Managed File Transfer has evolved significantly since its early days decades ago: when asked “what is MFT,” nowadays you might bring up features such as workflows automation, high availability, analytics, and audit capabilities for compliance, as well as advanced security protocols and encryption.
But another big change in the world of MFT is the sheer volume of file transfers combined with a changing workforce. Today’s MFT needs to go a step beyond with more intelligent and self-service capabilities as it evolves to meet modern business requirements.
MFT may seem be a well-established technology, but that certainly doesn’t make it obsolete: some 50% of business-critical processes involve file transfers or exchanges in organizations. What’s more, these companies are exchanging more data than ever before: in 2021, 79 zettabytes of data was generated worldwide – a figure that defies imagination – and it’s expected that number will more than double by 2025.
What is intelligent MFT?
In our always-on world and amid talent shortages, IT teams do not have the time to hand-hold and manually manage file transfers. They need a solution that works, yes, but it is even better if they can set up MFT so it virtually runs itself. And it needs to also be accessible to business users, who make up an increasing proportion of enterprise MFT users these days.
What is MFT to us? At Axway, we believe the most cutting-edge iterations of MFT should enable intelligent self-service. Intelligent MFT can help offset the effects of soaring data volumes, evolving compliance regulations, and increasing security risks. What is intelligent MFT? It gives teams that are under pressure to deliver the tools to start innovating again.
If your current MFT vendor is letting you down or you’re feeling the need for more speed, here’s why you should consider a smarter MFT solution.
Smart capabilities and predictive analytics
Many MFT solutions you’ll see in the market today offer some sort of analytics capability. It shows you in real-time what is going on, what is working or not working, and it can alert you to problems so you can resolve them quickly.
But wouldn’t you prefer to know in advance if there are signs that something might not be right?
What we have introduced with Axway MFT is something much smarter: predictive analytics capture historic data, such as past system behavior, and translate it into actionable data before problems arise.
Our tool understands the typical sequence in the timing, dates, and volume of transfers to build a model out of it. Predictions are made based on a projection of the future.
Unlike traditional reporting systems that alert you only when activity wanders outside the parameters you input manually, you get an exhaustive analysis that anticipates specific file transfer problems – such as a partner connectivity issue, maxed out capacity, or network loss – with immediate notification.
This is putting your historic data intelligence in action.
Less downtime, stronger security
Let’s say every Monday morning, there is a huge peak of activity with 1000 files transferred between 9:00 and 10:00 AM Chicago time, to be delivered to Paris. The tool remembers this and builds a model to understand what’s going on and predicts what should happen.
If something changes course from the behaviors that have been captured by the tool, it will raise alerts – in advance. We call it Operational Intelligence.
The value of being able to react faster is obvious: for one, you’ll see much less downtime when you can stop problems before they happen. Today’s businesses can’t afford downtime, period.
And they also can’t afford to compromise security: if suspicious activity patterns are detected sooner and you’re getting a clearer picture of the tool’s confidence level in the threat, your teams can react faster and jump in only when they’re needed.
With a user-friendly dashboard, they can see not just what’s currently happening, but also what is projected to happen based on historical data, what likely is about to happen, and a “risk zone” based on the tool’s confidence.
Self-service for business users
The next step in freeing up your MFT teams to do what they do best is empowering business users with self-service.
Organizations with mature MFT operations typically have very skilled experts who know MFT in and out. They are used to configuring communication protocols with all the parameters needed, building a script and fine tuning it, manually setting up data flows and maintaining them.
With a workforce that’s retiring out of the business and a dearth of new talent coming in – not to mention the explosion of file volumes – teams have less and less time to individually set up each point-to-point connection.
Typically, if a marketing person in a San Francisco office needs to quickly exchange sensitive data with a person in Tokyo, they need to open a ticket and ask the IT team to set up a secure channel for them. They get added to a queue, and it takes another couple of days to get the job done.
That sort of delay is unacceptable with the current pace of business. And your IT personnel shouldn’t be put in a position where they must constantly react to incoming requests.
It’s why we’ve created self-service capabilities for users outside the IT department – without compromising on your security and regulatory policies.
So what is self-service MFT?
Imagine if your MFT teams could simply preconfigure data flow and communication channel templates. They publish them internally, allowing a business user to set up their file transfer with very limited configuration effort.
This non-IT user selects their parameters, clicks “publish,” and a person on the IT side simply needs to validate and authorize the flow.
Find your path to innovation
There is a better way of implementing the time-tested MFT principles your teams know and use today. The next generation of MFT offers smarter analytics that predict rather than react to real-time events, and it empowers users – whether they’re IT or business – with a smoother user experience.
We know it makes a difference, because in its latest version, Axway’s intelligent MFT reduces the time to create and deploy new file transfer flows by up to 90%.
One Axway customer, Dun & Bradstreet, now transfers some 40TB of data securely and reliably each month. The business insights group benefits from central visibility of transfers across the enterprise, as well as stronger governance for other data flows.
Or look at how Railinc keeps millions of rail assets rolling 24/7: a critical component of U.S. transportation infrastructure, they support commercial and government organizations with the information services they need to keep rail assets moving.
To say that downtime would have a significant impact is an understatement, but with Axway, Railinc processes on average 450,000 mission-critical customer transfers per day – at 99.95% availability.
Just imagine what a “future timeline” of potential issues could free up your teams to do – or how much more data they could process without so many requests for help on one-off flows.
Your IT teams are under greater pressure than ever before: it’s time to give them the tools they need to thrive.
Discover how the Axway Managed File Transfer Suite offers modern, innovative MFT designed for the accelerating pace of business.