Why Is MFT More Secure than FTP?



That’s how many sensitive files Digital Shadows, a digital risk protection software company, found on FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers. FTP accounted for about 26% of the exposed data in their report.

That number is way too high, especially when you consider how long FTP has been around (since the ‘80s) and how far cybersecurity has come since then. In this blog, I’ll give 5 reasons why cloud managed file transfer (MFT) solutions are more secure than using on-premises homegrown FTP servers for file transfers.

1. Encryption

FTP doesn’t encrypt data, usernames or passwords, which puts your confidential information at risk. A bad actor could intercept files and read them or use the account information to access the FTP server at any time.

Unlike FTP, MFT solutions have encryption built in. Thru, our cloud managed file transfer (MFT) solution, has encryption at three different levels:

  1. Encryption in transit with secure protocols: HTTPS, SFTP or FTPS
  2. File-level encryption with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), including key signing
  3. Encryption at rest with AES 256-bit encryption

2. Visibility

If you use on-premises FTP servers, the only way to know whether a file transfer is successful is by asking the person directly. If someone from your organization deletes confidential files on the server without permission, you have no way to know who did so or when.

Unlike FTP, MFT solutions have detailed information about whether file transfers were successful and what users did what actions. If file transfers aren’t completed, some MFT solutions send an alert over email or text (SMS).

3. Authentication and Access

FTP servers typically use password authentication, which can be dangerous if a bad actor finds that information. Unlike FTP, MFT solutions can offer various types of authentication, including multi-factor authentication and single sign-on.

After a user is authenticated, role-based access control (RBAC) limits their access to certain areas based on their role within the application. At a minimum, “administrator” and “user” roles should be available.

4. Retention

If you’re using your own FTP servers, you have to remember to remove, back up or delete files by hand, which makes your retention policy prone to human error.

In contrast, MFT solutions have a variety of retention policy options. In Thru, you can make retention policies to purge, keep or delete files. They can be made on various levels of the application for more flexibility.

5. Everything else

I know, I’m cheating by using this last one as a catch-all. By “everything else,” I mean that with MFT-as-a-service (MFTaaS) solutions like Thru, the vendor manages everything for you, including cloud security, network security and application security.

If you manage FTP servers yourself, you make your own security policies and have to make sure they’re followed properly. If you’re using other file transfer solutions on top of that, it can be difficult to make sure all the security measures are being followed properly.

With an MFTaaS solution, you and your team don’t have to worry about security.

The Strong Security of MFT

MFT isn’t a protocol — it’s much, much more. MFT is a category of solutions that automate and secure file transfers.

With Thru, you can trust that your files are secure. As long as you’re using encrypted protocols, RBAC and good retention policies, we’ll take care of the rest.




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