Situation and Challenges
Employees of the Rheem Manufacturing Water Heating Division in Montgomery, Alabama, regularly needed to send large graphic files. Marketing needed to send materials to external ad agencies and printers, Engineering needed to send drawings to vendors for approval, and Accounting needed to send spreadsheets to company management to provide updates on revenue and profits.
FTP—Far Too Difficult to Use and Manage
Employees had been using file transfer protocol (FTP) as a way to deliver these large files, but FTP presented two major problems: it was difficult for non-IT people to use and files on the FTP server were not secure.
“FTP generated a lot of complications for users,” said Rheem Senior Network Administrator Matt Adams. “They had trouble interacting with FTP, and when they tried to open files from the FTP server, it wouldn’t work.”
Furthermore, after the company upgraded to its current Internet browser, users no longer could open FTP files directly from their browser. They had to follow a series of steps each time they went to download a file, just to allow their browser to accept content from the FTP server. The result was confusion and large time demands on Rheem’s IT staff to assist in entering users into the FTP system, assigning passwords and helping users through the FTP process.
FTP Security Holes
FTP also presented a security issue. Users often would give others their IDs or passwords to enable them to download a file, opening a potential hole for the introduction of viruses and malware, as well as the potential for files to fall into the wrong hands.
“We tried to make sure everyone had his own user name and login,” Adams recalls, “but they would pass them to five or six people and there was no way for us to tell who they gave them to. We were putting sensitive information out there and had no way to purge exposed data from the FTP site except by doing so manually.”
In other instances, employees were copying large files onto DVDs, which cost about $2 each, or Flash drives and sending them via courier, an expensive procedure. Rheem wanted a file-delivery method that resolved these problems by offering:
- Ease of use for employees.
- More rapid setup time of file-delivery accounts.
- Secure file transmission and storage.
- Individual IDs and passwords that could be controlled centrally by the IT department.
- Reduced time demands on IT professionals.
A Simple, Fast and Secure Solution
Adams had received an e-mail from his Internet phone service provider regarding its partnership with YouSendIt. He tried YouSendIt at home and was so impressed with its ease and efficiency that he brought it to his supervisor, who gave him authority to try out the solution in the workplace.
With YouSendIt for Business, Adams was able to set up individualized accounts for 50 users spread across a dozen departments, with the ability to manage all the accounts centrally. He and his IT colleagues made a list of all current FTP user names and disabled them from the FTP server. Simultaneously, he sent an e-mail to those users explaining the switch to YouSendIt for Business. “They were able to use it right away,” Adams said. “It was easy to roll out to replace FTP—I just sent a standard e-mail, explained YouSendIt for Business and gave them the links to log on.” Adams also was especially grateful for the ability to designate expiration times and dates for sent files, a security factor that also eliminated the need for his staff to clean out files manually.
Why YouSendIt for Business
YouSendIt for Business did away with the security problems inherent in FTP. Every user has his or her own ID and password, and Rheem has centralized control over what information is sent, who’s sending it and the ability to automatically set expiration/deletion times for sensitive files. “YouSendIt for Business is a big time saver for us,” Adams noted. “It’s intuitive, it has the familiar Microsoft Outlook touch and feel, and it’s easy to browse to your file and upload it. Users don’t understand FTP, but everyone has downloaded something from the Web, so the transition to YouSendIt for Business was much simpler.”
- Ease of use: Adams noted that FTP may be great for a programmer, but the general user “is lost in the woods.” Conversely, he called YouSendIt for Business’s usability “incredible.”
- Improved security: There is no longer a need for employees to share IDs and passwords, because everyone has their own. Data is even more secure with additional options like password protection of individual files and the ability to ensure that sent files automatically expire and are removed from the server. The expiration time feature enables Rheem to establish secure retention policies for all categories of documents.
- Centralized control and audit ability for file transfer: For the first time, Rheem’s IT administrators can determine when someone has received a file and can monitor content being sent to and from YouSendIt for Business to ensure that no corrupt files are being transmitted. Delivery of files through YouSendIt for Business is certain and trackable, with automated return receipts and encryption capability to ensure files are accessed only by the intended recipient(s). The auditing of file transmission is simplified because YouSendIt for Business’s tracking provides automated assurance of who sent and received which files.
- Reduced e-mail burden: YouSendIt for Business relieves the load on Rheem’s e-mail infrastructure. Large e-mail attachments no longer eat up server disk space. Instead, these files are kept off the Exchange e-mail server, freeing up server space and eliminating bounce-backs.
- Cost savings: For most files, courier deliveries were eliminated, ending the expense of storage, packaging, courier fees and the associated time delays. Also, the company avoids potential loss of files in the shipping process or through theft. Adams reported that he justifies the low subscription price for YouSendIt for Business by the data-loss prevention alone.
- Time savings: Users are now up and running without having to learn complicated technology, and a new user account can be set up in half the time than the previous FTP system. Demands on the IT helpdesk, in relation to FTP, were reduced by 15 to 20 percent.
- Increased productivity: Ease of use has translated into a more productive work environment. No one has called the Rheem IT help desk to report they were unable to access a file, unlike with the earlier FTP solution. Users don’t have to deal with time delays from FTP related issues.
- New flexibility: IT has been able to use YouSendIt for Business to distribute software to field representatives, who can now easily download the updates to their notebook computers. Engineers are now able to reduce the size of a group of files and send an entire folder via YouSendIt for Business, instead of using valuable time to send individual files.