AIMultiple ResearchAIMultiple Research

Top 8 Managed File Transfer (MFT) Solutions in 2024

As the complexity of business operations increases, so does the need for secure, efficient, and scalable file transfer solutions. File transfers are used in ~50% of system integrations. However, file transfer protocols such as file transfer protocol (FTP) and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) cannot satisfy modern corporate needs.

As the complexity of business operations increases, so does the need for secure, efficient, and scalable file transfer solutions. File transfers are used in ~50% of system integrations. However, file transfer protocols such as file transfer protocol (FTP) and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) cannot satisfy modern corporate needs.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) technologies offer a reliable alternative to traditional FTP and HTTP protocols, providing businesses with robust functionalities such as real-time monitoring, secure encryption, and automation of file transfers. This article provides a comprehensive guide to selecting the most suitable file transfer automation software for your business needs.

Comparison of top MFT Solutions

MFT ProductsRatings*Free Trial
ActiveBatch4.6/5 based on 330 reviews✅ for 30 days
Stonebranch4.5/5 based on 85 reviews
Demo available on request
GoAnywhere MFT by Fortra4.7/5.0 based on 367 reviews✅ for 30 days
JSCAPE4.6/5.0 based on 122 reviews✅ for 7-days

MOVEit
4.5/5.0 based on 515 reviews✅ for 30 days
Thru MFT by Dell Boomi4.5/5.0 based on 102 reviews✅ for 30 days
Aspera by IBM4.4/5.0 based on 51 reviews✅ for 30 days
Hightail Spaces by OpenText4.3/5.0 based on 982 reviewsFree version available with limited features
Serv-U by Solar Winds 4.3/5.0 based on 224 reviews✅ for 14 days

Table 1: Managed file transfer tools.

*Ratings are based on Capterra, Gartner, and G2. The vendors are listed according to their ratings, except ActiveBatch and Stonebranch; see the Transparency Statement below.

Transparency Statement

Numerous emerging tech companies, including ActiveBatch and Stonebranch, are sponsors of AiMultiple.

How we choose top MFT Vendors

When selecting the top 7 managed file transfer software for review, we took into account these specific, publicly confirmable criteria:

  • Employee Count: There’s a relationship between a company’s revenue and its employee numbers. Therefore, we concentrated on firms that have more than 300 employees.
  • References: Our focus is on vendors with a proven track record, which includes having at least one Fortune 500 company as a reference.

Following the application of the specified criteria to narrow down the products, we focused on analyzing the leading companies based on:

  • Market presence determined by customer feedback: B2B reviews are directly related to the user base of a particular software. We utilized the review count to arrange the software in the table above.

Top 8 Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions analyzed

ActiveBatch

ActiveBatch is a tool designed for automating job scheduling and managing workloads, enabling IT teams to automate tasks and sequences of jobs across different platforms. This solution aids in the automation of application workflows throughout the entire IT infrastructure, including multi-cloud and on-premise environments. It serves as a unified tool for workload automation.

  • Capterra:4.8/5.0 based on 52 reviews1
  • Gartner:4.3/5.0 based on 61 Reviews2
  • G2: 4.6/5 based on 171 Reviews3

Stonebranch

Stonebranch offers a workload automation solution enabling companies to organize, automate, and synchronize IT tasks through a single integrated platform. It simplifies the management of workflows across multiple platforms and applications, even when data is stored in disparate locations. Its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface allows users to easily create workflows and manage the entire workload of the organization.

Moreover, Stonebranch facilitates integration by offering pre-built integrations, enabling users to create custom ones, or to choose from a range of integration templates available in the Stonebranch Integration Hub. The solution also features informative visual dashboards and comprehensive reports that provide valuable insights and assist in tracking Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

  • Capterra: N/A
  • Gartner: 4.7/5.0 based on 7 Reviews 4
  • G2: 4.5/5 based on 74 reviews5

GoAnywhere MFT

GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a software solution by Fortra. It is designed to streamline and secure data exchange between systems, employees, customers, and trading partners. GoAnywhere MFT provides a centralized platform that simplifies the management of file transfers while ensuring that those transfers meet compliance standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and more.

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.8/5.0 based on 125 reviews 6
  • Gartner: 4.6/5.0 based on 58 reviews7
  • G2: 4.7/5.0 based on 184 reviews8

MOVEit

MOVEit Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a software solution designed to manage, view, and control all file transfer activities within an organization. MOVEit MFT provides a secure and compliant way for organizations to exchange sensitive data internally and externally with business partners, customers, or employees. It was developed by Progress Software Corporation, which acquired Ipswitch, the original developer of MOVEit.

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.7/5.0 based on 93 reviews9
  • Gartner: 4.5/5.0 based on 14 reviews10
  • G2: 4.4/5.0  based on 408 reviews11

IBM Aspera

IBM Aspera Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a solution that facilitates the secure, fast, and reliable transfer of large files and data sets across wide area networks. This product integrates Aspera’s patented FASP (Fast and Secure Protocol) technology with features typically found in managed file transfer solutions, like automation, monitoring, and control over file transfers.

IBM Aspera MFT often includes features for automating file transfers, scheduling, monitoring the status and performance of transfers, security compliance, and more. These capabilities make it suitable for enterprises that require fast and secure file transfers and the tools to manage these transfers effectively.

Reviews

  • Capterra: N/A
  • Gartner: 4.5/5.0 based on 5 reviews 12
  • G2: 4.3/5.0 based on 46 reviews13

Serv-U 

Serv-U is a file transfer protocol (FTP) server software that facilitates secure file transfers over the internet or within a private network. Developed originally by Rhino Software and later acquired by SolarWinds, Serv-U is used by small and large enterprises to securely manage, send, and receive files. The software supports file transfer protocols such as FTP, FTPS (FTP Secure), and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.5/5.0 based on 16 reviews 14
  • Gartner: 4.2/5.0 based on 204 reviews15
  • G2: 4.5/5.0  based on 4 reviews16

Thru MFT by Dell Boomi

Thru Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a software solution designed to securely manage, send, and receive files within and outside an organization. Thru MFT aims to provide a secure and efficient platform for transferring files, focusing on enterprise-grade security, compliance, and integration capabilities. It’s often used in various sectors like finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, where secure and efficient file transfer is a critical requirement.

Reviews

  • Capterra: N/A
  • Gartner: 4.3/5.0 based on 17 reviews17
  • G2: 4.6/5.0  based on 85 reviews18

JSCAPE

JSCAPE by Redwood is a Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution designed to securely transfer files between systems, users, and business partners. JSCAPE’s MFT products aim to offer secure, automated, and compliant ways to manage file transfers within and across organizations. The platform is designed for small and large businesses, serving various industries such as healthcare, financial services, retail, and government.

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.6/5.0 based on 40 reviews19
  • Gartner: 4.7/5.0 based on 10 reviews20
  • G2: 4.5/5.0 based on 72 reviews21

Hightail Spaces by OpenText

Hightail is a cloud service that allows users to securely send large files and collaborate on creative projects. OpenText, a Canadian company specializing in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), acquired Hightail in 2018. After the acquisition, the product was often referred to as “Hightail Spaces by OpenText” or simply “OpenText Hightail.”

Hightail Spaces is generally geared toward creative professionals and teams who need to share large files, such as videos, graphics, and design assets. It provides a platform for not just secure file sharing but also for collaborative work on creative projects.

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.4/5.0 based on 280 reviews22
  • Gartner: 4.1/5.0 based on 16 reviews23
  • G2: 4.2/5.0 based on 686 reviews24

Key criteria in choosing MFT solutions

Market Reputation

Reputable vendors are more likely to offer robust, reliable solutions. Reviews, case studies, and client testimonials are good indicators of market reputation. 

Budget

While MFT solutions offer higher security and efficiency, they also come at a cost. Choose a vendor whose pricing aligns with your budget without compromising on critical features.

Scalability

Opt for a solution that can adapt to your future needs regarding the number of users, the volume of data, and supported file types. As businesses grow, the file transfer requirements often change. MFT solutions are scalable, allowing you to adapt to varying file size and volume requirements.

Support & Maintenance

Ensure the vendor offers timely technical support and regular software updates to keep your MFT solution up-to-date and secure.

Compliance & Certification

Check whether the solution meets the compliance norms and certifications essential to your industry. Businesses dealing with sensitive data are subject to strict regulatory compliance norms like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. MFT solutions ensure compliance with these standards.

Encryption & Security

Look for vendors that offer robust encryption algorithms and multiple layers of security to protect your data during transit and at rest. Traditional file transfer protocols like FTP lack essential security measures like encryption, making them vulnerable to unauthorized access, data breaches, and cyber-attacks.

User Experience

A straightforward, easy-to-use interface for managing file transfers can significantly reduce the learning curve and administrative overhead.

Interoperability

Your chosen solution should integrate seamlessly with existing business applications like ERP systems, cloud storage, or databases.

5 key capabilities of managed file transfer software

The image diagrams a managed file transfer tool architecture.

Figure 1: A MFT tool infrastructure.25

1- Data security

When choosing a managed file transfer tool, data security can be an important consideration. Data security ensures that sensitive data is safeguarded during transmission and storage. This sensitive data can include personally identifiable information (PII) or sensitive personal information (SPI). Protecting such information can be important for all industries, especially for healthcare and finance. To protect sensitive information, file transfers can need to be secure and follow the rules such as: 

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
  • PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).
  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
  • SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act).

Hence, when looking for a managed file transfer solution, it’s important to consider whether the tool offers strong security features such as:

  • Authentication: This feature ensures that only authorized people can access the files.
  • Digital signing: This feature checks a file’s authenticity and ensures it has not been changed.
  • Encryption: This feature can encrypt files and the network used to transmit files. Encryption converts plaintext into unreadable ciphertext using a cryptographic key. Encryption can provide security for data during transfer, assuring unauthorized parties cannot read the data.

2- Secure file transfer automation

Almost all companies transfer files over computer networks. However, some organizations, like retail businesses, can need automated file transfers for third-party audits and security. MFT software can provide advanced workflow automation capabilities and automate file transfers.

Automation helps businesses set rules for handling different types of files and schedule file transfers. When looking at MFT tools, consider capabilities such as:

  • Rule-based file handling: This feature allows you to establish rules for handling different files, such as automatically encrypting certain files or sending a notification when a specific file type is transferred. Rule-based file handling can be set up for:
    • Files with certain keywords or phrases in the file name or content.
    • Files that are larger or smaller than a specified size.
    • Specific IP addresses or email addresses send or receive files.
    • Specific file kinds, such as DOC, JPEG, MP4, PDF, etc.
    • Files are delivered at a specified time of day or weekday.
  • Scheduling: This feature allows you to schedule file transfers on a specific day and time, which can help ensure that files are transferred at the desired time.

3- Secure file transfers: Transfer protocol support

It is important to evaluate the tool’s support for different transfer protocols, such as standard and secure protocols, as different organizations can have different transfer protocol needs. For example, for B2B file transfers, AS2 can be preferred.

Standard protocols

  • FTP: FTP is a network protocol that transfers files from one server to another across a TCP-based network, such as the Internet.
  • HTTP: HTTP is a data transmission protocol used on the Internet. It serves as the cornerstone of the World Wide Web, transferring data from web servers to web browsers.

Also, secure transfer protocols are crucial if sensitive files are transferred.

 Secure transfer protocol support

The image illustrates secure file transfer protocols: AS2, FTPS, HTTPS, OFTP2, SFTP. Managed file transfer tools can provide these protocols.

Figure 2: Secure file transfer protocols.

  • AS2 (Applicability Statement 2): AS2 is a protocol for transferring data over the Internet safely. It is widely used in the retail and manufacturing industries for safe EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) document exchange.
  • FASP (Fast and Secure Protocol): Aspera created FASP, a proprietary file transmission protocol. It is intended to transport large data across long distances at high rates. It combines TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) to achieve optimal transfer efficiency.
  • FTPS (FTP Secure): FTP is an extension to FTP that provides functionality for the cryptographic protocols Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). It allows for the safe movement of files across a network.
  • HTTPS (HTTP Secure): HTTPS is an HTTP extension that provides functionality for the cryptographic protocols Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). It enables secure data communication via the Internet.
  • OFTP2 (Odette File Transfer Protocol version 2): OFTP2 is a secure file transfer standard used in the automotive and logistics industries. It is built on the OFTP (Odette File Transfer Protocol) standard and includes advanced security features like digital signing and encryption.
  • SCP (Secure Copy Protocol): SCP is a secure file transfer protocol that sends and receives files from a remote server. SSH (Secure Shell) can be used for encryption and authentication.
  • SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol): SFTP is an encrypted variant of FTP. It secures file transfers over the Internet using the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol.

4- Error handling and recovery

When choosing a controlled file transfer tool, it is important to think about how to handle and recover from errors. These features ensure that the file transfer process can continue even if something goes wrong. When assessing MFT tools, check for the following features:

  • Error handling: This functionality enables the utility to automatically detect and handle file transfer issues.
  • Recovery: This feature enables the software to recover from failures and automatically continue the file transfer operation.
  • Resumable transfers: This feature allows resume automatically stopped file transfers.
Upon failure, the MFT tool transfers the file to the error folder at any step in the workflow.

Figure 3. An MFT tool error handler architecture. Upon failure, the MFT tool transfers the file to the error folder at any step in the workflow. 26

5- Management and monitoring

Management and monitoring let administrators set policies and permissions and keep an eye on and control all file transfers. When judging MFT tools based on their management and monitoring capabilities, look for features like:

  • Alerts and notifications: The system sends alerts when certain scenarios occur, such as when a file transfer fails and/or a threshold is met.
  • Central management console: Administrators can use this function to view and manage all file transfers from a single location.
  • Reporting and analytics: This feature allows for extensive tracking and reporting of all file transfers, which is beneficial for compliance and auditing.
The image is a screenshot from an MFT tool user interface. It shows the monitoring screen where the user can track file transfers that happened or will happen.

Disclaimers

  • Prices for MFT tools are not shown in the table since vendors can provide customized quotations.
  • IBM Sterling File Gateway was considered during the screening, but we could not have been able to access documentation on the company’s website.
  • Seeburger BIS (Business Integration Suite) is not included in the list. We could not find funding or revenue information from reliable sources such as Crunchbase.
  • We may have overlooked some MFT tools that met the screening criteria. Please post a remark if this is the case, and we will consider adding them.

If you have any further questions about managed file transfer tools and best practices, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Find the Right Vendors
Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
Follow on

Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

To stay up-to-date on B2B tech & accelerate your enterprise:

Follow on

Next to Read

Comments

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

0 Comments