There are many ways to move digital files from one computer to another. Many organizations use File Transfer Protocol (FTP), a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files from a server to a client using the Client-server model on a computer network. FTP works by uploading a file to a server from which the recipient can then download it using an FTP client.
FTP remains popular because it’s a simple, fast, and easy way to transfer files. Unfortunately, the technology has not changed in decades, while cybersecurity threats evolve daily. Your information can be at risk if you continue to use insecure file transfer methods. And, as we’ve said before, while employee file transfer activity is often harmless, it can create an enormous security lapse if someone transmits sensitive data without using the appropriate safety measures.
Managed File Transfer technology (MFT) offers greater security, the ability to automate functions, and customizable controls. As a result, many organizations have adopted MFT as their primary file transfer technology. Let’s explore the security, automation, and control benefits MFT offers.
Seven benefits of MFT vs. FTP:
- Security – MFT supports a variety of file transfer security protocols including:
- FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS)
- SFTP (FTP over SSH2)
- HTTPS (HTTP over SSL)
- IPv4 and IPv6
The additional security and authentication these protocols provide help keep data safe during transfer. MFT file transfer technology also supports encryption, salting, and hashing options in FIPS 140-2 validated cryptography mode for use in secure networks such as at government agencies. File transfers can also be further protected with strong, secure passwords used to protect data access.
- Administration – MFT provides more administrative control for your IT team than FTP. With MFT, IT admins can set permissions, restrict file access to authorized end users, and configure controls from a centralized web dashboard. With centralized administration, you can manage your file transfer environment both within your company’s network and in integration with third parties. Additional administrative benefits include real-time monitoring of file transfer activity, and the ability to generate server and domain logs for compliance reporting.
- Automation – MFT gives you the ability to automate many tasks including scheduling file transfers, setting expiration dates for file storage, deletion, and transfer, initiating event-driven actions, and sending notifications based on defined activities.
- Integration – MFT integrates with other systems, including Active Directory® and LDAP servers, across your IT networks either through integrated solutions or third party application programming interface (API). Integration with outside systems offers more comprehensive file transfer options and enhances security.
- Scalability – MFT scales better than FTP, and supports unlimited domains, file transfer users, and concurrent sessions. You can also transfer large files (greater than 3 GB), simultaneously transfer multiple files, perform side-by-side file transfers, and synchronize folders with MFT’s more robust technology. MFT grows with you as your enterprise grows.
- Flexibility – MFT offers flexible options that make file transfers easy, such as drag-and-drop access from a web-based console, and ad hoc sharing options that let anyone in your organization share files, at any time, based on limits and permissions you define.
- Mobility – MFT allows you to work on-the-go with functions, such as generating password-protected file links that can be shared via email, social media, and chat. FTP transfers are managed through a desktop application, but MFT also offers web and browser-based controls and supports mobile OS dashboards.
These seven benefits illustrate just some of the reasons why organizations may choose MFT for their enterprise file transfer operations instead of FTP. Although FTP might remain useful for internal file transfer needs, MFT has greater capabilities for protecting sensitive data, complying with legal and regulatory requirements, and customizing controls to scale up alongside your organization.
The video below demonstrates some of the many benefits MFT server offers over traditional FTP technology. After you watch it, click here to download a free 14-day trial of SolarWinds® Serv-U® MFT Server.