How to Bridge the AS2-AS4 Communication Gap and Stay in Business


With more industries continuing to recognize the heightened security and agility of the AS4 messaging protocol, the more it is becoming the norm. Following the success of the e-SENS project that made EU cross-border messaging using AS4 mandatory, Oil & Gas followed suit, and now Aviation and Healthcare are close behind. How do companies still using AS2 stay in communication with AS4 users when they aren’t yet ready to make the switch?

Why AS4?

A few blogs ago we talked about the potential of AS4 as a B2B, B2C and B2G messaging platform. The speed, security, reliability, interoperability and payload versatility of the platform make it an undeniable choice for messaging when it comes to highly sensitive information.

Adopted by government organizations and oil and gas providers, while continuing to spread across industries, this means more AS2 users will run into problems with messaging in these sectors. Recently, the natural gas provider in the Netherlands, Gasunie NL, made AS4 communication protocol mandatory. Meaning any company that wants to do business with Gasunie NL must communicate with AS4.

How to Bridge the Gap?

Fortunately, it doesn’t mean the end of a business relationship if a partner requests the use of AS4 but your company is still running AS2.

We’ve recognized this communication gap and developed a way to “bridge” communication between AS2 and AS4 users. When smaller companies are working with larger enterprises, where a software switch is not as big of a task, they can struggle to keep up with all of the new technology. But by bridging the gap through ECS, AS2 users can stay connected with AS4 partners without making any changes to their infrastructure or investing heavily in new technology.

As the only provider of such a service, we hope to keep smaller businesses working efficiently and communicating with all their partners. By using the AS2-AS4 “bridge” the transformation of AS2 messages to AS4 is fully automated to and from business partners. Taking away the pressure of changing protocols and investing time and money into new technology, the bridging service can be on-boarded rapidly and still maintains high levels of security.

The “Bridge” is Already Proving Successful

While many companies will still have to consider when to move to AS4, rather than if, the bridge is already working well for some as they prepare for the next step. The AS2-AS4 bridge is already supporting some partners of Gasunie NL here in the Netherlands, and helping out a European border patrol agency to secure IATA messaging with airline companies. Implemented and tested, the solution is proving indispensable for AS2 businesses communicating with AS4 protocol partners.

If your company sees problems with B2B, B2C or B2G communication in its future due to the shifts from AS2 to AS4 protocols, there is a solution. With the ECS message transformation service we can bridge the communication gap together and keep business running as usual. While transitioning with the bridge, ECS can also provide a full AS4 implementation on premise when your business is ready.