August 24, 2023

    SFTP in 2023: Embracing Relevance and Why It Matters?

    In an era marked by technological advancements and disruptive innovations, it's no surprise that Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) may seem like a relic of the past. However, this would be a grave misconception. In this blog post, we'll dive into the compelling reasons why SFTP continues to thrive in 2023, and in many cases is relevant now more than ever. Moreover, we'll explore the specific industries that rely on SFTP for secure data transmission, as well as the compliance frameworks that reinforce the importance of employing SFTP. While pondering the future of SFTP, we'll also discuss potential enhancements and adaptations that will keep organizations using it in the future.

    Even in 2023, Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) maintains its relevance for these 10  reasons:

    • Enhanced Security:
      • Explanation: SFTP operates over SSH (Secure Shell), which means that both the data and the commands are encrypted. This ensures that sensitive information, like usernames and passwords, is never sent in plain text, preventing potential interception by malicious actors.
    • Data Integrity:
      • Explanation: SFTP offers built-in mechanisms that verify whether files have been modified or tampered with during transfer. This ensures the data's integrity and authenticity upon receipt.
    • Atomic Transfers:
      • Explanation: SFTP provides atomic transfers, meaning a file is either fully transferred or not at all. In the event of an interruption, it doesn't leave a partial file, avoiding potential data corruption or misinterpretation. When the connection is re-established, it picks back up right where it left off.
    • Directory Listing Capabilities:
      • Explanation: Unlike some protocols, SFTP allows users to view directory contents, delete files, rename files, and perform other remote file management actions, offering flexibility and efficiency.
    • Widespread Acceptance and Integration:
      • Explanation: Due to its longevity and proven security track record, many enterprise-level software and platforms support SFTP connections out of the box, allowing for easy integration without the need for additional tools or solutions.
    • Compliance and Regulation Adherence:
      • Explanation: Many industries and compliance frameworks have regulations that require the secure transfer of data. SFTP often meets or exceeds these requirements, making it an attractive choice for businesses that need to remain compliant.
    • Platform Independence:
      • Explanation: SFTP is platform-agnostic. Whether you're using Linux, Windows, macOS, or any other operating system, SFTP works. It provides a consistent way to securely transfer files.
    • File Transfer Resume:
      • Explanation: SFTP supports resuming interrupted transfers, ensuring that large or critical file transfers can be completed even after unexpected interruptions.
    • Scalability and Adaptability:
      • Explanation: SFTP can handle the transfer of large files or a large number of files, and it's suitable for both small businesses and large enterprises. It can be easily adapted to various infrastructures, from on-premises servers to cloud environments.
    • Secure Authentication Methods
      • Explanation: SFTP supports multiple authentication methods, including password-based, SSH key-based, and even multi-factor authentication, allowing organizations to implement the level of security that fits their needs.

    While there are newer protocols and solutions available for data transfer, SFTP remains a tried-and-true method that offers a combination of security, reliability, and flexibility that many organizations still find invaluable.

    Industries that Still Need SFTP and Why

    In today's interconnected world, SFTP remains an essential tool for sectors where security and confidentiality reign supreme. Industries like aerospace and defense, healthcare, financial services, AEC, and information technology rely heavily on SFTP for their data transfer needs. Why? The answer is simple: SFTP offers unparalleled data protection through strong encryption (and in the case of Sharetru, FIPS 140-2 encryption modules), ensuring that sensitive information remains safeguarded during transmission. While cloud-based storage solutions might seem tempting, the trustworthiness and reliability of SFTP outshine other alternatives. Whether it's transferring financial statements, medical records, or government documents, these industries require the rock-solid security that SFTP provides.

    Secure File Transfer Protocol is widely used across various industries for its secure and reliable data transfer capabilities. While newer technologies and methods for data transfer might have emerged, SFTP remains a standard, especially in industries that prioritize security and handle sensitive data. The following table details the industries, associated compliance frameworks, and examples of how SFTP can be used:


    Compliance Framework

    Usage Examples


    HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

    - Transferring patient medical records

    - Sharing medical images and test results

    Banking & Finance

    - SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act)

    - PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    - Sending/receiving transaction logs 

    - Sharing customer financial data


    - FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act)

    - FedRAMP (and NIST 800-53)

    - Transferring classified or sensitive documents

    - Sharing citizen data


    - PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    - Sharing transaction data

    - Exchanging inventory information


    - Varies based on region and specific manufacturing type

    - Sharing design files

    - Transferring supply chain data

    Research & Academia

    - Varies based on research type and data sensitivity

    - Exchanging large datasets

    - Submitting research findings

    Energy & Utilities

    - NERC CIP (North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection)

    - Transmitting grid data

    - Sharing facility blueprints

    The Vitality of SFTP in the Healthcare Industry: Unwavering Security in 2023

    The healthcare industry is entrusted with a trove of confidential patient data and sensitive medical records. In such a highly regulated and privacy-focused sector, leveraging a secure and reliable data transfer protocol is paramount. This is precisely why Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) continues to hold immense relevance and significance within the healthcare space in 2023. In this article, we'll explore the specific reasons why SFTP remains an indispensable tool for the healthcare industry, ensuring the utmost security and confidentiality of patient information.

    Unparalleled Data Security

    Patient privacy is of paramount concern in healthcare, making robust data security measures an absolute necessity. SFTP offers robust encryption and authentication, shielding sensitive healthcare data from unauthorized access during transit. By leveraging industry-standard encryption algorithms, SFTP ensures that patient records, medical reports, and confidential information are protected against potential cyber threats. In an era where data breaches can have severe consequences, the unmatched security offered by SFTP remains a foundational requirement for healthcare organizations in 2023.

    Compliance with Regulatory Standards

    The healthcare industry operates under an intricate web of compliance regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA mandates strict compliance guidelines for the protection and privacy of patient health information. SFTP aligns perfectly with the security requirements outlined by HIPAA, making it an ideal solution for healthcare organizations seeking compliance. By ensuring secure data transmission, SFTP helps healthcare providers maintain integrity, confidentiality, and availability of patient data, protecting them from potential legal ramifications and reputational damage.

    Efficient and Streamlined Workflows

    In addition to its robust security features, SFTP also streamlines data workflows within healthcare organizations. The ability to automate transfer processes and establish recurring transfer schedules saves valuable time and resources for healthcare professionals. Large files, such as radiological images and electronic health records, can be effortlessly transferred across systems using SFTP, reducing manual effort and minimizing the risk of errors. The seamless integration of SFTP into existing healthcare systems ensures enhanced and optimized productivity for medical personnel, thus improving the overall quality of patient care.

    Interoperability and Integration

    Healthcare organizations often operate in complex ecosystems, relying on a multitude of systems, applications, and databases. SFTP's interoperability and integration capabilities make it an ideal choice for seamless data exchange within such diverse environments. Whether transmitting data between hospitals, clinics, insurance providers, or laboratories, SFTP allows for secure and reliable information sharing, contributing to improved patient outcomes and comprehensive care delivery.

    In the ever-evolving landscape of the healthcare industry, where the sanctity of patient information is sacrosanct, SFTP reigns supreme as a secure and steadfast means of data transfer. Its unmatched data security, compliance with regulations, efficient workflows, and seamless integration capabilities make it an indispensable tool for healthcare organizations in 2023. As the healthcare sector embraces digital transformation and faces new challenges, SFTP enables providers to uphold their commitment to patient privacy while fostering teamwork and knowledge sharing. In 2023 and beyond, SFTP remains an essential lifeline for the healthcare industry, ensuring unwavering security and peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected world.

    A Secure Lifeline for Aerospace and Defense Industries

    The aerospace and defense industries operate under the strictest security protocols, leaving no room for vulnerabilities in data transmission. As the technological landscape evolves, organizations deal with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, making it imperative to rely on secure means of data transfer. In such a highly regulated and complex environment, Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) proves to be an indispensable tool for ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information. In this section, we'll explore why SFTP continues to hold immense relevance for the aerospace and defense industries in 2023.

    End-to-end Encryption

    In the aerospace and defense industries, protecting sensitive data against interception and tampering is crucial. SFTP provides end-to-end encryption that safeguards information during transit, ensuring secure and reliable transfer of large files, such as high-resolution imagery and technical schematics. With the encryption keys known only to sender and receiver, SFTP rules out unauthorized access to confidential data, providing peace of mind to organizations that value data privacy.

    Compliance with Regulatory Standards

    The aerospace and defense industries operate under strict compliance regulations, such as ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). These regulations mandate the use of secure data transfer protocols that meet specific security standards. SFTP aligns with these standards, ensuring compliance with regulatory protocols, and reducing the risk of audits, fines, and reputational damage.

    Data Exchange and File Sharing

    Given the complex and interdependent nature of the aerospace and defense industries, the ability to share information is critical. SFTP enables secure and efficient transfer of information between multiple stakeholders, including government agencies, contractors, and partners. It facilitates the file sharing exchange of critical data, such as audit reports, engineering documents, and performance metrics, enabling organizations to collaborate effectively, contributing to better decision-making, and improved project outcomes.

    Disaster Recovery

    Natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and system failures can result in data loss or corruption, resulting in significant financial and operational consequences. SFTP's disaster recovery capabilities ensure that data can be quickly and securely restored, minimizing business disruption, and ensuring operational continuity. Its ability to resume interrupted data transfers ensures that critical information is not lost, providing a safety net for organizations that operate in volatile environments.

    The Importance of SFTP in Enhancing Data Security in the Financial Services Industries

    The financial services industry relies heavily on secure file transfer protocols to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data. SFTP provides a secure and encrypted method for transferring financial information such as customer records, transaction details, and account statements. By using SFTP, financial institutions can mitigate the risk of data breaches, enhance regulatory compliance, and protect their reputation in the industry. 

    The sophisticated nature of financial services necessitates the adoption of robust data security measures. One such measure is the implementation of Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). SFTP offers numerous benefits to the financial services industry, making it an indispensable tool for secure data transmission.

    First and foremost, SFTP ensures the confidentiality of sensitive financial data. In an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving, safeguarding customer records, transaction details, and account statements is of paramount importance. By encrypting files during transit, SFTP provides an additional layer of protection, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. Furthermore, SFTP enhances the integrity of data in the financial services industry. It employs cryptographic algorithms to verify the authenticity of files, ensuring that they have not been tampered with during transit. This is crucial for maintaining the accuracy and reliability of financial information.

    Additionally, SFTP facilitates regulatory compliance for financial institutions. With strict regulations such as GDPR and PCI DSS in place, organizations must ensure that their data transfers meet specific security requirements. SFTP's compliance-friendly features, such as strong encryption and audit trails, help financial institutions demonstrate adherence to these regulations.

    A Pillar of Data Security in the AEC Industry of 2023

    In the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, effective and secure data transfer plays a pivotal role in project coordination, and confidentiality. With the increasing reliance on digital technologies, it becomes imperative for AEC professionals to employ robust data transfer protocols that ensure the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive project data. Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) stands as a relevant and indispensable tool for the AEC industry in 2023, providing a secure avenue for seamless data exchange. In this section, we explore the reasons why SFTP continues to hold immense relevance for the AEC industry in the evolving digital landscape.

    Protection of Intellectual Property

    The AEC industry thrives on original designs, plans, and concepts, which demand stringent protection of intellectual property. SFTP ensures the secure and encrypted transfer of proprietary information, safeguarding sensitive project data from unauthorized access or manipulation. By employing SFTP, architects, engineers, and construction professionals can confidently share design documents, blueprints, and other intellectual assets, knowing that their work remains protected with leading-edge security measures.

    Large File Transfer and Compatibility

    The AEC industry deals with a wide range of large files and data sets, including 3D models, high-resolution imagery, and detailed construction plans. SFTP's ability to handle large file sizes and its compatibility with various file formats make it an indispensable tool for quick and reliable file transfer. This ensures that project teams can efficiently share critical project data, thereby enhancing team member knowledge exchange, accelerating project completion, and minimizing delays.

    Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations

    As data privacy regulations continue to evolve, AEC professionals must ensure compliance with standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). SFTP provides the necessary data security measures to meet regulatory requirements by encrypting data during transmission, minimizing the risk of data breaches and legal liabilities. By utilizing SFTP, AEC organizations can uphold data privacy standards, safeguard client information, and meet the expectations and legal obligations associated with handling sensitive project data.

    In the ever-evolving AEC industry, the importance of secure data transfer cannot be overstated. SFTP proves to be an essential and relevant tool in 2023, enabling architects, engineers, and construction professionals to protect intellectual property, seamlessly transfer large files, ensure compliance with data privacy regulations, and maintain effective version control. By adopting SFTP as a secure data transfer protocol, the AEC industry can enhance teamwork with readily available and secure knowledge exchange, streamline project workflows, and safeguard sensitive information, ultimately contributing to successful project outcomes and strengthened client relationships in the digital era.

    Compliance Frameworks and Their Avid Support for SFTP

    Compliance frameworks play a crucial role in shaping data security practices. Many established frameworks still mandate the use of SFTP for specific types of data transmission. Additionally, there are many other compliance frameworks that recommend or require secure data transmission methods, including Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). It’s important to note the specifics may vary and regulations don’t always name-drop SFTP, but they typically emphasize secure and encrypted data transmission which SFTP is great for. This includes:

    • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS): Think of this as the guardian angel of cardholder data. While it doesn’t scream “SFTP” from the rooftops, it’s all about keeping customer info locked down tight when it's on the move.

    • Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): For all the health-data professionals, HIPAA is the name of the game. Though it might play coy about mentioning SFTP, the message is loud and clear: Your health data transmissions need to be in Fort Knox mode.

    • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): Publicly traded companies, SOX has your back, ensuring your financial data is secure.

    • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): All our federal agency friends and their associates ( have to follow FISMA compliance. The mantra? Safety first in data transmission.

    • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This European framework that helps protect the data of citizens doesn’t exactly send postcards saying “Use SFTP”, but it does focus on embracing top-notch security and encryption to shield personal data.

    • ISO/IEC 27001: To all the international data moguls out there, this standard supports your security. While SFTP isn’t the poster child, secure data transmission steals the spotlight, and SFTP supports your business all the way.

    • Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies (COBIT): More than just a fancy acronym, COBIT is all about IT governance. And guess what? Secure data transmission is it’s focus.

    • Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC): For organizations handling CUI or other sensitive information, using a secure file transfer method like SFTP would be a best practice. SFTP provides encrypted transmission, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of the data being transferred.

    • Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP): Government contractors, this one's for you! Is your CUI stored in the cloud? FedRAMP ensures they are completely secure, and SFTP helps you do so.

    These frameworks recognize SFTP's secure and encrypted file transfers as an industry best practice. Failure to comply not only risks severe penalties but also compromises the trust and reputation of organizations. SFTP's compliance-friendly features make it the go-to choice when dealing with regulated data.

    The Future of SFTP: Enhancements and Innovations

    As technology marches forward, it's essential to assess how SFTP can adapt to the evolving landscape. First and foremost, advancements in cryptography will continue to strengthen the security aspects of SFTP. Stronger encryption algorithms and multi-factor authentication will provide even greater protection against potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, the integration of advanced monitoring and analytics capabilities will enhance real-time threat detection, making SFTP even more resilient against emerging cyber threats. Furthermore, the integration of automation and artificial intelligence will streamline workflows and improve efficiency, allowing organizations to maximize the benefits of SFTP.


    Secure File Transfer Protocol, far from being an outdated relic, continues to be an indispensable tool in the realms of security and data transmission. Industries that demand ironclad security and compliance fully understand the value that SFTP brings to their operations. As we look towards the future, it's important to recognize the potential for SFTP to adapt and evolve. By embracing technological advancements under the umbrella of the protocl, and reinforcing its secure foundation, SFTP will remain influential well into the future. So, don't underestimate the power of SFTP – it's here to stay, empowering organizations across all industries with safe and reliable data transfers in the dynamic digital landscape of 2023 and beyond.

    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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