HelpSystems aligns IT and business goals to help organizations build a competitive edge. Our software secures IT environments, monitors and automates processes, and provides easy access to the information people need. More than 15,000 organizations in 100+ countries rely on HelpSystems to make IT lives easier and keep business running smoothly.

When it comes to IT infrastructure software, there’s no company out there quite like HelpSystems, and we’re really proud of that. Our software works behind the scenes but makes a big difference in your ability to move your business forward.

Every day we work with growing enterprises, Fortune 500 companies, managed service providers (MSPs), and small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). We foster long-term relationships with customers like you. Our customers rely on us to continually deliver products and services driven by continual improvement, excellence, and innovation.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) Solution

Two servers exchanging files securely

What is Managed File Transfer?

Managed file transfer (MFT) is a secure solution that helps organizations meet all aspects of inbound and outbound file transfer. “Managed” describes one of the main draws of managed file transfer solutions: its ability to automate, simplify, and streamline data transfers, whether across your organization, within a private network, or to external users.

Why is MFT Needed?

Getting files from one place to the next is a business essential, and there are many applications that help users do just that. Managed file transfer (MFT) is a secure way to centralize, simplify, and automate your data movements. Organizations incorporate MFT software to:

  • Save time and money
  • Improve security
  • Simplify server-to-server file transfers
  • Meet compliance requirements

GoAnywhere MFT?

GoAnywhere MFT is one of the leading managed file transfer solutions. It automates and secures file movement using a centralized enterprise-level approach.

GoAnywhere MFT streamlines file transfers and related business processes without the need for programming or special skills. You can deploy GoAnywhere on-premises, in the cloud on platforms like Microsoft Azure and AWS or via MFTaaS, or within hybrid environments. Our secure managed file transfer solution runs easily on platforms like Linux, Windows, AIX, the IBM i, and more.

How MFT Works

Laptop with security related icons floating around it including clouds, padlocks, and gears.

  1. Original files are sent from the MFT application. This process is flexible depending on the number and sizes of files being sent. MFT ensures the data is transferred quickly and securely.
  2. The MFT solution encrypts the file. Once you have set up the transfer, the MFT solution receives the data and secures it in a couple different ways: most MFT uses FIPS 140-2 compliance AES ciphers, Open PGP, or others to encrypt the files, and one of many protocols to encrypt the transfer. Some solutions additionally let you zip compress files.
  3. The recipient receives the data delivery. Once the MFT file transfer leaves your server, it’s sent to whatever location you specified, whether it’s a designated folder on another server, and email address, and so on. The recipient can then decrypt the file.

Several managed file transfer solutions also assist in your file transfers by letting you set up bulk or repeating transfers, using auto-resume to ensure files make it to their destination with no need for troubleshooting, and creating logs to get a global look at transfers months after they’re complete.

Why Use Managed File Transfer?

Yellow checkmark in a circle.Protecting sensitive data is of paramount importance in today’s environment, both in transit and at rest. Managed file transfer is one among many file transfer options. However, as a centralized method for encrypting, automating, and sending data securely from one place to the next, it stands out among other approaches to file transfer. You may want to use managed file transfer if your organization needs to:

  • Audit or monitor your organization’s file transfer activity.
  • Comply with data security laws and regulations.
  • Move to a more secure way to send data.
  • Use adaptable processes that can overcome downtime, reduce human error, and auto-resume.
  • Exchange data with internal and external stakeholders, whether in the cloud or on-premises.

Some MFT solutions offer added features that allow you to integrate data flow between the cloud and web apps you use daily, and can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud environment, or as a SaaS solution to give your organization the flexibility you need to transfer files securely.

What are MFT’s Benefits?

Managed file transfer is built on simple, secure file transfer that lets you create, schedule, monitor, and process sent and retrieved files. Because MFT is an enhancement to file transfer protocols, look for MFT solutions that offer:

Ease of Speed and Implementation

Get up and running quickly with straightforward user interfaces, dedicated support, and drag-and-drop process building.

Continuous Enhancements and Updates

Stay ahead of hackers while getting the latest-and-greatest in file transfer. Global processes and data security requirements change, and you want your solution to stay ahead of the curve.

Flexible Deployment Options

Some organizations deploy all their software on-premises, some use web service, and some mix the two for a hybrid solution. Whether you’re strictly on-prem or cloud-friendly, ensure that the MFT software you prefer can be deployed how you want, and on the platform your organization uses.

Customization That Won’t Break the Budget

Select the software bundle that fits your organization best. Make sure you can add onto the software without paying an arm and a leg.


Your file transfers may not always stay the same. Down the line, you may need increased file transfer bandwidth, add new features and modules, or expand your userbase. Guarantee that your MFT solution can keep up with your company’s growth and changes.

Enhanced Encryption and File Security

The foundation of managed file transfer is security. The MFT solution you select must be able to meet your industry compliance requirements, as well as data privacy regulations.

Comparing MFT Solutions

Features of a Robust MFT Software Solution

Maximize the use of MFT at your organization with advanced features:

  • Advanced auditing and tracking: Tracks the data you transfer each day, noting all file activity and provides detailed reports for export as needed.
  • Browser- and mobile-operability: Whether you’re at your desk or away, a browser-based system can send you an alert if a file transfer fails.
  • Cloud support: As more organizations drive their applications, data, and file transfers to the cloud, be sure your MFT solution is capable of supporting this. Some solutions are 100 percent cloud-based; others are on-site only; and still others offer a hybrid approach.
  • Clustering: Allows you to distribute a heavy workload for higher availability and supports load balancing across multiple systems.
  • Collaboration: Features that support and enhance your core MFT capabilities.
  • Connectivity: Connect to a wide variety of servers for secure server-to-server file transfers. Maintain a single point of control and administration with this centralized, non-evasive solution.
  • Email and form security: Protecting emails and forms can be just as vital as protecting data being transferred or at rest.
  • Extensive security controls: The ability to set password policies and authenticate users with LDAP, AD, and other identity and access management features.
  • Integrations: Lets you use popular services like SharePoint Online, Box, Google Drive, and other out-of-the-box software securely.
  • Remote agents: With central deployment of the software you can configure and schedule your critical business processes across your organization. These MFT agents can live on premises or in the cloud to help you automatically monitor folders and transfer files at remote locations or with trading partners.
  • Reverse proxy: This feature, not available on all MFT solutions, keeps your file sharing servers inside your private network and away from your DMZ.
  • Support for a variety of protocols: Connectivity with all the protocols you need: FTP, SFTP, PeSIT, and more.

Discover how organizations are using MFT today: The GoAnywhere Book of Secure File Transfer Project Examples 
MFT vs. Other File Sharing Methods

MFT vs. Other File Sharing Methods

EFSS While EFSS and MFT have many common features, EFSS is a solution used for sharing files between individuals and their devices. MFT, on the other hand, is primarily used for automating and securing batch file transfers between systems, customers, and trading partners on a variety of platforms. Keep reading >
SFTP SFTP is a secure FTP protocol and provides organizations with a high level of protection for its file transfers thanks to SSH. It’s a free and inexpensive way to send a receive secure file transfers to a handful of trading partners, while MFT streamlines all aspects of your file transfers, and lets you use SFTP, among other secure protocols, to safeguard data. Keep reading >
Dropbox When people first think of ad-hoc file sharing, the first option that often comes to mind is Dropbox. Depending on your Dropbox plan, it’s either free or low cost, and allows for collaboration on documents and some file sharing via folder permissions. MFT gives you the same functionality alongside additional features. Keep reading >

Free vs. Open Source vs. Paid

Cell phone with files floating in a circle around it.When it comes to file transfer and data sharing, most organizations want to know that their data is secure at all steps in the process. Using secure software can help with that, but cost may be a factor. When considering free or open source software to transfer your sensitive data, consider the pros and cons of the solution.

Free file transfer tools can be great for sending small, one-off types of documents that don’t require any privacy or security precautions. But for moving sensitive information, free software isn’t the way to go; data breaches, inability to audit, and failing to meet compliance requirements can put your organization on the line for more money than the cost of secure software. While free is good in some venues, safeguarding your valuable data is worth budgeting for.

Keep reading: What is Wrong With Free File Transfer? 

Open source solutions can have more security protections than free tools but are not necessarily up to the task of fully protecting sensitive data. While most open source MFT software can go head-to-head with paid options, they tend to lose in three areas:

  1. Limited functionality. With open source software, you may have to find multiple products to make up the features that a single MFT option has. This could include security, auditing, or automation features. And if your organization starts to need more out of the solution, you may start to quickly outgrow an open source version.
  2. Limited support. Just because the software is free, there is no guarantee that support or other resources for using the software, like documentation, user support forums, or support calls, will be free as well – or exist at all.
  3. Uncertainty. Open source software isn’t just free – it’s wild and free. If the developer decides to call it quits, or the company that offers the software you rely on withdraws the free version, you could be left in a lurch with no MFT application at all.

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GoAnywhere MFT is a secure managed file transfer solution that automates, encrypts, and streamlines cloud file transfers using a centralized enterprise-level approach. Whether those files reside in the public cloud, private cloud, or within a hybrid environment, GoAnywhere delivers the security and control you need to move data safely between systems, locations, users, and trading partners.

GoAnywhere’s cloud deployment option aligns with organizations’ cost-saving strategies as IT and cybersecurity teams plan to migrate to the cloud or run in a hybrid environment. GoAnywhere can be deployed to a variety of cloud computing platforms including Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure, or by using GoAnywhere’s MFTaaS (Managed File Transfer as a Service) option.

Popular file transfer and encryption protocols are supported in GoAnywhere including SFTP, FTPS, FTP, SCP, AS2, HTTPS, Open PGP, and ZIP with AES encryption. FIPS 140-2 validated encryption ciphers are provided for protecting confidential information.

Cloud Transfer

GoAnywhere MFT in the Cloud

GoAnywhere can be installed in the cloud, on-premises, or within a hybrid environment. Plus, it can be hosted by HelpSystems as an MFTaaS option. GoAnywhere supports Windows, Linux, UNIX, IBM I, and many other operating systems. No matter the deployment platform, GoAnywhere offers a fast and reliable way to move or share your cloud file transfers while monitoring activities from a central browser-based interface.

Automated Workflows in the Cloud

File transfers and workflows are easily configured to move and process files on cloud environments and private networks. These workflows can be scheduled to run at any time using GoAnywhere’s built-in scheduler. GoAnywhere can also monitor for files in folders on cloud-based or internal file systems and run workflows based on triggered events.

Cloud Connectivity

Our cloud connectivity features provide flexibility to partially or completely migrate to an Azure or Amazon cloud infrastructure. You can also work with and streamline web and cloud services like SharePoint, Salesforce, and Dropbox using GoAnywhere’s easy cloud integrations. These integrations, called Cloud Connectors, are enabled through connections with APIs like SOAP and RESTful web services and seamlessly support the automation of data exchanged between on-premises and cloud-based environments.

Trading Partners in the Cloud

GoAnywhere MFT can connect and integrate with internal and external trading partners through folders to cloud-based file systems including Amazon S3 buckets. When a trading partner places a file in one of the cloud-based folders, GoAnywhere MFT can automatically pull the file to your private network, and vice versa. For those concerned about the security associated with inbound transfers, GoAnywhere provides secure protocols like SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, and AS2 for trading partners.

We Can Help Secure Your Cloud File Transfers

Looking for a way to safeguard your file transfers on Amazon EC2 or Microsoft Azure? Learn how easy it is to deploy an instance of GoAnywhere MFT in your preferred cloud environment.

Open PGP Encryption

GoAnywhere MFT Open PGP encryption and decryptionOpen PGP, also known as GPG, is a popular encryption standard that protects the privacy and integrity of sensitive files. Open PGP implements asymmetric (public key) cryptography to provide strong security and repudiation of files. GoAnywhere MFT provides robust support for PGP, allowing you to:

  • Encrypt files with one or more Public Keys
  • Decrypt files with Private Keys
  • Sign files with Private Keys
  • Verify digital signatures in files using Public Keys
  • Generate full audit logs of all PGP encryption and decryption processes

Open PGP software is used by banks, financial institutions, healthcare organizations and other highly regulated industries to protect their most sensitive files.