Better file sharing than FTP is out there
When presented with the need to share files with users outside the network, many businesses rely on the FTP server that they got along with their web hosting plan. This definitely can do the job, but it also definitely has many limitations. More modern solutions based on web browsers and standard, secure web protocols are a better and more flexible solution.
FTP (for File Transfer Protocol) consists of a server program, a client program and an Internet protocol with which they exchange software. It was state of the art back when it was invented in 1971, long before there was anything you could rightly call an Internet. A lot has changed since then, but not so much in FTP. It survives largely out of inertia and the desire of engineers to show their buddies that they don?t need any of that ?easy to use? software.
Out of the box, FTP is not only confusing and difficult to use; it?s insecure and can present configuration problems. FTP communications default to plain, unencrypted text. Even to transfer non-text files you need to issue a BIN command. The default configuration can have trouble with NAT systems, in which internal computers use an internal IP addressing system which is mapped to one or more external Internet IP addresses. To get around this users may need to issue a PASV command.
But the real problem is that FTP is a different system from the one users know for sharing files on their internal network. Making them learn a different and cryptic system is a waste of effort and an invitation to error.
A better alternative is to use a product which allows the secure mapping of file shares on the company?s network across the Internet. When properly configured with well-written software this option presents minimal security risk and makes both the sharing of files and access to them much more natural.
SynaMan (www.synaman.com, pronounced ?cinnamon?) from Synametrics Technologies, provides such access and makes them easier and more secure by allowing you to integrate them with Windows Active Directory. This means that only authorized users can access the files from outside or inside the network. Users can use the same username and password they use to log on to the network in order to gain access to the files. And administrators can use their familiar Active Directory tools to decide which users and groups have access to particular files.
Modern software like SynaMan provides other must-have features that you just don?t get with FTP: easy, secure web browser access, mobile access, the ability to install on just about any system and to transfer very large files.
Everyone has FTP, but that doesn?t mean everyone should use it. Whether you?re sharing files with remote employees, partners or customers, you can do better than FTP.