July 10, 2019

    Why an FTP Alternative is Not Ideal for External File Sharing

    With numerous options for sharing files, choosing the right one can be a challenge. Maintaining data security is essential, but without the appropriate file sharing process, your data could be at risk. You have to ensure that files are secure when they are shared outside of your organization, but often non-secure methods are used to share with outside entities. Find out more about FTP alternatives, and how they could put your data at risk.


    Secure File Sharing: Answers to Common Questions

    Are you trying to select a new file sharing solution, but you have a few questions first? Explore these common questions about file sharing solutions and find out their answers.

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    FTP Alternatives

    In the past, if you needed to share files with an external party, you probably found the process to be inconvenient. Sending a file via email, handing the file over on a physical device, or using another method to share data was nonsecure and inefficient. External file sharing has completely revolutionized the way data is shared, making it both more efficient, and if you use top FTP solutions, more secure. However, many people are still relying on FTP alternatives to share data, despite the benefits of using an FTP solution.

    While most FTP alternatives perform essentially the same function, some options keep your data safe (like secure FTP), while others put it at risk. To determine how you should share your data with external entities, learn more about some of the major issues you’ll face with alternatives to secure file sharing.


    Issues with FTP Alternatives

    FTP Alternatives Lack Total Security

    No organization wants to experience a data breach. Both inconvenient and bad for business, a data breach could carry major consequences. So, before you select any type of FTP alternative, you need to consider the security impact this file sharing process will have on your business.

    To promote secure file sharing processes, you need a secure file sharing solution. Why won’t many FTP alternatives work? Most FTP alternatives lack some of the key security features that secure FTP solutions include, like:

    • Protocol Control - The ability to enable and disable each protocol provides the customization capabilities needed to make sure users are only sharing files using approved methods.
    • Country Access Restriction - Preventing users from outside your country to access your solution can be beneficial from both a data security and a compliance standpoint.
    • User-Level IP Address Restriction - The ability to restrict access based on the IP address of the device the user is attempting to log in from can prevent unauthorized user – even if they have the correct login information – from gaining access.
    • User-Level IP Protocol Restrictions - If an approved device is attempting to log on, yet using an unapproved protocol, you can restrict access.
    • In-Transit and At-Rest Encryption - Your data needs to be protected both when you’re sharing files and when they are stored on your hard drives and not being used.


    FTP Alternatives Lack Automation

    Automation can save your employees time and effort. Scheduling automated file transfers ensures that external parties receive the needed information without your employees going through the trouble of sending it themselves. You minimize the chance for human error and maximize efficiency. However, many FTP alternatives don’t enable many automation functions.


    FTP Alternatives Lack Access Permissions

    Access permissions give you the power to control how your sensitive data is used on a granular level. Unfortunately, many FTP alternatives don’t enable access permissions like:

    • Upload permission
    • Download permission
    • Delete permission
    • List directory permission
    • Any combination of the above permissions

    Why are access permission controls like these important? Knowing the purpose for which your employees are accessing your data can help you better secure your data. Not every employee in  your organization needs the same level of access. With these controls, you can better prevent the misuse of data.


    FTP Alternatives Lack User Type and Roles

    In the same way that not every employee needs the same level of access to data, not every employee needs the same level of control over your data. Many FTP alternatives do not designate different user types and roles, failing to enable multiple site administrators, sub-site administrators, and standard users. By designating these roles, you’re better able to control which level of access each user has.


    FTP Alternatives Lack Event Triggers

    When an event occurs, especially a cybersecurity event, you need to be notified. Using a secure file sharing solution, certain events will trigger alerts, allowing you to act. Through email notifications, you can identify events that require attention or action on the part of your administrators. FTP alternatives also don’t usually enable file retention controls (purging old files by a date you selected) or auto-suspend users by date (removing access for idle or old accounts).


    FTP Alternatives Lack Branding

    When you adopt a secure file sharing solution, you often gain branding capabilities, enabling you to provide a seamless user experience. When a solution carries your branding, you build inherent trust with your users. Most FTP alternatives don’t offer the following branding capabilities:

    • Customizable web user interface
    • Dedicated IP address
    • Custom DNS host name
    • Custom domain SSL certificate
    • Email notification branding


    FTP Alternatives Lack Auditing

    Auditing and the ability to preserve files for auditing purposes is vital for any organization. If a cybersecurity event does occur, you need the power to go back and identify the origin of the event so you’re able to contain it. Unfortunately, many FTP alternatives don’t provide the option to create:

    • Extended/Detailed Logs
    • CSV Audit Logs
    • On-Demand Reports
    • Historical Metrics


    FTP Alternatives Lack Compatibility

    If you have already invested in an existing business software, you want to verify that the file sharing solution you choose is compatible with that software. If the FTP alternative you use isn’t compatible, you lack the automation and integration capabilities needed to streamline your file sharing processes.

    In addition to being incompatible with other solutions, FTP alternatives are often incompatible with any of the following protocols:

    • FTP
    • FTPeS
    • FTPS
    • SFTP
    • SFTP with key authentication

    However, a secure file sharing solution like FTP Today enables the use of all the protocols listed above, making it a highly flexible and compatible solution.

    Instead of an FTP alternative, you should look for a secure FTP solution to add to your business operations. You can keep your data secure, while easily facilitating file transfers. All the security gaps you would face with an FTP alternative are filled with a secure file sharing solution.  


    Learn more about how to securely share your files. Explore this comprehensive guide on secure file sharing now.

    Secure File Sharing: Answers to Common Questions

    Are you trying to select a new file sharing solution, but you have a few questions first? Explore these common questions about file sharing solutions and find out their answers.

    Explore Now
    Tag(s): FTP

    Martin Horan

    Founder of Sharetru (Formerly FTP Today) and a respected voice in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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