FTP vs. Cloud

FTP Replacement

File Transfer Protocol, aka, FTP is outdated and has many problems. Organizations shall look for alternative cloud solutions to replace the widely used protocol for file transfer needs.

FTP is popular, but you shall replace it soon!

FTP server is easy to set up. Using the Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Service), setting up FTP is just a few simple clicks to enable some Windows Features and Roles inside a server manager. For random file transfer needs here and there, that may be it since it is simple. However, here are some FTP problems you need to be aware of if you plan to use FTP service consistently and daily.

  • Lack of Encryption- FTP in its original form doesn't support encryption. The data communication between the client agent and the FTP server is in clear text format.
  • Firewall issue - Modern corporate firewall is stopping non-HTTPS traffic by default. Traffic to other ports will need to be added to the firewall rules.  
  • Character Encoding - The FTP client and the FTP server don't negotiate on the character encoding. It is OK for the client and server that both use English as the locale. However, for corporations with international business relationships and the need for file transfer between international business partners, character encoding becomes an issue for FTP service.
  • Transfer Mode - The FTP protocol defines ASCII mode and Binary mode for file transfer. Potentially the file can be re-written in ASCII mode between Windows systems and UNIX/Linux systems.
  • File Meta Data - The FTP protocol ignores the file metadata such as file creation date, file modification date. If transferring files in ASCII mode, the file length could also be different. Remote workers who depend on file date information to sort files are having issues. And the changing of metadata also creates trouble for those services that provide de-dup functionality. 

HTTPS or the Cloud is a better alternative

Downloading files with a web browser, anyone?

It is not a surprise that we can use HTTP or HTTPS protocol for file transfer. One of the most common file transfer experiences we had is to click on a link within a web browser and download a PDF file to local computers. What is not common is the ability to upload files from the local computer back to "the Cloud." Fortunately, the HTTPS protocol includes actions (Verbs) such as GET, POST, PUT and DELETE. So the HTTPS protocol is fully capable of the file transfer. It is just that we used the downloading side (GET) much more than the uploading side.

FTP vs. Cloud - Why using HTTPS protocol is better?

When we say cloud, we mean a file transferring service from within the web browser and can do file uploading and file downloading. Google has been on a mission to spread the use of HTTPS, especially for business websites. So when we mention cloud, it is interchangeable for websites that use HTTPS for their services.

  • Secure - HTTPS is an HTTP protocol built on top of the SSL protocol. The SSL protocol has been on a non-stop self-improving journey from SSL 3.0 and advancing to TLS 1.3. Since HTTPS is used to protect websites, using HTTPS protocol to transfer files is more secure because the security is more up-to-date.
  • Flexible and Extensible - HTTPS by default is to share web pages and eCommerce information. However, the protocol itself includes both upload and download capabilities. It is flexible and extensible for vendors that specialized in file transfer to do a good job. You can see many features added to file transferring over the HTTPS protocol.
  • Interoperable - Since HTTPS is a web protocol not limited to file transfer, it is interoperable with authentication protocols such as SAML. As a result, it is possible to integrate file transfer with a single sign-on service. The HTTPS protocol also provides connectivity from client agents such as iOS and Android applications outside of a web browser.

Make file transfers easy and secure.

A Case Study - Secure File Transfer

An IT Director for a major city in the Midwest needed to provide a way for city employees to send files with sensitive personal information each week securely. Some of the files are larger than 50MB and would get blocked by email servers if sent as email attachments. Sending out files using an FTP service is not reliable because of encoding issues, transfer mode issues, and firewall traversing issues. The IT director could not allow employees to keep sending out files using Dropbox and Google Drive web-links to overcome the 50MB email attachment problem. So she needed to block Dropbox and Google Drive to reduce the risk of exposing personal information while providing a company-approved solution for secure file transfers to external users.

Lesson Learned

Companies should provide a corporate-approved secure file transfer solution that does not involve third-party hosting sites when sharing sensitive personal information like transcripts, tax documents, and other personal files. If an FTP server is not an option, and external cloud hosting is not an option, The best option is to self-host a private cloud "FTP" solution.

The Solution

With CentreStack, you can quickly transfer files and folders to your remote work location from a familiar mapped drive on your Windows or Mac desktop, mobile application, or web browser. Create a shared link for the large file or folder and then send the link to the intended recipients to initiate the large folder transfer. The recipient will have a mapped drive interface to view or edit (if editing is allowed) the files inside.

check out the incredible

CentreStack Solution

CentreStack adds secure remote access and file sharing, disaster prevention, and recovery to file servers on-premises with easy cloud migration to private cloud storage. It is a secure file transfer and private file sharing solution you have been looking for!

Privacy

The corporation itself privately hosts CentreStack. It is privacy by design without shared-hosting with other companies.

Compliance

Compliance center provides features such as GDPR and HIPAA check-list.

Control

There are many control parameters from permissions, group and access policies to audit trace and file download logging.

Security

Security measures covering data-at-rest, data-in-transit, authentication integration with Active Directory and NTFS permissions.

Secure File Transfer Highlights

Outlook Integration

Automatically convert email attachments to links to avoid sending large files as attachments through email servers. Protect large files using data-at-rest encryption with secure data transfers over SSL.

Web Link Outbound Sharing

Create a web link from a mapped drive or web interface to share files and folders outbound to clients and partners. You can download files via a web browser interface.

Web Link Inbound Receiving

Create a web link for external clients or partners from a mapped drive or web interface to receive files. The external party can upload files via a web interface.

Link-Sharing

Add publicly accessible links to email signatures, websites, and more to simplify external sharing.

Download Agent

For most files, browser-based downloads are sufficient. For extra-large files, CentreStack's download agent software leverages parallel and resumable downloads. The agent can also map a cloud  drive letter to facilitate editing files from Windows Explorer.

Secure File Transfer Common Features

CentreStack eliminates the common drawbacks of remote file server access and online folder sharing solutions and provides the best of both worlds. The security and control of local file servers combined with the efficiency and productivity gains of online folder sharing is a better solution to facilitating transferring files.

Cloud Drive

Remotely access shared folders from a drive letter inside Windows explorer or Mac finder, without the need for a VPN. 

Large Folder

Use Outlook integration to share large folders or files as web links via email.

Link Sharing

Convert shared files and shared folders into web links for direct access over web browsers or with other client agent software.

Mobile Application

Access shared files and shared folders from mobile devices such as from iPhone or Android phone.

Folder Permissions

Define different permissions for folders at different levels of the directory structure or inherit from NTFS permissions directly.

Change Notification

Web based secure data room allows view-only access to shared folders with download disabled.

User Rights

From internal Active Directory users to external clients and partners, you can define user rights for folder sharing.

Version Control

Shared folders are put under version control and notifications are available for users subscribed to the folders.

Ready to elevate file servers online and boost mobile workforce productivity?