January 24, 2018

    FTP Alternative Options for Working with the Government

    For government agencies or contractors, data security is a top concern. Between highly publicized breaches to multi-million dollar fines, the consequences could cripple any organization. And, it seems like there’s a new data security concern popping up each day. So, many organizations are taking a closer look at their FTP alternative options to determine which path is best for protecting their data.

    Take a look at some of the biggest data breaches we’ve seen over the years to learn from past mistakes, and find out what options are available to help government organizations and contractors avoid costly mistakes like these.

    Learning From Past Mistakes

    Data breaches can happen anywhere, at anytime. And, there have been a number of prominent breaches over recent years that should give government agencies and contractors cause to consider their own data security measures.

    • Equifax – If you watched or read the news in 2017, you heard about the major Equifax breach. About 143 million people has their social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and birthdates compromised. Ultimately, the data breach was preventable, as Equifax failed to patch a software vulnerability that opened data up to access by third parties.
    • The Office of Personnel Management – In 2015, the personal records and information of 21.5 million government employees were put at risk by two separate, but linked incidents. What was the cause? The Office of Personnel Management left this sensitive data unencrypted and vulnerable to a breach.
    • U.S. Voter Database – 2015 brought a number of serious data breaches, including this major failure impacting around 191 million voters. A database was improperly configured and data was exposed to the internet, impacting voters all over the U.S.
    • Georgia Secretary of State – In one of the largest state data breaches in history, the private information of 6.2 million state voters was put at risk by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. The sensitive information was mistakenly included in a file sent to a dozen groups in 2015.
    • National Archives and Records Administration – In 2009, a hard drive with the information of 76 million veterans left the NARA premises for repair. Unfortunately, the hard drive wasn’t properly wiped, putting all those records at risk.

    Each of these data breaches was, in some way, preventable and the result of organizations failing to use best practices. If you want to keep your data safe, you need to take measures to ensure you’re not opening your data up to vulnerabilities. With the right file sharing alternative, you can safely and securely store and send data.  

    File Sharing Options

    Explore three FTP alternative options you should consider for your organization. The best option supports your efforts to keep your data safe and maintain compliance with ITAR and other regulations.

    Free Cloud Servers

    Free cloud servers like Google Drive or basic Dropbox definitely have one perk: the price tag. While the “free” in free cloud servers might appeal to some organizations, there are number of risks that come from choosing a free public cloud server. Because government regulations are generally strict of how data should be protected, these options make it impossible to meet ITAR compliance.

    Although free servers facilitate easy file sharing, they don’t have the security measures, protocols or granular access controls needed to maintain data security. They’re ideal for the most basic file sharing needs, like personal storage of non-secure data. However, even in those circumstances, they’re prone to user error and unreliable service.

    Hosted or Managed FTP

    In many ways, a hosted or managed FTP alternative solution relieves the burden of maintaining data security. Instead of managing security measures yourself, you are trusting FTP experts to keep your data safe. An experienced and reliable FTP provider can help you align with applicable compliance mandates through features like granular access controls, two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, IP and country access restrictions, and more.

    With a wide variety of options to choose from on the market, it’s important that you choose an FTP alternative that offers the highest levels of security and ITAR compliance measures. You won’t have to worry about your data being at risk when an expert FTP provider is on your side.

    In-House FTP Server

    For many companies, the prospect of total control over a file sharing solution is appealing. That’s why some choose to create and maintain their own server. While this carries the benefit of building a server to your exact specifications, there are a number of drawbacks, as well.

    Overall, in-house servers are a costly enterprise. Instead of paying a small monthly fee for a managed FTP solution, you’re responsible for all hardware, licensing, and maintenance costs. You could pay a large upfront cost (as high as $6,000) just to license FTP or SFTP server software, and then you would also pay about 25% of the licensing fee annually for upgrades or maintenance.

    This also leaves you susceptible to vulnerabilities, unless you have dedicated team members monitoring your server at all times. If a security threat arises, you’re responsible for catching it and stopping it as quickly as possible. With a managed FTP solution, a team of experts is responsible for keeping your data secure.

    Ultimately, the best FTP alternative to help you avoid huge mistakes like the ones explored above is a managed file sharing solution. This provides the highest levels of security at the most reasonable price. You’ll maintain compliance and rest easy knowing your data is safe from the threat of hackers.


    Martin Horan

    Martin, Sharetru's Founder, brings deep expertise in secure file transfer and IT, driving market niche success through quality IT services.

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