Using FTP? some demerits of FTP and alternatives to FTP
What Is FTP And How Did It Start?
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, developers worked on publishing version 4 standards of the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). After a series of this experimental development work, which included the design and implementation of the protocols that would implement internet works, modern TCP/IP was created.
As a result of these breakthroughs, developers were able to proceed and divide methods of network use into two categories, direct and indirect. The direct network applications allowed a user to access a remote host and use it as though it was local, thereby creating a false impression that a network did not exist. On the other hand, indirect network involved getting resources from a remote host, using the resources on a local system then transferring them back to the remote host.
The indirect and direct network models gave rise to the first two formalized TCP/IP networking applications- Telnet for direct access and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for indirect network use.
Stages Of FTP Development From Inception To Present Day
The first FTP standard was RFC 114, which was published in 1971 by Abhay Bushan, before the existence of TCP and IP. This initial standard defined the basic commands of the protocol and the formal ways that devices could communicate by using it.
RFC 114 was followed by standards RFC 172,265 and 354. Actually, RFC 354 was the first major revision of the standards, which detailed the current communication model used by modern TCP. In 1980, RFC 765 was published by Jon Postel.
Between 1980 and 1997, more revisions were made hence the creation and design of formal client-server functions which included the definition of firewall friendly transfers and the ability to authenticate file transfer using passwords.
These strides towards ensuring the safety of file transfer or sharing led to advancement to FTPS or FTP Secure, a major point that FTP marketers love to use.
Key Demerits Of FTP
Now, despite these strides in empowering and securing FTP as an avenue for file sharing, the protocol has several major disadvantages.
You Cannot Send Files Larger Than 2 GB
As much as FTP has been widely marketed as the best option for businesses to send and receive large files online, the service has a 2 GB limit to the size of files you can send. Worse still, the protocol does not allow you to run simultaneous transfers to multiple recipients.
Not All Vendors Are Compliant With Industry Regulations
While it is a standard requirement that all FTP transmissions should be encrypted, this does not necessarily mean that they are compliant with industry regulations. This is because different vendors will offer transfer solutions that comply with different regulations. This means that your organization will have to go through a harrowing task of analyzing all your data and determining the level of protection each type of data would need. Additionally, you would have to assess the typical risks associated with each file transfer, including data loss, transfer failure and data breach.
FTP Brute Force Attack
It is possible for an attacker to carry out a brute force attack while trying to guess your FTP password. By repeatedly trying a set of password combinations, a hacker can gain access to your FTP especially when your password is weak.
In fact, it has been reported by Sucuri that as much as brute force attacks have been existent for more than 15 years, they hit an all-time high in September 2015 when they discovered 35 million attacks per day, a significant increase from 5 million per day in January 2015. According to these security watchdogs, the situation has caused them to create a new page dedicated to monitoring the current threat level of brute force attacks.
To put this in perceptive, 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” is estimated to be $3.79 million USD, a 23% increase over the past two years. This is definitely a loss you don’t want to incur.
In the event that you restrict access to FTP servers based on a network access, you could be opening a window for a cyber-criminal to hack. The criminal can use an external computer and assume the host address of a computer in your network and download files while you conduct your data transfer.
Lack Of Automated Process Controls
FTP does not have a process management framework to automate operations such as scheduling across multiple FTP servers. No wonder, as earlier pointed out, you cannot run simultaneous transfers using FTP.
FileCloud is a Better Alternative to FTP for Secure File Transfer (and More)
FileCloud, an on-premises Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) solution is self-hosted and privately managed by your own administrators, and importantly, files can be access using any browser, eliminating the need to rely on an external client. Importantly, FileCloud eliminates limits on file size while providing the ability to remotely access your data, share your files and sync across different devices. Better yet, you can access your documents when offline by syncing them if you are running Mac, Windows, Linux and even Netgear ReadyNAS NAS devices.
Additionally, FileCloud is regulated by your corporate IT security policies, which further bolsters your security plans by not only guaranteeing the highest form of protection, but also allowing you to set your protection limits as per your needs. Lastly, as the only product in the market that allows real-time sync across network folders, providing easy access to remote files on network folders.
While FTP has an impressive developmental history and strides, it does not serve the purpose or fulfill the expectations of the modern corporate. Security expectations and seamless integration with all devices are key factors that corporates are considering. If you are looking for a modern FTP replacement, click here to learn more about FileCloud – a secure alternative to FTP.