With more data predominately supplied in a digital format and with additional pressure from customers, businesses of all types are being forced to improve turnaround times and meet deadlines without compromising the security of the data.
The first electronic file exchange popular with a number of businesses was ISDN. However, this is now too slow and assumes your customer has ISDN as well.
Email attachments are also popular for occasional small files (up to 10 Mbytes), but many ISPs impose file size restrictions, and mail servers are not designed to handle the load of a file transfer stream.
In-house FTP servers which require system administration resources can swamp local bandwidth and may introduce security concerns, as multiple ports must be opened on the firewall.
However, hosted FTP provides a secure facility outside the corporate firewall where customers can upload, copy and download files with none of the disadvantages listed above.
A secure hosted FTP service means that each customer is usually assigned a file area invisible to other customers. The site administrator sets access rights to folders controlling upload, download, delete and overwrite permissions. For confidential data, security can be ensured using encrypted transfers over SFTP or HTTPS.
In a busy environment, a good hosted FTP service can be invaluable as it can automatically inform you when a file has been uploaded or downloaded through automated email notifications, as well as automatically delete files using rules based on the folder and the age of the file. This can be a great labour saving device on a busy site.
Unlike other file transfer methods transfer activity can be logged and reported. A sophisticated hosted FTP service will provide logs detailing all activity on the site including when files were uploaded, downloaded or deleted.
With ever tighter deadlines, hosted FTP services can provide a secure and manageable way of transferring large data files so businesses can continue to improve customer service with no upfront investments in hardware or software and minimal administration effort.