Managed File Transfer Predictions 2021

Like most people I’ll be happy to see the back of 2020, it’s been a tough year for all and sundry. Without beating the COVID-19 drum too much, it is easy to see how its shaped our lives in more ways than one.

One such way is undoubtedly the major shift to different working patterns and locations. We’ve seen organisations stance on working from home be span 180˚. With that comes its own challenges though, how do your employees share sensitive data outside your networks perimeter? This does not seem to be a temporary situation for many organisations either, I am now regularly hearing of office closures or permanent WFH arrangements coming through.

Over the past 5 or so years, the main driver for Managed File Transfer (MFT) purchases has been automation and integration; systems talking to other systems facilitating a wider business process; has by far and above been the biggest requirement of our customers. Whilst I fully believe this will continue to be the case, I hope to see existing customers start to utilise the ad-hoc and person to person capabilities within their implementations. With new customers choosing modules to facilitate these types of transfer from the outset.

With a perceived increase in person-to-person transfer, we start to see a decrease in trust. MFT servers should be thought of as another Ingress and Egress point to your network, and security should be applied as such. Consider how many emails a day come into and leave your organisation? Easily in the thousands, but each of those would be subject to checks via an Email Security Gateway or equivalent technology. In the email scenario, if an attachment is malicious or contains sensitive information it is rejected or sanitised. I’m willing to bet that this doesn’t apply to data being uploaded to your MFT platform? Or if a secure email package is sent via it.

What I really hope to see continue to be adopted into 2021 are integrations of MFT platforms with the ICAP protocol to prevent data security issues.

One other topic on my mind is the continued acquisitions being made by HelpSystems, now owner of the Globalscape EFT and GoAnywhere MFT platforms amongst others. In the later stages of 2020, they made in roads to the Data Classification market and in the early part of this year they’ve also acquired a transfer acceleration platform, FileCatalyst. What I really hope will come to fruition is further integrations between some of these platforms on top of what already exists.

One pre-existing rich integration is between the Data Classification systems, MFT and the ICAP Gateway. Data classified being moved by the MFT platform can be sent onto the secure ICAP Gateway and decisions can be made based on the label of the data as to whether it is safe or not to leave the organisation.

As we step into 2021, Brexit will finally become a reality. This on top of the Schrems II ruling will make transferring data between borders something we need to look at with a whole different perspective. Add to this the growing distrust with the US, increases in data sovereignty laws and an undercurrent of global politics driving data privacy law, it should be only natural that organisations will adopt MFT platforms to encrypt data, understand their transfers and manage themselves.

Finally, I don’t see any slowing down of moving to cloud infrastructure. Lots of new MFT deployments are now being installed on IaaS platforms and I expect this to be the norm as we move through the year. I am also seeing a huge move of existing on-premises customers migrating their existing deployments into the likes of AWS, GCP etc and utilising lots of the powerful tools those platforms provide.

Sam Malkin – Lead Solutions Architect, HANDD Business Solutions