Sharing Is Caring: Why Online File Sharing Is Replacing FTP In File Transfer

Sharing Is Caring

Why Online File Sharing Is Replacing FTP In File Transfer

Communication and collaboration are at the heart of many business strategies and these dual principles enable innovation in competitive markets. In an increasingly digital world, to effectively communicate and collaborate requires shared resources, making file sharing an integral component of business operations.

For years, FTP (file transfer protocol) was the dominant way businesses shared files. However, this technology has become increasingly outdated as FTP alternatives have emerged. Whilst some advocate for HTTPS as a new means of file sharing, it’s impossible to ignore that online file sharing is now faster, more secure and more efficient. Let’s take a look at how these technologies work, before exploring why online file sharing is here to stay.

FTP vs Online File Sharing

FTP (file transfer protocol) has been a standard in file sharing for a number of years. By building a client-side and a server-side, FTP enables the sharing of files across the web or internal networks for organizations. For many years, this was the dominant form of file sharing used by organizations, but in recent years a number of FTP alternatives have emerged.

“Online file sharing is now growing as the main challenger to FTP,” says Jeanie Hines, a tech expert at Liahelp and Bigassignments. “Online file sharing allows individuals and organizations to upload their files to the web and share them as a link. Cloud-hosted files can then be accessed and downloaded by anyone with that link across the world. This is proving to be a faster and more efficient way for sharing files, increasingly secure and able to facilitate collaboration in the workplace.” We’ll explore how FTP has become an outdated protocol before moving on to discover the value offered by using online file sharing instead of FTP.

Why FTP Is Dying

Before we take a look at our number one FTP alternative, online file sharing, is redefining the future of file transfer, let’s take a look at FTP. FTP is now an outdated protocol - here’s why.

It’s Unintuitive And Needlessly Confusing

Although FTP clients have been slowly modernizing, it’s still rare to encounter an interface with FTP that’s intuitive. For those without a tech background, using FTP can become a serious barrier to efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Inevitably, when setting up FTP the user is forced to refer to tutorials, manuals, and FAQs, creating a lag in progress along the way.

Any time users want to share something through FTP they are forced to navigate complex directories which often change from client to client. The clunky interface and unintuitive processes required by FTP create inefficiency, but they also hinder collaboration and make it easy to create accidental security flaws as you leave elements of your website unprotected.

It’s Hard To Integrate With Remote Working

One thing 2020 taught us was the value of working remotely. From working from home to digital nomadism, 2020 and the corresponding global pandemic may have heralded the end of the office as we know it. That’s why any file transfer has to be easily accessed from any internet connection around the world.

With FTP, this isn’t the case. Whether you’re working from open WiFi connections on business trips or setting up shop in the local cafe, firewall issues will cause your FTP connection to time out. This means more time spent logging in, searching for directories and libraries again and again, and less time when your employees are getting on with valuable, value-adding work for your organization.

Accessibility Issues

Even connecting to FTP can prove a barrier in some instances. As FTP clients proliferated across the web it became more frequent to find these clients incompatible, meaning multiple client and server setups which don’t work together. This causes serious headaches as even once you’ve navigated FTP on your end, it still doesn’t guarantee that the end-user will receive the file you’ve shared.

Worse still, setting up access for multiple staff in your organization creates more headaches. Sharing access to your FTP client can only be done by creating multiple FTP accounts on your local dashboard, and requiring every staff member to set up usernames, passwords and then crucially remember what they were.

An Absence Of Security

FTP clients are known to be particularly vulnerable to attack so any files sent over FTP can never be truly considered safe. After all, FTP was never intended to be a security protocol - security has always been an afterthought with FTP. Encryption, an essential element of digital security, isn't included as standard so your files are left wide open for anyone to read - think a postcard, vs a letter in a secure envelope. Further, FTP is only capable of sending plain text which means that any sensitive information, such as passwords and account details, is open to read. Even with encryption, this leaves your most private details vulnerable.

Recent work to secure FTP has not been a resounding success. Whilst SSH tunnels have been incorporated into FTP to provide additional security, this solution struggles to mesh with the number of connections required by FTP. When there are modern FTP alternatives, these security solutions seem like flogging a dead horse.

A Barrier To Collaboration

File transfer allows dispersed organizations to collaborate dynamically across the web, sharing ideas and resources. Collaborative efforts are vital to innovation in a competitive world. Yet rather than accommodating and encouraging collaboration, FTP presents barriers to collaboration.

Sharing multiple files and keeping track of files that have reached their destinations are complicated on FTP due to its reliance on various ports. Often, heavy strain on FTP causes file transfers to time out, meaning you’re starting from scratch. This creates frustrating stop-start processes which prevent collaboration across locations.

Ten Reasons Why Online File Sharing Is The Future Of File Transfer

FTP is dead in the water. Fortunately, online file sharing is here as an FTP alternative. As we saw, as well as being an intuitive and troublesome application, FTP also failed on security and collaboration - two things that every business knows they need to take seriously. Online file sharing offers a positive vision for collaboration in a secure environment. Let’s take a look at why online file sharing should be used instead of FTP, and how it’s set to become the new standard in digital file transfer.

1) Custom Branding

Branding is essential to ensuring your organization has instant recognition amongst your client base. Whilst FTP clients are a one-stop shop, using online file sharing for file transfer in your organization allows you to apply custom branding with highly modifiable themes.

Online file sharing doesn’t require complex client and server side protocols - you’re simply uploading and downloading through the medium of the web. This allows you to wrap your online file sharing service with any custom branding you need to make your business stand out.


2) Unlimited Users

With online files sharing, there’s no limit to how many users you can have on your system at one time. With enough bandwidth, users can upload and download simultaneously and they’ll never get in each other's way.

This is especially valuable for larger organizations turning to modes of remote work. Bringing all your staff on board and giving everyone access to multiple files will enable your organization to function efficiently in the face of changing workplace practices.


3) No Hardware Investment Needed

Online file sharing leverages cloud-based hosting for your files. When you upload your files, they’re stored remotely, away from your servers and so your organization doesn’t need any additional hardware to store or manage your documents.

Cloud-based operations are increasingly being leveraged by businesses to reduce their operation costs and enable efficient, streamlined communication and collaboration. Online file sharing liberates you from expensive server and hardware costs.


4) Granular Permissions

“Many organizations struggle with FTP because of over complicated interfaces that don’t allow for much customization,” says Stephen Torres, a blogger at Paperfellows and Assignment Help. “Often, businesses have users requiring different levels of permissions and need a highly bespoke solution to file sharing.”

Online file sharing enables permissions on a granular level, allowing businesses to set site specific privileges for individual staff members. Forget the one-size-fits-all approach - this is subtlety in action.


5) Easy To Set Up

Online file sharing relies on a web-based platform. That means you have a ready made template for sharing your files, without the need to install or configure any software. Online file sharing can be set up within your organization with just a few clicks – you won’t even need to call the IT guys. Not only does this save you a headache, but it saves you money.

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6) Security

With FTP, you’ll find that servers often open folders up to all customers with access to specific files, meaning you everybody with permission to access one file can see everything. Not only does this open your organization up to damaging data breaches, it can erode trust between you and your clients.

With online file sharing, every file is individually located, meaning that nobody without specifically verified access can see, read or download it. Rest easy knowing that online file sharing keeps your files private.


7) Previewing Of Files Before Downloading

Many online file sharing platforms allow for the previewing of files before they’re downloaded. Not only can file type and size be seen, but often a preview of a document can be accessed without needing to download it. This ensures everyone knows exactly what they’re downloading to local locations, reducing the danger of bad actors infiltrating your systems through viruses. It also enables instant access to documents, saving time and increasing efficiency across your operations.


8) No More Email File Size Limits

If you’ve ever hit that frustrating “attachment is too large” message, you’ll know that online file sharing is the future. Instead of attachments being inserted into emails directly, you can share files of any size by simply including a link within your email, leading the recipient to a download page for your attachments.

This saves you compressing your files or sending multiple emails just to transfer your documents across. It’s never been easier to share your files with online file sharing, the perfect FTP alternative.


9) Receive Files

Filecamp has an inbuilt HTML-5 uploader, enabling users to upload whole folders to their cloud-based hosting platform with a simple drag-and-drop. This reveals the great functionality of online file sharing as you’re not simply sending and receiving files, but beginning to replicate locally hosted folders on universally accessible platforms.

By giving your team access to whole folders hosted remotely, you’ll streamline collaboration. With instant access to the resources they need, workers can create and innovate without any technical barriers standing in their way. It’s easier than ever to share these folders if you want to make them available for public viewing too - just send a link, no login required.


10) All Future Updates Included

Unlike FTP, which requires multiple updates and patches to stay secure and functional, online file sharing is automatically updated and will be until the end of time. Often, software becomes outdated, requiring costly upgrades. But because online file sharing is a web-based platform, there’s no hard installation required, meaning updates are out of your hands.

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Wrapping Up

In a world of FTP alternatives, sticking with file transfer protocol for file sharing effectively leaves your business in the dark ages. From a security perspective, online file sharing means you can sleep at night knowing that layers of encryption protect your files as well as sensitive details. If you’re sharing files to facilitate collaboration on a project, online file sharing enables faster file sharing as well as simultaneous upload and download, and no limit on file size.

Online file sharing is safer, more secure and more intuitive than FTP. It’s proved itself as an FTP alternative that’s here to stay.

Kristin Herman

Katherine Rundell

Katherine Rundell is a technology writer at Buy Assignment and stays close to current and evolving digital trends. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with two chihuahuas.
Published January 14, 2020

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