How to: Choosing an MFT vendor and creating first Managed File Transfer Process

According to Forbes, only 44% of businesses are using an enterprise wide workload automation solution. In this blog, we compare different practices for building MFT process and evaluate weaknesses and strengths.

Polina Zyaparova


Polina Zyaparova

Marketing & PR at Frends

What MFT is

Managed File Transfers (MFT) is a process that allows companies to reliably move, and exchange structured and unstructured data, i.e. business-essential data like customer and employee data, contracts, project data, supplier data, and any high-volume data of different types. MFT presupposes monitoring & security mechanisms, and compliance regulations based on industry standards. In short, MFT is a secure way to centralize and automate the complete process of electronic data exchange.

Organizations that use MFT manage:

  • To save time and money;
  • To improve security;
  • To simplify server-to-server file transfers;
  • To fulfill compliance requirements.

Using MFT offers a more reliable and efficient means for secure data and file transfer. Organizations can replace such unsecured file transfer methods as file transfer protocol (FTP), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), eMail, or any other internet file-sharing services.

MFT affecting the Business

According to Forbes, only 44% of businesses are using an enterprise-wide workload automation solution, and 67% of businesses without an enterprise-wide job scheduler lack integrated and managed file transfer, which leads to errors and business issues.

In the situation when an organization uses multiple solutions for file transfers, it eventually can put itself at some financial risks and damage services. When companies use multiple tools that are not fully consolidated, they can struggle from not having a clear view of when file transfers are being executed and completed. This lack of monitoring also makes it difficult to track and solve errors quickly.

For this reason, we advice the companies to adopt a single enterprise solution for managing MFT and various data conversion processes to avoid the challenges posed after combining several tools. In the table below, we list the most common issues (left), and the aspects in which a single user platform outperformes the bundle of tools (right).

MFT table

Four types of MFT

  1. Ad hoc file transfers, for example, unscheduled and unplanned data exchange between partners;

  2. Regularly scheduled file transfers, for example, retrieved orders from e-commerce stores, transaction information, or uploading data into a CRM. This is the type of transfer that requires saved log history, visibility, and monitoring.

Use case: When a warehouse sends the up-to-date information on the stock availability, and the file transfer does not happen on time, it can harm the sales and the quality of customer service;

  1. Human-to-human file transfers, for example, transferring documents between teams and departments;

  2. Machine-to-machine transfers, for example, moving the data outside an organization, between vendors to provide services.

Use case: if a payroll file transfer doesn’t execute on time because of the error that was not tracked on time due to lack of monitoring, you can end up having late/overdue payments.

Having the MFT process in place is an essential component for replacing legacy and on-premise systems and making a step towards digital transformation and the adoption of cloud and big data. Companies today actively share a growing amount of data files with various systems and stakeholders, so choosing the right solution to optimize MFT becomes a top priority.

Example Showcase: Setting up MFT in Frends Integration Platform

Frends has been around for over 30 years, so its MFT capabilities are among the best in the market and are based on the previous independent product Cobalt, enabling all file transfer scenarios in legacy and modern scenarios.

Frends supports an organizational move towards cloud or hybrid and takes the weight off legacy systems. Frends utilizes the BPMN 2.0 (Business Process Model and Notation). BPMN is the global standard for process modeling and one of the most important components of successful Business-IT-Alignment.

Watch the video-explainer below by our integration consultant Ilkka Leinonen, in which he will take you through the essential features of Frends platform and shows how to set up an MFT process.

1.Frends provides secure file transfers by supporting protocols:

(FTP is supported primarily for on-premises legacy connectivity, otherwise not recommended).

Username and Password authentication

FTPS Username and Password authentication

SFTP Username and Password authentication Username and Private Key authentication Username, Password and Private Key authentication Supported host key algorithms: RSA | DSS | Certificate | ED25519 | ECDsaNistP256 | ECDsaNistP384 | ECDsaNistP521

Windows and Linux based file systems

OS User-based authentication via Kerberos

2. Frends offers manual and scheduled triggering for process execution

3. Frends offers monitoring capabilities

  • Process level monitoring and automated alerts

  • Monitoring of silence - automated alerts if a transfer has not been executed in the expected time frame, for example, if the source system has not produced the file due to an error in a source system

4. File Transfer Features

Additionally, the Cobalt Transfer task offers a multitude of useful features regarding managed file transfers, such as:

  • Automatic file backups and backup cleanups;
  • Renaming of files before, during, and after the transfer;
  • Various logical options on how to deal with existing or locked files.

You can try Frends for free for 30 days (no card required) and build your own MFT processes.

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Or get in touch with our integration consultants to discuss your current business needs and integration challenges.