Check out this brief video which covers a variety of file transfer protocols, their uses, and the security that comes along with them:
As organizations have become more cloud-based, connected, and remote what was once easily done – transferring files securely – has become exponentially more difficult to do. However, it is no less critical to businesses of any size. If anything, the ability to safely move data from one enterprise, service, or location to the next is even more essential in today’s connected economy than it ever was before.
But yesterday’s tools aren’t built for today’s problems. That’s why organizations need to insist on secure file transfer (SFT) methods – and why security leaders need to be well-versed in the right ones.
Why Older Protocols Don’t Work
Legacy file transfer methods like File Transfer Protocol (FTP) aren’t robust enough to secure against modern threats. Environments are too vast, exploits are too advanced, and cloud-based architectures offer too many places to hide. Organizations using anything less than a secure file transfer method are inherently at risk.
For reference, FTP came about before the advent of the internet, over 50 years ago. Originally published in 1971, FTP was created to secure computer files. It underwent many iterations before finally being replaced by TCP/IP (once the internet came along). An outmoded protocol, FTP can still be found on many legacy systems.
FTP wasn’t built for security
“Some professionals are aware that FTP isn’t ideal but don’t understand how dangerous it is,” notes Fortra’s Lead Solutions Engineer Heath Kath in his article, “Is FTP Dead?”.
To illustrate, he reminds us how 43,000 names and social security numbers of Yale affiliates were shared when Google expanded its search to in 2010. In another instance, 205,000 patient record were exposed on a misconfigured FTP server, and in 2019, an open-source FTP server used by millions was affected by a major vulnerability.
File Transfer Protocol authenticates with cleartext usernames and passwords and does not rely on encryption. That leaves it vulnerable to simple web application attacks like sniffing, spoofing, and brute force techniques.
Because FTP was not built to be secure, many security practitioners are looking to transition to more protective technologies. There are several SFT methodologies that top that list.
The Top Secure File Transfer (SFT) methods
Secure File Transfer is a single solution that streamlines your transfers while keeping them safe. Needless to say, it is designed for security.
SFT leans on support from multiple file transfer protocols, including:
- Managed File Transfer (MFT) | Centralized file transfer management from a single platform. MFT enables employees, customers, and partners to move data of any size or type securely, with no prior technical background or scripting required.
- Secure Email and Collaboration | Email and collaboration tools are some of the primary ways data is communicated – and consequently, one of the primary ways enterprises do business. It is imperative to enable synced and secure file sharing across the enterprise for these business-critical platforms.
- File Transfer Acceleration | There are times when you need to send a lot of data fast. File transfer acceleration enables you to send both quickly and securely.