What is FTP?
FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol”. This is one of the oldest protocols in use these days, and it is a convenient way to move files. An FTP server gives you access to a directory with subdirectories, as a user you will connect to these servers with an “FTP client”, a piece of software that allows you to download files from the server as well as upload files to it.
The majority of Internet users will never be in the need to use FTP, but if you have to build a website then it becomes an essential tool on the web, and is good for you to know what it is, even if you are not a developer.
FTP is a useful tool for moving information from your computer to the server where a website is hosted, for example, if you want to install WordPress on a web server, you will need FTP to copy the files.
It can be also used at times for file sharing, the way it works is that one person can upload a file to an FTP server and then share a link to it with another person, although that type of use has become less common in times like these were you have easy-to-use cloud services, but there are people who still prefer to keep their files hosted on a home server and use FTP to enable it.
Which are the alternatives to FTP?
Security and file transfers can be a main concern for IT professionals, but what is the best way to safeguard your data?
- HTTPS: Many sites are moving to HTTPS rather to staying on the traditional one, but what are the differences? For starters, traditional HTTP does not encrypt traffic to your browser, which is a security risk. In comparison, HTTPS provides an additional layer of encryption using Transport Layer Security (TLS), which creates a security channel so that the integrity of the data is not modified without your knowledge, HTTPS is ideal for file transfers where a business partner requires a simple browser-based interface to upload data.
- AS2: AS2 is a common method of transferring EDI data in a safe and reliable way over the internet. AS2 creates an “envelope” for the data, which allows it to be sent using digital certifications and encryption. For example, Walmart has been known for using EDI through AS2 and has played an important role in leading its adoption in the retail industry.
- MFT: One method that supports all the options above and makes FTP more secure is Managed File Transfer (MFT). This secure option optimizes data exchanges between systems, employees, and customers. MFT Supports many protocols and encryption standards, and provides a large variety of functionalities that comply with strict Security policies, based on the requirements of regulations such as PCI DSS, GDPR, HIPAA, GLBA, among others. MFT solutions offer advanced authentication and data encryption for secure and reliable file transfers, you can also record user access and transfer activities through reporting features.
How to use MFT?
- Send your file through an MFT email plugin, and through a web client (accessing to the MFT solution from a browser).
- It will automatically be sent through the MFT workflow.
- You have to place the file in a dedicated folder that the recipient can connect to for download.