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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

For improved file security, a gateway may be key

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It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of data for businesses operating today. Now more than ever, firms are reliant on a huge range of information types from many sources to perform at a competitive level. The average worker will send and receive dozens of emails in a given day, as well as download files, access corporate documents via the cloud, chat with coworkers online and engage in many other forms of data exchange. Just as significantly, many employees are tasked with sending and receiving large data sets and file collections as part of big data analytics, business intelligence (BI) and other projects.

These levels of information exchange have dramatically increased the need for data security among organizations of all kinds. The increasing frequency with which data is sent and received by firms, the greater the size of these data sets and the significant value the data holds all suggest that information security is of paramount importance. Companies that fail to properly protect their data will be at much greater risk of suffering a data breach, which can have catastrophic consequences for the organization.

The question every business must therefore ask is how it can best ensure high-quality data protection for itself, its clients, its partners and its employees.

One of the most important components of any data protection strategy is investing in the right tools. And for many enterprises, the ideal resource is a managed file transfer (MFT) solution featuring an external gateway.

External security
MFT solutions are not new. For years now, MFT has been one of the standard methods firms have used to send data sets and files of all sizes through networks. They remain the ideal option for many firms.

However, not all MFT solutions are equally viable. As with any security solution, some will be more robust and reliable than others. Companies concerned about the integrity of their data - and this should include every organization - need to carefully vet the available MFT options to select one which can meet their security standards.

An external gateway can prove critical in this regard. A gateway can essentially act as middleman to the organization's internal network. Files are not processed or stored in the gateway, but rather pass through on their way to or from the MFT solution. The gateway remains outside the firewall while the MFT solution is inside.

The effect of this deployment is that all data is processed and stored by the MFT behind the firewall while the gateway provides virtual authentication. An external gateway effectively eliminates the need for such additional security efforts as encryption, as data is never exposed outside the firewall.

An MFT solution featuring an external gateway is therefore ideal for ensuring PCI compliance and meeting other regulatory standards. More generally, such a deployment can greatly improve the quality of any company's data security in a range of capacities.