Why is AS2 EDI a Better Option For Data Transferring?
In the tech world, AS2 EDI is one of the buzzing terms in the context of EDI over the last two decades. The AS2 in EDI indicates a method through which a firm’s computer system exchanges the EDI documents and validates them further. Besides, it also generates and sends a receipt associated with the confirmation of EDI documents to the system at the sender-end.
- What is AS2 EDI?
- What are the benefits of AS2 EDI?
- Significance of AS2 EDI
- Who makes use of AS2 in EDI?
Many people get confused between EDI and AS2 EDI. They think that the AS2 is just an extension of the EDI and serves a similar purpose. But, technically, it’s not true. The AS2 only emphasizes the successful transfer of an EDI document. Once it is done, the job of AS2 EDI is completed. How this EDI document is moved forward within the organization and how it is translated will not be concerned with the AS2 EDI.
Now, let’s try to briefly understand what is meant by AS2 EDI and the basic concepts associated with it.
What is AS2 EDI?
Technically, the term AS2 EDI refers to the ‘Applicability Statement’ along with the ‘2’ which specifies exactly how the business data will be transported. It is one of the most advanced versions of EDI communication and also supports all the important standard prerequisites.
The AS2 EDI makes use of well-structured HTTP for transferring crucial business data. In the early 2000s, numerous established players of the retail and FMCG industries shifted towards AS2 EDI for crucial business data transferring. Even though several internet-based EDI communication modes had been available during that period, yet the adoption of AS2 EDI has raised significantly owing to its unique attributes. This move resulted in increased global popularity of AS2 in EDI and a declaration stating AS2 as a standard practice by many global institutes.
Today, many other prominent industries also adopted the AS2 protocol in EDI. They are leveraging the advantages of AS2 EDI over the traditional value-added networks.
There are 3 main aspects of AS2 EDI usage that keeps on attracting different firms from across the world. They are:
All the crucial data will be protected through a secured ‘envelope’
The encryption will ensure that only the desired partner will receive the EDI document. More importantly, any kind of intercept will not be allowed in between the transferring process
The receiver will return a signed acknowledgement receipt
What are the benefits of AS2 EDI?
These days, the AS2 EDI is the best option for the firms who are looking for efficient EDI communication. This AS2 protocol in EDI communication or AS2 communications EDI offers many benefits, such as:-
- By using the internet for EDI document transfer, AS2 EDI reduces the costs associated with networking. Besides, it also improves overall performance. There is no need for restructuring any EDI document’s standard format for this.
- AS2 adds flexibility to the data that has been transferred through the EDI and provides more control over it.
- With global web connectivity, AS2 EDI allows the firm to establish communication with more trading partners located in any corner of the world. It can be achieved within a limited budget through a little-bit EDI infrastructure.
- AS2 EDI assists in saving a considerable amount of time by eliminating the manual order processing. Also, it reduces the data errors greatly by turning manual processes into automated ones.
- Any amount of business data can be transferred with the help of AS2. In other words, there is no practical limitation on the size of the data.
- The AS2 EDI setup can be operational for 24*7 with minimal downtime if the firm’s server is kept on working around the clock
- Any type of business document can be transferred through the AS2 EDI. For example, EDI X12, XML, EDIFACT, or any other mutually-agreed file format.
Significance of AS2 EDI
As mentioned above, the increased security offered by AS2 EDI communication plays an important role for its growing popularity. To provide a considerable amount of security to its documents, AS2 makes use of many elements during data transferring. For example, digital signatures, encryption codes, receipts, and data compression.
Besides, AS2 EDI does not demand for any additional software at the supplier’s end during the data communication process. Since it heavily relies on the ‘push’ or ‘P2P’ technology, the entire data will be transferred at a rapid speed as documents do not have to be stored and forwarded. Due to this, AS2 EDI turns more feasible as compared to the traditional EDI communication protocols. For instance, Value Added Networks (VANs), Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs), or modems.
Another important thing to note is, the AS2 EDI automatically responds to every EDI document transferring. In case of successful receiving of the document, it sends the confirmation message (AS2 MDN) to the sender-end system via a built-in functionality. On the contrary, in the case of unsuccessful transfer, it alerts the sender end system through a message stating that the concerned document has been queued for re-sending.
Here, the AS2 MDN (Message Disposition Notification) refers to an electronic acknowledgment of reception used to confirm the successful transferring of an EDI document. It will be sent to the sender system after receiving the document through the AS2 EDI.
This MDN mainly observes 2 things:
- Whether the EDI was completed successfully through AS2 protocol
- The document has arrived at the receiver-end without any modification
The process of an AS2 MDN connection sets up as follows:
- The sender system will send an EDI document to the desired recipient encrypted with a digital signature
- The EDI document gets transferred through the internet via AS2
- The recipient system will decrypt the EDI document by verifying the digital signature. Then, it will create a request for MDN, affix a digital signature, and send it back to the sender system
- The sender system will receive the MDN and verify the digital signature
Who makes use of AS2 in EDI?
The AS2 connection EDI establishes a proper communication set up between the trading partners. It creates an ‘envelope’ for the business data that is transferred through an HTTP-based protocol. As it facilitates point-to-point communication via the internet, it ensures complete security and reliability.
Owing to these two prime advantages, many renowned firms of different sizes have adopted the AS2 protocol in EDI. However, certain requirements need to be fulfilled before adopting it.
- The main client and its trading partners must upgrade to their systems to the AS2 protocol. This can be achieved by investing in well-built AS2 EDI software. It will facilitate secure, seamless, and quick data flow between the systems. Also, it will present the real-time data in an easy to understandable format.
- A unique 13-digit AS2 GLN (Global Location Number) identification given by the GS1 (Global Standards One) institute.
- EDI AS2 certificate for each participant in the EDI transaction process. Created as per certain security standards, these facilitate secured data transferring. One can generate/sign the certificates on own or else use the verified certificates issued by a trusted authority. However, the latter will be preferred more as the self-signed certificates may raise security warnings. All these certificates must be exchanged in advance with the desired trading partners.
- The public keys of all the EDI AS2 certificates used by your trading partners.
Therefore, upgrade your EDI at the earliest by investing in robust AS2 EDI software. Establish secure communication with your trading partners. Transfer your key business data quickly without fearing for any kind of breach.
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