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Accellion Solves CRA International's Large File Transfer Issues

  • July 01 2007, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Andrew Warby, network administrator for CRA International.

BACKGROUND: CRA International offers business consulting and litigation support. Our capabilities and industry expertise range from expert testimony for complex lawsuits to designing global business strategies.  We take an interdisciplinary approach to certain engagements, combining experts in various disciplines to provide clients with innovative solutions that cross industry and company boundaries.

HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Windows  2003 running on Dell servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: CRA needed a solution that would give users a seamless way to securely send and receive large confidential files both within the company's global organization and externally with third-party customers and vendors. However, we did not want a solution that would increase the administrative load on our IT department. FTP and SFTP were obvious technical solutions for exchanging large files, but their complex administration requirements and highly technical interface designs meant that a good deal of hand-holding would be required. Implementing such a technical solution also had the strong potential of pushing users to look for their own unsupported, usually less secure and compliant, technical alternatives for sending and receiving large files. After thorough consideration of all options, we were confident that Accellion's Secure File Transfer Solution was the only solution that could meet all of our requirements.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Because the Accellion solution is so easy to use, we save a tremendous amount of time and money from an IT administrative and support standpoint, especially when compared to using conventional solutions such as SFTP servers. Now users initiate their own file transfers to customers, and customers can send them back just as easily and securely - all without IT intervention. Additionally, because it is a self-contained appliance, our IT team has the discretion of deciding whether to accept product patches. For example, a patch may address a security concern that is irrelevant for our infrastructure.

WEAKNESSES: There are no proactive alerts that let you know when hardware problems are about to occur, service is about to stop or if you are close to running out of licensed user seats. However, these features will be addressed in future versions.

STRENGTHS: Accellion's Secure File Transfer Solution is extremely easy to use and requires minimal technical know-how to operate. It requires little to no IT involvement. Accellion's solution also ensures the security of our IT infrastructure and usage. This is critical as it enables us to adhere to compliance requirements, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, when conducting large file transfers.

SELECTION CRITERIA: CRA chose the Accellion solution for a number of reasons. Beyond its ease of use and the security it provided, we liked that it is an integrated solution, meaning they provide both the hardware and the software in an appliance. Many of the other solutions we considered required a software client to be installed, which was just not practical. Additionally, the ability to brand the user interface to be consistent with the CRA format was also very appealing because a lot of external partners and clients are active users of the system. Not only does it utilize a familiar portal design for external users, it can be customized to conform to our specifications for a seamless look.

DELIVERABLES: The Accellion Secure File Transfer Solution provides us with a good overview of what's going on via its administrative reports, which are available through its Web console. Not only can we look at the number of people that use the appliance, we are able to drill down and track their activities, including the size of the file that was transferred, where it went and the duration of the transfer. It also provides an overview of our resource usage, such as how much data has been transferred through the appliance. All of this information is easily exported to a CSV file for internal reporting purposes.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Accellion provided us with excellent technical support. They have been extremely responsive since our initial contact. Their setup, license and activation process is very well thought out.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was very easy to understand. We were able to quickly install the products once we got our license files. We called and asked them to brand the products when they had time, and within a couple of hours we received a call saying it was all done. We were impressed.

Accellion Secure File
Transfer Solution
1900 Embarcadero Road
Suite 207
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(650) 739-0095

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