Everything You Should Know About EDI and AS2

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AS2 Provides Safe, Reliable, and Fast EDI Transactions

AS2 is a common method for EDI exchange. In fact, it’s one of the most popular and trusted methods for B2B communication via the internet available.

AS2 became the primary EDI communication method in the retail industry after Walmart started requiring all of their EDI trading partners to use EDI via AS2. Once Walmart made AS2 the go-to standard, the rest of the sector followed their lead. The healthcare industry also favors AS2 because it meets their HIPAA requirements and is more cost-effective than other methods.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about AS2 – including whether or not it is a good option for your business communications.

What is AS2?

Applicability Standard 2 (AS2) is a follow-up to Applicability Statement 1 (AS1), which was developed in the 1990’s by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to control how EDI utilized the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (SMIME). AS2 also uses SMIME for security encryption, but overall AS2 is different (and better) than AS1.

AS2 uses a client/server system that requires both trading partners in an EDI transaction to be online at the same time. Another basic requirement for AS2 is the use of a network with the TCP/IP protocol.

AS2 envelopes data using SMIME digital certificates to encrypt data and verify identities. This ensures that both trading partners can confirm that they are communicating with the right party.

Here is an example of the process of sending an invoice with AS2:

  1. Your billing system creates an invoice
  2. Your AS2 software translates the original document to the AS2 format
  3. Your AS2 software encrypts, digitally signs, and delivers your invoice via the internet
  4. Your trading partner’s AS2 software receives the invoice, verifies your credentials, authenticates the source, and translates the document into the necessary format for their in-house software
  5. Your trading partner’s AS2 software sends you an acknowledgment of receipt

Now that you understand how AS2 works, let’s take a look at why your business might want to use it for your B2B communications.

The Advantages of EDI and AS2

An EDI value-added network (VAN) is an alternative to AS2 for EDI communication. However, more recently companies are using AS2 via an EDI VAN to combine the benefits of both technologies.

Typically, AS2 uses the internet for communication, allowing companies to get unlimited data use from their AS2 software. On the other hand, using an EDI VAN usually requires a business to pay for the amount of data they use.

Thanks to BOLD VAN’s Trading Partner Pricing, you can get unlimited EDI data use regardless of whether you use AS2 or our VAN for EDI exchange!

The advantages of EDI and AS2 from BOLD VAN:

  • Unlimited EDI data
  • Cloud-based solution
  • Affordable, predictable pricing
  • No in-house EDI infrastructure required
  • 24/7 connectivity for AS2 communication
  • 99.998% uptime for EDI VAN communication
  • Innovative security measures to ensure secure EDI exchange through AS2 or a VAN

Best of all – we install and configure everything for you.

How to Get Started with AS2

There are a few different approaches to getting started with AS2. Traditionally, you and your trading partners would need to complete the following three steps:

  1. Purchase, install, and configure AS2 software
  2. Grant firewall access and exchange certificates
  3. Test the connection to verify successful communication between both trading partners

You can handle the setup and onboarding processes in-house, or you can hire a consultant to help your organization get everything squared away.

On the other hand, you can outsource everything to a full-service EDI provider like BOLD VAN. All of our white-glove services are included in your monthly rate, regardless of which pricing tier your business uses.

We will configure AS2, an EDI VAN, and any other EDI services you need to exchange documents with your trading partners. No matter which methods you use for EDI exchange, your communication will always be fast, secure, and reliable.

Learn more about outsourcing your EDI to BOLD VAN today!

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