The vagaries of FTP: What to look for in a secure large file transfer alternative

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

FTP turns 45 this year. And, while this original protocol for transferring files over the Internet is still widely used, many companies are looking for a more modern alternative. Initially, concerns about FTP centered on security. But, as IP technology became ubiquitous for global data exchange, FTP’s more fundamental performance limitations also became apparent.

Because FTP was originally designed without security features like data integrity and confidentiality, the first security concerns arose around privacy of control channel data like user IDs and passwords, and then spread to the actual data being transferred. “Secure” FTP (FTPS) was developed in response. FTPS is FTP with Transport Layer Security (TLS), which protects file content and user names and passwords while in transit over the Internet from eavesdropping and modification.

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