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Friday, June 16, 2006

Much Ado About Tumbleweed and FTP Security

Neighborly is my motto. I talk regularly with other companies in the file transfer space and I believe that everyone, end users and Accellion, benefits from having a wide spectrum of solutions.

With that bit of personal philosophy in mind, I am much amused by Tumbleweed's announcement on their latest FTP tool, a sniffer to track FTP traffic designed to monitor unsecured and unauthorized FTP activities. Then, there were comment from L. Frank Kenney of Gartner on the importance of securing file transmissions for security and compliance.

(Note to self: call Frank, it has been a while.)

The irony is that FTP is one of the pillar protocols of Tumbleweed's Secure Transport.

To quote Tumbleweed's own press release on the peril of FTP: "The use of unmanaged FTP to share sensitive data continues to put organizations at risk. Internet FTP usage is widespread, often insecure, and leaves company data exposed and vulnerable. In many instances, organizations are unaware of the FTP traffic taking place within their IT environments. Without a monitoring system in place, organizations have no visibility into the volume and type of FTP traffic traversing their networks. Over time, many organizations find that they have fostered an environment with a large number of "rogue" FTP servers."

On one hand, I admire people who try harder when it does not work the first time. On the other, I think the ability to step back and declare that more patches and analyzers would not address the root causes of "rogue" FTP servers is the true sign of a strategic (IT and business) thinker.

Enterprise users need to send large files and folders securely to users in other parts of the world and outside of the organization. Technology is but an enabler.

Or, to paraphrase a famous political slogan, "It's the results, stupid."

Despite being the obvious technical solution since the 1971's RFC114 document, FTP is not cutting it for most enterprise users in today's collaborative environment.

The strategic insight is that secure file transfer is a core business process - a critical part of the day-to-day transactions that must be robust enough in the face of the myriad of unimaginable yet inevitable human glitches and operator errors. It is not about making FTP transmissions secure. It is not about monitoring "rogue" FTP traffic.

It is about giving the end users the ability for secure file transfer that fits into existing processes without adding to IT management burden. It is about finding solutions like Accellion Courier SFTA.

Give a straight answer when the CEO wants to know your strategies to remove company assets from a protocol known for "unsecured" and "rogue" traffic according to Tumbleweed, without crossing fingers behind your back.

Now, imagine that!


TechWorld fumed that the Tumbleweed announcement was a sales-get ploy to get your contact information.

Chill, I say.

In solidarity with my file transfer brethren in Tumbleweed, I would like to offer our whitepaper, with no 30 day limitation, on Secure File Transfer as a Core Business Process.

Better yet, click here so we can tell you how Courier SFTA works for you.

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