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SFTP and the Cloud: How to Transfer Your Data Securely

SFTP and the Cloud: The best way to Switch Your Knowledge Securely

Is SFTP Cloud Based?

SFTP, Secure File Transfer Protocol, is a protocol used to transfer files between your organization, trading partners, and enterprise servers. It helps to establish a secure data connection and protect files in transit. SFTP can be used for your cloud file transfer needs, but also for any on-premises file transfers you do.

SFTP itself isn’t necessarily cloud-based, but it can be used to transfer data to, from, or within cloud-based environments. Your server, whether already in the cloud or on-premises, serves as the “tunnel” for all transfer activity. SFTP adds a necessary layer of security when transitioning to the cloud.

What About Cloud SFTP?

SFTP cloud solutions are cloud-based servers that transfer data via SFTP. Cloud SFTP combines the best of SFTP and the cloud: flexibility, security, and web-based access to your data and file transfers.

Using SFTP with the Cloud

The cloud has grown in popularity for organizations that want more flexibility and a lower overhead for their file storage and transfers. Cloud platforms, however, are not free from today’s cybersecurity concerns or risks. Before moving file transfer processes to the cloud, organizations should consider how their file transfer and storage practices are meeting today’s security standards.

While there’s evidence that organizations are still using FTP to transfer sensitive data, using a secure FTP alternative like FTPS or SFTP to transfer data on-prem, in the cloud, or between the two is a better choice.

Related Reading: Why You Should Never Use FTP to Transfer Cloud Files

SFTP offers security features that puts it a head above other file transfer protocols. The first is authentication: trading partners must authenticate via either password or SSH key, or both, to access an SFTP server. The second is implementation: SFTP is just as easy to set up as less-secure file transfer protocols. Finally, SFTP offers encryption standards that keep your data more secure than less-robust protocols.

Moving to the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning on-premises solutions. A hybrid cloud environment can combine the flexibility of the cloud with the freedom of internal servers. Hybrid integrations are one of the most popular cloud strategies today and using SFTP or another secure file transfer protocol can make the communication between on-prem and cloud environments seamless.

SFTP and Cloud Solutions

You can use SFTP for cloud-based file transfers in many different ways:

  • Using a hosted server to achieve cloud SFTP
  • Deploy an on-premises SFTP solution and transfer data to and from the cloud
  • Deploy an SFTP solution in your cloud environment to transfer data
  • Use a SaaS solution that includes built-in secure file transfer protocols

Security & Compliance Considerations

Cloud computing platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services offer some security services out-of-the-box, but those security features should not replace the basic security practices your organization follows. This is especially important to note if you need to comply with state or federal data security or compliance standards.

Look into what your cloud computing platform offers for file security, but never depend on it (or your trading partners) to fully to protect your sensitive data. Good cybersecurity is a two-way street. Being aware of the pitfalls and doing your best to bridge them will go a long way toward creating and maintaining strong cloud file transfer practices in your organization.

SFTP with Managed File Transfer

Managed file transfer (MFT) solutions help you automate, centralize, and secure the data transfers you do every day. MFT software can help you transfer data within your on-premises systems, in the cloud, and between the two:

  • Key and certificate management for Open PGP, SSH, and SSL
  • Encryption protocols including SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, and AS2
  • Folder monitors for cloud-based or internal file systems
  • Automated workflows for file processing
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