5 Ways Healthcare is Using Managed File Transfer

Healthcare organizations looking to improve secure file transfer processes have discovered the many advantages of Managed File Transfer (MFT) and the GoAnywhereTM Suite.

UTMC and AnMed HealthMeeting regulatory compliance with HIPAA and HITECH, connecting multiple office locations or simply updating legacy systems all create excellent opportunities to evaluate the benefits of MFT.

“The medical environment is changing with new regulations and mandates to be addressed,” says Scott Schwarze, manager of information services at the University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC). “We wished for a product that would do most of the heavy lifting.”

1. Eliminating Personnel Risk

UTMC found itself in a vulnerable position when their only employee capable of maintaining complicated VB scripts became seriously ill. AnMed Health in Anderson, South Carolina recognized they were in a similar position with only one network staffer capable of setting up DOS batch transfers.

“With a small staff but large output, the goal was something that all team members could be trained on,” said Schwarze. Despite its extensive capabilities, GoAnywhere customers quickly discover the simplicity of scripting and troubleshooting tasks. Lisa Nanney, senior programmer analyst at AnMed Health adds, “when issues do arise, my operations staff can resolve the problem immediately.”

2. Proactive Notifications

“Our old file transfer system did not offer automatic auditing,” said Nanney. “Because we weren’t proactive, it often took a call from a vendor to discover there was a problem.” While AnMed Health uses notifications in GoAnywhere to raise alerts on file transfer issues, Cancer Registry of Greater California (CRGC) finds them invaluable in improving workflow.

“We knew it was important to manage the flow of documents,” states Cory Hamma, systems support manager for CRGC. When files are uploaded by a partner facility, employees are notified of each successful transfer. This establishes a procedure for timely attention to uploaded files and ensures that they don’t go unprocessed.

3. Reducing Menial Tasks

One of AnMed Health’s initiatives was to eliminate the need for third shift staffing. Their results using the efficient automation tools in GoAnywhere saved programming, operations and network staff over 500 hours a month.

A Network Engineer who handled the FTP server spent at least 24 hours a month troubleshooting transfers. According to Nanney, “he doesn’t even touch transfers now unless we need connection assistance.”

But Nanney didn’t stop there. She went on to automate many of their insurance claims and payment processing. This recovered over 50 hours of Data Center time in addition to accelerating the recoup of payments.

During the evaluation of existing FTP processes for migration to GoAnywhere, the UTMC staff discovered they could eliminate custom processes from the procedure. “By eliminating cut off times for output from SQL jobs, labor hours for SQL developers were cut in half,” says Schwarze.

4. Compatibility with Trading Partners

When UTMC was evaluating file transfer solutions “we assumed going in that we could not impact vendors,” stated Schwarze. “Most of the vendors provided an SFTP or FTPS connection for file transfers.” Their modified policy stated that data must not only go over an encrypted connection, but the files need to be encrypted as well.

Schwarze appreciated GoAnywhere’s ability to connect to most systems using standard file transfer protocols. Files are then encrypted and compressed using Open PGP and other standards. He added, “HIPAA does not require the double encryption method, but we felt in this technology environment it would be prudent.”

AnMed Health had several vendors migrate to SFTP, which posed a problem with their old FTP server. “We do transfers with vendors now that would not have been possible without GoAnywhere,” said Nanney.

5. Replacing Inefficient Processes

CRGC covers a population area of nearly 20 million residents across 48 of California’s 58 counties. In order to transmit files between locations, they were utilizing a number of secure email subscription services. Hamma described this being problematic due to, “the file transfer size limitation, lack of organizational control, and complexity for remote users.”

“Many research files exceeded 1 GB in size,” said Hamma, “so the ability to remove that barrier entirely was huge.” GoAnywhere also resolved organizational control with its detailed audit logs that ensure accurate documentation of who, when and where files are accessed.

For AnMed Health, something as simple as replacing green-bar reporting streamlines operations. Nanney’s team now sends reports to a network drive mapped to the IFS, cutting paper costs and eliminating yearly maintenance for “one dinosaur of a printer”.

Regardless of your industry, GoAnywhere’s MFT Suite delivers real results to improve secure file transfer and collaboration processes. Talk to a representative today and discover what GoAnywhere can do for your organization.

To read the full case studies, please visit the links below:

Dropbox is Easy But is it Good for Business?

In the October issue of IBM Systems Magazine, Linoma Software chief architect, Bob Luebbe, raises concerns about the use of cloud-based file sharing apps in a business environment.  In the Technology Showcase, Luebbe questions the practice of trusting sensitive documents to consumer-grade software.

dropbox is easyThese file sharing services – like Dropbox – are popular for exchanging photos and documents between family and friends.  The simple and seemingly magical propagation of files through the Internet to dozens of computers and devices makes it ideal for personal use.

In the article, Luebbe talks about the appeal of these free, or low-cost, file sharing services and the real risk they pose to an organization.  He also presents a secure alternative called Managed File Transfer (MFT) that delivers the same results but with greater control, encryption at rest and in transit, and detailed audit logs.

To learn more, check out Bob Luebbe’s Showcase in the October 2014 issue of IBM Systems Magazine or explore the on-premise MFT solution GoAnywhere™ at GoAnywhere.com.

What GoAnywhere customers should know about Shellshock

On September 24th, vulnerability CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169, also known as Shellshock or the Bash bug, was found in the widely-used Unix Bash shell. The vulnerability allows Bash to execute commands from environment variables unintentionally.

GoAnywhere Director, GoAnywhere Services, and GoAnywhere Gateway run on a JVM which is invoked from within a Bash shell.  While GoAnywhere is not directly affected by this bug, the GoAnywhere startup process utilizes the common JAVA_HOME and JRE_HOME environment variables during the initialization of the JVM.  It is thus possible that a compromised environment variable on a vulnerable Linux and Unix system could cause the startup and shutdown process of GoAnywhere to unintentionally execute other commands and programs.

Linoma Software recommends that our customers who deploy GoAnywhere to Linux and UNIX servers be aware of this security bug and apply the appropriate patches as they become available from your operating system vendor.

SFTP vs FTPS – Best Solution for Secure FTP (Infographic)

With large data breaches recently taking center stage in the media, many businesses have begun paying close attention to internal practices and taking action to improve internal systems and processes. As a result, an increasing number of businesses (people) who rely on data transfers are looking to move away from standard FTP in favor of a more secure method.

We are often asked about the key differences between SFTP and FTPS. There are potential pros and cons with each method, which is why businesses should weigh the differences carefully to determine what option would serve them best.

Over the years, we have tried explaining SFTP vs FTPS in a variety of ways. Between lists and charts and drawings, we found that most people were easily able to comprehend unique aspects of each transfer protocol when it was presented visually.

We created the following infographic to highlight the positives and negatives of using SFTP vs FTPS. You can also view the original blog post for a more detailed comparison.

sftp vs ftps infographic


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Managed File Transfer 101: What’s in it for Me?

managed file transfer 101 - fileTransferGroupThe term MFT (Managed File Transfer) is not new but you may be hearing it more frequently.  Changes in data security and transmission regulations have brought this established technology to the forefront, but what exactly does it entail?

Linoma Software recently hosted “Managed File Transfer 101”, a webinar to present the essentials of MFT and what you should look for when researching an MFT solution for your organization.

Current State of File Transfer

In the presentation, Bob Luebbe, chief architect of Linoma Software, talked about the existing challenges of file transfer:

  • Old technology – such as Standard FTP – is still in use despite limitations and risks posed by data “sent in the clear”.
  • Time consuming manual processes that might include the use of PC tools.  Scripts are also a legacy of old processes that continue to saddle IT departments.  Programmers create and maintain these scripts – often hundreds or thousands – to automate transfers.
  • File access is often too decentralized, making it difficult to control and manage.  Compliance has become more stringent in data management.
  • Lack of notifications critical to insure successful data movement, rather than waiting for a partner to notice missing or incomplete transfers.  Traditional logs can be helpful but are also hard to find and filter for adequate audit trails.  The big issue is meeting data privacy regulations (e.g., PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GLBA and SOX) without centralized logs.
  • Employees are still sending files unchecked.  Without a simple and secure alternative, employees find their own solutions for file portability to maintain productivity.

This final point often involves employees storing sensitive files on their PCs and laptops, sending documents through email, and utilizing cloud storage providers – like Dropbox – without proper controls in place.  If a company doesn’t have internal policies in place to address file sharing and transfers, the liability risk can be severe.

In a 2013 study by Stroz Friedberg on Information Security in American Business, it was found that 3 out of 4 office workers upload work files to their personal email or cloud account.  Of this group, 37% said it was because they prefer using their personal computer while 14% said it’s because taking their work laptop home was simply too much effort.

managed file transfer 101 - 58percent_send_to_wrong_personThe same survey highlighted the role of senior managers in an organization’s data risk.  Often the worst offenders, 58% admitted to accidently sending sensitive information to the wrong person. Just over half also admitted to taking files with them after leaving a job.

While MFT won’t put a stop to this practice, a workflow built on the secure storage of sensitive business documents will add transparency to file access activity.

What is Managed File Transfer?

File Transfers, in their basic form, involve the sharing of files with others through FTP, email or a cloud solution.  In contrast, Managed File Transfer takes a centralized enterprise-level approach to automating and securing file transfers.  This produces a secured, scheduled and trackable file transfer. By creating transparency within your organization, files are tracked and logged as they enter and leave your network.  MFT is a smart solution for companies who understand the liability and risk involved in transmitting sensitive data.

  • Keep files safe and secure
  • Make sure files go where they are needed, when they are needed
  • Track files from start to finish for compliance purposes

To see what MFT looks like in a real world example, the team at Linoma would be happy to schedule a live demo of the GoAnywhere Suite.  You can also click here to view the entire webinar for free. Discover how simple and affordable it can be to utilize an MFT solution in your organization.