In today's fast-paced world, data is currency, and no one wants to wait for their money. Business runs on it, stock markets close on it, and everything needs to happen immediately, if not sooner. So why not file transfers?
While that is true, there are several points to consider when just going for the fastest option. Yes, there are fast and easy methods – take free file transfer solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox for example. Anyone whose business was pushed suddenly into remote work will likely be familiar with them, whether or not they're still in use at the office. However, there's always a trade-off. The need for speed could have a terrible backlash if security isn’t made a top priority.
That's why it's crucial to understand how great an attack vector the file transfer process can be, and the difference between transferring files, and transferring files safely.
Free File Transfer (FFT): Pros and Cons
There is a lot to be said about the Free File Transfer (FFT) method. First, it's a net (monetary) cost of zero; it's convenient; it's available to all; and people are relatively familiar with it. Your children might have used it to submit homework assignments, or you may have stored documents on one of these sites before. These methods don't require a license and are compatible with most anything.
However, they don’t provide any safety nets, and can be costly in other ways. This past November, (free) file storage service Dropbox experienced a breach that compromised 130 code repositories containing API keys and other assets that were sensitive to the company, along with “a few thousand names and email addresses belonging to Dropbox employees.” This is reminiscent of the 2019 Box breach when dozens of companies leaked sensitive data as the result of misconfigured Box accounts – including The Discovery Channel, Apple, and Box itself.
When you balance confidentiality with integrity and availability, too much availability could undermine the other two. And that's the risk of going with free file transfer services, or services that don't prioritize security.
The Case for Secure File Transfer (SFT) Solutions
Secure File Transfer (SFT) is a method of sharing data that protects files in transit and at rest through secure protocols and encryption. It isn't built for primarily for storage; it's built for safety.
When it comes to a Secure File Transfer (SFT) platform, security is first in hand. Companies that lead with it realize that fast, sloppy data is just as good as no data at all – or it might as well be breached data. With lax file transfer policies and technical solutions, your data is always in a ticking time–bomb scenario, no matter how secure it might be at rest.
It's the same reason that it's so important to wear a seatbelt when driving. So much effort is put into keeping your loved ones safe at home – installing alarm systems, locking the doors at night, maybe getting a dog or a firearm, or a fence – but if nobody wears a seatbelt when travelling the mortality rate in an accident rises to 47%. In that moment, it doesn't matter how safe you were at home.
Similarly, in the world of rapid file transfers and Big Data, it makes little sense for companies to guard their proprietary, business-critical information with advanced, AI-driven XDR tools or NGAV-based solutions only to lose the fight when their files go from one place to the next.
You wouldn't fill a cavity only to not brush again, protect your identity only to pass your Social Security Card around the room, and invest millions in network defense only to go cheap on data transfer and have a less-than Zero Trust environment.
Making SFT a Priority
Elevating Secure File Transfer to a top priority brings with it a few inherent security privileges. Your partners will be able to exchange files with your organization securely, and as supply chain attacks ramp up, third-party trust is an increasingly valuable commodity. Yes, you might have secure processes, but do they? With an SFT platform, it doesn't matter who you're doing business with or "where they've been." You'll know that whatever files come from those third parties are fit for use. While they often provide basic intrusion prevention, most Free File Transfer tools can't offer that.
Additionally, as new threats emerge and organizations pour more into network security resources, staff are taken up and additional qualified cybersecurity experts are hard to find. Somewhere, the line gives way – and it is typically in underappreciated areas like company-wide file transfer methods. Choosing a Managed SFT option will bring experts to your door whose number one job is to make sure your files are transferred securely. While other companies are pinching personnel, hours, and assignments (and making the necessary sacrifices) you can know that your data is just as secure "out there" as it is on your network.
GoAnywhere's Managed Secure File Transfer platform is one of the top SFT solutions and provides end-to-end protection on-premises, in the cloud, and between partners. Anywhere your data goes, it will be protected by SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) and SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) in an encrypted tunnel between you and any trading partners. As attacks increase, so will third-party scrutiny and being above-board in sensitive data handling could mean an edge for some companies. Additionally, the GoAnywhere MSFT solution helps you stay with new (and soon emerging) data privacy acts like GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, CPRA, PCI DSS, and more.