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XML: Case Study

Secure File Transfer Saves Taxpayer Dollars in the State of Maryland

Adaptable Enterprise Solution with Role-based Access, XML translation and native IBM i Support

The IT Department philosophy at the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for the State of Maryland is “Keep Infrastructure Simple and Easy to Manage.” This in mind, adapting to new state and federal requirements without reinventing the wheel or adding additional taxpayer cost is a constant challenge. GoAnywhere Director delivers at every turn for the State of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR).

The Challenge
The main challenge for DLLR was transferring sensitive data in a secure and reliable fashion. In addition, each DLLR “trading partner” required different file formats such as fixed width, Excel, CSV or the increasingly popular XML format.

It was becoming very difficult to immediately develop and implement an efficient and reliable process for the growing number of new daily tasks. Manually handling these multiple file transfers left little time for training staff on new software and procedures. The evident need for an automated and secure managed file transfer solution came around the same time as a new Maryland State law. The new law would require DLLR Mortgage Lending licensees to register with a central federal agency. This new, high-visibility requirement was already on top of the many unique information transfer requests for other private entities and public agencies.

The Playing Field
Before the installation of GoAnywhere Director, DLLR developers manually downloaded and uploaded the Excel, CSV or fixed formatted files between the IBM i and their desktop computers. Performing these manual tasks across different PC’s and various platforms consumed DLLR IT staff time when they could be focused on other productive development tasks.

In addition, there were no central tracking or logging mechanisms recording completed requests, if a recipient received a file, or if a developer even sent the correct file. Attempts to go back and determine the source of an error were next to impossible.

Adding a New Player
Like many offices, adding more people was not a solution and neither was buying more hardware. The IBM i mid-range servers were more than capable of handling the traffic and the DB2 database could easily store the data. Using ad-hoc processes and placing additional tasks on each developer was not going to keep up with the increasing workload. The DLLR needed a solution that would accomplish their goals:

  • User-friendly solution capable of secure managed file transfers that does not require learning the small details surrounding file transfer protocols like SFTP, FTPS and FTP with PGP
  • An automated and secure file transfer solution that will run 100% natively on the IBM i without the need for other hardware and works with nightly backups
  • Easy data translation between the backend DB2 database and files formatted in fixed length, Excel, CSV or XML
  • Audit capability and proof of delivery for sensitive data
  • Secure online User access
  • Centralized job monitoring and logging
  • Good online and telephone support

The Relief Pitcher
Of the options on the market, GoAnywhere Director met all the DLLR’s requirements. GoAnywhere Director was easy and straightforward to implement and use. The ability to securely automate their processes natively from the IBM i allowed the development staff to return their focus to their regular development tasks.

GoAnywhere Director was selected over other products because, it could restart failed transfers and it easily ‘sliced & diced’ data between DLLR’s backend DB2 database and the many file formats used by DLLR’s trading partners; especially XML formatted files. GoAnywhere Director has increased DLLR’s productivity.

A Curve Ball
Adaptability in an enterprise class application is not always expected. Pursuant to requirements under a federal law passed in 2008 and conforming Maryland legislation passed in 2009, Maryland uses the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), a web-based system, that allows state licensed mortgage companies and loan officers to apply for, amend, update or renew a license online for all participating state agencies using a single set of uniform applications. All mortgage licensees would now submit license applications and/or registrations to NMLS on a daily basis. The new requirements stipulated vast amounts of time-sensitive licensing data be sent securely in XML format. Required to comply with new laws and regulations, many organizations scrambled to meet these requirements. With just a few clicks and defining some GoAnywhere Director settings, the new data transmission requirements were not an issue for DLLR.

Back at the Clubhouse
GoAnywhere Director
continues to perform for the DLLR. The ease of use and flexibility of the application to perform so many tasks continues to provide greater return on their investment. “Not only does GoAnywhere automate the data translation and transfers,” smiles Joe, “it monitors itself and sends email notifications after each complete or failed transfer; not only to our development staff, but to our internal customers and trading partners. This confirmation gives everyone confidence that our business tasks are running flawlessly.”

More Stories By Dirk Zwart

Born in Canada and calling Nebraska home, Dirk primarily writes on the Technical side of the IT realm. Having written for years at Gateway Computer and as part of other large IT organizations, Dirk happily writes for Linoma Software. When not writing children's stories or stage scripts, you'll find Dirk out back in the vegetable garden or building yet another server for reasons unknown. Follow Dirk on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.