File Transfers via the Cloud Create a Security Issue

Michael Vizard
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Many end users would argue that one of the primary reasons they store files in the cloud is because the internal IT department left them no other option. They needed to share the file with a colleague, but the file was too large for the email system. As a result, they made a conscious decision to violate compliance protocol by uploading the file into a cloud computing service such as or use a public email service such as Gmail or Yahoo to send the file regardless of the security implications.

Of course, IT folks would be quick to argue that this is the very reason they deployed an FTP server in the first place. The problem is that from the perspective of the end user, the FTP server in the age of the "consumerization of IT" is not usually as easy to invoke as a cloud computing service that is a mouse click away.

According to Frank Kenney, vice president of global strategy and product management at Ipswitch, it's that simple mouse click that is at the root of one of the more frustrating security issues of our time. To address that issue, Ipswitch created a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook that puts the Ipswitch File Transfer service one mouse click away from the user. Files are never stored in the cloud unless the user specifically requests it. Instead, Kenney says the Ipswitch File Transfer service shares files with other users on a point-to-point basis just like a traditional FTP server.

More than a few IT professionals will scoff at the notion that their company needs anything more than a basic FTP server. But FTP servers were created back when 4MB files were a rarity. Now organizations are dealing with PowerPoint and multimedia files that routinely exceed the space limitations of the corporate email system. In addition, there are a lot of IT organizations that don't want to go to the trouble of setting up and maintaining an FTP server in the first place, especially of no one is really going to use it all that often anyway.

The other upside to Ipswitch File Transfer service, adds Kenney, is that it keeps users from treating the corporate email system as a document repository. Once somebody emails a document, it tends to stay in the email system forever, or at least until somebody exceeds their storage limitations.

There are obviously a lot of options when it comes to file transfer services these days. Most end users don't really care how the file gets from one point to another as long as it gets there. But the IT organization must figure out the most secure way to get those files in there without creating a compliance problem.

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Jan 13, 2012 3:54 AM Astaples Astaples  says:

Security is the IT Managers concern, and a valid one. However, the problem for the rank and file with FTP transfers, and email file transfers is that they don't allow for collaboration among colleagues.

The best file-sharing services, either on-premise or cloud based, allow for secure sharing and collaboration - and they are much easier to use than SharePoint.

Jan 16, 2012 6:21 AM Helen Adams Helen Adams  says: in response to Astaples

To find out how these data security problems can be overcome and to implement successful managed file transfer, speak to on 0845 643 4063

Aug 17, 2012 1:41 AM James Lewis James Lewis  says:
We specialise in both on-premise and cloud based file transfer technologies and have customers making use of either or both. The issue for businesses now are not solely about controlling consumer grade file sharing technologies, but also how to regain control over company data which leaves the business via BYOD (mobiles/tablets). As Frank says above, the Outlook plugin has been key but has been implemented into most of the MFT vendors solutions to date. A key characteristic of the right technology for your company is one that also addresses mobile. With some 20+ MFT vendors in the marketplace and with no guidance from Frank post his Gartner days, Pro2col is an independent MFT specialist who can assist your business in selecting the right solution for your specific requirements. Get in touch via 0333 123 1240 or Regards, James Reply

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