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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ubiquity or Commodity - What a Secure File Transfer Solution Is and Isn't

Summary: In the IT world, we often (mistakenly) use words like "ubiquitous" and "commodity" interchangeably. Secure file transfer is a ubiquitous process but the solutions are not a commodity. Remember that and you are already ahead of the game in your selection process.

Don't forget to go to the bottom to see what Accellion has been up to

In a recent conversation with a friend who runs an enterprise-class email company, I was yakking about how hosted email has become a "commodity" where everyone seems to have several email addresses from the likes of Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail. My friend corrected me on email as a commodity, however. Yes, email is everywhere and everyone uses it, which makes email ubiquitous. But:

A true commodity product is highly standardized and interchangeable with like products. In IT hardware, DRAM cards would be an example of a commodity. In IT software, a standard FTP package is an example.

In the enterprise solution world, however, the fact that something – like email – is common (a.k.a. ubiquitous) and often has similar functionality from many different vendors does not make it a commodity. To wit, everyone uses hosted email, but it’s extremely difficult to build and maintain an email system on an enterprise or carrier scale to support millions of users. Even for the end users, there are myriad considerations such as protocols, security features, user interfaces, administration, etc. that distinguish one solution from another.

(As the saying goes, to plagiarize is to pay the ultimate compliment.)

In the secure file transfer business that Accellion is in, I would make the same argument. The act of transferring files may be ubiquitous and common to most business processes, but the method of transferring files securely is certainly not a commodity.

In fact, if we look at how Accellion has architected the process of securely transferring files, it is a rarity compared to the alternative methods such as a homegrown FTP solution, CD/FedEx, or email attachments. We find there are very few directly competitive products because building an “on demand” file transfer solution like Accellion’s is not easy. In other words, end users and the IT team often had to compromise security for usability until they found Accellion.

I regularly hear from customers and prospects about how Accellion's features in security, availability, ease of use, ease of administration, auditability, and so on make it an ideal file transfer solution for an enterprise-class deployment.

So, let's make a distinction between ubiquity and commodity. Secure file transfer is a ubiquitous process for most enterprise activities. But secure file transfer solution is not a commodity. As a matter of a fact, by recognizing the fact that secure file transfer is not a commodity, you are already ahead of the game in selecting the right secure file transfer solution for your organization.


Accellion in the News
Media Coverage

Healthcare IT News: Clarian Health finds quick way to transfer filesClarian Health finds quick way to transfer files
: Clarian Health Partners’ telemedicine program... has found a way to save time, money – and aggravation – by getting done in two hours what might have taken two weeks in the past.

Law Technology News Done Deals: Accellion & Keker & Van Nest
LTN Done Deals: Accellion & Keker & Van Nest
: Litigation firm Keker & Van Nest has purchased Accellion Inc.'s file transfer system.

Press Releases
Accellion Makes Global Collaboration Easier With Internationalization of Secure File Transfer Solution

Barkley Selects Accellion to Solve Inadequacy of Email File Transfer

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