File Transfers Often Not as Secure as IT Would Like

A new survey finds that 77 percent of respondents use a file transfer solution to exchange data with both internal and external organizations -- but which one may be a surprise.

A recent survey of 250 small to large enterprises found that, while the vast majority of them are seriously concerned about the security of managed file transfers (MFT), 70 percent of them use one of the most insecure file transfer tools of all for many circumstances.

According to the survey, conducted by cloud-based enterprise integration provider Hubspan, some 77 percent of the respondents use a file transfer product to handle transfers both inside and outside their organizations. Additionally, of those that don’t have a solution in place 40 percent plan to implement a file transfer product in the next year and a half.

Still, for as many as 70 percent of the survey's respondents, that tool is the long-in-the-tooth file transfer protocol -- or FTP as it's known. In fact, FTP enjoys that popularity even though the biggest file transfer challenge that survey respondents say they face is security by some 49 percent.

The survey polled businesses ranging in size from fewer than 100 to more than 10,000 employees, according to Hubspan.

That is not to imply that most companies' file transfer policies and practices are cavalier. The IT department controls or approves file transfers in 70 percent of respondents' companies, the survey found.

"However, the pervasive use of FTP (over 70 percent) as the primary means for file transfer illustrates lack of security and compliance with employee file transfers, which can leave companies vulnerable to data loss and regulatory issues," a statement accompanying the report said.

Of those transfers, the majority -- 43 percent -- are 100 MB or smaller, while only 2 percent constitute transfers of 50 GB or larger.

The survey illustrates key conflicts that storage professionals must face when it comes to file transfer, though.

"The top three criteria for selecting a file transfer solution are: cost (58 percent), security (46 percent) and ease of use (45 percent), illustrating that while security is a primary concern other factors such as cost and ease of use can distract users from the importance of security," the statement said.


Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

Tags: FTP, ftp server, Hubspan, managed file transfer

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