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What is Secure File Transfer?

par HelpSystems • 19 Feb 2019

Moving sensitive, often-proprietary files from one person—or organization—to another has become a complex aspect of the business world today. This complexity comes not only from the size and number of files that need to be shared, but also from the need to protect them at all points during their journey from sender to receiver.

Even though there are excellent solutions available for secure file transfer, many IT departments are still relying on outdated options, including FTP, PC tools (often installed by employees without IT knowing), or legacy scripts. These simply don’t cut it when it comes to general efficiency, keeping your company’s data safe, or showing compliance with industry mandates for how information is secured and exchanged.

With this in mind, let’s look at how secure file transfer works.

Defining Secure File Transfer

At a high level, secure file transfer is simply a method of securing the movement of files. Through scripts, PC tools, or managed file transfer solutions, secure file transfer can usually encrypt information in transit and at rest and create an audit trail of all file-transfer activity, ideal for producing documentation that shows adherence to PCI DSS, the GDPR, SOX, HIPAA, NIST, and other regulations.

There are many types of solutions available for secure file transfer. However, if you’re looking for a robust platform of secure file transfer that includes additional capabilities such as automation, the ability to send large numbers of files, and user-to-user collaboration tools, managed file transfer (MFT) is the best choice on the market.

Key Features of Managed File Transfer Software

This all sounds appealing, with many benefits for the average organization, right? So why do IT teams forgo implementation of managed file transfer software?

Where Companies Go Wrong

There is a tradeoff between security and convenience happening in organizations today. According to a 2018 HelpSystems survey, over 65% of IT and security teams have difficulty balancing cybersecurity controls with business efficiency, and 46% struggle with insufficient cybersecurity skills and staffing.

Tools such as an intuitive secure file transfer solution can go a long way toward accomplishing your business’ needs for efficiency and security, especially when it comes to data encryption.

But sometimes the path of least resistance is deceptively alluring while presenting obvious risks.

There may be a variety of rogue technologies at play in your organization when it comes to transferring files externally to trading partners or customers. This decentralized approach makes it impossible to manage file transfers securely and safeguard data. Below are common ways organizations exchange files without a highly secure managed file transfer solution in place:

What to Look for in a Secure or Managed File Transfer Solution

You’ll find various capabilities available on the market today, but below are the top considerations for selecting a secure or managed file transfer solution:

As you’ve learned, secure file transfer is a highly effective way to protect your company’s valuable and sensitive information while improving employee productivity. When coupling the capabilities above with the ability to automate file transfer workflows and enable collaboration, managed file transfer is an excellent choice for your secure file transfer requirements.

Secure the Movement of Your Valuable Information

To learn more about the best way to transfer files while keeping them protected in transit and at rest, download the Buyer’s Guide to Secure Managed File Transfer—the definitive resource for those considering an investment in MFT.

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