The Difference Between FTP vs SFTP

The Difference Between FTP vs SFTP
FTP / SFTP

The Difference Between FTP vs SFTP

FTP refers to an application layer protocol that’s used for transferring files between a client and a server, one of the simplest and earliest mechanisms created to move files. SFTP builds on the concepts of FTP software, leveraging the secure shell (SSH) protocol for additional security.

Moving data, information, and content is paramount in most industries. Transferring this information securely is essential in today’s world. Many companies cannot afford for any of their files or data to fall into the wrong hands, a mistake that could mean a devastating security breach and lead to many different consequences for a company. There are many different file transfer solutions in the virtual space, two of which are FTP vs SFTP.

What is FTP?

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) refers to an application layer protocol that’s used for transferring files between a client and a server. It is one of the oldest protocols, allowing users to sign in and access files like data, videos, pictures, and other types of content. Users connect to an FTP server with an FTP client, which gives you access to download and upload files from the server.

FTP uses two basic channels to operate: the command channel and data channel. The command channel carries information about the task itself, while the data channel transfers the actual file between devices. It is one of the simplest and earliest mechanisms created to move files from one place to another.

What is SFTP?

While FTP is the standard method of transferring files or data between computers, but it is outdated technology in today’s security-conscious environment. Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a network protocol for transferring, accessing, and managing files between two machines. It is built on the concepts of FTP software, leveraging the secure shell (SSH) protocol for additional security. This requires the client to be authenticated by the server.

This requires an SFTP client and server. The client is the software that provides the access to upload and download files to and from the remote server. The SFTP server is where the files are stored and retrieved from.

Choosing FTP vs SFTP

If you are looking for a simple, basic system to transfer files, you may consider FTP. If you are looking for a more secure option that requires an added layer of protection for your transfer than FTP, SFTP might be the better alternative. Unfortunately, SSH has many protection features that systems using secure keys like SFTP require, making it hard to maintain and manage. Without support from a software vendor, it can also be difficult to configure properly. Another problem that can arise is the susceptibility to network congestion and packet loss resulting in slow transfer speeds.

IBM Aspera: A Secure Alternative to FTP and SFTP

An alternative to both FTP and SFTP, Aspera uses a proprietary FASP technology to deliver data. It eliminates bottlenecks associated with outdated technology and moves files at maximum speeds, fully utilizing the available bandwidth. Aspera is run on a cloud-based infrastructure, meaning there is no need to provision the underlying infrastructure.

There are many benefits that Aspera can offer:

  • Deliver videos and grow files, as well as exchange files and data sets of any size quickly and reliably around the world
  • Patented adaptive rate control to quickly ramp up and fully utilize a shared network’s bandwidth, still allowing other TCP-based applications to function properly
  • FASP protocol offers built-in security for data transfers using AES encryption standard through the open-source OpenSSL toolkit

Learn More About Aspera with PacGenesis

At PacGenesis, we have earned IBM’s trust to implement their Aspera solution as an IBM Gold Business Partner. We’ve also spent the last 10 years helping businesses focus on scalable, secure data transfer and workflow solutions to fit their needs. To learn more about Aspera, contact us for a consultation.
To learn more about PacGenesis, follow @PacGenesis on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or visit pacgenesis.com.

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