Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a File Transfer Protocol governed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to ensure secure access, transfer, and management of files by using Secure Shell (SSH) encryption over the internet. Being a successor to FTP, SFTP is the widely accepted network protocol to transfer files securely. SFTP requires both the client and server to authenticate files by validating the public authentication key or by providing username and password.
Industries dealing with the large volume of data, such as government organizations, healthcare, banking, etc., use the protocol to transfer large and sensitive business files. SFTP provides comprehensive protection to all types of business data against attacks throughout the process of data transfer.
SFTP usually runs over SSH by using encryption algorithms to transfer, keep data unreadable, and prevent file access from unauthorized accounts while transferring. SFTP uses port 22 of SSH to establish a server connection and applies public key authentication to automate logins of file transfer and SSH keys to control access.
The most popular SFTP utilities used to transfer files include WinSCP and SFTP clients. Being an open-source platform, WinSCP securely transfers files between a local Microsoft Windows user and a remote server. SFTP uses and open-source client to transfer files between the local system and a server.