Resource Center

FTP Sites: Are They the Best for You?

FTP sites used to be the method of choice for sharing large files but improved technology and heightened safety concerns have exposed their flaws. Most FTP users spend more time on support measures for their site than they spend on the site’s actual intention: sharing files.

FTP Sites aren't the only option when it comes to file transfer

A safer and more efficient option is to use a cloud-based file-sharing service such as Citrix ShareFile. Why is it a smarter option than an FTP site, and how does it work?

5 areas where an FTP site falls short

1. MaintenanceFTPs site can be a headache to set up and a pain in the neck to maintain. First, you have to build the site. Then, you have to spend valuable time servicing it and customizing it based on the needs of your clients. Not only that, but many people are no longer familiar with FTP, so any new users need to be trained on how to use it.

ShareFile does not require hardware to install, software to maintain, or additional IT resources. You can begin transferring large files with ShareFile in just minutes. Not only that, our intuitive client portal is easy for new users to learn.

2. Access Any user can log in to an FTP site and download files. This may be fine if you’re just sharing music from your band or chapters of that novel you’ve been writing. But is this the type of rogue file sharing you would want for important business documents or confidential client information?

ShareFile allows you to easily create users, control what they can see, and revoke their access at anytime. You can even set up email alerts to notify you when someone downloads a file, ensuring you always know what's going on with your data.

3. Security In an article published by Security Week, Adam Bosnian, executive vice president at Cyber-Ark Software, had this to say about FTP security:

"A shortcoming with traditional FTP and even encrypted FTP sessions is that after the data is done moving, it sits on the FTP or SFTP (SSH File Server Protocol) server in plain text. As the FTP or SFTP server is commonly connected to the Internet to allow business partners access to it, the data is at risk of being retrieved and shared. FTP passwords can also be susceptible to attack when in clear text as any network sniffer can hijack it. Moreover, FTP technology can slow down business processes, as an organization’s IT team often needs to modify FTP scripts in order to support a new business initiative or bring on a new business partner that needs to exchange sensitive information with the system."

As a result of these drawbacks, many businesses have become hesitant about using FTP sites and have turned to cloud-based options with heightened security. They include ShareFile, which uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your files, the same encryption method used by the U.S. government to transfer top secret files. 

4. ScalabilityFTP sites have limitations on their ability to transfer high volumes of data. Simultaneously sending files to multiple recipients or documents that are excessively large in size are often met with a painfully slow transfer process or an error message. In contrast, ShareFile allows you to instantly send big files of up to 100 GB in size with no impact in regards to the number of recipients.

5. Mobility Most basic FTP sites require additional steps in order to access the network remotely, if made possible at all. With ShareFile, you can access your files from anywhere on a range of mobile devices — tablets, smartphones, laptops — you name it, our file sharing apps make it easy!

Is ShareFile the right FTP alternative for you?

In designing ShareFile, we wanted to develop an FTP alternative that would alleviate some of business's most common pain points, no matter their industry. In the following videos, ShareFile customers across several verticals explain how ShareFile has helped improve their business operations. Short on time? Scroll past each video to read a brief summary of the points covered in the video.

RCI Builders Construction Company uses ShareFile to Replace FTP

Lee Tillet says:

One of the biggest choke points in construction is the movement of information, and ShareFile aids in that process very much. Technology has absolutely changed in the construction industry. I remember I was one of the first people walking around with a digital camera, that was kind of unheard of, and now I'm sending out 60 pictures of the job a day. We are visual people as builders, so it is great to be able to pull up a plan, pull up a drawing, pull up a picture of what something looks like in the field and have the whole team look at that at the same time. 

When FTP sites came out, that was great, because you could upload large files for other people to download. But the drawbacks were they had to have a username and password and an exact website that they keyed in. That allows for a lot of error. The great thing about ShareFile is when I send a link to an individual file, just that file downloads. All they have to do is click it, and it immediately pops up in their PDF viewer. 

A lot of subcontractors don't have a means to get large files to you to then generate for the design team. In my Outlook I can request a file, which makes a hyperlink in the body of the email for that subcontractor to click on and upload any documents he needs to, and it goes straight to my inbox.

The ShareFile mobile app is great. I have my iPad with me 24/7, and the situation has come up multiple times where I am walking in the field and I need to look at a drawing. I've got every drawing in my pocket, I can pull it up and look at it and easily flip through and view it and send that file directly to a subcontractor from either my phone or my iPad. 

When I upload something to a folder on ShareFile, three people get a notification that it is there for their review so they can coordinate who is going to look at it first, who is going to look at it second, maybe they get on a conference call and look at it together. It is so much better than the old way of "This guy has to look at it with this guy's comments, and this guy has to get it sent on to the next guy." 

What ShareFile allows people to do is to collaborate in real time.

Holdsworth & Co. Accounting Firm uses ShareFile and RightSignature to Simplify Client Services

Matt Holdsworth says: 

Working in the west, this kind of wide open landscape makes us feel spread out. We were spending so much time driving things around our community just to get signatures and things like that. Using ShareFile and RightSignature makes us feel connected to close those distances. 

Our workflow before we found ShareFile was a total nightmare. It was like a full-time job at tax season to get tax signatures from our clients who didn't live in Prescott. Using RightSignature has cut that whole mess out. We send it, there's an online app, they sign it online and it comes back to us. I don't have to spend that time traveling to clients for administrative tasks. The turnaround time on a document signature has gone from 30 minutes with fax to a few moments with ShareFile. Now we upload a document and when it is signed, it is downloaded.

It is also remarkably easy to use, so we haven't had to spend a lot of time in tech support. The sales representative trained me how to use it in half an hour or less, and we were ready to start sending files. When this technology became available, it was just one more piece of the puzzle to make my firm a completely paperless firm. We tell clients now that all they have to do is have an internet connection and we can handle your work like you are next door.

Cherokee Investment Company uses ShareFile to Streamline Collaboration

JT Vaughn says:

The amount of information that needs to be exchanged in any given deal, whether it is a venture deal or a real estate deal is massive. Keeping track of all of that data in an organized way and sharing it with the appropriate parties in an organized and secure manner is a task in and of itself.

I use ShareFile for everything, especially on the real estate side. You generate a ton of files, so you need to be able to share those files with architects, engineers, remediation experts and consultants. So ShareFile really enables us to do that. When you are sharing all of these files, you can password protect it if you need to, you can have sign-ins so you can see who is accessing which files. That functionality allows you to keep track of everything in a more detailed manner. 

And because of the nature of your business, we may look at venture deals or real estate deals all over the globe, and if you did not have access to your files, especially on your phone, it would be pretty prohibitive from an efficiency standpoint. So it has been really useful for us to be able to pull up any given presentation on our laptop or iPad and walk an investor through that. You can be totally mobile and have your desktop at your fingertips. 

Ready to see what ShareFile can do for your company? Sign up for your free trial to get started!

Additional reading:

#1 General Contractor in California replaces FTP with ShareFile - See how Swinerton Builders replaced their FTP site with ShareFile

ShareFile FTP Support - learn more about how ShareFile integrates with existing FTP implementations