There are many ways to transfer files between systems and computers. In technology, it is important to be able to optimise and simplify solutions. The ability to share data across platforms is provided by solutions such as SFTP and MFT. The origins of these two solutions stem back to the foundations of FTP or File Transfer Protocol. This is a network that allows the transfer of files between computers. This is done through a TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) connection.
Let’s dive in and discuss the differences between SFTP and MFT and what would be most beneficial to your organisation.
Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a technology platform that facilitates the sharing of data between systems and people in a secure way. It can transfer unstructured data at a large capacity and covers automation, compliance, and reporting.
Pros and Cons
MFT differs from SFTP in the sense that it offers added value and protection, while also offering a way to streamline all aspects involved in file transfers.
There are technical capabilities of the Managed File Transfer solution that takes it apart from plain file transfer tools such as FTP or SFTP.
- Guaranteed delivery: using retry and resume components to ensure that transfers are successful and recovery is available.
- Global visibility and auditability: on configuration and transfer operations.
- Non-repudiation: with digital signatures that log the transfer from Point A to Point B.
- File Integrity: ensuring that files were not altered during the transfer.
- End-to-end reporting: configuration of notifications on success or error.
- Automation: for file transfers, processes (before and after transfer), and on success or error.
When it comes to MFT solutions, it would typically require a level of technical skill. It requires experience and a period of upskilling to understand the way this technology platform operates. It involves set-up and maintenance which can become heavily time-consuming, because of this, the support service is not guaranteed to be free.
SFTP, also known as Secure File Transfer Protocol, uses an encrypted connection and transfers files over SSH (secure shell).
When it comes to testing connections, users can use various options such as user IDs & passwords, SSH keys, or a password with a SSH key combination. This is useful when companies want to implement strong security policies around these transfer processes.
When it comes to SFTP, only one connection is used. The transfer is executed through firewalls which make it easier to port. It is also beneficial as it manipulates permissions and attributes, and locks files.
Pros and Cons
SFTP provides a free, or inexpensive way, to transfer files between systems. Basic needs like authenticating users, controlling port usage, and transferring unlimited files from each server connection.
There are some disadvantages to using SFTP solutions, one of the main ones being non-human-readable communication (binary). Lacks features such as automation, monitoring and auditing which lead to safer, simpler, and affordable file transfers.
When it comes to choosing between MFT and SFTP, it really depends on the work matter involved. If your organisation is on a budget, not performing transfers very often, and doesn’t involve much sensitive information, then a SFTP solution might be better suited.
An MFT solution presents companies with more value especially if your company requires a high volume of exchange of transfers per day. In the world of technology, it is important to have simplified solutions to benefit the overall processes of an organisation. The complexity of this solution allows us to have opportunities to upskill and gain exposure to this aspect of file transfer.
Understanding your business needs and knowing where to invest are crucial when deciding on the right file transfer solution for your organisation.