Secure File Transfer

Security is of paramount importance in todays corporate environments, due to the sensitive nature of the information that they hold. Industry standards such as PCI DSS, Sarbanes Oxley and HIPAA dictate an organisations responsibility to secure such information and as such, the need for secure file transfer solutions has become a priority.

A number of secure file transfer protocols have been developed over the years as a solution to the issue of data security. As there are several different ways of sending and receiving files e.g. HTTP (via a web browser), FTP (client to server) and Email, there are a variety of security protocols used to secure communication channels. The key secure file transfer protocols include:

  • FTPS (FTP run over SSL/TLS)
  • HTTPS
  • SFTP (SSH – Secure Shell protocol)

The FTPS and HTTPS file transfer protocols send files over a TCP connection. This TCP connection has a TLS (transport layer security) or SSL (secure socket layer) security layer that runs beneath the FTP and HTTP protocols. SSL simplified is a protocol that establishes an agreement between a client/browser and a server. The sending side uses a public key to encrypt a data file, which is then sent using either the FTP or HTTP file transfer protocol. The receiving side will have, as part of the agreement, a unique private key that can decrypt the data file.

SFTP is not FTP run over SSH, but rather a stand alone secure file transfer protocol designed from the ground up. The file transfer protocol itself does not provide authentication and security; it expects the underlying protocol (SSH) to secure this.  SSH is used to establish a connection between a client and server that acts like an encrypted tunnel. This encrypted tunnel protects any data files that are sent via this secure connection.

If you want to find out more information about secure file transfer solutions, please contact Pro2col on 0333 123 1240.

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