By some estimates, 463 exabytes of data are created every day. That’s a lot of information for the world’s organizations to manage, and as they exchange ever-growing amounts of data at increasing frequencies, it can be hard for manual file transfer tools to keep up. Enter Managed File Transfer (MFT) servers, which are designed to help larger organizations transfer more data more efficiently than other tools. 

In this post, we’ll review what MFT servers are, and how they can help your organization. 


MFT server resources



What is a Managed File Transfer (MFT) server? 


An MFT server is a file transfer solution designed to support the secure and efficient transfer of multiple file types through a variety of protocols at high volumes. MFT servers generally offer significant automation and data transformation capabilities in order to relieve as much manual processing as possible from administrators, and are often used for machine-to-machine transfers. 


What features do MFT servers include?


  1. OS/Platform independence: MFT servers are designed for interoperability in any kind of file transfer environment. As such, they can typically operate on any OS (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.).
  2. Transfer support via multiple internet protocols: TCP data transfer is more common when transferring data online, but MFT servers will typically support UDP transfers as well to give administrators the option of transferring at higher speeds where required. MFT servers will generally include FTP/S and HTTP/S protocol support, as well as support for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) protocols such as AS2 and OFTP.
  3. Robust file transfer security options: MFT servers typically offer a variety of advanced encryption options to ensure that sensitive data remains protected both in transit and at rest. These options can be configured for maximum security for sensitive data and lower levels of encryption when transfer speed is a priority. They also allow administrators to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements such as FIPS
  4. Streamlined compliance management: Compliance requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA and PCI-DSS demand strict adherence to data protection standards. MFT servers provide comprehensive audit trails, detailed logging and role-based access controls, simplifying compliance management and reducing the risk of penalties or fines. 
  5. Scalability and reliability: MFT servers offer advanced scalability options that can accommodate high global workloads while ensuring uptime through features like high availability mode and load balancing. For example, Cerberus FTP Server by Redwood provides a server replication feature, while JSCAPE by Redwood offers a high availability mode.
  6. Automation and workflow orchestration: MFT servers enable automation of routine tasks such as file synchronization, data encryption and transfer scheduling, which allows organizations to streamline workflows and focus on core business objectives. These tools often provide support for automated file conversions and data transformations as well (for example, rendering ASCII data into a spreadsheet or PDF).


How are MFT servers different than FTP or SFTP servers? 


The primary difference between an MFT server and an FTP or SFTP server lies in the solution’s automation capabilities and protocol support. MFT is not a protocol, but these servers will typically support transfers through more file transfer protocols (including FTP/S and SFTP) and more encryption methods. MFT servers will also typically include more granularity in APIs and automation tools to support operations such as data transformation, workflows, and more.  


How do I know if I need an MFT server?


Your organization may need an MFT server if you regularly encounter the following use cases:

  • You conduct data transfers via a variety of different protocols/encryption methods.
  • Your team spends significant time formatting data or documents for transfers.
  • You conduct a high volume of transfers with a number of different partners.
  • You are required to perform detailed logging or record-keeping or conduct a significant amount of business that requires EDI.
  • You are trying to centralize data transfer tools for a larger organization.


We hope the above information has helped you understand the basics of an MFT server. If you have questions, you can contact Cerberus or JSCAPE’s MFT experts today.