Data Action Layer March 21, 2023

Zen and the Art of Portal Downloads

by Elizabeth Matson

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Important documents require portal document retrieval to protect sensitive information and ensure their security. This can be a tedious process, and it can be hard to find a solution that meets all your needs. Most portals don’t have APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and require multi-factor authentication, meaning integrating with other systems and automating the process isn’t an easy option. Moreover, companies typically have multiple portals, which makes managing downloads an arduous and time-consuming task.

So how are financial services companies handling this? We are weighing the pros and cons of the three most common options for managing portal downloads.

How do financial services companies manage portal document retrieval?

1. Managing in-house

Managing portal downloads in-house is where most firms start when trying to overcome the massive amount of documents flowing in. This means having dedicated in-house staff to continuously log in, download and save documents. 


  • Transparency. One of the greatest benefits of keeping portal downloads in-house is that you don’t have to worry about communicating with another company and you have eyes-on all the time. 
  • Security. If you use an in-house solution, you know where the documents are being downloaded and saved to, and you can ensure the security of the location that sensitive information is being stored. 


  • Staffing. You will need a dedicated person that is experienced and primarily focused on portal download retrieval. A busy employee with other pressing tasks and projects, as well as limited expertise, can hinder operations.

2. Using an automated solution

Employing a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution to manage portal downloads is a more advanced solution to try to automate the collection of documents. An RPA uses software to mimic human interaction with portal download websites to streamline the process. RPAs can be created in-house or you may choose to use an RPA platform company to employ the solution for you.


  • Automation. With an automated download process, you don’t have to hire dedicated employees to handle portal downloads and can utilize existing employees for reviews and checks. 
  • Control. If you have a technical team on hand that can help you set up the RPA and manage it, you will have more control over the process.


  • Roadblocks. Most portals try to discourage the use of automating the download process because of the security weaknesses it creates. Steps like multi-factor authentication can cause an RPA to fail and will require human intervention.
  • Fragility. RPAs can be technically difficult and time consuming to keep running. Everytime something in the portal changes, the RPA will need to be checked, tested and updated to avoid the process failing.

3. Hiring a service provider

If managing the process in-house or using an RPA tool doesn’t meet your needs, hiring a service provider to manage downloads could be the right combination of efficiency and risk management.


  • Employee efficiency. Your team won’t need to focus on the tedious work of downloading information and can focus on more strategic activities such as research and analysis. 
  • Reliability. Because it would still be a human-driven process, you don’t need to worry about fixing or keeping RPAs in working order. 
  • Security. By selecting the right vendor, you can create a safe and secure process using tools like virtual machines and dedicated logins with multi-factor authentication. Be sure that you are using a trusted and vetted vendor that can maintain good policies.


  • Security compromises. When selecting your vendor, consider the process that they use to obtain access to the portals. It is important that you do not compromise on where documents are saved, the control you have over access and the transparency you need to manage a responsible process.

What’s Alkymi’s take?

When creating our turnkey Portal Download Service for customers, we made a pointed decision to select a highly-vetted partner with trusted security certifications and references. We worked with them to create a secure protocol which gives our clients complete control over the process and their documents, even if they decide to discontinue the service. This includes virtual machines owned by the client, individual managed logins that can be shut off at any time and a complete audit trail of all activity. Our goal is to offer our clients a secure and efficient way to manage portal downloads with confidence, helping them meet their deadlines and improve their data workflows.

Schedule a demo to learn more about our Portal Download Service.

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