Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

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.  

Why do businesses use SFTP? 

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.   

How does SFTP work? 

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. 

Key features

  • Facilitates secure and compressed data transfer.
  • IPv6 HTTP protocol support for file transfers.
  • Uses multiple types of encryptions, such as AES and Triple DES, to offer a high level of protection against files.
  • Scalable in every aspect including bandwidth, file size, and upgrades.
  • Supports both the password and username, and public key authentication methods.
  • Interactive keyboard authentication by the SSH allows the exchange of messages between a client and the server.

The top benefits of using SFTP 

  • Support large file transfers: SFTP has no file size limit by default.
  • Highly secure transmission: Initiates highly secure file transfer using public key authentication and passwords.
  • Easy access to data: Facilitates both the clients and SFTP servers to access data easily.
  • File management: When storage is cloud-based, files are secure during uploading and downloading, with easy access at any time via any authorized device.
  • Secure backup and disaster recovery: SFTP enables secure backup and disaster recovery when needed.
Siji Roy
Siji Roy specializes in technology, finance, and content marketing. She helps organizations to communicate with their target audience. She received her Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from the University of Calicut, India. She is fortunate to be married to a lovely person and blessed with three naughty boys.

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