We often hear people ask “what should I expect in a managed file transfer product?” A lot of that depends on your own needs, but managed file transfer capabilities can generally be grouped as follows.
Table Stakes – the features that almost every managed file transfer vendor has.
– Lots of protocol support (e.g., FTP/S, SFTP, HTTP/S, etc.)
– Lots of encryption support (e.g., PGP, Zip, SMIME, etc.)
– Complete auditing
– Scheduled and event-driven automation (including notifications and alerts)
– No files stored in the clear in the DMZ
– APIs to onboard users and extend or integrate the application
– Integration with AV (anti-virus)
– Enough security to meet PCI DSS, FISMA and other regulations
Competitive Capabilities – most vendors have one or more of these. People often select which vendor is right for them depending on the combination of capabilities offered.
– Realtime dashboards (and integration w/ enterprise monitoring/administration)
– Document management
– BPM and workflow orchestration
– Transformation and validation (a.k.a. mapping)
– Ad hoc “send file to person”
– Integration w/ enterprise back-ends (e.g., MQ, Oracle, ESB, SOA, etc.)
– Integration with DLP (data loss prevention)
– Message-based or EDI transaction support
– Plug-ins for common desktop applications (browsers, Outlook, Office, etc.)
– WAN optimization (rapid transit between controlled endpoints)
– Pre-configured partners (e.g., common w/ AS2), maps (e.g., for a particular industry) or integration points (e.g., “built for SAP”)
Visionary Capabilities – when present, indicates the vendor is thinking about the future.
– Mobile interfaces
– IPv6 support
– Multiple provisioning options (cloud, on-premises and hybrid)
– Integration with data classification and/or DRM (digital rights management)
– Alliances and partnerships with other innovative companies
– Use of analytics and “big data” technology (e.g., Hadoop, GT.M, etc.)
– Methodology and technology to surface business cost drivers