Today’s businesses primarily function on getting data to the right place at the right time. Developed 30 years ago, the file transfer protocol (FTP) is an application layer protocol that is used for transferring files between a client and a server. Unfortunately, this protocol doesn’t scale well to large numbers of connections and only supports three data structures: file, record, and page structure.
In today’s standards, it cannot scale to support needs like any-to-any data transfers, large file ingestion, and cloud-native transfer. Most importantly, it is not a secured protocol as users do not have the ability to encrypt and protect data.
Because it doesn’t offer data encryption, FTP exposes data transmission to many vulnerabilities. When a file is sent using this protocol, data, usernames, and passwords are all shared in plain text, a hacker can access this information with little to no effort.
It’s also vulnerable to a brute force attack, which can break down passwords that are weak or used repetitively. The hacker can use specific techniques to capture transmitted data and decode it. FTP is also vulnerable to spoofing attacks, where the hacker poses as a user or device on the network. These types of attacks typically happen on public Wi-Fi networks. When your company falls under federal compliance norms like PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GLBA, having an unsecured way to transfer data can be especially dangerous.