Top 3 Misconceptions about FTP

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) provides a simple way for users to send files and information ad hoc from one location to another. Based on a client/server model, FTP provides a medium to establish communication between computers (or servers) for file transfers. While it is still a widely used and familiar method of file transfer, there are many misconceptions about FTP. Here is a look at some of the most common misconceptions:

Misconception 1: FTP encrypts data as it’s transferred.

FTP does NOT encrypt data in transit. When you use FTP, all transmissions are transferred in clear text—meaning they can be visible if the transmission is intercepted—putting data at risk when it’s transferred, including users’ login credentials and commands. Data leakage can also happen when users send sensitive data across an unsecured or on an anonymous FTP site.

If you are using FTP to transfer business data, you are ultimately sacrificing convenience for security. Additionally, while organizations install FTP servers for one reason or another, they are generally forgotten about, not updated, and receive little to no oversight on the data that resides on them. Last year, the FBI even put out an alert about attacks targeting anonymous FTP servers at small health providers.

Related Reading: FTP Alternatives

Misconception 2: All that matters is getting data from point A to point B

If you have any sensitive or regulated data, then there is a lot more at stake. There is a wide range of business needs to consider. In addition to ensuring that your files make their way from one location to another, you will also need to make efforts to prove compliance with data protection regulations. FTP was developed for the sole purpose of transferring files and does not offer any capabilities that support security and compliance needs.

Additionally, there are no provisions in FTP to determine when an error occurs in transmission. If a file fails to send or be received, FTP does not notify you. This kind deficiency can put SLAs and business relationships at risk.

Misconception 3: Homegrown FTP is good enough

If you are using a homegrown FTP system, then you are likely experiencing issues and facing many risk factors. You may have data silos that cause various challenges for employees that need timely access to data for data-driven business decisions. You may also find that you are spending more time logging into various systems and platforms, troubleshooting, or doing other related maintenance tasks.

Using a decentralized file transfer process also makes it more difficult to manage compliance. Auditing various applications and systems without a comprehensive perspective of your IT system is very time consuming and error prone.

From FTP to MFT

Managed file transfer (MFT) technologies provide multi-layered security and compliance supporting capabilities, far beyond the more basic file transfer mechanisms like FTP. MFT technology’s features include in-depth reporting (such as notifications of successful/failed file transfers), global visibility into your data at all times, end-to-end security with encryption of data in transit and at rest, performance metrics/monitoring to meet stringent SLAs and compliance mandates, and the automation of file transfer-related processes. Companies that are ready for a more robust platform choose Globalscape’s award-winning managed file transfer (MFT) platform, Enhanced File Transfer™ (EFT™). EFT is easy to implement and customizable to your business’ size and demands. EFT provides:

  • Military-grade security and compliance, built for the enterprise
  • Comprehensive data transfer auditing and reporting
  • Maximized system uptime through high availability and active-active clustering
  • A fully scalable and customizable solution, with easy migration from SMB to enterprise level
  • Maximum data transfer automation capabilities and visibility across your system
  • Secure mobile data transfer management
  • Easy integration with other vendor products Reliable and available U.S.-based support

Get your free trial of EFT today!


Do you have a modern day business using an outdated file transfer platform? Find out today and download your free FTP guide.