Brand management is an important function at many companies. One significant threat to a company's brand is a data breach, which breaks the trust between a company and its valued customers. At New York Life, we are committed to providing the best service to our customers. For us, valuing our customers means valuing their information.
And there's a lot of it; to the tune of over 65,000-data transmissions received per month. This is primarily confidential medical information necessary for life insurance transactions. It's also up-to-the-minute financial data used to generate price quotes for annuities and mutual funds. Secure, reliable receipt of sensitive data is the engine that powers New York Life's ability to sell its financial products. And the only way to keep that engine running smoothly is through a MFT (managed-file transfer) solution that hits a very high bar.
Scalability, Low Cost-of-Ownership and Encryption
For New York Life, and for any enterprise that needs to securely transmit bulk data, there are three absolute must-haves when it comes to choosing an MFT solution: scalability, low cost-of-ownership and rock-solid encryption.
We chose Tumbleweed SecureTransport, a market leader in process automation. For us, process automation is a key part of our security strategy. It allows us to automate and customize solutions based on our unique business needs. Our goal was to automate the process and to have a process that checked for errors on both the receiving and sending end.
With the overarching goal to automate every phase of New York Life's data retrieval process, New York Life is minimizing the possibility of an accidental data breach. By utilizing Tumbleweed SecureTransport as our MFT platform, we have accomplished the following:
1. Time-sensitive monitoring-audits file receipt based on schedules, grace periods, senders, etc. (all of which are specified through a drop-down menu to minimize employee error). Alerts are generated if a file is in violation of any of these parameters.
2. File de-duplication-catches receipt of duplicate file names, stops them from going into the production cycle and routes them to a designated authority for review.
3. Data verification-checks that each file contains the content types specified for that type of file. For instance, file type X should have a certain type of header, a certain type of footer and a certain type of data between the two. If the file does not align with these parameters, an alert goes out.
Automate to Save Time and Money
An additional benefit to the automation process is substantial time and cost savings. The level of complex checking inherent in this new system used to occur on the mainframe. This would take up to one hour per file, and it was a huge cost to cycles and resources. When a customer requested adding 400 files to implement, the cost became prohibitive to the business. At the time, the process external to SecureTransport took an hour to implement.
To streamline this process via a custom deployment of SecureTransport, we deployed a Web UI (User Interface) instead of a command line. It now takes just 60 seconds per file to run the same data checks. And we're also able to exercise a much higher degree of flexibility and exception handling.
Seamless, Resilient and Transparent Solution
The majority of New York Life's critical applications depend on SecureTransport, but it isn't visible. And that's what you want: an MFT solution that is seamless, super-resilient and utterly transparent.
Businesses that need to securely transmit timely and proprietary data need to execute a straightforward security strategy. Here are a few important steps to implementing this strategy:
1. Deploy a top-notch MFT infrastructure and be sure it does what it says it can do.
2. Customize the solution to meet your unique business needs, and then stay on top of upgrades.
3. Embed your MFT infrastructure at a level of transparency that makes it the fabric through which all essential data must travel.
The right solution will be robust and straightforward to implement and own. It will be able to function as the "invisible axis" of your organization's business-critical data exchange.
Matt Foley is an assistant vice president at New York Life Insurance Company. He joined New York Life in 2001 and currently works in the System Service division where MTF is his primary responsibility. Prior to his current assignment, Matt was the automation manager for the Operation Service division. Prior to New York Life, Matt worked for Intel as a software tools engineer. He can be reached at Matthew_T_Foley@NewYorkLife.com.