Volume 13, Number 26 -- September 24, 2013

Ipswitch Adds iOS and Android Clients to MFT Suite

Published: September 24, 2013

by Alex Woodie

Being out of the office used to mean being separated from back office data and workflows. But thanks to today's advanced smartphones and tablets, business professionals no longer must sacrifice total productivity for some semblance of mobility. With the latest release of its Windows-based MOVEit managed file transfer (MFT) software, Ipswitch has added clients for iOS and Android mobile devices, giving road warriors (including those at IBM i shops) the capability to move large files in a secure manner.

Ipswitch is a New England company that is perhaps best known for WS_FTP, a classic piece of FTP shareware that traces its roots back to the early 1990s. If your company appreciates tried and true IT products (which it probably does if it runs IBM i servers and applications), then WS_FTP is likely located somewhere on your network.

Today, Ipswitch sells more advanced (and thankfully more secure) versions of the classic FTP software. But its real focus is on the MFT software market, which is where its MOVEit product suite comes into play. In addition to using secure FTP protocols--which you can get through WS_FTP itself--MOVEit adds logging features to track file transfer activities, as well as capabilities to automate file-based business workflows.

Ipswitch now provides mobile Android and iOS clients for its MOVEit MFT product.

Unlike plain vanilla FTP products, MOVEit uses only secure protocols to move files, including FTPS, which uses SSL and TLS encryption, and SFTP, which uses SSH-based encryption and is considered more secure than FTPS. It also supports HTTPS, AS2, and AS3 protocols, which demonstrates the level of back office system automation Ipswitch has designed into the software.

To that end, MOVEit is compatible with a wide mix of secure FTP and related client interfaces, as this matrix shows, including its own Windows, Java, and Web-browser clients; other vendors' secure FTP and AS2 clients; and Ipswitch-provided APIs that support, among other things, automated integration with IBM i and z/OS servers.

As far as IBM i integration goes, Ipswitch provides several options. While MOVEit doesn't have a native server that resides on the IBM i server, it can interface with existing FTP clients or servers that reside on the IBM i server, or it can use the Java API to programmatically integrate with the system, according to Steve Staden, director of product management for Ipswitch.

"We don't have any kind of native installation or servers that run on those platforms," Staden tells IT Jungle. "But we have our products interact over FTP and SSH protocols to interface with the [FTP] servers that are already running on the AS/400 or iSeries. We have customers exchanging files with their partners. They'll set up a file server on the Internet, and a super client on the backend. So they can have customers drop files off on the file server sitting on the Internet, have an automated process to grab that file and put it onto the backend system, the AS/400."

With the new Android and iOS clients, those backend workflows can now be kicked off by mobile workers. Ipswitch VP of global marketing Jeff Whitney predicts this feature will be widely adopted by MOVEit customers.

"The ability to extend these business workflows down to the Apple and Android devices, whether mobile phones or tablets--not only to allow them to be able to secure move files back and forth, but also to allow them to automatically participate in the workflows--that's a very significant capability," Whitney says.

MOVEit Mobile gives Android users options on where and how to move a file.

MOVEit 8.0 brings other new capabilities, including a new wizard that helps ensure the product is correctly configured. "We all know the world is increasingly insecure, and we've continued to enhance and really work to make this as tight security-wise as possible," Whitney says. This release also broadens the support for compatible anti-virus product add-ons.

The third major enhancement will be useful for customers who use the MOVEit Ad Hoc Transfer product to mesh MFT capabilities with email. Ipswitch has long supported the capability to strip out email attachments, transmit them via secure protocols, and provide a secure link for the recipient to download the file. With version 8.0, the company now supports the capability to encrypt the entirety of the email, including the body. That feature will be handy in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, Whitney says.

Ipswitch sells several editions of its MFT product, including MOVEit Managed File Transfer, which provides core secure file transfer capabilities; MOVEit Central, which adds scripting and workflow automation; and MOVEit Ad Hoc Transfer, which adds email support for email, including Outlook and Web-based mail. The core MFT and Ad Hoc Transfer products can be deployed on premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid manner, while MOVEit Central can only be deployed on premise. For more information, see www.ipswitchmft.com.

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