Tumbleweed upgrades file transfer

Tumbleweed Communications recently added security, authentication and reliable delivery features to its SecureTransport product, bolstering a solution that is already widely used in government agencies to securely transfer large data files.

The additions -- support for the Secure Shell file transfer protocol, integration with Computer Associates' eTrust SiteMinder single sign-on, and an update of the AS2 engine to enable multigigabyte file transfers -- were driven by rapidly evolving business requirements, according to company officials.

"File transfer used to be just about FTP," said John Thielens, Tumbleweed's chief technology officer. "It's now about using many more [protocols] that allow secure transfers between wider varieties of partners and applications but that still need to be mapped into the same auditing and control infrastructure."

That latter requirement is proving to be the big attraction for products such as SecureTransport, Thielens said. Many of the protocols are free. But the market is driven by the ability to closely manage file transfers, identify users through such tools as Active Directory and track and audit the transfers.

"Security policies are at the core of what organizations are doing today," Thielens said. "It's about how to map identities and other things to permissions, so you'll see an increasing integration of file transfer (products) into that."

In commercial organizations return-on-investment considerations make it cheaper to displace older technologies with those newer products, Thielens said. That is already happening. Recent events, such as theft of credit-card data tapes that were being physically transported between sites, should only serve to accelerate the trend, he said.

In government agencies, recurring costs tend to be funded by different budgets than in commercial organizations, so the pace of change will be different. Tumbleweed is looking more to newer projects for sales of SecureTransport and other products, he said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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