Why You Need To Stop Using FTP Right Now

June 22, 2016

How FTP Started FTP dates as back as the inception of the internet. At this time, developers were working on various experiments such as Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). It is through this work that they were able to divide methods of network use into two categories, indirect and direct. Users could use […]

ftp vs efss

How FTP Started

FTP dates as back as the inception of the internet. At this time, developers were working on various experiments such as Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). It is through this work that they were able to divide methods of network use into two categories, indirect and direct.

Users could use the direct network applications to access a remote host as though it were local, thus creating an illusion that a network was nonexistent. As work progressed, advancement in direct network applications gave rise to innovations such as Telnet. On the other hand, users could use indirect network applications to get resources from a remote host, using these resources on a local system of their choice and transferring them back to the remote host. One of these indirect networks was FTP.

If you understand the history of FTP development, you will notice that this was a platform to assist users share files across networks and computers. Remember that this was a time when internet development was in its early developmental stages, so everyone knew everyone, eliminating the need to focus too much on security. At this time, the early 70’s and 80’s, FTP standards such as 114,172,265 and 354 basically focused  on definition of basic commands, development of devices users could use to access FTP and creation of formal client-server functions. The issue of security for example, was slightly touched on when the developers defined firewall friendly transfers and allowed users to authenticate file transfer using passwords.

Why You Need To Stop Using It Now

At a time when internet users are faced with 35 million brute force attacks per day, whereby 88% of passwords can be hacked within 14 days, you cannot ignore the major security shortcoming that FTP has.  Actually, lack of security is one the many shortcomings that FTP has.

Here are a few reasons why you need to stop using FTP now:

One of the design flaws in FTP that make it insecure for all your corporate transfers is its lack of encryption. The most standard forms of FTP do not give room for encryption of important details such as your username, password and file contents, leaving your business unprotected.

Well, one would argue that FTP has been upgraded and there exist FTPS, a secure extension that allows you to encrypt data through FTP. A quick observation on this upgraded system will show you that it is encryption unfriendly, therefore if you have just basic level of IT knowledge, then you could be sending your vulnerable details over an unsafe network, in plain text.

Lack of encryption not only exposes your business to hackers, but also risks a network sniffing incident. Through this process, hackers use your personal details to access the network, and attack other unsuspecting users within that network, causing a data breach. In case you didn’t know, data breaches are one of the most expensive IT attacks that a business could go through, especially after the cost of data breach in 2015, as reported by IBM and Ponemon Institute in their report, “2015 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis” was estimated to be $3.79 million USD, a 23% increase over the past two years.

FTP has a mound of problems when it comes to big file transfers. The process is very slow and sometimes after waiting for a long time, FTP fails to do the job altogether.  For a busy and fast-moving corporate world, this inefficiency is unwelcome.

Worse still, in the event that a large file transfer fails, FTP does not send a message notifying you of the incident. This means that your operators will not receive an alert and such a failure will go unnoticed until a physical check is done. Worst case scenario of such an incident would be loss of a high-end client, something you would not risk in your business.

FTP automation, which is script based, was designed to save businesses time and make their work easier, by allowing the system administrator to add a username and password right into a script to prevent any hold ups. The script was also designed to contain details about which files to be sent and where to be sent.

While it is okay to have a script-based automation process, it is dangerous in the case of FTP. This is because the script contains very sensitive business information such as your username and password, therefore when it is shared, you significantly expose yourself to hackers.

The biggest problem with FTP is its inability to offer traceability due to a limited logging activity. This means that your business would find it very hard to prove compliance with Sarbanes Oxley, PCI and HIPAA for example. Worse still, not all vendors are compliant with industry regulations.

What Is The Alternative?

FileCloud is a good alternative to FTP for two main reasons:

FileCloud is an on-premises Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) solution that is self-hosted and privately run by your company administrators, giving them the ability to set your own protection limits. Better yet, the service is regulated by corporate IT security policy and it is one of the few cloud services compliant with the EU data residency rule.

You can use FileCloud Apps for android, iOs and Windows to access your files via your mobile phones. Additionally, you can sync your documents with different devices. This can be done both online and offline, whereby Mac, Windows, Linux and even Netgear ReadyNAS NAS devices support the offline sync for example.


You might dismiss security as an issue, thinking that large businesses are the ones more susceptible to cybercrime. Well, it has been reported by CNBC that hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, maybe because they don’t have the IT and security resources that a larger corporation has.

As seen, FTP does not offer file security and is cumbersome with large file transfers. On the other hand, FileCloud not only guarantees you security but also easier file sharing and access as well as compliance with industry regulations. If you are looking for a secure FTP replacement, click here to learn more about FileCloud - a modern alternative to FTP. Try for free!

Author: Davis Porter

By Team FileCloud