It’s not unusual for small business owners to want to share information with clients, associates, employees and even potential investors. Over the past years, utilizing FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, has been the method of choice for sharing this information. As many business owners have realized the drawbacks and limitations of FTP, file sharing sites have slowly edged out the competition when it comes to storing and sharing information. Here’s why FTP no longer makes sense for most business owners:
1. Lack of Encryption
Because most FTP sites aren’t encrypted, it’s difficult for business owners to control who has access to their files. Additionally, utilizing FTP site requires that someone in the company be trained with regards to its installation, use and maintenance. This can be a costly endeavor for small business owners who don’t have an IT professional already on staff. Training an employee to utilize FTP software also reduces the productivity of that employee when it comes to their other daily responsibilities.
Many corporate networks are set up to block FTP sites, making it difficult for those who need access to files to gain it. While firewalls are excellent at protecting networks, they can also hinder legitimate users. Using FTP makes it necessary to tweak firewall settings, making the network’s security weaker. Additionally, firewalls need to be adjusted based on each user which can be time consuming and costly.
FTP needs to run on two ports to perform properly. Having two ports open on your company’s system makes the network more vulnerable to hackers. You must also consider that these ports will remain open for a considerable amount of time while files are being uploaded and transferred. If a hacker gets into your network, not only will you risk sensitive information being leaked to the public, but you may experience weeks or months of clean-up and the re-establishment of your network.
4. Reduced Productivity
As has been mentioned, reduced productivity is a very real concern for business owners who have chosen FTP as their means of file sharing. Not only will the employee tasked to learning FTP have to take their efforts away from current projects, but the employee tasked with uploading documents may very well spend hours of their day dedicated to the assignment. Not only can using FTP take hours, but it can take hours without result. It’s not uncommon for large files to be so cumbersome on the system that they cause time-outs and errors, never uploading at all.
To properly set up an FTP solution in your company, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars; a hefty chunk of change for a small business owner. The hardware for an in-house FTP set-up can run, itself, close to $3,000. Ad software, bandwidth, setup time and support, and it’s not unreasonable to have to spend close to $5,000 for an FTP solution. Compare that with the monthly or yearly fees of the more secure online file sharing sites and you can easily see why many business owners are shying away from FTP
If you need to store, share and manage your files securely, an online file sharing site is often your best solution. More secure, less prone to hacking and easier to set up and use, online file sharing sites offer the storage solutions that business owners are looking for.
Jake Valley writes for several tech blogs and journals. Tech sites can help you learn how to send large files easier.
October 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm
At the company i work we did also move over to a new way of sharing our files earlier this year. Really great and a time saver for people like me 🙂
October 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm
If you’re looking for an easier and more secure FTP solution, check out SmartFile. The business I work at uses it and it’s definitely a great solution for all the old FTP problems.
January 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm
Thanks for the heads up! SmartFile has been an excellent solution for our firm in managing all our digital assets. FTP access + the custom branding has been amazing.