In this article, we’re going to explore AS2, which stands for Applicability Statement 2. It’s a tool many businesses use to send important documents over the internet in a safe way.
We’ll look at what it is, how it works, and what makes it a secure choice for companies that need to share information online.
What is Applicability Statement 2 (AS2)?
AS2, also known as Applicability Statement 2, stands as a dependable B2B messaging protocol that organizations use for the secure exchange of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) documents.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) launched AS2 in 2002 as a marked upgrade from the first-generation EDI protocol, AS1, which depended on email protocols for secure data transfers.
Businesses worldwide including most major retailers like Amazon and Walmart, actively use AS2 as a universal method for transporting data. AS2 specifies the methods for securely transporting data via the Internet using HTTP/S (Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure) – the same protocol that nearly every website utilizes.
What is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange is a method of exchanging electronic documents that lets businesses talk to each other digitally. It’s like a common language that companies use to exchange important documents, such as requests for quotations (RFQs), purchase orders, shipping notices, invoices, and many others.
Instead of sending paper documents through the mail, businesses can send them electronically, which is faster and more efficient. With EDI, businesses can ensure they’re all on the same page, making their transactions run smoothly.
EDI has been widely adopted by industries like transportation, retail, and more. It offers benefits such as faster processes and integration with business applications. By using standardized formats, EDI enables seamless data exchange without human intervention.
How Does the AS2 Protocol Work?
The AS2 protocol works in a straightforward way. Firstly, it encodes the EDI data or other content, such as an XML file, into an AS2 message. This message is then sent over the internet using the HTTP or HTTPS protocol. To ensure security, the message gets digitally signed, meaning it gets a unique digital ‘signature’ that verifies its authenticity. Then, the AS2 software on the receiving end decodes the message and verifies the signature to confirm that the message hasn’t been tampered with during transmission. If everything checks out, the receiver sends back a receipt, confirming that they got the message. This entire process is known as ‘secure messaging’ and it makes sure the data sent is safe, authentic, and acknowledged by the receiving end.
Why Use AS2?
AS2 offers numerous advantages that make it a top choice for secure data transmission. For starters, AS2 provides robust security. It uses digital signatures and encryption to protect your data, ensuring that only the intended recipient can access it. This makes it extremely difficult for unauthorized parties to intercept or tamper with the data.
Additionally, AS2 guarantees that your data has been received through its Message Disposition Notification (MDN) feature. This is essentially a digital receipt that the recipient sends back, confirming that they’ve received your data. This receipt can be requested to be signed and sent back, providing an extra layer of security and verification.
Lastly, AS2 is cost-effective. It allows you to send data over the Internet, which is significantly cheaper than using traditional Value-Added Networks (VANs). Plus, the speed and efficiency of AS2 can save your business both time and money by streamlining your data exchange processes.
Benefits of AS2 & AS2 Software
AS2 and AS2 software bring several benefits to businesses.
First, they give you top-notch security. By using encryption and digital signatures, AS2 makes sure only the people you want can see your data. You don’t need to worry about others getting their hands on it.
Second, AS2 ensures your data gets to where it needs to go. Its MDN feature acts like a digital receipt, letting you know that your data has arrived safely. If you want, you can even ask for this receipt to be signed for more security.
With AS2, you can effortlessly send or retrieve file transfers of any size or volume. This secure and reliable protocol ensures efficient data exchange, enabling smooth and seamless transfer operations.
Lastly, AS2 is good for your wallet. Sending data over the internet with AS2 is much cheaper than using older methods like Value-Added Networks. Plus, AS2 is fast and efficient, helping you save time and streamline your processes.
AS2 Client Software & Server
What is AS2 Client?
An AS2 Client software is a software application that is used to automate the delivery of AS2 messages or send them on a scheduled basis. It initiates the secure data transmissions, encrypting the data before sending it. If there’s a connection issue, the software will automatically reconnect to the server and retransmit the message. When the AS2 Client receives data, it decrypts it and verifies its integrity. Simple and efficient, an AS2 Client ensures secure and reliable data exchange over the internet.
What is AS2 Server?
An AS2 Server is a software application that handles the receiving end of AS2 data transmissions. When it receives data, the server decrypts the information, verifies its integrity, and delivers it to the intended recipient. Just like an AS2 Client, an AS2 Server boosts security and reliability, acting as the trustworthy receiver in the AS2 data exchange process.
AS2 Client Software Features
- Facilitates secure data transmissions: The AS2 Client software encrypts data before sending it, safeguarding confidential information from unauthorized access.
- Automates and schedules data transfer: The software can automate the delivery of AS2 messages and can be programmed to send data at specified times.
- Handles connectivity issues: In case of a connection problem, the AS2 Client software will reconnect to the server and retransmit the message automatically.
- Ensures data integrity: When data is received, the software decrypts it and verifies its integrity, ensuring that the data received is exactly as sent.
- Offers cost-efficiency: Using AS2 Client software for data transfer over the internet can be cheaper and more efficient than older methods.
AS2 Server Software Features
- Encrypts data for safe sending: The AS2 Server software transforms data into a secure format before transmission to keep it safe from unauthorized access.
- Automates data reception: The server software can be set up to automatically accept incoming AS2 messages without manual intervention.
- Manages connection problems: If there’s a connectivity hiccup, the software will handle it, ensuring that data receipt isn’t interrupted.
- Validates data accuracy: The software checks the received data’s integrity, confirming it’s exactly as the sender intended.
- Cuts costs: Using AS2 Server software for data exchange over the internet can be less expensive and more efficient than older methods.
What is AS1 Client?
While the aforementioned sections discuss the features of AS2 software, it’s also important to understand its predecessor, AS1 (Applicability Statement 1). AS1 is a standard for sending and receiving secure and reliable messages over Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). It utilizes digital certifications and encryption to safeguard information during transmission. However, unlike AS2, which operates over HTTP, AS1 depends on email servers, which can sometimes result in slower transmissions and less assurance of message delivery. Despite these limitations, AS1 laid the groundwork for what would evolve into the more robust and widely adopted AS2 standard.
AS2 vs. AS1
|Uses HTTP/S protocol, allowing for real-time data transfer and immediate acknowledgment.
|Utilizes SMTP protocol, which does not guarantee real-time data transfer or immediate acknowledgment.
|Provides end-to-end encryption, ensuring high data security.
|Also encrypts data, but it’s generally considered less secure than AS2.
|Supports both synchronous and asynchronous data transfer.
|Primarily supports asynchronous data transfer.
|Offers Message Disposition Notification (MDN), providing receipt confirmation.
|Lacks a robust mechanism for delivery confirmation.
|AS2 can communicate through firewalls without needing special configuration.
|AS1 may require special firewall configurations.
|More cost-effective for high-volume data transfer.
|May be less cost-effective for large data volumes.
What is AS3 Client?
An AS3 (Applicability Statement 3) client is a secure software application used for transferring files over the Internet. It ensures the safe delivery of files by encrypting them and following specific protocols. Originally designed for business-to-business data transfer, it handles structured data files like XML and EDI documents. The AS3 client utilizes the standard S/MIME format for structuring messages.
AS2 vs. AS3
|AS2 uses HTTP/S protocol for fast, real-time data transfer and can provide immediate delivery confirmation.
|AS3 uses FTP/S protocol, which may not provide real-time data transfer or immediate acknowledgment. However, it’s good for transferring large files.
|AS2 has end-to-end encryption, which means high security for your data.
|Like AS2, AS3 also offers end-to-end encryption giving high data security.
|AS2 supports both at-the-same-time (synchronous) and different-time (asynchronous) data transfer.
|AS3 primarily supports different-time (asynchronous) data transfer, which is great for big files.
|AS2 offers Message Disposition Notification (MDN), which is a kind of delivery receipt.
|AS3 also provides MDN, so you can confirm if your data got to where it needed to go.
|AS2 can talk to other computers through firewalls without needing any special setup.
|AS3 may need some additional setup to work well with firewalls.
|AS2 is more cost-friendly when you’re transferring a lot of data.
|AS3 might be a better choice if you’re mostly sending big files, even though it might be a bit more costly.
What is AS4 Client?
An AS4 client is a secure tool for sending files over the internet. It wraps files with encryption and follows specific protocols to ensure quick and safe delivery. AS4 builds on the AS2 foundation, improving security, reliability, and flexibility for exchanging documents online. It simplifies and secures the process of exchanging business documents over the internet.
AS2 vs. AS4
|AS2 uses HTTP/S, which is fast and gives you a receipt right away.
|AS4 also utilizes HTTP/S but is specifically designed to work with web services offering enhanced performance for handling SOAP messages with attachments or large payloads.
|AS2 makes your data safe through encryption from start to finish.
|AS4 offers the same high security as AS2, adding support for more security standards.
|AS2 can send data at the same time or at different times.
|AS4, like AS2, can do both at-the-same-time and different-time data transfer with better features for managing lots of data.
|AS2 gives you a receipt (MDN) when your data has been delivered.
|AS4 provides the same MDN feature, but also has better ways to handle errors or problems.
|AS2 can work with firewalls easily without needing extra setup.
|AS4 can also work with firewalls, but comes with more features to manage traffic and ensure data gets through.
|AS2 is friendly to your wallet when you’re sending lots of data.
|AS4 can be more cost-friendly when you’re sending large files or dealing with lots of data.
In summary, if you’re looking for a secure, reliable, and cost-effective way to send data electronically, AS2 is definitely worth considering. The AS2 protocol stands as a robust and effective way to transfer business data online. It’s like a secure, reliable mail service that quickly delivers your information to where it needs to go. AS2 wraps your data in layers of digital protection, making sure it’s safe from start to finish. It fits well in most company’s digital setups without breaking the bank. For businesses looking to share information over the internet with peace of mind, AS2 offers a proven, cost-efficient solution.
- What is an FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- What is FTPS Server (File Transfer Protocol Secure)
- What is an SFTP Server (Secure File Transfer Protocol)
- What is MFT (Managed File Transfer)
- What is SCP (Secure Copy Protocol)
- 14 Popular File Transfer Protocols For Business Explained
- MFT Vs SSH: Whats the difference
- Difference between MFT vs SFTP