5 Things You Need to Know About File Transfer Protocol

Long before users could move their data across the web using HTTP, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) was developed as a standalone technology enabling users to move their data from one location to another. The specification for the FTP was written in 1971, before the Internet.

In spite of being considered a mature and outdated technology, more than forty years later FTP is still widely used today.

Related Reading: FTP Alternatives

Five Facts about FTP

1. Files transferred are not encrypted and more vulnerable to interception with FTP 
2. FTP lacks visibility and can’t provide insight if a file transfer fails or is interrupted
3. Complex or high volume file transfer workflows can’t be automated with FTP
4. FTP lacks the capabilities to facilitate compliance requirements
5. FTP is vulnerable to hackers, according to the FBI

FTP, File Transfer Protocol or File Transfer Problem?

Organizations generally set up FTP servers to exchange information when other methods won’t work or are not available. In some cases, the file sizes exceed email capacity. In other cases, there are security concerns. FTP was once considered the best way to transfer files. It was convenient, easy to use, and it was secure. But now, that’s just not the case.

These days, FTP is commonly deployed ad hoc to meet an application requirement or to resolve a specific problem. However, there are no centralized tools available when FTP is used in this manner (e.g. with multiple FTP deployments across an organization). As a result, IT won’t be able to manage or control their environment securely or efficiently. Limited to no visibility, no control, and no security are critical challenges for organizations that use FTP. Losing sight of any of the three can compromise the security of their data and IT infrastructure.

When you’re Managing More than a File Transfer

There is nothing inherently wrong with FTP, as long as it meets your requirements. However, when your organization needs a robust platform that can help you meet multiple requirements, FTP just won’t suffice.  When you’re managing a high volume of file transfers or complex file transfer workflows and when file transfer compliance is a priority, then a managed file transfer platform is the best solution to meet your business requirements. 

With a managed file transfer (MFT) platform, you can securely and efficiently manage all of the file transfer complexities and security requirements applicable to modern organizations today.

1.  Transparency and reporting: MFT provides granular details on all file transfer activity. If something goes wrong, you can pinpoint how and why, making it easier for you to prevent or correct issues.

2.  Automation: With the robust automation capabilities of the MFT platform, you can customize your software to handle all of your complex or high volume file transfer workflows. MFT is more efficient, reliable, and accurate, saving you time and money.

3.  Compliance: Facilitating compliance is a process that is often found to be complex and time consuming. With MFT, you gain a secure framework and reporting features which simplify even the most rigorous requirements.

4.  Security:  MFT platforms move files with security in mind, keeping sensitive data protected while it’s in transit and while it’s at rest. Additionally, MFT complements cybersecurity tools like data loss protection (DLP), antivirus software, endpoint protection, and many others.

Managed File Transfer (MFT) software evolved from FTP, but it expands beyond the capabilities of FTP and its basic file transfer. If you want a centralized location to manage your file transfers, workflows, or if you face strict compliance requirements, then an MFT platform may be a better fit for your environment.

FTP Resources

Do You Know the Business Risks of Using FTP?

FTP is a common way to transmit information, but there’s a hitch: It lacks visibility, control, and important data protections when files are being transferred. Ultimately, FTP is a mechanism that presents more issues than it solves.

If you are using FTP to transfer business data, then you are sacrificing core capabilities that are required to not only succeed, but also to sustain your organization in the complex and fast-paced environment that you operate in today. 

In the guide “Is FTP Really Enough: The Business Risks of Using FTP,” we discuss:

• The evolution of FTP and its role in today’s business environment
• Critical business challenges when you use FTP to move data 
• How to reduce your business risks and keep data secure

Download the guide, "Is FTP Really Enough?"