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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

3 Easy Steps to Secure File Transfer Nirvana - a.k.a. why IT and users love appliance solutions

Summary: Like the humble toasters, a dedicated appliance solution like Accellion Secure File Transfer Appliance can be installed and deployed in three simple steps that would allow IT and users to get on with their lives.

I enjoy all aspects of culinary arts. I can regale you about the Atlantic spiny lobster in Spain as discussed on eGullet or the results of the Dim Sum Civil War in the San Francisco bay area instigated by ChowHounds and I have been known to take three months to prepare a dish (duck confit, in case you are wondering).

But, truth be told, the tool that I use most frequently in the kitchen is the humble toaster. Just press down on the handle and, by the time table is set, crunchy and golden toasts are ready.

I’m convinced that most people prefer simple appliances that do exactly what you need them to do, with practically no setup and intervention. Just press and watch it work.

It’s the same in the IT world. Technology buyers prefer solutions that do exactly what you expect them to do - requiring minimum setup and as little on-going IT intervention as possible.

End users, they want the technical equivalent of a toaster too, because they want to get a job done without getting a second degree in IT support.

In this light, it is only appropriate that the "A" in Accellion's SFTA stands for Appliance (as in Secure File Transfer Appliance). Unlike FTP/SFTP servers or email attachments that require extensive initial setup and vigilant on-going monitoring, you plug in an SFTA and it works.

Toaster for IT Administrators

To prove that I'm not overstating the easy plug-and-play nature of this appliance, I want to share the gist of the installation guide that I got from the Accellion Field Support team. Or, as I like to think, these instructions are the "three steps to secure file transfer nirvana for IT administrators":

Step 1: Pre-installation
- Configure your firewall to allow access to and from the appliance.

Step 2: Physical installation
- Rack mount the server and connect the cables (monitor, keyboard, Ethernet, and power)

Step 3: Configuration
- Specify network settings (host name, IP/subnet mask, DNS, and gateway)
- Choose a notification email address

All told, these instructions should take a prepared IT professional less than half an hour to have an SFTA up and running. When was the last time you had a complete IT solution available to all users in that short amount of time?

Toaster for End users

For an end user to send a large dataset:

a) Select the recipient’s email address
b) Select file/folder(s) to send
c) Add a personal note if desired
d) Press 'Send'

No complicated steps. No long URL strings to copy/paste. No extra settings to worry about. Like Dr John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School, said, "[SFTA] is exceptional because the numerous emails about ad hoc large file transfer have vanished since its installation."

End users like SFTA for their secure file transfer needs. Sort of like making toast with a toaster.


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