Posts Tagged FTP

How Managed File Transfer Changed My Life

Posted by on Tuesday, 24 January, 2012
In addition to being one of Linoma Software’s expert bloggers, Daniel Cheney is also in the IT trenches, and it was here that he first discovered the impact the switch to a managed file transfer solution had on his daily work life.
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As a technology administrator at a major healthcare administration company, sending and receiving sensitive files between various systems used to be a daily grind and a consistent source of stress. We were using PC-based freeware FTP tools and the built in FTP functions on the IBM iSeries. The best we could do with scripting was to use CL command scripts to call the FTP function and hard code the login information. RPG programs would then call the CL scripts and retrieve and send the needed files, but there were insufficient logs and alerts for such automated activities.

managed file transfer, secure file transfer, secure ftpThe biggest headache for me was that these scripts, and the resultant sending of files, had to be error-free and reliable! Add to that the pressure of knowing how critical exchanging files is to the operation of the business and the challenge of  having a single person responsible for its success — it all became an unrealistic expectation.  On top of this, because most of these files are sent over the Internet, and because of the inadequate tools we had at hand, the security of our FTP processes was insufficient.

I knew it was time to find a better solution and after doing some evaluation of available managed file transfer products for IBM iSeries, I selected GoAnywhere™ Director from Linoma Software.

Our installation of GoAnywhere Director made a huge difference almost immediately.

First, Director provides me with all the possible security protocols available, including SFTP, FTPS, and standard FTP with PGP encryption.  It also has powerful scripting functions to login to HTTP and HTTPS sessions in order to automate logins to partner sites for file transfers.

Director makes it possible to automate all of the company’s file transfers with a schedule and log so we know the path and time of every transaction.  Alerts are automatically sent to us if there are any problems, or if we wish, every time it succeeds.  Responsibility can be distributed to various departments as needed to receive these alerts and/or to begin the execution of the transfers when ready.

The simple-to-navigate web interface makes it easy for any user to view, verify, change and execute these file transfers.  The scripting is easy for the average user to setup. If there are any challenges that we come up against with our file transfer processes, Linoma support has always been extremely effective at showing me how to do a successful execution.

I know how frustrating it can be to initiate, monitor, and track the ever increasing number of file transfers my company requires, especially without an all-in-one tool like managed file transfer.  It amazes me how many IT people still don’t realize there’s a better way to do things — a way that gives them more control, and more time to devote to all the other projects demanding their attention.  I know managed file transfer — and specifically GoAnywhere Director — changed my life at work.  I hope more of my IT colleagues discover the advantages soon.

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a freelance writer for various technical and social media projects.

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Message Queues and Network Shares Added to Managed File Transfer Solution

Posted by on Monday, 28 February, 2011

The new 3.5 release of GoAnywhere Director is now available with more features to help organizations automate, secure and manage file transfers.

In this new release, GoAnywhere Director provides simpler access to files and folders on Network Shares. It can also connect to enterprise Message Queues (e.g. WebSphere MQ) for better integration with customer applications. The new version also includes “File Monitors” which can be used to easily scan for new, modified and/or deleted files in targeted folders. Additionally, this release includes the ability to auto-resume file transfers if FTP and secure FTP connections are broken.

In addition, better High Availability (HA) capabilities allow GoAnywhere Director to store configurations in customer database systems including SQL Server, MySQL and DB2 for IBM I (iSeries). This allows customers to manage and replicate this data using in-house database and HA tools.

I’ll say it again, that of all the tools I have purchased over 28 years in I.T. GoAnywhere Director is my favorite! ~ Don McIntyre, Kansas City, Missouri School District

Read the press release  > >

FTP “Lack of Security” Exposed

Posted by on Monday, 24 January, 2011

Apollo Project CSM Simulator Computers and ConsolesFTP was designed as an easy mechanism for exchanging files between computers at a time when networks were new and information security was an immature science. In the 1970s, if you wanted to secure a server from unwanted access, you simply locked the computer room door. User access to data was controlled by the basic User ID and password scenario. (Right is a reminder of how much technology has advanced since the 1970s. The photograph,  taken December 11, 1975, is the Apollo Project CSM Simulator Computers and Consoles. Photo Courtesy of NASA.)

The Internet did not yet exist and the personal computer revolution was still a decade away.

Today, the security of business file transfers is of paramount importance. The exchange of business records between computing systems, between enterprises, and even across international borders has become critical to the global economy.

Yet, the original native FTP facility of TCP/IP wasn’t designed for the requirements of the modern, globally connected enterprise. FTP’s basic security mechanisms – the User ID and password — have long ago been outdated by advances in network sleuthing technologies, hackers, malware, and the proliferation of millions of network-attached users.

Risks associated with using native (standard) FTP include:

  • Native FTP does not encrypt data.
  • A user’s name and password are transferred in clear text when logging on and can therefore be easily recognized.
  • The use of FTP scripts or batch files leaves User IDs and passwords in the open, where they can easily be hacked.
  • FTP alone, does not meet compliance regulations. (For example: HIPAA, SOX, State Privacy Laws, etc.)
  • When using an FTP connection, the transferred data could “stray” to a remote computer and not arrive at their intended destination leaving your data exposed for third parties or hackers to intercept.
  • Conventional FTP does not natively maintain a record of file transfers.

The first step is to examine how FTP is being used in your organization. The next step is to identify how your organization needs to manage and secure everyone’s file transfers. The final step is to evaluate what type of Managed File Transfer Product your company needs.

For more information download our White Paper – Beyond FTP: Securing and Managing File Transfers.

Was FTP Behind the Wikileaks Breach?

Posted by on Monday, 3 January, 2011

November and December were difficult months for IT security.

Wikileaks began on Sunday November 28th publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. How do security officials believe these documents were originally retrieved by the alleged source, Pfc. Bradley Manning? Many security professionals are wondering if FTP was the software mechanism used.

Also in the news was the security breach at the popular publication Gawker.com. Over the weekend of December 11, Gawker discovered that 1.2 million accounts were compromised, the infrastructure breached, and access to MySQL databases raided. Gawker internal FTP credentials were listed as a part of the breach.

Gawker’s problems prompted Social Networking giant LinkedIn to reset the passwords of all users that had Gawker.com accounts, for fear of contamination by hackers who had gained Gawker profile information.

Smaller national headlines of other breaches included the theft of an undisclosed number of email addresses, birth-dates, and other information by a contractor working for McDonalds.

Also, it was reported that a mailing list was pilfered from the drugstore giant Walgreens. In addition, a leak of law enforcement data was reported by a Mesa County, Colorado.

Finally, a popular Open Source FTP server software application, ProFTPD version 1.3.3c, was distributed containing a malicious backdoor that permits hackers to access FTP credentials. It is thought the attackers took advantage of an un-patched security flaw in the FTP daemon to gain access to the server and exchange distribution files.

What do these various breaches have in common? The threats may be too diverse to slip into a single category, but the likely culprit is the use of powerful native FTP, without proper, secure management. Once a doorway is left open, native unmanaged FTP access can wreak havoc in any organization.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Using a managed secure file server like Linoma Software’s GoAnywhere Services – which has granular permissions and security controls, along with detailed audit logs and alerts – IT can monitor and better secure and control its data resources.

Regardless of how your organization or your trusted business partners are configured to exchange data, isn’t it time to consider a better way to manage your company’s file transfer security?

Related Blog Post: Are You Confident Your FTP Credentials are Secure?

Thomas Stockwell

Thomas M. Stockwell is one of Linoma Software's subject matter experts and a top blogger in the industry. He is Principle Analyst at IT Incendiary, with more than 20 years of experience in IT as a Systems Analyst, Engineer, and IS Director.

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