Typically, SFTP servers operate without inherent real-time notification capabilities, relying on periodic polling to check for new files. This conventional method can be resource-intensive and less responsive.

Now, you may already know that the integration of SFTP into your flow ensures secure file transfers, but SFTP To Go’s integration of webhooks into SFTP facilitates real-time notifications as well.

Real-time processing of EDI files is not just beneficial but a must for many businesses. With webhooks to provide immediate notifications, you’ll have no need for time-consuming polls. Instead, you’ll have a more reactive and streamlined process for handling EDI files securely.

Webhooks are a powerful resource in any setup where real-time data processing is required, as they provide the instantaneous event notifications that enable timely and optimized business transactions.

This article walks you through the process with a special focus on using SFTP To Go, which includes special features and infrastructure that make real-time processing of EDI with webhooks that much simpler.

Understanding webhooks and how they enable real-time processing of EDI over SFTP

Webhooks, often referred to as HTTP callbacks, are essentially user-defined HTTP(S) callbacks. They are triggered by specific events which, in this case, are the arrival of new EDI files on the SFTP To Go storage.

In layman’s terms, when a new EDI file is uploaded to the SFTP server (which, in this case, will be the SFTP To Go server), a webhook can trigger a notification to your EDI processing system, signifying that a new file is ready for processing. So, webhooks enable real-time notifications and processing—handy!

When that event occurs, the source service makes an HTTPS request to the URI configured for the webhook.

In the next step, the receiving end examines the metadata contained in the message payload, which includes details like who uploaded the file, when it was uploaded, the path to the file, and the size of the file.

This metadata serves as a precursor to the actual data retrieval and processing steps. Upon receiving the message payload, the system then connects to the storage, downloads the EDI file, and begins the processing phase.

The processing typically involves identifying the type of message received, extracting the necessary data, and initiating relevant actions based on the message type.

For instance, upon receiving a purchase order, the system would process the order, create the corresponding record in the internal systems, and generate an invoice accordingly.

This automation accelerates everything by reducing the time between file upload and processing. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it works out to a massive impact when you’re transacting thousands of files on a daily basis.

There are two key considerations here:

  1. Triggers and Notifications:
    Webhooks can be set up to trigger on various events, including file arrivals on your SFTP To Go server.

    In light of a specified event, the webhook sends a notification to a pre-configured endpoint, such as your EDI processing system.

    This notification can then trigger the retrieval and processing of the new EDI file, facilitating a real-time processing flow.

  2. Security Considerations:
    The security of the webhook notifications is key to the integrity and confidentiality of the EDI data. It's advisable to secure your webhook endpoint by validating the authenticity of the notifications.

    There are numerous ways to achieve this, all of which can be configured directly via SFTP To Go, including using a secret for signature, ensuring that the notifications are indeed coming from the SFTP server and not a malicious actor.

    SFTP To Go allows users to define a value for the authorization header—which is equivalent to using password authentication on the receiving end. Furthermore, SFTP To Go only allows the use of HTTPS, as an added security measure.

That was when I rented a warehouse to store my art supplies...

Setting up your infrastructure

Quality infrastructure is a must for real-time EDI processing. This section explores the core components required and how SFTP To Go fits into this setup by providing a cloud SFTP server with webhook support. The core components include the SFTP To Go server, an EDI processing system (of your choice), and a webhook receiver (you’ll need to set one up).

1. SFTP server:

SFTP To Go offers a fully-managed SFTP cloud server with all the extra bells and whistles. It’s a reliable, cloud-based solution with secure, scalable file transfer capabilities.

It's engineered to handle high-volume and highly sensitive traffic, ensuring that your EDI data is transmitted securely, 100% of the time, in transit and at rest.

2. EDI processing system:

A proficient EDI processing system is indispensable for parsing, validating, and transforming EDI files in alignment with business requirements. SFTP To Go will integrate with most EDI systems.

  • Software Selection:
    We recommend you choose cloud-based solutions specifically designed for EDI processing, ensuring they are configured to adhere to your business's data processing standards and requirements. Cloud-based products mean you won’t need to open servers on your network to inbound traffic.

    We recommend options like Cleo Integration Cloud, Mulesoft CloudHub, or Talend Cloud for reliable EDI services and advanced analytics integrations, especially when it comes to supply chain processing.

    For more about Cleo, watch the video below.

  • Validation and Transformation:
    Establish validation checks against predefined standards and implement data transformation mechanisms for further processing. In EDI processing, validation is crucial to ensure the data conforms to specified formats or standards, which could be industry-specific EDI standards such as EDIFACT or ANSI X12.

    One of the benefits of using managed EDI solutions is that compliance assistance is usually included via automated testing mechanisms and the like.

3. Webhook receiver:

SFTP To Go’s webhooks integration allows for real-time notifications concerning specific data-transactional events, such as file or directory creation and deletion. These notifications are critical for triggering subsequent processes in your EDI Processing System.

However, SFTP To Go doesn't provide a built-in webhook receiver, so you’ll need to set up a webhook receiver service on your end. It’s a fairly simple process.

  • Webhook Setup in SFTP To Go:
    Navigate to the SFTP To Go dashboard, where you’ll find a section dedicated to webhooks. Click on "Add webhook" to initiate the creation of a new webhook. During this setup, you’ll be prompted to provide a nickname for the webhook and specify the endpoint URL of your server that will handle the webhook notifications.

    For a quick video guide, watch the following instructional from SFTP To Go:

  • Webhook Notifications Handling:
    Design your webhook receiver service to seamlessly accept HTTPS POST requests sent by SFTP To Go when specified events occur. These notifications are transmitted as HTTPS requests with JSON payloads containing essential event data, enabling your system to react to file or directory creations, modifications, or deletions in real time.

  • Custom Webhook Receiver Development:
    If you don't have a pre-existing solution, you might need to develop a custom webhook receiver. This receiver should be tailored to handle the specific HTTPS requests and JSON payloads sent by SFTP To Go’s webhook notifications. Furthermore, it should trigger the necessary actions within your EDI Processing System to ensure a smooth transition from data receipt to processing.

    SFTP To Go customers offer a range of success stories in this regard, which may offer insight into what unique benefits and process factors to expect for your business. "RECUP speaks the language of corporates using SFTP To Go" and "How Rent A Wheel Streamlined Inventory Management with SFTP To Go" are two great case studies to look into.

By setting up your webhook receiver to handle SFTP To Go's real-time notifications, you enable a streamlined, automated process from EDI file upload to processing.

This basic setup for triggering real-time EDI processing once a new file hits your SFTP To Go server can save you thousands of hours (and many more dollars) in the long run.

Unlike the traditional polling method, which continuously checks for new or changed files and can be resource-draining especially with large volumes of files, webhooks notify your system instantly upon a file upload, eliminating any delays and reducing operational load.

What’s more, SFTP To Go’s webhooks can be configured to trigger based on specific criteria, like a particular user's upload, files uploaded to a certain folder, or filename patterns.

This level of filtering at the storage level ensures only relevant files trigger the EDI processing, further optimizing resource utilization and processing times.

Transitioning to this event-driven model with webhooks not only accelerates EDI processing but also significantly trims operational costs, making it an efficient mechanism for modern real-time EDI processing setups.

Of course, I'll use them someday, eventually. 

In conclusion

By enabling real-time processing of EDI files over SFTP using webhooks, your business takes a significant stride toward operational efficiency and secure data handling. Via SFTP To Go, you can securely transfer files, while webhook notifications ensure timely processing of EDI files.

The setup promotes a streamlined workflow across various sectors, most notably in supply chain management, addressing industry-specific compliance and enhancing real-time decision-making and core processes.

Prompt data processing will help you stay competitive under increasing demand, by integrating SFTP To Go with webhooks and EDI you’ll be well equipped for secure business operations that are always one step ahead.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are webhooks and how do they facilitate real-time EDI processing over SFTP?

Webhooks, also known as HTTP callbacks, are user-defined HTTP(S) callbacks triggered by specific events, such as the arrival of new EDI files on the SFTP server. They enable real-time notifications and processing by instantly informing the EDI processing system when a new file is ready for processing.

What is the role of SFTP To Go in real-time EDI processing?

SFTP To Go offers a cloud-based SFTP server that integrates seamlessly with webhooks and most EDI processing systems. It provides a secure, scalable, and reliable environment for transmitting EDI data, ensuring the data’s integrity and confidentiality both in transit and at rest.

What are the core components required for setting up real-time EDI processing infrastructure?

SFTP server: SFTP To Go provides a fully-managed cloud SFTP server.
EDI processing system: A system for parsing, validating, and transforming EDI files, such as Cleo Integration Cloud, Mulesoft CloudHub, or Talend Data Mapper.
Webhook receiver: A service to handle HTTP POST requests sent by SFTP To Go for triggering subsequent processes in the EDI processing system.

How does one secure the webhook notifications in an EDI processing setup?

Securing webhook notifications is vital for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of EDI data. Security measures, such as using a secret or signature and validating the authenticity of notifications, can be configured directly via SFTP To Go to ensure that notifications originate from a trusted source.

How do webhooks compare to traditional polling methods in EDI processing?

Unlike traditional polling methods, which continuously check for new or updated files, webhooks instantly notify the system upon a file upload. This real-time notification eliminates delays, reduces operational load, and optimizes resource utilization, making the EDI processing more efficient and cost-effective.

In what ways does transitioning to an event-driven model with webhooks benefit EDI processing?

Transitioning to an event-driven model with webhooks accelerates EDI processing by enabling real-time notifications and processing of files. It enhances operational efficiency, reduces costs, and promotes a streamlined workflow, particularly beneficial in sectors like supply chain management, where timely data processing is crucial.