How to Avoid the Security Risks of Inefficiency with File Transfer Automation
Today’s business demands are fast paced and unrelenting. When it comes to meeting these demands, efficiency is often the crux. Inefficiencies within the IT infrastructure can create a chain reaction of problems. The end result? More time and money is spent troubleshooting and problem solving. Even worse is failing to deliver services and products to customers or failing to meet compliance regulations. Needless to say, an inefficient IT infrastructure causes a great deal of headaches and costs a great deal of money.
But there is good news!
There is a way to keep data moving securely, seamlessly, and reliably. With the right technology, file transfer automation offers an effective way to accomplish multiple objectives. When your data transfer needs are complex, from large file transfers to the management of sensitive compliance-regulated data, or high volume file transfer workflows, a more robust and automation-enabled system will take your organization a great deal further.
Quite simply, automated file transfers can make life a lot easier for an IT department and an organization. Other common ways individuals and organizations move data from point A to point B include email, FTP, HTTP, consumer file sharing applications, or even the physical delivery of a USB drive or paper files and documents. With each method of moving data from point A to point B, there are many, many risks and limitations.
Intelligent Automation: Clearing the Way for Innovation
File transfer automation makes it possible for IT to manage more in less time. It streamlines tedious tasks, and helps IT deliver complex, high volume workflows with more efficiency, reliability, and accuracy. Automation can help clear the way for IT, so they can spend more time on innovation.
The ebb and flow of data within the modern organization is highly complex. While data is constantly on the move, the data flow and type can vary in requirements. Functionality requirements can mean visibility and governance controls for ensuring a secure and compliant management of data. They can also mean automation, analytics, and reporting functionalities for ensuring a seamless, accurate, and reliable file transfer workflow. With the right method of automation, you can meet all of these needs, from both a security and efficiency perspective.
Is Your Homegrown or Legacy System Getting in the Way?
If your organization has …
- a growing IT infrastructure,
- regulatory compliance requirements to meet,
- high volume workflows,
- data silos,
- end point vulnerabilities, and
- many other data security or workflow productivity needs,
…then a homegrown or legacy system can quickly get in the way of accomplishing your business requirements. Crucial elements an organization needs for its IT infrastructure are security, efficiency, and reliability. When any one of those core components are missing, problems follow.
Homegrown IT systems are often a combination of tools, capable of helping with some goals, yet leaving a gap or creating risks in other ways. Here’s a look at different ways to automate your file transfers using different tools and practices.
Three Ways to Automate Your File Transfers
Automation offers an effective way to streamline critical business file transfer processes; however, it’s important to identify the method that meets all or most of your requirements. Manual processes, customized automation scripts, and system-to-system file transfers are not reliable methods of file transfer, often facing staffing limitations like turnover or human error. These same automation methods also lack a centralized location of management, with limited visibility controls for ensuring security or compliance.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Yes, of course I know that automation matters. I use it all the time.” However, not all methods of file transfer automation are the same. When evaluating the different methods of file transfer automation, it’s important to ask yourself if it also supports your security, compliance, and workflow efficiency goals. Here’s a look at three common methods of file transfer automation.
1. HTTP Web-based File Transfer
Findings: While HTTP web-based file transfers can automate file transfers, they are limited in the security and volume. Web servers are the most vulnerable to security breaches and malicious attacks. A web application is best for serving the web, not large-scale storage or secure data exchange.
While it can accept a diverse set of data types, it is not an effective way to store or send sensitive data. An organization’s web server alone is not secure for sensitive data. It is often the most exposed point within an organization’s network. Keeping sensitive data on the web server could lead to a serious security breach.
To reduce the security risks with HTTP web-based transfers, you must offload incoming data to a server designed specifically for storage deeper within your organization’s network. When the server is located deeper within the network, then it is more secure and less vulnerable to potential hackers.
However, when data is flowing into a business 24 hours a day, then initiating the manual transfer of web uploads is a time-consuming, bandwidth-draining, and unpredictable task. In large enterprises, this method of data delivery can be problematic because of the sheer volume of data.
Conclusion:Using HTTP web-based file transfers requires more time to ensure workflows are secure and automated, making this method impractical.
2. Windows Task Scheduler
Findings: Windows Task Scheduler triggers automated file transfers, but they only work with timed events, such as “send the report in this folder every Monday at 8 a.m.” There is much more to automation than just doing things on a schedule.
If you wanted to encrypt a file as soon it uploads to your server, then a timer rule is not going to be able to handle that. When there are key file operations such as encryption, email notifications, server restore from backup, reporting, or auditing, then Windows Task Scheduler will not able automate these functions.
This limitation would be problematic for the enterprise with more complex security and compliance requirements to meet. Additionally, the enterprise facing a high volume of file transfer workflows would still face challenges with this automation method.
Conclusion: Using Windows Task Scheduler to automate file transfers is limited to timed events, and doesn’t have the capacity to automate file encryption, email notifications, and other critical security and compliance tasks many modern enterprises need to manage sensitive data.
3. Managed File Transfer
Findings: Automating file transfer workflows with a managed file transfer (MFT) platform enables users to manage complex and high volume workflows with greater flexibility and capacity, so organizations can more efficiently manage their security, compliance, and productivity priorities. An MFT platform is more robust than most homegrown or legacy IT systems, including those made up of ad hoc file transfer systems, like FTP and HTTP.
Here is a look at how automated file transfers with an MFT platform helps protect your business for security and productivity inefficiencies:
- Schedule Event Workflows - Create and schedule programmatic workflows for triggering events and actions based on specific conditions. Programming workflows saves time and minimizes errors, from being aware of multiple invalid logins to processing and scanning all incoming files.
- Streamline Business Processes - Automated workflow tools used with MFT platforms help optimize business processes, including the most sophisticated and complex workflows. MFT automation tools help administrators perform complex tasks and minimize the risk of human error.
- Process Files with Enhanced Security Measures – Depending on your security policies, antivirus scanners and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools can allow or prevent file transfers. This will help keep your network free of infected files, while also supporting security and compliance processes that can help you prevent the transfer of personally identifiable information.
- Reduce Security Risks through a Demilitarized Zone - A Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) can provide the multi-layered security required to reduce security risks. With a DMZ technology, data isn’t stored or processed. Rather the DMZ acts as a liaison between external connections and your internal network, so data remains protected behind a firewall for a managed file transfer (MFT) platform to process.
Conclusion: An MFT platform offers an effective way to simplify your complex file transfer processes with automation. Homegrown or legacy systems, transferring files over email, FTP, or any consumer-grade file-sharing platform will not be able offer the same level of robust security and productivity capabilities. MFT will help you automate repetitive data transfer tasks and help support your security and efficiency requirements in the following ways:
- Push or pull files to/from remote servers
- Facilitate data exchange between people and systems
- Encrypt, decrypt, decode, and transfer files based on schedule or event
- Copy or move a file to host
- Process-to-process automation
- Process-to-person automation
Are you ready to protect your business by increasing efficiency and productivity with the automation capabilities of an MFT platform? Take a look at the automation benefits of Globalscape’s EFT Enterprise today!
Learn how a global luxury retailer improved operational efficiency, gained visibility, and improved reliability through data transfer automation.
Workflow automation in the cloud is fast and efficient with MFT SaaS platform, EFT Arcus. Learn how to simplify cloud management in Azure and AWS today.
Watch this tutorial to learn how to set up event rules in EFT Arcus, a cloud file transfer service for sending data securely.