What features should I expect in a managed file transfer product?

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 Capabilitiesmost 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 Capabilitieswhen 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

About Jonathan Lampe

Andy White and I started File Transfer Consulting in 2011 to solve secure file transfer and managed file transfer issues through strategic analysis, training, integration and custom development. Our unique approach allows us to address complicated issues like no one else.

Before FTC I created and then led the development of Ipswitch's MOVEit managed file transfer software for ten exciting years, including three as VP for R&D and Product Management at Ipswitch (WS_FTP, MessageWay and hosted services). I also served for VP for Product Management for RhinoSoft (Serv-U), where I guided the development of managed file capabilities and marketing that led to its eventual sale to SolarWinds.

Come meet me on Google+ or LinkedIn today!