SFTP as a Service: Secure Hosting & File Transfer

Published on 12 May 2020 - Updated on 25 May 2021

While it is possible to set up your own on-site FTP server, there are many advantages to using SFTP as a service. When signing up for any service, businesses need to weigh the benefits.

Remote worker logging into SFTP site.

How Can You Benefit from SFTP as a Service?

Going with a fully managed or hosted SFTP solution offers benefits in terms of cost, usability, security, and file access.

Any company that conducts business online or with the aid of computers to move data will benefit from a hosted SFTP service. SFTP solutions allow you to securely share files via SSH File Transfer Protocol plus the accessibility and features that keep your business moving forward.

Here are some of the advantages to using SFTP as a service over setting up and maintaining an on-site server.

  1. No Hardware Required
  2. Reduce Business Costs
  3. Accessibility
  4. Data Security
  5. Convenient File Management
  6. Scalability
  7. Disaster Recovery & Compliance

1. No Hardware Required

SFTP as a service is turnkey. It requires you to do little other than sign up. Once you are signed up, all of the features of the SFTP site are immediately available to you. 

You don’t need to use your own servers, utilities or data center infrastructure when you purchase SFTP as a service.

Signing Up for a Hosted SFTP Account

Most often the process consists of signing up through an online form and providing the following information:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Account name
  • Password

Additionally, a business name, address, phone number, or purchasing information may be required to grant you access to the SFTP hosting services on an ongoing basis.

Then, the SFTP account should be ready for you to log in. You can start setting up additional users, change any preferences, start uploading files, organizing folders, and more. Directly after the initial set up is a great time to review online support documentation. You can learn more about the service or discover new features that will help streamline your business file sharing processes.

2. Reduce Business Costs

There are many upfront and ongoing costs if you set up and run an SFTP server on your own. These costs may be prohibitive, especially if you are in a period of setting up or trying to grow your business. You would need to provision the hardware, install an operating system, apply all the necessary patches, purchase a domain name and certificates, along with keeping all systems up to date and in compliance with security requirements. 

Having IT staff can also be a considerable drain on your budget. Company resources are needed whether it’s full-time employees or staff members with the knowledge and ability to assist when issues arise. SFTP as a service takes care of all the hardware, software, maintenance and support for you — all you have to do is set up your account.

3. Accessibility

From an accessibility standpoint, your team will benefit from SFTP as a service by having a single location to store business files. However, you still have complete flexibility and control over your files. The mobility of hosted SFTP provides on-demand access to your documents and data at any time, from any device. 

You also get access to a secure SFTP server that is maintained by professionals. Files are uploaded to the server and can be downloaded by anyone you’ve authorized with the right permissions. With centralized cloud storage, you don’t have to check multiple file locations or log into various accounts to transfer files.

Client using ExaVault's SFTP service on their laptop.

4. Data Security

In today’s evolving threat environment, security is not a trivial undertaking. You need to keep up to date on the most recent threats and security patches. You want your files to be protected and stored where there are modern intrusion detection systems and denial of service mitigations in place.

If you’re dealing with confidential or sensitive documents, data security will be a concern. Professional SFTP providers offer several means of secure data transfer. 

SFTP file transfer options include requiring a username and password or using SSH keys. Store public keys in your account, and proper key authentication will allow for passwordless login. SSH keys are helpful for automated file transfers.

You also need to make sure that your servers themselves are secure. With ExaVault’s SFTP as a service, you’re backed by a 24/7 team of professionals who monitor and maintain the infrastructure. When you are paying for a service, it is the company’s job to provide a secure, easy-to-use service that meets clients’ needs. Otherwise, they won’t have any clients.

5. Convenient File Management

When you sign up for SFTP as a service, you’ll get better file management than you would otherwise with in-house attempts. This includes online resources, a web-based file manager, flexible user permissions, logging, and more.

Web-based file manager: While SFTP may be necessary to upload large files, a modern interface lets you organize those files anywhere you have an internet connection and a web browser.

Admin portal: The admin portal is where authorized users can log in to check the administrative aspects of the account. Use the admin portal to update emails and contact information, upgrade or downgrade your account, view invoices, or adjust the payment method.

SFTP permissions: Permissions are vital to file management for any business. Set permissions to grant users access to specific folders or limit the actions they can perform. An upload only user comes in handy when you have clients who need to upload files to your account via SFTP.

Online resources: Support documentation should be easy to search or navigate with helpful topic headings and detailed examples, or videos to walk you through common questions.

6. Scalability

Companies that deal with massive amounts of business data need a reliable way to get their files and data from point A to point B. In hosting your own SFTP server, capacity can quickly become an issue. When you sign up for SFTP as a service, you’ll get built-in flexibility, and can easily scale capacity as your business grows.

For example, ExaVault hosted SFTP plans offer straightforward pricing with Advanced and Enterprise plans that include unlimited users. Plus it’s easy to upgrade as you need 1TB of storage or more.

7. Disaster Recovery & Compliance

Off-site disaster recovery and secure backups are another benefit of SFTP as a service. A robust backup and disaster recovery strategy means that your data will always be available and secure.

Compliance can be a daunting task for an individual or small business to try and achieve on their own. With SFTP as a service, the service provider does all the work to get certified and maintain compliance.

In summary, if you aren’t familiar with SFTP as a service, it is more than just using an SFTP client. The service part of “SFTP as a Service” means peace of mind in terms of data security and compliance, ease of use when dealing with remote workers and clients, a resource for any help with technical issues regarding file transfers, and cost savings over hosting your own server.

Laptop with logo for ExaVault FTP service.

Need SFTP as a service for your business? Start your free trial of ExaVault today!

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