By all accounts, the most widely used integration methods deployed today are based on File Transfer Protocol (FTP), a standard developed in the mid- 80s. For many years, organizations (or business units within organizations) have built custom integration solutions using FTP as the data transport mechanism. Unfortunately, FTP carries security risks and is somewhat lacking when it comes to automation, management, and control functionality. The result can be an integration solution that’s weak and inflexible, prone to security risks, and expensive to develop and maintain. More specifically, FTP:

• Lacks mechanisms to determine if a transfer has been successful. In most cases, failed data transfers can’t automatically restart. Your developers are left writing scripts and applications to compensate for this lack of guaranteed delivery.

• Lacks automation capabilities and provides only a manual interface. Developers are left to their own devices to schedule or trigger file transfers. This kind of scripting requires expertise and can become costly and complex.

• Is difficult to integrate with other applications. Because there’s only a manual interface, developers need to do significant custom programming.

• Has weak control mechanisms, making it difficult to track and audit operations, identify problems, or generate reports.

• Suffers from weak security with passwords and data sent in clear text.

• Can’t compress data, resulting in network bandwidth and performance degradation—especially with today’s larger file sizes.

Increases in Data Volumes

Volume is another major issue. As more systems are installed across the enterprise, the quantity and frequency of data exchanged between systems grows. For even a medium-size company, this can involve terabytes of data on a daily basis. These increases create complex challenges. FTP solutions lack the automation and control functionality required to manage these data processes in any meaningful manner. Companies are finding that:

• Data transfer scenarios have become so complex they must be automated to be manageable.

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