Managed File Transfer: Your Solution Isn't Blowing In The Wind

If FTP were a part of nature’s landscape, the process would look a lot like a dandelion gone to seed. The seeds need to go somewhere, and all it takes is a bit of wind to scatter them toward some approximate destination.
Same thing happens on computer networks every day. We take a file, we stroke a key to nudge it via FTP toward some final destination, then turn and walk away. And that’s the issue with using FTP and SFTP to send files within the enterprise: The lack of any native logging and validation. Your files are literally blowing in the wind.
The popular solution is to create custom scripts to wrap and transmit the data. That’s why there’s typically a dozen or so different homegrown FTP wrappers in any large enterprise – each crafted by a different employee, contractor or consultant with a different skillset and philosophy. And even if the file transfers run smoothly within that single enterprise, the system will ultimately fail to deliver for a B2B integration. There’s also the headache of encrypting, logging and auditing financial data and personal health information using these homegrown file-transfer scripts. Yuck.
TxMQ absolutely recommends a managed system for file transfer, because a managed system:

  • Takes security and password issues out of the hands of junior associates and elevates data security
  • Enables the highest level of data encryption for transmission, including FIPS
  • Facilitates knowledge transfer and smooth handoffs within the enterprise (homegrown scripts are notoriously wonky)
  • Offers native logging, scheduling, success/failure reporting, error checking, auditing and validation
  • Integrates with other business systems to help scale and grow your business

TxMQ typically recommends and deploys IBM’s Managed File Transfer (MFT) in two different iterations: One as part of the Sterling product stack, the other as an extension on top of MQ.
When you install MFT on top of MQ, you suddenly and seamlessly have a file-transfer infrastructure with built-in check-summing, failure reporting, audit control and everything else mentioned above. All with lock-tight security and anybody-can-learn ease of use.
MFT as part of the Sterling product stack delivers all those capabilities to an integrated B2B environment, with the flexibility to quickly test and scale new projects and integrations, and in turn attract more B2B partners.
TxMQ is currently deploying this solution and developing a standardization manual for IBM MFT. Are you worried about your file transfer process? Do you need help trading files with a new business partner? The answer IS NOT blowing in the wind. Contact us today for a free and confidential scoping.
Photo by Alberto Bondoni.

How The IBM DataPower XB62 Bridges Internal And External (B2B) Integration

One of the more elegant features of the DataPower XB62 appliance is its dual ability to govern internal application integration as well as external B2B (or Trading Partner) integration. In essence, the XB62 bridges the gap between internal and external integration, which is what makes it such a complete solution for so many different types of businesses.
In support of the XB62, IBM states that the company “recognizes the convergence” of internal and external integrations. And it’s obvious that the need for integrations near or at  the edge of the network is growing rapidly. By opting to deploy the XB62 you can better support complex B2B flows and become more flexible in routing and file processing. It’s therefore much easier to bridge between the DMZ and protected networks without sacrificing security. This in turn allows you to attract more partners due to the ease, flexibility and security of the external integration.
One oft-cited example of an XB62 deployment is to have the XB62 sit in the DMZ, where it securely connects to trading partners, but that same appliance also exchanges data with a DataPower X152 appliance within the protected network, which handles all the enterprise service bus functions.
TxMQ successfully deployed a DataPower XB62 solution for Medical Mutual of Ohio that serves as a strong example of the appliance’s secure integration capabilities. Medical Mutual wanted to take on more trading partners and more easily align with government protocols, but lacked the infrastructure to support it. “We needed to set up trading-partner software and a B2B infrastructure so we could move the data inside and outside the company,” says Eleanor Danser, EDI Manager, Medical Mutual of Ohio. “The parts that we were missing were the trading-partner software and the communications piece to support all the real-time protocols that are required from the ACA, which is the Affordable Care Act.”
TxMQ’s DataPower XB62 solution delivered $250,000 to $500,000 annual savings on transaction fees for Medical Mutual, as documented in this story published by Insight Magazine.
For more information on TxMQ’s many DataPower solutions for all industries, contact vice president Miles Roty – (716) 636-0070 x228, [email protected] – for a confidential and free initial consultation.