When it came to transferring files, FTP used to be all the rage, but as this chart from Google Trends shows, it’s becoming much less popular as people switch to FTP alternatives:
There’s a reason for that! Besides being so last millennium, FTP sites have many problems:
- Security – login details that are easy for hackers to intercept, access controls that make it difficult to control who sees what, and the fact that FTP fails to meet compliance requirements for most regulated industries means that FTP sites create a whole host of risks for your business. With 2016 being a record year for data breaches , it’s time to find a more secure ftp alternative
- Usability – ready to download and install some new software and learn a new process? Yeah me neither. Not everyone’s accustomed to FTP these days, so you don’t want to put your employees and customers through that pain.
- Professionalism – I mean seriously, just look at that interface. I know it’s familiar, nostalgic even, but really, it’s time to step out of the internet time machine. Don’t believe me, just ask a recent college grad for their thoughts. Millennials are rapidly joining the workforce, becoming co-workers, customers, and clients and they’re going to judge you.
But don’t worry! There are plenty of great FTP alternatives that will help you transfer files in ways that are more secure, easy, and professional. Change is hard, but soon you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Top Alternatives to FTP
- Citrix ShareFile – ShareFile solves many of the problems that used to send people scrambling to their FTP. It allows you to set up a secure client portal where clients and partners can easily login to share files with each other in an intuitive web interface- no extra software required! Files can be as large as 100 GB, eliminating the file size problem. Plus, you can custom brand the portal to provide a professional experience that will set your business apart. Besides all that, ShareFile is built for business and the security is top notch. Try it free!
- Project Management Tools – Are you still using FTP to share project files like images, designs, or CAD files? If so, it’s time to invest in a project management tool like Podio, Basecamp, or Asana. With these tools, multiple stakeholders can upload files, comment on them, get approvals and more. Not only will you improve your file transfer situation, you’ll improve your entire project management process.
- Virtual Data Rooms – I really hope no one is using FTP for sharing sensitive company data during mergers and acquisitions, IPO preparation, or other transacations that require a high degree of due diligence. If so, it’s imperative to replace ftp with a virtual data room, which is a specialized file sharing portal that comes with especially robust security, tracking, access controls and features like view only permissions and watermarking that ensure your most confidential data is protected. ShareFile offers a powerful virtual data room and Capterra offers a long list of other VDR providers.
Free FTP Alternatives
- Your email provider – I know what you’re thinking, “no way that’ll work with attachment size limits”. Hear me out though. While email services like Outlook do still limit attachment sizes, they can often be integrated with other services like OneDrive that’ll handle the heavy lifting, making them a good alternative in situations where file size is the only reason you needed FTP.
- Google Drive – If you have a Gmail account, you also have Google Drive, Google’s cloud storage solution that allows users to upload files to the cloud and grant access to others. Because of its ubiquity, it is handy, but for business use cases, you do run the risk of mingling the personal with the professional. Security is also a concern since your access is tied to your Gmail login and Gmail is one of the biggest targets for phishing and hacking scams. If a hacker gets access to your Gmail, they’ll also have access to all your files.
- WeTransfer – Oftentimes, people turn to FTP when they have a file that’s too large to send through email. For one-off, infrequent use cases like this, WeTransfer can come in handy. If your file is bigger than 2 GB, you’ll have to pay, but as long as you’re under that limit, you can send your file for free.
Not so great FTP alternatives that at least improve security
- FTPS – Ok, so you’re really attached to FTP. If so, you should upgrade to FTPS, which adds support for TLS and SSL encryption to good ol’ FTP. That’ll solve some of your security issues, but access control and compliance will still be problems. And of course it doesn’t help much with improving ease of use or professionalism. If you want to go this route, you can setup an FTP server on Windows or enable it through an FTP client like Filezilla.
- SFTP – SFTP, like FTPS, is a slightly more modern way to transfer files. It adds security to the familiar clunky interface of standard FTP, using the secure shell protocol (SSH) to transfer files. We’re not crazy about this one either, but if you insist, you can try an SFTP client like WinSCP.
With FTP alternatives like these, there’s no reason not to replace your FTP today. You’ll be happy you did and your co-workers, partners, and clients will be even happier! Setup ShareFile, the top alternative to FTP, in less than 60 seconds.