What is FTP?
Before we get into a FTP alternative or replacement it is helpful to understand how FTP works. FTP is File Transfer Protocol. It was created in 1980’s with original intent to facilitate file transfers between internal networks. It was not designed to be a secure protocol or designed to transfer files over public networks.
Due to lack of other viable alternatives, it was patched and band-aided to allow for public application of file transfer. Without understanding its internals and deploying it carefully, one is exposed to great security risks and unforeseen costs.
It started as a command line program and is also available as a graphical user interface. Today, it is mostly used to transfer files to a webserver. However, many businesses use it to transfer files between clients and offices.
How Does FTP work?
FTP requires two key components to work
FTP server is a special software that is installed on a specialized machine, typically called a server. It requires advanced knowledge of ports, permissions, file systems and user management.
FTP client is another special software that is used by the end users. The end user must know details such as IP address, port, userid and password in order to connect to the FTP server.
Typical FTP setup
Why is Cloud Not Better Than FTP To Transfer Large Files?
Cloud based file transfer is an enhanced FTP. Cloud based file sharing is an incremental improvement from FTP. What it essential does is simplifies the management of FTP servers by offloading the server hardware and software management from the client to server. However, it is not a straightforward switch from FTP to MFT/cloud based solutions. MFT or Managed File Transfers introduce several new issues
- There is a considerable cost increase
- Are more expensive in the long run.
- Need to be HIPAA compliant for certain kind of data.
- Lack of control over data.
- As secure as the vendor’s security controls.
- Not clear about at rest and in transit encryption methods.
- Heavy target of hackers.
- Several high profile public breaches every month, most go undetected.
Because of all these reasons. Binfer has built a FTP alternative so that users have options to send and receive files.
FTP is Insecure
FTP was not designed to be a secure protocol. Unless special precautions are take, FTP connections are un-encrypted. Which means that data is transferred in clear text. Data is vulnerable to interception. These are the known vulnerabilities of FTP:
- Packet capture
- FTP bounce attack
- Brute force attack
- Spoofing attack
- Username enumeration
With the massive data breaches, everyone is concerned about data security. Security FTP using SSH is just adding another layer of complexity and overhead. Lack of audit trails and transfer logs make it even harder to track data transfer activities.
FTP is Complicated
An advanced technical knowledge is required to manage FTP. Being a 40 year old legacy technology, it cannot tackle modern day tasks adequately. Following are some of the issues faced by users of FTP.
- Slow transfers
- Complicated setups
- Limited logs
- Administration overhead
Transferring large files with FTP is a big problem and not at all easy. There is no easy way to verify that files have been received by the recipient. Being a central point of storage requires server administration which adds to cost, both in terms of human personnel and hardware. Being a central conduit also disrupts the collaborative person to person workflow.
FTP is primarily used to upload website files to the web server. In it’s default settings, FTP does not encrypt anything. User credentials such as userid and password are all sent in clear text. In addition to the authentication information, even the files themselves are sent in clear text. This makes it very easy for someone to intercept the information and be privy to it’s content.
Binfer’s Sync product is the best replacement for FTP. Binfer Sync offers the following great features that make transferring files between computes very easy.
- Not not need a special server to hold the files for transfer.
- Encrypts all data transfer using AES 256 bit encryption.
- Maintains detailed logs of all transfers,
- Automatically updates changed files.
FTP is not the only way to transfer large files or entire folders to someone. Binfer is a better, easier and more secure FTP alternative.
With Binfer one can:
- Send 10 GB or 100 GB files with a simple drag and drop.
- Drag and drop entire folders. There is no need to compress or zip.
- Media assets will transfer at the maximum speed allowed by the Internet provider. There is not throttling or bandwidth sharing.
- Use existing computers. No specialized hardware or IT infrastructure.
- Quick, fast and easy installation.
- Includes Chat and Email like messaging for an integrated experience.
- Other power features such as Web Dropbox, Web Pickup, Encrypted Transfers and Reports.