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Key Differences: EFSS vs MFT/MFTaaS

Key Differences: EFSS vs MFT/MFTaaS

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In our last few blog posts, we’ve explored potential options and solutions for file transfer platforms. However, we wanted to specifically emphasize the comparison between MFT (Managed File Transfer)/MFTaaS (Managed File Transfer as a Service) and EFSS (Enterprise File Sync and Share).

Some key terms we hear regularly in IT conversations - specifically about data/information or file sharing/transfer - are MFT (Managed File Transfer), MFTaaS (Managed File Transfer as a Service) and EFSS (Enterprise File Sync and Share). Both MFT and EFSS can be implemented on premise, in the public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, while MFTaaS is marketed as a SaaS option where your organization is procuring the management and software from a vendor such as FTP Today to remove the additional management load of infrastructure, platform, configuration and monitoring from administrators. Additionally, all these solutions are going to be used for transferring or sharing data/information, files, etc. to/from multiple devices, locations, users, organizations, but EFSS stands in contrast to MFT/MFTaaS.

An additional concern for IT being burdened with the task of deciding if EFSS or MFT/MFTaaS is the more secure option. This is caused by the rise of external information security regulations and internal increases in security posture requiring more robust cybersecurity defense. There is confusion around the resemblance of these solutions. Can these solutions be used synonymously? When should you use one or the other? Do these solutions do the same thing? We wrote this blog to hopefully clear up some of these questions!

The Key Difference

Yes - EFSS and MFT/MFTaaS have similar features. However, MFT/MFTaaS serves a primary purpose of securing and automating arrays of file transfers amongst customers, partners, and systems on a range of platforms, and can help an organization automate these transfers across multiple protocols.

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EFSS

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) demand is growing due to the increase of organizations employees – and their devices – being mobile. This solution seems ideal for team environments with the availability of free tools along with the convenience. Unfortunately, the regulatory fines could hinder operations when these tools are not used correctly. Additionally, EFSS platforms can be difficult to secure, and account for a large amount of shadow IT file transfer services as most users can get their own free accounts.

EFSS enables users to share and sync files, information, documents, etc. between devices and with partners, employees, and customers. Organizations can implement this solution using the cloud, on-premise or hybrid infrastructures based on the compliance or security requirements. Often, an organization will provide an EFSS solution to keep their employees from using consumer file sharing tools like Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. as these cannot be administered by IT.

Almost all the time, Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) have features that allow users to comment, edit, and/or track version variations using workflow functionality – hence they are sometimes referred to as collaboration platforms They often include security features like encryption, containerization, and authentication. In some instances, IT can implement granular access policies that control who can access what. For manual work that requires a lot of changes across teams, an EFSS solution can be helpful.

Examples

  1. Google Drive
  2. OneDrive/Microsoft 365
  3. Box
  4. DropBox

Features

This determination is based on the specific platform chosen for your organization but the most common features for EFSS are the following:

  • Restrict the ability to make changes to access controls for folders and files
  • Collaboration on documents via external integration
  • The ability to search for folders and files
  • The ability to access history logs and for recovery of previous versions
  • Desktop folder synchronization with desktop application
  • Activity log for user-monitored files/folders

When You Should Implement EFSS

Collaborative team environments are usually when EFSS is most applicable. Your organization should think about choosing EFSS over MFT/MFTaas when:

  • You need the functionality to collaborate and receive feedback directly within a document, file, report etc. that is shared.
  • Your organization needs to efficiently be able to edit and access information on different devices.
  • You require the ability to safely share files and folders with your organization.

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MFT/MFTaaS

Managed File Transfer (MFT)/Managed File Transfer as a Service (MFTaaS) allows organizations to reliably secure and automate the transfer of data, files, etc. across systems, processes, and users. These solutions provide more control over end-user access control and provisioning than a simple collaboration tool.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) means that IT administrators are not building their own security parameters from scratch, managing automation scripts, or configuring network protocols. MFT brings all these features into an easy-to-use software that streamlines enterprise organization file and data transfer. This solution can be on-premise or in the cloud.

When MFT is based in the cloud and your organization has hired a third party to manage the infrastructure, platform, patching, security updates, and development, it’s called Managed File Transfer as a Service (MFTaaS). This solution applies the software as a service (SaaS) concept to MFT. This can be accessed from any browser or computer connected to the platform via file transfer protocols such as FTP, SFTP, FTPS, or FTPeS, and perhaps older deprecated protocols.

Examples

  1. FTP Today
  2. SmartFile
  3. Globalscape EFT
  4. Progress MoveIt
  5. ExaVault/Files.com

Features

The following features are typically included with most Managed File Transfer solutions:

  • Vast security controls to abide by different compliance requirements
  • The ability to connect with systems to automate batch transfers and assure that transmissions take place as required
  • Successful File upload or download notifications with auto-resume and connection attempts
  • Advanced logging and reporting to assist with successful auditing
  • Various up-to-date secure protocols supported – SFTP, FTPS, and HTTPS if you choose a high-quality solution provider like FTP Today with a robust web application
  • Can be implemented on-premise, in the cloud or as SaaS, and hybrid
  • Administrative tools for streamlining certain processes via automation

When You Should Implement MFT/MFTaaS

Organizations ranging from Small, to Midsized, to Enterprise level businesses can benefit from an MFT/MFTaaS and should decide if choosing MFT/MFTaaS over EFSS is the best option when:

  • You need to implement complex workflows like parsing or compression
  • Your organization needs to share information with users or entities that are external to your organization
  • You must transfer large files or large amounts of files
  • You prefer to add additional security such as data at-rest encryption, or data in transit encryption
  • You are monitoring file transfers to ensure automatic processing
  • You regularly automate transfers
  • You will need to utilize FTP, SFTP, FTPS, or FTPeS protocols to integrate file transfer with external partners and systems

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Criteria for Determining if EFSS or MFT/MFTaaS is Right for Your Business

These are important questions to ask when deciding if your organization needs EFSS or a more secure solution like MFT/MFTaaS:

  • Do you have any trading partners or clients that require your file transfer policies to be compliant with specific regulations for log creation and retention?
  • Will you need to automate file or data transfers safely and securely among different organizational business systems with reliable protocols such as SFTP, FTPeS, or HTTPS?
  • Do you need file sync and collaboration as part of your platform, or only the ability to transfer files?
  • Does your organization require some users to connect via SSH key for transfers?
  • Is it important for your organization that your file transfer/file sharing, data transfer systems provide for, or integrates with, secure IT tools like directory services or anti-virus software?
  • Are things like user access, visibility, or control of external file transfers/data sharing required by your corporate security policies?

Conclusion

You want to ensure you get the best file sharing option for your business. To do that you must select the solution that provides the greatest level of security and support to ensure using either an EFSS or MFT/MFTaaS solution is easy for your employees, partners, and clients. To learn more about how FTP Today can enable your organization to Share with Confidence™ contact us today!

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About Brendon Ainsworth

Learner, Researcher, Customer-focused, and the Chief Revenue Officer & VP of Sales for FTP Today. Brendon has successfully navigated multiple industries and has infrastructure certifications in GCP and AWS. He started his career in Oil & Gas business development and successfully transitioned to Rackspace as a Mid to Large enterprise technology consultant and then as a leader.

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