B2B Gateways provide crucial business-to-business integration by enabling electronic data exchange of documents between two companies. They support a variety of protocols such as FTP, AS2 etc. and document standards like EDI and XML. B2B Gateways have become de-facto standard for B2B Integration and every mid to large size organization owns at least one.
Managed File Transfer (MFT) products on the other hand provide a similar functionality but are geared towards file exchanges and do not provide any document translation. Complementing a B2B Gateway infrastructure with a Managed File Transfer (MFT) infrastructure can provide significant benefits to any organization.
1. Using good ol’ FTP for file transfers is more prevalent than you think. FTP sends username and password information in the clear and anyone intercepting the packets can get hold of your FTP account in seconds. That is where MFT can help secure your file exchanges. Now B2B Gateways also provide secure file transfers, but you probably do not want to put all those file transfers on your mission critical gateway. MFT can complement B2B and secure the transfers that do not need to go through the B2B Gateway.
2. Complement MFT for large file transfers. Exchanging large files such as CAD/CAM using B2B Gateway can delay other mission critical transfers such as payments. So, maintaining a separate MFT infrastructure for such non-B2B transfers can take the load off of your B2B and provide an reliable alternative for non-B2B transaction files.
3. File transfers have become complex over the years and partners and their file transfer systems have their own quirks. MFT products are better suited to handle file transfer quirks than B2B Gateways. Moving, renaming, PGP, streaming and acceleration are some capabilities that are native to MFT products and are better suited for them.
4. Share partners between B2B and MFT infrastructure depending on nature of file transfer required. Depending on the standards and protocol requirements, you can configure a partner either on MFT or B2B infrastructure or even both. For example a partner requiring SFTP with PGP may be better suited on MFT system and another partner requiring AS2 may be more suited for exchanges via B2B Gateways. If a partner does both SFTP and AS2, they can be configured on both.
5. Last but not the least; MFT not only helps with B2B file transfers but it can also fix internal file transfers. Companies runs dozens of servers just to move files from point A to B in their IT. This provides structure to the transfers and adds accountability.
Number of file transfers companies transfer externally goes up every year and file transfer remains a big challenge today. Recently, we have launched an Managed File Transfer (MFT) product at Software AG to complement our B2B Gateway offerings. Check out the www.softwareag.com/MFT page to learn more about it.