Why managed file transfer is essential for compliance


describe the imageAs supply chains grow and depend more on data for virtually every facet of operation, more information has to be transmitted within companies and out to business partners every day. With more data in transit, opportunities for lax security or mismanagement to leak, exploit or otherwise compromise information are on the rise. This is not only a security and productivity risk, but a major compliance issue - one that could have significant consequences for the bottom line.

Managed file transfer solutions are critical to complying with government and industry regulations. Without a comprehensive plan to secure data as it moves about corporate networks and storage systems, organizations are putting themselves at risk. A managed file transfer solution can limit IT headaches and compliance spending while actually providing the regulatory approval - and more importantly, the holistic protection - that today's information security demands.

Compliance: A work in progress
With compliance concerns taking on a much larger role in the enterprise than ever before, many companies have found themselves stuck in a seemingly endless game of catch up. Recently, Deloitte partnered with Compliance Week to release the 2014 Compliance Trends Report, which talked to more than 200 chief compliance officers about the progress and pressures of compliance. The results showed an industry still grappling with rapid evolution.

Overall, companies are paying more attention and provisioning more resources toward compliance management. More than half of the respondents survey stated that chief compliance officer is now a standalone job in their organizations, a significant jump from the 37 percent that said so last year. Three times as many CCOs believe that budgets will increase in 2015 as those who project decreases on the horizon. Compliance officers are also gaining a more important seat at the executive table, and many see their organizations making progress.

However, the rosier outlook still must be contrasted with the grimmer picture of reality. Compliance Week contributor Joe Mont noted that rising budgets and staffing levels may still be inadequate for matching the pace at which regulatory demands and compliance risks are growing. Budgets, while higher, are still only $1 million or less for 40 percent of respondents. Although there are more CCOs, nearly half of the respondents have five or fewer employees on their teams dedicated solely toward compliance efforts.

How managed file transfer can help
Two key managed file transfer solutions that can be leveraged in the endeavor to improve security and compliance are IBM Sterling  File Gateway and IBM Sterling Secure Proxy. Here are some of the major benefits each offers:

  • IBM Sterling File Gateway is a comprehensive managed file transfer solution. As mentioned above, many organizations are struggling to understand how critical secure file transfer protocols are to the bottom line. Sterling File Gateway can help organizations better facilitate high volume data transfers that need to be completed in narrow time frames, with a variety of trading partners that utilize a wide range of communications tools and file formats. It breaks down departmental silos by providing a centralized repository for file movements, which ensures that all materials are sent and received according to an enterprise standard consistent across all departments. 

    Sterling File Gateway also provides support in the ongoing challenge to secure file transfers without diminishing the quality of the user experience. Employees need to be able to access the information they need and use it to communicate with a minimum of red tape and approval processing. Sterling File Gateway increases visibility and transparency, rather than imposing further restrictions on employees, under the notion that maintaining oversight and audit trails is a more effective means of keeping information protected in today’s bustling enterprises. This gives users a clear set of policies to use in all data transfers and leaves organizations with comprehensive records that they can use to avoid breaches or compliance issues.
  • IBM Sterling Secure Proxy improves compliance efforts by better protecting the organization's network perimeter. It starts with industry-leading practices for firewall navigation, which shore up vulnerabilities at a critical point of the system by keeping unnecessary user information and files out of the DMZ. This provides a holistic shield for the outer edges of a company's network that hackers will feast on if it's not protected sufficiently. Beyond the DMZ, the Secure Proxy solution can be configured, with the help of a managed services provider, to specify rules for the system engines and file transfer protocols operating within the corporate network.

    Secure Proxy also offers the highest level of control over all activities happening within the file transfer system, once again with a minimum effect on usability. Organizations can tailor their error handling response, impose limits on computing sessions and customize encryption standards to block denial-of-service attacks and other malicious backdoor threats. In the effort to achieve compliance with standards, companies need to eliminate any network unknowns or practices that could render the system vulnerable. By employing a highly customizable environment, enterprises can ensure that their compliance and security spending results in them getting the most bang for their buck.
Be compliant and strategic with managed file transfer: