Friday, May 07, 2010


As we become more and more reliant on information technology for business and individual purposes, it is important we re-examine how we transfer data from one place to another. You are most likely using a memory or flash disk to transfer data from your laptop to your office desktop. For companies, the process of data transfer has to be achieved in the most cost effective and secure way. File transfer is therefore a technological security component that cannot be ignored.

Data has become an asset and this is best illustrated by financial firms. A bank head office, for instance, used to obtain and exchange ledgers, statements and other documents with its far flung branches. These records are today sent as electronic files online. Your ATM, Credit/Debit card and E-banking transactions are now authenticated and validated online. These data is valuable to you and the bank.

The same painstaking security procedures that used to be applied when transferring sensitive corporate files need to be equally employed to digital data transfers.

The advent of telecommuting and remote working has given many more employees in Kenya access to vast amounts of data. They can view, amend, upload and download data to their company servers from anywhere in the country. Using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers to transfer large files is the most common way this is done.

Unfortunately FTP was designed when security was not a primary concern. It’s main drawback is that simple FTP cannot provide audit trails. FTP has enhanced offshoots such as FTPS, SFTP and EFTP. They do address security but need specialist programs installed on users’ desktops; adding overheads for IT departments.

Organizations need to employ data transfer technology that uses encryption, is capable of authenticating the recipient, manages each file transfer, is simple to install and cost effective. These technologies are out there in the market and can send or receive folders of upto 60GB securely. They have minimal impact on IT resources and are simple to install. Of a more crucial characteristic is that their audit trails meet the security and compliance standards of Sarbanes-Oxley, COSO and other global ICT regulations.

Various companies in Kenya are progressively appreciating their reliance on information for their success. They are therefore developing their ability to move data securely and effectively from one location to another. The importance of secure file transfer cannot be understated. It has become a core business process used by leading local organizations to run, maintain and manage their operations.

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