When offering managed security services, MSPs often focus on preventing the big catastrophes: infection by a malware virus, attack by professional hackers, loss of critical data. But much simpler security issues, like an employee transferring a sensitive file with an unsecured flash drive, can also have grave consequences. To help clients avoid the small, easily overlooked problems as well as the big ones that garner headlines, MSPs should consider offering managed file transfer (MFT) services.
As explained in an infographic recently released by business integration services/solutions provider Seeburger, the still relatively new concept of MFT takes a holistic approach to data security that includes the unique needs of the individual client. MFT collaboratively shares files and data in a system that offers a single view of all transfer activity. On the user end there is no noticeable change, so the user would still send files from a corporate email account, but they would pass through the system for clearance before being delivered.
In addition, MFT allows person-to-person, person-to-system, or system-to-system file sharing, and streamlines and lowers the cost of file transfers by replacing FTP servers, web-based services, storage devices such as CDs and flash drives, and even paper. Seeburger says MFT can be used to protect sensitive and/or large files, with no size restrictions. It can be deployed on premise or in the cloud.
The Need for MFT is RealA Seeburger survey on the file sharing practices of 200 companies in November 2011 demonstrates a real need for MFT. According to survey results, 80 percent of files are transferred using out-of-compliance methods and 59 percent of respondents are unaware of data security policies or have varying and/or unenforced policies. And 56 percent of respondents download reports or database queries from ERP environments for broader distribution.
Naturally, Seeburger provides MFT technology and services. But this does not mean MSPs that offer security services cannot enter the MFT marketplace, which is already populated by many other large and small participants. To properly provide MFT, MSPs will need to be able to offer functionality such as reporting and administration, policy management, content filtering, and secure multiprotocol communication.
For those MSPs who can adequately support MFT (by themselves or with a partner), managed file transfer offers a whole new set of security services that both broadens their potential client base and deepens the services they can provide existing clients. The need for MFT is real, and so is the profit potential.