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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Integrate Accellion SFTA with Email Client So End Users Do Not Have to Leave Email to Send Large Files Securely

Summary: Integrating Accellion SFTA with your enterprise messaging system makes life very easy for end users and email administrators alike. Steps and sample end user interface below.


If you recall my rambling about Using Exchange/Outlook and Domino/Notes with Accellion Secure File Transfer Appliance, I said that it’s possible to embed an Accellion icon inside the email client so that a user can send an "attachment" via his email and still process the actual transfer through the secure file transfer appliance without clogging up the email server. In other words, this makes the secure file transfer process transparent to the end user.

For those IT admins from Missouri (the Show Me State - for those not familiar with this American colloquialism), the integration process is straightforward for both the end users and the email administrator as described below.

Let’s say your enterprise email environment is Exchange/Outlook and you want to let end users send files from within Outlook like they always do, but still process the transaction through the secure file transfer appliance.

First, you have to buy an SFTA box from Accellion.

Then, the Accellion installation team or the IT administrator would prepare the MSI installers and registry setting which contains the automated instructions for how the SFTA client agent will install on the end users' PCs. Next, the IT administrator would push out the instructions for a controlled roll-out through programs like Microsoft Active Directory Group Policy. The Group Policy program “pings” each desktop and installs the Accellion Outlook agent. So, the key, and only, thing that end users need to do is to make sure that their PCs are turned on and connected to the network. Even the CFO can handle that task without supervision.

The process is similar if your organization uses Lotus Domino and Notes for your enterprise messaging system.

Integrated Exchange Outlook Domino Lotus Notes client plug-in with Courier SFTA
Once the Accellion agent is installed on a user’s desktop, user will notice an extra “A” icon in his email application as shown above. (Outlooks client shown.)

Email administrators can set a threshold size for files that can be sent via email. If a file exceeds that threshold, the file is intercepted and sent via the secure file transfer appliance instead. This can be done automatically, or through a gentle reminder to the end user, telling him to use the file transfer appliance to send large attachments.

How about one-off installations, say for a new employee? In this case, the administrator sends the new user an invitation to install the software. The user clicks on a link to download the installer file, which installs the agent automatically. When the installation is done, the user starts his email client and enters his SFTA account information (same as the email information if AD/LDAP directory integration is used with SFTA). And that’s it.

OK, what if the end user is using a PC that is not configured with the agent? On a public computer, for example. Secure file transfer appliance is always available to authorized users through a web interface. So, even if a user is not at his normal PC, the secure file transfer process is not impeded or compromised in anyway. Or, as an IT director once told me about his end users roll-out, if you know how to use Yahoo Mail, you know how to use Accellion.

By the way, click here to get your SFTA from Accellion.



Accellion Support said...

Just a note... After the user enters their SFTA account information during the first startup, they will not have to re-enter those details again unless the client is re-installed.

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