Computers have been able to move files between one another since the technology’s very early days. The first File Transfer Protocol (FTP) technology emerged in 1971. Back then, network administrators only needed to move data from one place to the next; security was not an issue. Furthermore, since the computers were probably in the same room, the data did not have very far to go.
Today, there are many ways to move data efficiently and safely over long distances. MOVEit by ipswitch is a good example. It’s very robust yet also very easy to use. It also has a number of audit trail and compliance features that really make it a useful program.
How do you know for sure whether Moveit or some other program is the right one for your business?
What is Secure File Transfer?
FTP still works very well when there is absolutely no need for security, but these instances are few and far between. Some of today’s most popular file transfer options are:
- Secure File Transfer Protocol: As the name implies, SFTP is FTP plus encryption. The combination is very fast and prevents network eavesdropping. SCP (Secure Copy) is a closely related protocol.
- Managed File Transfer: MFT is a much more complex option. In addition to file security, it adds a variety of audit, management, reliability, and other features.
- Email Encryption: Instead of transferring the file as an attachment, a secure email sends a link. Then, the recipient can download the document from a secure site. Moreover, email encryption enables users to send very large files with little drama.
- Hosting: Originally, file hosting services supported document collaboration and nothing else. Lately, security features have emerged as well, making network hosting a viable secure file transfer option.
All these methods rely on access control. Typically, that involves a username and password. Depending on the organization’s needs, the access control can be much tighter. Usually, this process involves an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system.
Some File Transfer Features
In its most basic form, secure file transfer relies on command line interfaces. This system is automated and not designed for user interface, so there are very few additional features. On the other hand, command line interfaces are very low-cost and allow organizations to maintain control over file security even if they use cloud providers.
SFTP is still the best option for most businesses, but SFTP by itself often falls short. Consider adding additional features like:
- Auditing: Sometimes, auditing functions are available as an add-on. But organizations that also have compliance issues in this area, such as those that handle Personal Identifying Information (PII), may be better off with MFT.
- Scheduling: This need is not as common but it’s still out there. Sometimes, users need to send documents at certain times of the day, usually to avoid bandwidth conflicts. Customers with scheduling needs almost always need MFT, because its systems are very robust.
- Indirect Transfer: Only MFT allows users to send documents to an intermediary server when then forwards them to the recipients. The user and recipient are isolated from each other, and such transfers are easier to track.
Consider the options carefully before making a decision. Then, go with an established provider who stands by its products.