So, you want to automate your FTP file transfers. Whether you send a dozen file transfers a week, hundreds a day, or even more, automation is a smart step for most businesses. The benefits are simple: automatic file transfers cut down on user errors, reduce or eliminate the need for scripts, free up manual time spent on creating and maintaining jobs, and most importantly, get files where they need to go—and reliably, too.
Paired with encryption technologies like Open PGP, GPG, or AES, automation provides a secure way to push and pull files between an organization’s employees, clients, trading partners, systems, applications, and remote locations. With end-to-end encryption, ease of use, and detailed auditing for file activity, there are few reasons why IT professionals shouldn’t use FTP automation software to increase their file security and user productivity.
If you’re looking for automatic file transfer software to help support your FTP automation goals, you’ve come to the right place. Scripts, homegrown processes, and legacy PC tools are frequently not robust or resilient enough to handle a high volume of sensitive file movement. A solution that automates FTP file transfers will bring a level of quality and consistency to any organization, especially those that communicate with multiple trading partners.
Learn more: Everything You Need to Know about PGP Encryption
Everything You Need to Know about FTP Automation
There are dozens of file transfer automation solutions available in today’s marketplace. Free software, open-source software, cloud-supported software, MFT and EFT software… The options can be overwhelming if you’re not sure which one to choose.
Need some help with your search? As you evaluate solutions on the web, here are five things you should consider about modern automatic file transfer software.
1. FTP is Outdated and Unsecure
In the 1970s, FTP was the powerhouse file transfer protocol organizations used to share files with each other. Security wasn’t a big consideration then. The internet was still new, and the words "hacking" and "data breach" didn’t have the same weight they do now.
As file sharing—and the information we include in these files—has increased, so has the interest in hacking. FTP was created during a time when security wasn’t as widely needed. Today, FTP is not only outdated, it has no security measures to help protect sensitive data in transit. A good example of this is the fact that FTP retains a user’s login credentials and presents it "in the clear" to anyone watching (aka "sniffing") network traffic.
Better, more secure options for FTP have been introduced over the decades. If you’re ready to safeguard your data in transit with secure server-to-server connections, we recommend exploring options for SFTP, FTPS, AS2, or HTTPS.
Related Reading: Five Secure File Transfer Alternatives to FTP
2. There’s More to FTP Automation Software than Automation
Automatic file transfer software allows users to schedule when files should be sent or retrieved between systems, users, trading partners, applications, or the cloud. This software is frequently used to manage recurrent file transfers, especially if a high volume of transfers is processed a day, to allow the prioritization of other business-critical tasks.
But automation does more than just move files on a regular basis. With a managed file transfer solution in your organization, you can also use automation to monitor folders on-premises or in the cloud, receive email and SMS alerts when triggered events occur, and test and debug file transfer workflows.
Want to know more? Read about 10 ways to achieve automatic file transfer for more ways MFT automation software can be used to benefit your organization.
3. What’s Your Budget? FTP Automation Software can Vary in Cost
One thing you should have in mind when evaluating software is your budget. The automatic file transfer software available in today’s marketplace ranges from free to affordable to costly depending on the vendor you’re considering, how many licenses you need, what features you’d like to add, and what size your organization is.
Determining a budget for software is a personal decision. For a good idea at what kind of considerations you should add to your budget, this buyer’s guide to secure file transfer solutions can help. Use the free, printable checklist included toward the end to help work through a list of considerations for your organization.
Free FTP Client for File Transfers:
If your budget is low or non-existent, and you’re certain FTP satisfies your requirements, you may want to consider our free FTP server and client solution for file transfers. We offer a free license of our managed file transfer solution, GoAnywhere MFT, that gives users access to our FTP server and is perfect for small organizations that don’t exchange sensitive files.
Learn More: Try Our Free FTP Client
4. What do You Need? FTP Automation Software can be Basic or Robust
As we covered above, automation software can do the bare minimum and automate your file transfers, but it can also do more depending on your organization’s needs. While you search for a solution, consider if there are any other areas of the business that could benefit from a more robust file transfer product:
- Do you need to be compliant with requirements like PCI DSS or HIPAA?
- Would you benefit from being able to send ad-hoc files and packages via secure email?
- Do you need seamless integration with cloud applications or folders?
- Would you like an easy way to share files with internal teams and partners?
- Do you need to connect securely to remote locations and offices?
- Would your organization benefit for better user and admin security settings?
5. The Debate around Open-Source Software
Are you considering open-source FTP automation software for your organization? If you’re only sending the occasional file transfer, or your files don’t contain sensitive information that must be compliant with industry or federal regulations, an open-source solution may seem like a positive choice.
However, it’s a good idea to be informed about open-source software before taking the leap for your business. Open-source software can have decent functionality, an ongoing community for support and development, and allow you to develop it to your unique requirements. On the other hand, there’s no guarantee of support for open source. These tools can be time consuming to set up, and you could outgrow it quickly if you decide to scale your environment in the future.
Related Content: ROI of Managed File Transfer Calculator
Whether you want to use an open-source FTP automation tool is completely up to you, but make sure you know what you’re getting into before you implement. You can explore the full list of pros and cons for using open-source software in this blog.
Safeguard, Streamline, and Automate Your File Transfers
Automation for your file transfers is a great step towards saving time, cutting down on resources, and reducing overall security risks. Just make sure you’ve considered everything about FTP automation before you make your final decision on a solution.
If you need secure file transfer automation for your business, we’d be happy to offer you a free 30-day trial of our award-winning solution, GoAnywhere MFT. GoAnywhere will give you full access to our file transfer automation, so you can see streamlined time savings in action.