Published on 30 May 2018 - Updated on 16 Nov 2021
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) allows you to transfer data between computers over an internet connection and remotely store files on an FTP server. In some cases, FTP is used because the industry or governing body requires it. Businesses use this protocol to upload files to an FTP server where they are stored and can be downloaded and accessed later.
First, let’s look at why FTP is important.
Sure, there have been considerable advances in cloud-based file transfer services since 1971 when FTP was introduced. But, traditional protocols are still around because they work, are reliable, integrate with legacy systems, and in the case of FTP provide fast data transfer.
FTP transfers your largest files. With more work being done online and digitally, documents are getting larger. Advances in graphic design, engineering, and video production mean larger, more robust files. FTP provides a way to quickly get your largest files from design documents to video edits where they need to be without worrying about file size limitations or loss of data.
We needed a replacement for a few processes in our business that still rely on using FTP and SFTP with other vendors.– Jonathan Lakser
Examples of five key industries that often require FTP include; architectural and design firms, transcription and printing services, IT development, financial, retail and hospitality, and media distribution.
The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry relies on FTP to share architecture diagrams and components. Using an FTP service is the best way to send large files such as CAD or SketchUp diagrams which are common in the AEC industry. Construction and related fields that work with CAD diagrams and similar file types often rely on FTP due to its speed in transferring these large file types.
FTP is a key component for engineering workflows to upload and transfer documents for approval throughout a design project. The completed files can be quite large and are uploaded and stored on the FTP server after project completion.
FTP supports large file uploads and bulk file transfers. Transcription services and graphic designers find FTP to be ideal for their large print jobs. Printers rely on FTP when they have folders full of PFDs ready to download and print.
Web developers are another core group that uses and relies on FTP for uploading files. FTP is essential for building a website. It allows the web developer to move information from their computer to the server hosting the site they are working on. FTP is the main route to the FTP server where all the integral pieces of the website are stored.
Accountants, consultants, and business owners doing their accounting and financials know that keeping logs is a critical requirement for running a compliant business.
Easily sort and filter to find when and what file transfer activity occurred. Track a user's activity or review all files uploaded on a specific day to reconcile company statements and records.
Business consulting and financial companies also benefit from the security features and ability to define user permissions. Keep all your files secure whether they contain financial data or contract information.
Modern FTP services like ExaVault can be configured to accommodate a variety of business needs. Limit specific users to download or upload only, require passwords to open shared files, set expiration dates on shares, even require multi-factor authentication for login by all users on the account.
For many companies in the retail and hospitality industry, FTP comes in handy when sharing files with employees, clients, and customers all around the world. FTP is more reliable and less of a hassle to manage than email attachments. Plus, you don’t have to worry about files not being received due to size limitations.
A modern cloud FTP service provides not just support for the protocol you need, but additional features like notifications so the manager or HR knows exactly when files are uploaded and downloaded. Activity logs provide another way for retail businesses to quickly track when files were uploaded to the server and verify the data was passed to the next step in processing and fulfillment.
Consider your local news agency. They need to send around the clock video data from their weather cams to an FTP server. The video plays on their website livestream and airs on the live TV news broadcast. FTP facilitates all this video transfer with efficiency.
So, while you enjoy your morning coffee, FTP is part of the process that provides you with the daily weather forecast.
Your business may be able to use a simple online file transfer service, but an online FTP solution might be the option you really need.
FTP supports large and bulk file transfers. If your business has large files or numerous files and folders to upload, store, and send, you’ll want a hosted FTP service.
Hosted FTP is ideal for any size business. Purchasing FTP service reduces your IT costs and keeps your IT staff available for in house computer maintenance. Maintaining an FTP server and network infrastructure can be expensive and time-consuming. As your business grows, updating infrastructure might not be in the budget. Look for hosted FTP solutions and leave the technical worries to the professionals.
Does your business produce a large number of PDFs that need to be set up for batch printing or shared with clients on a regular basis? FTP is great for uploading and storing PDFs and can send folders full of PDFs faster than cloud-only services.
Are you wasting time tracking and sending routine file transfers? There are ways to automate FTP transfers with the help of ExaVault’s API. Create custom workflows and automations for your business's unique data exchange needs.
Finally, when looking for file storage and sharing services, have you been told your business needs FTP? There is probably a reason for that. It could be a government regulation. Or, it could be that your industry has tried and trusts FTP. Best for sending large files, FTP isn’t going anywhere. The right FTP service can provide additional security options to further protect your uploads, downloads and all your daily file transfers.