Posts Tagged secure file transfer

Why Bother Upgrading Beyond Standard FTP?

Posted by on Thursday, 26 September, 2013

Right out of the box, most operating systems come with a built-in File Transfer Protocol (FTP) tool that makes it possible to transfer large files between people, computers and servers.  It accomplishes the key goal, which is to deliver the file from one place to another.  However, too many organizations’ philosophy has been that as long as the files were getting where they needed to go, standard FTP was good enough. That was especially true when they were transferring files internally.

The truth is that FTP alone has never been good enough, because too much information (file data, user names, passwords, etc.) is vulnerable to hackers and it only takes fairly rudimentary hacking skills to steal it.  Now with increased pressure to protect sensitive data coming from regulators and consumers, it’s urgent that companies implement a more secure file transfer method.

Take a look at this short video to hear Bob Luebbe, Linoma Software’s Chief Architect, talk about the dangers of standard FTP.

 

At the end of this video, Bob mentions the value of clustering and load balancing to promote high active-active availability. Since this video was produced, we’ve also added these features to both GoAnywhere Services and GoAnywhere Director.

In fact, Bob just delivered a free webinar on the latest updates to GoAnywhere, and you can view a recorded version here.

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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New Android Mobile App:
GoAnywhere File Transfer at the Tap of a Finger

Posted by on Wednesday, 26 June, 2013

It used to be that when we left work for the day, we really left work.  With today’s mobile culture, however, employees are staying on top of projects and communicating with customers no matter where they are.

Linoma Software found a way to make that a little easier by developing its new GoAnywhere File Transfer mobile application for the Android platform.

Now, GoAnywhere Services customers can securely exchange files with internal servers or trading partners using their mobile phone or tablet.  Trading partners can also download the app and access the customer’s web portal to exchange files securely and conveniently.

The GoAnywhere File Transfer mobile app works much like GoAnywhere Services’ ad hoc web client, and can also send files through Services’ Secure Mail feature.  It is free to download from the Google Play store.

Here are some screenshots of the Android app at work:

GoAnywhere App ad hoc web client From this screen, an employee could send or retrieve files by accessing the GoAnywhere Services ad-hoc web client.
GoAnywhere App secure mail GoAnywhere Services customers can also send files right from their phones or tablets using the Secure Mail feature.
GoAnywhere secure mail module As with the standard GoAnywhere Services Secure Mail module, users can choose from a variety of security settings before they send the secure email.

For more information about the GoAnywhere File Transfer Android app, you may read the official announcement, or contact us via email or by calling 1-800-949-4696. If you’re not familiar with GoAnywhere Services, our secure FTP server solution that’s part of the GoAnywhere managed file transfer suite of products, we’d be happy to schedule a demo with one of our product specialists.

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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Hacking and File Transfers: What You Need to Know

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 December, 2012

In the battle to secure information, it helps to know a little bit about how it can be compromised. Using FTP is one way to expose critical vulnerabilities that can allow credentials to be hacked.  However, these holes in security can also be easily closed if you know how.

How Hackers Discover Vulnerabilities

Here’s how hackers could access sensitive data sent via FTP.  With the use of a “sniffing” tool, an attacker could intercept and log any data traveling across the network. This log can then be analyzed to look at the content that was sent across specific TCP ports like FTP (port 21), as well as the user ID and passwords used to log in to the FTP servers that may have been sent as clear text.

managed file transfer, secure file transferStart with Networks, Routers, and Firewalls

To prevent this kind of hacking, the wired network can be secured by first making sure network ports are not available for public access, and then by separating network segments for sensitive servers and workstations.

However, many companies also have wireless networks where hackers just need reasonable proximity to the Wi-Fi signal, such as in an adjacent office or parking lot.  Therefore, it is critical to secure wireless routers with WPA or WPA2 encryption options, rather than WEP encryption, which is no longer considered effective protection against hackers.

Once networks are secured, the next most effective tactic against hackers is to block all FTP traffic at the firewall. Then, for permitted file transfers, allow only secure encryption protocols such as SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, PGP, or GPG for file exchanges in and out of the network. These security restrictions will deter most hackers.

Security Measures Can Be Challenging

Implementing these security measures is important, but it doesn’t come without some challenges.  The IT staff will have to handle more complicated secure file transfer management processes, and users may be inconvenienced as files are transferred to people and organizations that need them.  As a result, users may look for a workaround for sending and receiving files to avoid being slowed down by the IT staff.  Popular alternatives users may try include email attachments or browser-based cloud services such as Dropbox that present a new vector of vulnerability as these options may not meet necessary security standards.

MFT Minimizes Hassle, Solves Security Vulnerabilities

There is a solution, however, that can provide not only the highest security for file transfers, but also create fewer hassles for both the IT department and the general employee.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions increase data file security implementations and simplify the entire file management process by providing the tools for easily creating and managing all of the unique encryption keys for the company’s various trading partners.  Access controls can be set up for authorizing each employee’s file exchange requirements. MFT also provides a detailed log of all transactions so that any required audits may be easily fulfilled.

Some MFT vendors also provide intuitive and convenient email encryption solutions that can integrate with existing corporate email clients such as Outlook. This reduces the temptation for employees to use workaround tools that may bypass the security restrictions that have been put in place to prevent hacking of sensitive data.

Keeping data secure is an ongoing mandate that will only become more critical as industries move toward paperless environments.  Adopting a managed file transfer solution is one of the best ways to strengthen your file transfer processes and security as the pressure and liability risks continue to grow.

photo credit: kryptyk via photopin cc
 
 

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a technical analyst and writer for various technical and social media projects with Humanized Communications.

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Ad-Hoc File Transfers Present Challenges, Vulnerabilities

Posted by on Thursday, 1 March, 2012

Regardless of industry or job title, most employees who sit at a computer screen all day have, at one time or another, needed to email a file that was too big to send.  For most people outside of IT, that posed a significant obstacle.

Take Betsy, for example. How could Betsy in Marketing send the CEO’s requests for changes to the annual report back to the ad agency if the file was too large to attach to an email?   Fax it, maybe?  So old school!

secure mail, ad-hoc file transferBetsy is eager to do a good job and meet expectations, and hates depending on someone else to help her do something she perceives should be relatively easy to do — like send a file as an email attachment.  Therefore, because her boyfriend told her something about FTP-something, she uses a search engine and finds a host of FTP tools she can download for free that promise to solve her problem quickly and easily.  Score!

Free FTP tools, browser apps, and cloud-based storage, oh my!

This scenario is replicated in thousands of companies every day.  Employees download FTP tools or use FTP features that “come with” their browser, and they rejoiced believing that their file transfer problems were solved.   Others created accounts on cloud-based file storage systems where they uploaded files and then sent an invitation to the recipient to download the file using a specific link.

Unfortunately, while a free FTP tool downloaded from the Internet might solve an immediate need, it often creates a host of other problems, and many of them go unnoticed because IT administrators are unaware that this is happening.

Here are just a few of the challenges for the IT staff:

  • Who has what tool installed on which machine?
  • Who provides support for these tools if there’s a problem with a file transfer?
  • How are the file transfers secured to prevent data breach?
  • Who is monitoring what data is being transferred, by whom, to which recipients, and for what purpose?
  • How is the receipt of the documents confirmed?
  • How will compliance auditors view this approach to ad-hoc file transfers?

There’s no easy solution — or is there?

Company policies could dictate a variety of solutions.  They could block the download of any apps to individual desktops at work, and/or require people who need to do ad-hoc file transfers to register the tool and the relevant login data with the IT department for approval.  They could require that anyone who needed to send a large file make a formal request to the IT department and wait for someone there to send it via the company’s official FTP software or managed file transfer solution. They could require all staff to sit through mandatory training to deter them from continuing this practice.

A more effective approach might be implementing a secure mail tool.  A trustworthy secure mail system will keep the files that need to be transferred stored securely within the organization’s network, and will allow authorized users to email a unique link to a trading partner that they would use to access and download the files via an HTTPS secure channel.

Most of the cloud-based file storage systems provide a similar approach, allowing users to store their files and then invite others to view or download them using a link.

There are critical differences, though, between a secure mail system and the cloud-based apps.  Most importantly, secure mail gives control back to an organization’s IT administrators so they can track file transfers and maintain audit logs, both of which are required by most compliance regulations such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOX and GLBA.  A secure mail system that is controlled by the IT staff can ensure that file transfer policies are followed, and can include additional security features such as requiring additional password protection, applying link expiration dates, and other features.

Bottom line

Most organizations want efficient workflows, employees who feel empowered to do what it takes to meet expectations, and assurances that the data they store and transfer is insulated from external threats.  A secure mail ad-hoc file transfer solution seems like a smart way to accomplish all of those goals.

GoAnywhere Services just released a new Secure Mail module, so check it out.

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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MFT Helps Strengthen Business Relationships

Posted by on Monday, 9 January, 2012

Our business environment today is really all about relationships.  Not just relationships with people but also our relationship with information: private, sensitive, timely, accurate, priceless data that is literally the lifeblood of the business that we obtain daily from our trusting customers and vendors and exchange with our trusted business partners.

managed file transfer, secure file transferOf concern is how information is being exchanged. Too often, business owners/managers are stuck in the mindset of sending business information by email and if it is too big, perhaps by FTP.  Neither of these methods are, by any means, safe and secure. As businesses grow and its information relationships become more complex, how do we know who within the office is sending what data to which partners? And who is actually receiving it? As the demand for data exchange increases, so do the complexity and risk of managing all of these processes.

This increased complexity exponentially increases the chance of some information getting sent to the wrong place at the wrong time or accessed by the wrong people. If this happens, we are required by state laws to disclose this data breach to our customers, which undermines the trust and the relationships that we have so carefully worked to build with clients and partners.

As business processes continue to become more regulated and complex, it is critical that these data exchanges are improved. Controlling and automating data exchanges can be greatly simplified and secured by implementing a managed file transfer (MFT) system. The good news is that it isn’t too difficult with the right tools.  MFT solutions are available to provide powerful, yet simple ways to address these challenges.

Those companies that can earn and maintain the trust of their customers and trading partners not only through their business interactions, but also by the way they respect and protect their data exchanges, will be the leaders in today’s global business environment.

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a technical analyst and writer for various technical and social media projects with Humanized Communications.

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