Managed File Transfer (MFT) Managed Cloud: MFT Sentinel

Why MFT matters for enterprise compliance

Why MFT matters for enterprise compliance

Compliance at its core is a process of adhering to a set of rules and decisions. The rules, or policies, are typically defined by external laws of the land, industry regulations, or standards and agreements.

What this means is that the main role of IT compliance is to make sure organizations are validated against the boundary of operational requirements surrounding privacy and security.

IT compliance is also changing fast, and there are several areas where organizations will soon need to adapt to current and future needs. Here’s a look at evolving compliance requirements and challenges, and how Managed File Transfer is helping organizations around the world keep up with stringent standards while streamlining their operations.

Modern compliance challenges require modern solutions

The threat landscape will only evolve faster with the widespread availability of AI, and scale of cloud is breaking traditional barriers of speed.

IT organizations are struggling to achieve business goals and meet stakeholder expectations in a world of least-privilege policy enforcement and multi-vendor ecosystems.

Adding fuel to the fire, reactive cybersecurity measures leave enterprises vulnerable and disrupt their operational capacity if they don’t have enough insight into identifying and predicting incidents.

This is a scary trend when the mean time to identify and contain the data breach has averaged around 10 months for the last 5 years – and the cost per breached record is now around $160. That means each data breach amounts to multi-million-dollar data theft!

How can MFT help your organization manage compliance?

Managed File Transfer can help reduce risk drastically for data integration between applications, external trading partners, and services by consolidating all the data communication to secure, automated, and reliable exchanges.

MFT also provides granular role-based access controls that can help make the enforcement of policies easier and more efficient. MFT allows compliance programs to continuously monitor underlying data exchange mechanisms, enabling a predictive visibility into high-risk business workflows.

Operationally, MFT allows IT organizations to adhere to compliance needs by enforcing password policies, protecting against malware, and tracking and monitoring all access to sensitive information.

Consider how aerospace and defense giant Textron uses Axway Managed Cloud Services for MFT to support more than six million MFT transactions a year. With 24/7 tracking for every file transfer, the organization benefits from automated alerts for delivery failures and responsive technical support available around the clock.

“It’s easier than ever for us to monitor our compliance with stringent information security requirements,” says Matt Miller, IT Business Analyst at Textron. “For example, we have a Sentinel report to track certificates that are nearing expiry, which helps us ensure we’re always following the latest security standards.”

Shared responsibility

This responsibility of adhering to compliance needs doesn’t belong to any single solution in a large ecosystem. It is not enough to be compliant on MFT and ignore the rest of the applications, and vice versa.

A top biopharmaceutical company faced a similar challenge with proliferation of low-security tools such as email, public cloud services, and other custom-built point-to-point connections for sharing critical research data amongst stakeholders and researchers during the medical trials phase.

Risk at this scale for the sensitive data was mitigated by Axway’s SecureTransport, which allowed for secure end-to-end encryption & 24/7 responsive Axway MFT Cloud service.

“By working with Axway, we’re making it easier for our teams to collaborate on research projects with the potential to improve outcomes for patients around the world.”

Streamlining the data flows to a centralized file gateway allowed the pharmaceutical company to meet stringent regulatory/compliance requirements. This also helped accelerate the development of new treatments by providing a secure and reliable data sharing mechanism.

At Axway, we see these stories on a regular basis. The majority of our customers deal with financial sector, healthcare, or government regulations in the United States and on global markets.

Mitigate risks today with MFT best practices

There are several “attack vectors” a good security program will minimize. Here are some of the most impactful ones.

The threat of the malicious insider is probably the most significant impact when it comes to vulnerable data. The castle and moat architecture inherently trusted everybody inside the castle door. MFT allows you to reduce the attack surface by limiting access to the storage, and utilizing storing data in an encrypted state at rest to prevent bad actors from holding data hostage.

Unpatched vulnerabilities are highly unlikely, but they can cause significant downturn. Trusting a vendor with weaker security practices is inviting trouble. At Axway, commitment to security is embedded in our DNA.

Axway Managed Service allows your organizations to consume the MFT service with all the security and compliance controls and reduce the burden of having to maintain systems of compliance.

As an MSP, Axway takes care of the build, deploy, and deliver lifecycle of MFT as a cloud service.

Zero-day vulnerabilities in software libraries were widely reported in the media last year. As the name suggests, these security flaws are unknown to the developers and can cause heavy damage.

Any malware introduced by a hacker who discovers this vulnerability opens the door for large-scale extortion. Often, it’s too late if you are not prepared, which was evidenced by ‘pseudo’ zero-day attacks owing to ineffective patching by software/service providers.

There is huge potential for artificial intelligence to assist in identifying these behavior-based anomalies. It is important to have visibility into user and operator activity, so you can build operational intelligence at the enterprise level.

Misconfigurations are every developer’s nightmare. Building software systems from the ground up with least-privileged access is probably the first step to survive this upheaval around data security.

It is necessary to put in governance controls to classify and monitor the data, access patterns, and authorize usage using time-sensitive or multi-factor schemes. This is a very common issue faced by every enterprise and has a direct impact on the sensitive nature of the data – whether it is leaving network ports open (or weaker controls) or leaving data unencrypted at rest, the damage is heavy.

MFT prevents these by enabling stringent login/authorization policies for accessing data. MFT also allows for better automation of the data exchange, reducing the human errors that could be catastrophic.

Lastly, organizations have to deal with the most common threat of stolen credentials as evidenced by the recent social engineering disaster at MGM resorts. We’re talking about upwards of $100M lost from a single attack, which also leaked their customers’ personal data. Even identity providers are not safe from this vector.

How do you protect your customers’ data, then?

Holistic security requires a combination of tools and process

Unfortunately, this is a multi-dimensional threat that is not solved by any single tool or a product. MFT is a must-have, but this is also where frameworks such as Zero Trust Network segmentations and architectures can bring in the dynamism required to protect against the threats. Transient privileges, multi-factor authentication schemes, and consistent monitoring to predict threats based on user behaviors will need to be put in place.

The key takeaway here is to automate MFT workflows in all aspects:

  • Automate your file exchanges
  • Automate your file integration needs across different types of data
  • Automate the configuration required for deploying the software, paving forward to a zero downtime architecture
  • Automate required software patching, or better yet, outsource this concern to a managed service provider such as Axway to run your critical data exchanges in a secure, reliable, and compliant manner
  • Automate the monitoring so your SIEM solutions can help you with threat intelligence.

Axway can help you navigate the tricky compliance waters ahead because we have the experience and proven track record. 3 out of 4 credit card companies trust Axway MFT for their file integration needs, and 80% of pharmaceutical manufacturers run their data integration in a compliant manner using Axway MFT.

Our customers rely on our solutions daily to achieve secure, friction-free file transfer and ultimately deliver on business goals. Let us guide you through protecting customer data and your enterprise as well.

Register for our upcoming MFT Talks webinar on crucial steps to safeguarding your customers.