Managed File Transfer

What is Managed File Transfer?

Managed File Transfer (MFT) refers to a software solution or service that streamlines and secures the transfer of electronic files between various systems and users, both within and outside an organization. It goes beyond basic file transfer protocols like FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) by offering robust security features, automation capabilities, and comprehensive audit trails.

What is Managed File Transfer Protocol?

Managed File Transfer Protocol isn’t a single protocol but rather a broad term encompassing various secure protocols supported by MFT solutions. These include protocols like FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS), SSH (Secure Shell), and HTTPS, ensuring secure data transfer across diverse network environments.

Workflow of Managed File Transfer

MFT solutions typically follow a structured workflow:

1. Initiation: Users initiate file transfers by specifying the source, destination, and any necessary encryption or security protocols.

2. Transfer: The MFT solution securely transfers the files using chosen protocols, ensuring data integrity and confidentiality.

3. Verification: Upon successful transfer, the MFT solution verifies file completeness and integrity at the destination.

4. Notification: Users receive notifications regarding the transfer status (success, failure, etc.).

5. Auditing: MFT solutions maintain comprehensive audit logs, recording all transfer activities for compliance purposes.

Types of Managed File Transfer Solutions

MFT solutions cater to various deployment needs, offering flexibility and scalability for organizations:

On-Premises MFT Solutions

On-premise MFT solutions are installed and managed within an organization’s data center, providing complete control over data and security. However, they require dedicated IT resources for maintenance and updates.

Cloud-Based MFT Solutions

Cloud-based MFT solutions offer pay-as-you-go models and eliminate the need for in-house infrastructure management. However, they might raise concerns regarding data residency and security for sensitive data transfers.

Hybrid MFT Solutions

Combining the benefits of both approaches, hybrid MFT solutions allow organizations to host sensitive data transfers on-premises while leveraging the scalability and ease of use of cloud-based solutions for non-critical data.

Benefits of Managed File Transfer

MFT solutions offer several advantages over traditional file transfer methods:

Enhanced Security: MFT encrypts data in transit and at rest, safeguarding sensitive information from unauthorized access.

Improved Automation: MFT automates file transfers based on predefined rules and schedules, saving time and minimizing errors.

Centralized Management: MFT provides a unified platform for managing all file transfers, simplifying administration and monitoring.

Compliance Adherence: MFT solutions support industry regulations (e.g., HIPAA, PCI DSS) by ensuring secure data handling and comprehensive audit trails.

Increased Visibility and Control: MFT offers real-time visibility into file transfers, enabling organizations to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and troubleshoot issues efficiently.

Use Cases of Managed File Transfer

MFT solutions cater to diverse file transfer needs across various industries:

Healthcare: Securely transferring patient data between hospitals, labs, and other healthcare providers while adhering to HIPAA regulations.

Finance: Seamlessly exchanging financial documents, reports, and other sensitive information between banks, investment firms, and regulatory bodies.

Retail: Efficiently transferring large product catalogs, inventory data, and promotional materials between various retail locations and partners.

Manufacturing: Securely exchanging CAD drawings, production schedules, and other critical data between manufacturing facilities and suppliers.


Security Advanced encryption, digital signatures, access controls No encryption, vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks Basic encryption (SSH)
Automation Supports automated transfers based on rules and schedules Manual initiation is required for each transfer Limited automation capabilities
Centralized Management A centralized platform for managing all transfers Point-to-point transfers Point-to-point transfers
Compliance Supports various compliance regulations Limited compliance capabilities Limited compliance capabilities