The Braun Corporation is the life’s work of Ralph Braun, who founded the company in 1963 while still in his early 20s to assist disabled people and their families by giving them the mobility they might not otherwise have. Braun initially set out to find solutions to his own mobility challenges, and then went on to assist others in their quest for independence. He continues to lead the company he founded, directing efforts to develop and acquire products that promote the company’s mission of “providing access to the world.”
Braun’s focus on technology to advance the pursuit of personal transportation means that proprietary drawings, on-line manuals and other large files are constantly being shared throughout the organization—from the engineering department to the network of dealers who provide Braun products to the public. However, before they chose WS_FTP Server and WS_FTP Professional as their secure file transfer standard, Braun had some heavy lifting to do. “We didn’t have a solution–people would email files and some of these files were very large,” says Todd Hargis, Network Administrator. “If it was enormous, the emails would get bounced back. Information Systems would then have to figure out how to facilitate the transfer. It was anything but secure and it was an administrative headache. The user and IS would have to come up with a way to reduce the size of the document. One solution we tried was burning large files onto CD/DVD but what we really needed was an FTP server.”
Hargis looked at several options, and selected Ipswitch based on his past experiences using the product with a previous employer. “I went with WS_FTP because it was a known entity. Ease of administration was number one. The ease of use for a client (by our employees) was number two. We needed the ability to transfer both non-sensitive materials like manuals but more importantly, the secure management and transfer of confidential documents.”
Braun’s international presence means they require the ability to move data written in multiple languages around the world to users on different language operating systems. “We have European locations that use it quite heavily,” explains Hargis. “They have their own accounts and upload or download manuals to the server. Our outside translation company uses it to download and upload files after they’ve been translated.”
Because of the competitive nature of their business, best-in-class encryption when transferring plans, manuals and other private and confidential information is paramount to Braun. The secure transfer protocols of WS_FTP were another reason they chose Ipswitch. “SHA-512 brings reliability to the process,” says Hargis. “You have a sense of well-being that the file was sent without disruption and with absolute integrity. Before WS_FTP, there was always the chance we’d have to resend files if something didn’t go through which translated into a lot of unnecessary lost time. Now we know the file was sent in its entirety.”
Hargis also remarks that the event-driven communications in WS_FTP makes the product extremely user-friendly. Users are alerted to password expiration, letting them know how to change their passwords instead of contacting him. User IDs and passwords are encrypted whether connected with SSL or not, and the ability to schedule and compress backups to any location such as USB or DVD drives, network directories, or server connections means Braun users are constantly protected against data loss.
Other departments within Braun are also utilizing the powerful software. “The legal department uses WS_FTP Professional to transfer confidential documents as does our engineering department,” says Hargis. “We also use the WS_FTP server to facilitate secure transfer of documents to our international dealer network on a case-by-case basis, because it meets the requirements of secure transmission as mandated by several countries when customer information is involved.”
As far as how WS_FTP will bring Braun into the future, Hargis is already counting on using more of the functionality of the product. “We’re getting ready to conduct another application implementation that will allow team members to have access to drawings, manuals, etcetera that are encrypted and sent using the secure file transfer in WS_FTP,” he says. “WS_FTP facilitates ease of access from a customer service standpoint. Out of the box, it’s user friendly.