What is SFTP?0

As businesses consistently evolve and adapt to new technologies, new and innovative ways to send highly secure organizational data and client information need to be devised. The importance of keeping personal client information secure has never been more important. That’s why many businesses are looking toward SFTP solutions to transfer data, but what is SFTP?

The term SFTP refers to Secure File Transfer Protocol which operates in a similar way to regular File Transfer Protocol methods and was developed as an improved version of the Secure Shell Protocol.  It is now recognised as a specialized file transfer solution which provides enhanced levels of security and safety as well as usability and versatility.

How does SFTP Operate?

SFTP comprises of two main components in order to send files securely and these include client authentication and server validation. Both of these elements work in collaboration using public and private keys to authenticate communication between the email client and the email server. IT servers then cross reference the server’s public key with the public keys held on the client machine. Within this machine a file is stored including a ‘known hosts’ element which is stored on the server, with the client’s public key being held securely in an encrypted file within the local machine.  If you are a business considering the use of SFTP your IT infrastructure will need a server and client which is specifically configured to support the SFTP solution – HANDD offer of the most popular enterprise-class SFTP servers available today.

The client element of the system can be authenticated through a username and password, keyboard authentication or the use of a private key and password. If an organization opts for the username and password method of authentication, a specific user account is created on the SFTP server whereas the private key and password authentication uses a client’s public key which is added to a specific file on the server. The keyboard interactive system on the other hand, operates slightly differently whereby it requests the answers for a series of security questions.

SFTP file transfers are particularly beneficial because most of them enable the compression of files, allowing particularly large documents to be easily sent without the threat of data loss or slowing the system down.

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