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Changing needs in terms of file exchange

> Responding to changing needs over the years with efficient solutions

Over the past few decades, file exchange needs have evolved considerably, both in their importance and in their nature. File transfer now occupies a prominent place in business activities, whether to share data with partners, collaborate with remote teams or ensure secure exchanges with various stakeholders. Today, the ability to transfer files quickly, reliably and securely has become an essential requirement to keep organizations running smoothly.

Over time, the means of file transfer have evolved to meet the changing needs of the professional world. Old methods have quickly given way to more modern and efficient solutions. Technological advances have played a major role in this evolution, allowing businesses to exchange information faster, smoother and more securely.

The first file transfer solutions

In the beginning, the main goal of file transfer was simply to share data between different systems without worrying about other aspects such as speed or security. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) have played an essential role in enabling these file transfers on computer networks. Although considered relatively old today, these protocols laid the foundation for large-scale file transfer. However, as businesses grow and data exchange becomes more frequent, new needs have emerged. The limitations of the FTP and TFTP protocols were quickly highlighted, which obviously posed a problem since it was not effective in the long term:

  • FTP did not offer advanced security mechanisms to protect data during transfers,

  • File exchanges were generally done in clear text, which made them vulnerable,

  • Transfer speed was limited, especially for large files,

  • Delays were regularly observed.

Process automation

As needs evolve, new, more efficient protocols have emerged to automate file exchange processes. Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) enabled secure connections between clients and servers, providing built-in security features, such as data encryption and authentication. This improved the confidentiality and integrity of data during transfers. It is important to also mention the HTTP and HTTPS protocols (Hypertext Transfer Protocol and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). Initially designed to facilitate the exchange of hypertext data, it notably enabled the development of the World Wide Web.

These protocols provide effective solutions for file exchange automation needs, ensuring data security and integrity, as well as confidentiality of sensitive information. They have helped make file transfers more reliable and secure, which is essential in a world increasingly focused on digital exchanges.

The advent of advanced protocols

More recently, advanced protocols like AS2 and AS4 have been developed to meet the growing needs for file exchange in commercial environments. These needs include security, reliability, interoperability and traceability of file transfers.

As mentioned before, security is a motivating factor in the search for a proven solution.

Reliability is also a key factor in file exchanges. Businesses need to ensure that files are transferred completely and correctly, without data loss. Advanced protocols provide mechanisms for error handling, file validation (...), allowing clients to monitor the progress of transfers and ensure their correct execution.

Interoperability is another challenge in exchanging files between different systems and platforms. Advanced protocols are designed to be compatible with different environments.

Finally, traceability is an essential aspect of file exchanges in a commercial environment. Advanced protocols provide detailed tracking and logging capabilities (...).

The future of file transfer and Managed File Transfer (MFT)

As needs evolve, new technologies emerge to address the complex challenges of file exchange. Among them, Managed File Transfer (MFT) represents a cutting-edge solution that centralizes and automates file exchange processes within organizations. MFT goes beyond simple file transfer protocols and thus offers a comprehensive and integrated approach to taking care of different aspects in terms of file transfers. In particular, it offers advanced features related to:

  • management,

  • The surveillance,

  • the governance,

  • ...

Thanks to MFT, it is now possible to automate file exchange processes. This significantly reduces human error and speeds up operations. The MFT also provides for the scheduling of transfers. Scheduling transfers under MFT allows users to schedule file transfers at specific times and automate them. This means that transfers can be configured to run at regular intervals, at specific times, or according to predefined triggers. Additionally, it provides full visibility into ongoing transfers, allowing their progress to be tracked in real time.

What do we find within Waarp?

Waarp offers MFT type solutions. We also find that different protocols are supported to meet customer needs. Its flagship product, Waarp Gateway, acts as a multi-protocol gateway and offers support for SFTP, HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

In addition to these, Waarp has developed its own protocol internally: R66

The operation of R66 is as follows:

  • Right after establishing the connection, the partners authenticate each other (the client authenticates with the server, then the server authenticates with the client).

  • Once the authentication is accepted, the client sends a transfer request to the server (including the direction of the transfer, the transfer rules, the file to transfer, etc.).

  • The server validates this request, performs the necessary preparations, and then returns the request validation confirmation. Upon receipt of this confirmation, the customer also makes the required preparations.

  • The file is then sent in the appropriate direction (push: client -> server, pull: server -> client).

  • Once the data has been transmitted, the sender (push: client, pull: server) sends an end of transfer message. The receiver performs post-transfer tasks and then sends this message. The sender then carries out its own tasks following the transfer.

  • Once these steps are completed, a final end of request message is exchanged to confirm that everything was completed correctly.

This diversity of protocols allows Waarp to offer flexible and reliable solutions for file transfers, and therefore, a varied choice for its customers.

In addition, Waarp ensures the integrity of its transfers thanks to pre- and post-processing verification functions as well as in the event of an error. These measures help minimize the risks of loss, corruption or poor integration of data, thus ensuring reliable and secure transmission of information.

By implementing these actions, Waarp demonstrates its increased commitment and thus meets the various expectations linked to security, reliability, interoperability and traceability of transfers.

What future for protocols at Waarp?

Several protocols are being implemented at Waarp. Indeed, Waarp Gateway will soon be able to support additional protocols. Among them :

  • AS2 (Applicability Statement 2)

  • AS4 (Applicability Statement 4)

  • PeSit (Standardized Interchange Segment Exchange and Telematics Protocol)


The evolution of needs in terms of file exchange has led to the development of ever more efficient and secure protocols. Initial file transfer solutions focused on simple transfers have progressed to advanced protocols, such as AS2 and AS4, which provide extensive security, traceability and compatibility features. These technological advances have enabled companies to conduct file exchanges, thus strengthening their competitiveness and their ability to adapt to market demands. As we look to the future, Managed File Transfer (MFT) continues to position itself as an essential solution for businesses looking to optimize their file exchange processes in an ever-changing digital environment.


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