Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Source Managed File Transfer Software
For many companies, it is time to implement managed file transfer (MFT) solutions. Perhaps new compliance requirements need to be met, new relationships with third parties and customers who require advanced data exchange, or escalating internal requirements between teams.
For whatever reason, there may be options for open source managed file transfer software. Many companies use open source solutions to meet daily needs, so what are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? We studied this question, and this is what we found.
Advantages of open source managed file transfer software
When you stare at a long list of expensive IT projects, free is convincing, right? The price tag (or no price tag) of any open source solution is usually the reason why the IT team considers them. If your MFT software needs are short-term or small, and you have no compliance requirements, then this may be a viable option for you.
2. Excellent features
Although there may not be any open source management file transfer solution with features comparable to commercial options, more mature products can still meet most of your needs. Likewise, you will need to consider the first warning about long-term plans for your application.
3. Community-based support and development
If you can find solutions used by many companies, there may be enough user communities to find answers to questions and continue to develop them. Some open source options available on the web today provide fee-based consulting and support packages.
4. Develop solutions according to your own unique needs
If you have a large internal technology/development team, you can promote the functions of the selected open source solution according to your unique needs. In general, this is the beauty of open source solutions-no need to worry about product roadmaps or copyright issues. Although most IT teams cannot accommodate such projects on a busy roster, some companies do have bandwidth.
Disadvantages of open source managed file transfer software
1. Effective (or free) support cannot be guaranteed
Although the software itself has no cost, the cost is reflected in other ways. For example, if you encounter a problem, you will not have a technical customer support representative who can help at any time. The user community may not have an answer for you. The option to provide this service support cost and the cost you pay may be equivalent to purchasing a fully functional MFT solution. Make sure to do your homework on hidden costs.
2. Very time-consuming setup and maintenance
Depending on the maturity of the open source option, you may encounter errors or problems that hinder the productivity of the people you want to support. This may eventually take up the bandwidth of an IT team that has no spare capacity.
3. Fewer potential functions
Commercial MFT options have a dedicated development team that can continuously improve them, usually requiring customer feedback and continuous industry best practices. Even if the open source solution is called MFT, it will lack some key features of a true MFT solution. The True MFT software has advanced features for secure file collaboration and transfer, as well as a complete audit trail of all users and activities, and configurable notifications for failed tasks.
4. You can eliminate it quickly
You may find that the open source MFT option can meet your needs for temporary file transfer, but cannot adapt to the complexity of business growth or increased demand. This means that just as you see an increase in daily file transfer demands, you will lose the ability to complete files effectively, leaving users in trouble.
5. It may lack security/auditability features
In today's IT environment, security is paramount. If you must comply with any industry or government regulations, then an effective managed file transfer solution can help it with detailed logging and advanced security protocols.
6. It may disappear
Open source software is the cowboy of the IT industry: it is free and can be on the road anytime, anywhere. Maybe the developer who started the project decided to stop working. Or you have acquired a company that provides the free version you rely on, and they want to focus on their paid software. The last thing you want is an open source MFT application.
How to choose between open source and commercial MFT?
Open source managed file transfer software has its unique advantages, but it is not suitable for all needs.
The first step in determining how to move forward is to develop a business case. This will enable you to specify precise requirements in detail and then evaluate free and paid options based on your own criteria. There is another important point to consider. Although there are MFT products available in the open source field, they are almost the same. In the free or commercial MFT space, file transfer requirements may be better.