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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Secure File Transfer for Teaching Hospitals and Research Institutions

Summary: Teaching and research hospitals are finding the Accellion secure file transfer solution helps them conduct critical work more efficiently.


Secure transfer of very large file is an universal issue for most organizations. So, in addition to supporting law firms (read Secure File Transfer for Law Firm Attorneys, Counsels, and Clients), Accellion also has a sizable number of installations in teaching/research hospitals throughout the country.

Beyond providing a first class solution to meet users' needs, we do take special pride in supporting these institutions because their Accellion secure file transfer appliances, as part of their everyday workflow, contribute in their own way to improving healthcare and medical research for cancer patients in Boston and children care in Memphis.

It is a karma thing.

Feel good sentiment aside, what these organizations need to address is very similar to most professional organizations that trade in knowledge -- how to exchange very large amounts of information securely and easily with internal and external users.

Researchers at most of these institutions work on projects that draw on resources and knowledge across a number of organizational boundaries to solve life and death questions. A study of avian flu may be conducted in Memphis but the field experts on N5H1 outbreaks with the most current data are in Asia. Or, a less dramatic, but equally pressing, issue for researchers is the ability to share grant data with collaborators on a timely basis because financial support from these grants is what makes most of these works possible.

In these scenarios, the problems are myriad:

  • 1. There may be attachment size limits (within email) so that the sender cannot send the data to the research facility.

  • 2. A recipient may have an incoming attachment size limit so that the email attachment is rejected.

  • 3. An external sender may have an attachment size limit preventing the the data to come back.
The traditional answer is to use a flavor of FTP/SFTP for file transfer. But, end users -- typically brilliant Ph.D.'s and medical doctors -- often find the FTP/SFTP interface confusing and cumbersome to use. (Read When it Absolutely, Positively Has To Get There and Back, Right Now.) So, time can be wasted on IT issues instead of the research at hand.

Worse yet, with FTP/SFTP and its common directory structure, there is a real chance of picking up the wrong data files. Imagine spending a whole week conducting analysis on file "09072006-114B" instead of "09072006-114C". Oh, and as we’ve pointed out in Virus, via Email File Attachment, FTP/SFTP, or Website Download, is still a Virus, FTP is insecure and the research dataset may even get infected with a computer virus, rendering it useless.

So, the real solution is a secure file transfer appliance designed to handle very large files that not only complies with various regulations like HIPAA but also allows users from different organizations to easily share the dataset and grant proposals.

Equally important, with Accellion SFTA's self-provisioning capability for external users, researchers are no longer at the mercy of IT administrators as part of their work flow. And, frankly, from what all the IT people that I have talked with have told me, they too love to get out of the business of setting up FTP/SFTP access for users.

Like my fellow bow-tie collector and Senior Director and Chief Security Officer of Cornell University's Weill Medical College, Dr. Steve Erde, said, "The [Accellion Courier Secure File Transfer] appliance alleviates the concerns associated with file transfers that have troubled our users for many years, and does so in a very cost-effective manner.”

Read the announcement on the Cornell WMC deployment.

Find out more about how Cornell University Weill Medical College uses Accellion SFTA by clicking here.

Yes, folks, we’re all about getting the files from "here" to "there" and "back" quickly, securely, and cost-effectively. And if Accellion happens to help in the race to make your life better, it is all in a day's work.


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