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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Let External Users Send Large Files Back Securely without Harassing IT

Summary: Through self provisioning, Accellion Courier secure file transfer appliance empowers end users to work with outside colleagues without unnecessary impediments (including IT intervention).


For a while now, I’ve talked about how easy it is for employees of a company with an Accellion Courier secure file transfer appliance to send files to other people both inside and outside the organization. But what about when a business colleague from outside the company wants to send a file or folder of files to someone “on the inside”? Is this person relegated to the restrictions of conventional methods like CDs, email or FTP?

No! No! No! Not at all! Forget those other methods because the whole point of the Accellion solution is to let people get on with their business!!

The Courier solution can be configured to allow outside colleagues to “provision themselves” (register as a restricted user, in official Accellion jargon) with the appliance to send files back into the company. Such provisioning can be handled in mere minutes without intervention from a system administrator, allowing for true ad hoc file transfer when the business process calls for it.

Here’s how it’s done.

The appliance administrator setups up a web page accessible to outside colleagues for creating their own accounts. This is part of the standard setup for all Accellion appliances.

When an employee wants to set up an outside colleague, he emails the web address for this page to the colleague. This new user enters his valid email address and receives an automated response at that email address to verify his request to use the service.

Once verified, the user can create his own account on the Courier solution and immediately begin using the appliance to send files to internal recipients. (Note that, since this is not a public service, the external user cannot use the appliance to send files to just anyone. He can only send to recognized internal users.)

This whole process has purposely been streamlined to (1) empower employees to work as needed with external parties, and (2) remove IT from the process of approving and setting up new users without compromising the security of the system.

Consider this scenario:

A lawyer, working late at night, gets a phone call from an outside counsel, who has new information to send to the lawyer. This information, in the form of several scanned photographs and other large size documents, could impact the case the lawyer is working on. How can the outside counsel, who resides in another state, get the information to the lawyer quickly? The total files are too large to send via email.

Using CD: If the law firm has no automated file transfer method in place, the lawyer might instruct his colleague to copy the files onto a CD and use a courier service to send the files. Given the late hour of the night, it could take up to two days for the information to be sent across the country.

Using FTP/SFTP: The lawyer knows his company has an FTP/SFTP server to allow for the transfer of large files. But, only an IT administrator can set up access to the server. The lawyer tries to call the IT administrator to make the request but can’t reach him due to the late hour. He leaves a message and hopes for a call back. If the administrator can’t be reached, the lawyer will have to wait until morning to make his request and hope that it can be handled promptly. Then he’ll have to call his colleague back and instruct him on how to use FTP to send the files.

Using Courier secure file transfer appliance: The lawyer sends an email to the outside counsel, inviting him to create an account via the self-provisioning web page. The outside colleague creates his own account in minutes and the lawyer gets what he needs in less than ten minutes.

It’s about empowerment. It’s about ease of use. It’s about letting people get on with their business without having unnecessary obstructions.

Let people work the way they want and need to work. What a concept!


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