they are competing with the likes of Box, DropBox and other Cloud based file sharing solutions. MFT vendors have met the competition head on with ad-hoc file transfer capabilities. However, MFT vendors will need to make their solutions as accessible and easy to use as the Cloud based file sharing alternatives in order to compete effectively.

I’m interested in your thoughts on Stewart’s predictions—any points to expand on or debate?

mobile file transferAs mobile computing becomes ubiquitous, employees in all types of industries are enjoying the ability to access, share and update information – and be involved in processes even when they’re not in the office. But while mobility is a wonderful thing, it’s not enough on its own – especially for organizations in highly regulated industries. Such organizations need to make sure information and business processes are not just handled efficiently, but also securely. That’s where managed file transfer (MFT) comes in – it does more than help transfer files that are integral to daily processes; it keeps those files secure and makes it easier to integrate them into business processes. Here we share a few examples of how mobile compliance works in various industries.

Insurance: Initiating Claim Processes from Accident Sites
insurance-iconInsurance adjustors have had to manage much of their daily workload from the field for years. It’s undeniable that mobile devices have streamlined some of the tasks associated with conducting insurance appraisals remotely. But they still don’t address the need to secure the sensitive information being transmitted. In the past, adjustors would need to either wait until returning to the office to securely access internal systems, use a complex FTP client from a remote desktop, or mail documentation as part of a paper-based process.

With today’s MFT solutions, adjustors can securely transfer documents and images from their tablets. That means they can initiate the automated insurance claim review process while still at accident sites, getting their jobs done more quickly and efficiently.

Healthcare: Enabling Collaborative Patient Care
healthcare-iconIn rural and underdeveloped areas, physicians will often treat patients without access to a well-staffed medical facility featuring the latest medicines and diagnostic tools. Mobile devices such as cell phones make it possible to take and send pictures related to a patient case so doctors can get input from other physicians. But these images – and any associated information – comprise protected health information under HIPAA and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. And cell phones on their own don’t keep this information secure.

With MFT, a doctor can take a picture of a patient’s infection with her cell phone and send it securely as part of a patient record update process. Because MFT carries through the process, the medical records department is alerted to the availability of the picture, adds text information like the medical record number, uploads it to the patient record, and sends the picture to the practice management system. The pictures are made available to assisting specialists within the practice and instantly offer important context for collaborative treatment not previously possible. And because of MFT, the entire process satisfies HIPAA and HITECH requirements.

Finance: Freed to Securely Conduct Business from Anywhere
finance-iconIt’s a given that executives and managers in financial services companies need secure access to critical financial and portfolio information. But in the not-so-distant past, they were chained to their desks or forced to put sensitive information at risk using unsecured systems. Now with ready access to mobile devices, these employees are freed to conduct business whether they are at a client location, on a business trip, or even on the way home from work. But protection of sensitive financial information is still a concern.

The right MFT solution allows executives and managers to view sensitive financial documents and reports remotely without storing any unencrypted files on their devices. They can even automatically generate and securely transfer financial reports to appropriate executives. And if the files are not accessed within a pre-determined timeframe, they are automatically deleted, or can be automatically deleted after a pre-set number of views.

Streamline Processes While Ensuring Compliance
With the right MFT solution in place, those in insurance, healthcare, and finance can rest easy knowing they can enforce governance when it comes to the transfer of sensitive information. That’s because a robust MFT solution ensures sensitive information is protected during transfer, that only approved users can access sensitive data, and that the organization can understand at a glance any activity associated with the movement of sensitive files.

In my next post, I’ll show how MFT helps streamline and secure daily processes for those working remotely in non-regulated industries.