Occasionally, I attend events with other technology professionals to talk about managed file transfer. When I bring it up, it’s not unusual that someone may give me an incredulous look and say, “Is that still happening?” Their viewpoint is usually that SFTP seems old, very 2000 or 2005.
This person is right … from a very narrow perspective. Using an encrypted tunnel for communicating with trading partners is nothing new. It’s been in effect for quite some time, so it should come as no surprise that some people think an SFTP server or script encapsulates everything there is to know about managed file transfer solutions like GoAnywhere MFT.
I love these reactions. They often lead to fruitful discussions about use cases that peer technology professionals haven’t thought apply to good MFT software. The concept in their heads consist of a dumb SFTP listener combined with some scripting that moves the file around. But while their loose definition of MFT may satisfy a very basic requirement, the real-life integration needs of MFT customers is seemingly never ending.
GoAnywhere has a list of 600+ enhancements/features that our development team works on. The list never shrinks. Given that our MFT solution is already more feature-rich than many of the other tools I’ve observed, this is no small statement.
Let’s take a look at some surprising managed file transfer use cases that may surprise today’s technology professionals.
SOAP/REST integration: A customer has an application that harvests data from their consumer-facing website. Rather than write an in-house application or script to capture that data, they can use a GoAnywhere Project to connect to the web service, retrieve the data, transform the data into XML, and then send the XML to their trading partners.
Utilize ICAP for AV and DLP Scanning: A customer needs to virus scan an inbound file from trading partners prior to passing that file to a workflow. GoAnywhere supports ICAP enabled AV tools to further secure the customer’s network. ICAP integration also allows GoAnywhere to send the file to a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) server to scan the file for sensitive information before the file leaves their network.
Remote Agent Support: A customer has multiple remote offices who run on independent networks but don’t have a secure way to transfer files between networks (such as SFTP). GoAnywhere can easily spin out local agents to servers at these locations, then communicate and sync with the customer’s central GoAnywhere instance.
Secure Forms: A customer needs to create forms that incorporate drop downs, enable file attachments, and user-driven text in a secure HTTPS session. GoAnywhere Secure Forms will kick off a workflow that sends the files and form data to another business user for review.
None of these use cases conform to a batch file transfer via FTP. Our customers drive these features, and this tells me that managed file transfer is not only thriving, it may actually be in the middle of the technology cycle.
Other MFT companies in this space haven’t bothered to invest in their toolset this way. To them, the cycle is over—or close to it—and there’s no need to aggressively enhance their product. But given the breadth of GoAnywhere’s enhancement list, that’s hard to believe. Offering a MFT product that addresses the bare minimum of customer needs seems like it will only lead to irrelevant software.
Not all MFT users need a widget. If there are 10 users, half may have “common” requirements—but the other half may require features that are a bit outside the box.
This “box” may be the container some technology professionals put MFT software in, but it doesn’t define GoAnywhere MFT. I haven’t even discussed the myriad authentication and network integration requirements that must continue to evolve as well.
If you consider where we were 10 years ago? Well, we’re really just getting started.
Chris Wilson manages North American channels and partners for HelpSystems, focusing on systems integrators and cloud hosting providers.