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Secure Alternatives to Online FTP Networks

FTP has been the go-to method for businesses looking to send and receive large files online. However, many are finding that other methods can provide them with more security and reliability than a traditional FTP site. Read on to learn more about FTP and the file sharing alternatives that can help keep your data safe.

In this article, we will discuss what FTP sites are and offer alternative data-sharing options for businesses who have concerns about FTP security and reliability.

What exactly is FTP?

FTP stands for file transfer protocol and is used to transfer files between computers on a network. Although FTP remains a popular file sharing solution for businesses, it poses significant security risks. Lack of security and reliability are two of the biggest drawbacks of FTP, as administrators have little control over who has access to files, how often they access them, and how long files remain on the server.

For instance, when you use FTP to transfer a file, you have no way to know whether the recipient has received or downloaded the file. It also does not allow senders to delete files and does not support automatic file expiration. This means that files sit on the FTP server until the IT administrator manually deletes them.

So why does anyone use FTP?

Many businesses are under the impression that FTP is their only option or that it is the cheapest option for sending files larger than email's attachment size limits. However, the disadvantages of FTP far outweigh the benefits.

An article published by Security Week states, "Why should we bury FTP? Because the early engineers who created FTP did not have access to the computer power and software needed for solid encryption, the 40 year old protocol continues to be a serious weakness for the security of connected machines."

FTP Alternatives

SFTP and FTPS are both secure alternatives to traditional FTP, but they vary in the way they transfer data.

SFTP provides the security of a SSH (secure shell) on top of the capabilities of traditional FTP.

SSH is "a security protocol for logging into a remote server. SSH provides an encrypted session for transferring files and executing server programs. Also serving as a secure client/server connection for applications such as database access and e-mail, SSH supports a variety of authentication methods," according to PC Magazine.

FTPS is simply a traditional FTP site with a security extension added.

Some main benefits of choosing an FTP alternative include:

  • No email bouncebacks — Using an FTP network does not eliminate the potential for a sent file to bounce back from the receiver because it’s too big. This is not true for a cloud based file-sharing solution.
  • User-friendly — Online file sharing has a minimal learning curve, so you forgo the learning steps involved in utilizing an FTP network.
  • No limitation on files larger than 2 GB — With online file sharing, forget the standard maximum file size. You can upload and send files of up to 10 GB.
  • Security — We've said it before: there are a number of security risks associated with traditional FTP networks, including that you have little control over who accesses your FTP server or how often they do. Online file sharing provides you with additional security measures, including password protections for files. Did you know that it costs enterprises around $551,000 to recover from a security breach and it costs small businesses close to $40,000? Don't risk your bottom line.
  • Cost-effectiveness — Online file-sharing sites can be set up in just a few steps and require no maintenance. FTP networks, on the other hand, can be costly due to the expenses for training or hiring staff to set up, configure and maintain actual servers.

The most secure and reliable FTP alternative: Citrix ShareFile

Keep it simple with an easy-to-use FTP alternative from ShareFile, which offers these key features:

  • Encryption for files in transfer and at rest. FTP sites are unable to provide this imperative security feature.
  • The ability to track and monitor all file activity through ID verification and password protection, as well as restrict users from granting third-party access.
  • Storage plan options ranging from 100 GB to unlimited, and the ability to send files up to 10 GB in size.
  • Plugin for Microsoft Outlook for easy email integration, so you can attach and send large files.
  • Customized interaction with colleagues and clients through a portal customized for your business.
  • Flexible and secure access to your account, including from any mobile device or desktop that’s able to connect to the network.
  • Reliable security with the same 128-bit SSL encryption used by banks, the government and other institutions that deal with confidential information, plus industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption protocol, firewalls, virus scanners, daily third-party security audits, off-site data backups, share link expiration and a remote wipe tool.

Discovered the advantages of an alternative to FTP. ShareFile offers a user-friendly, secure file-sharing solution that streamlines your collaboration. See for yourself by starting your free 30-day trial today.

Ready to try ShareFile? It's free for 30 days. No credit card required.

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