That's right, folks - we've done it again!
Your humble author of this large file transfer blog has had another article accepted by ezinearticles.com - the Internet's leading article directory!
In this article ("Large File Transfer - Why Bother With FTP?") I tackle the subject of sending big files via FTP - the outdated technology we all know and love (or, y'know, dislike intently - guess which one I am?).
The article looks at the age of the protocol, as well as security and usability issues. I'm no Mark Twain, but I think it's both readable and informative, and (here I confess to bias) worth taking a look at.
Just follow the link to the article on (basically) FTP replacement. Of course, considering that you're here, it's not hard to guess what I recommend instead of FTP for sending large files...
Please let me know what you think in the comments!
The news has been flying about all over the Internet: social media giant Facebook has bought out file sharing service Drop.io.
For those who don't know, Drop.io took an unusual approach to sending large files by allowing users to create temporary "mini-drop-boxes". There were no other features - just the ability to anonymously share files for a brief period of time.
According to TechCrunch.com, the social media moguls have bought not only Drop.io's technology, but their talent: CEO Sam Lessin (and perhaps others) will be moving out to Palo Alto, California to join the Facebook team.
The company's incipient demise (non-paid accounts have already been shut down, and paid accounts will be closed on December 15, 2010) sends an interesting message to the rest of the file-sharing industry: Facebook is planning to add online file transfer to their service offerings.
This may or may not be a good thing, depending on one's point of view. Facebook has 2 main strengths that they can apply to the field that most online file transfer services cannot:
1. Massive traffic, and
2. Massive capital to spend on application development.
If they do go ahead and implement a technology similar to Drop.io's, and integrate it fully into their service, it would probably mean the demise of many of the current companies in the field - especially the new, smaller start-ups with little to offer besides sending files too big for email.
If the services that let users transfer big files wish to survive, they are going to have to "go the extra mile", and offer more than ad-serviced large file transfer.
What sort of value-add features should users look for in a big files transfer service?
1. The ability to receive large files: only a few of these companies let their users receive files from those without accounts, and they usually charge for the privilege.
2. Storage: while many users are only interested in sending large files, many more (especially businesses) are also looking for the ability to store files online - allowing them not only to collaborate but preserve valuable data.
3. Robust tracking: of special value to corporate users (from any size business), the ability to track uploads and downloads is a must - especially if multiple users in separate locations share one account.
FilesDIRECT (of course) offers all these features, and more, for free with all accounts:
1. Free customizable upload and download pages ("dropboxes"). Now your clients can upload files to your personal page - or download files from a set of private files you send them a link to.
2. Paid accounts start with a whopping 10GB of free storage - and it only goes up from there.
3. Tracking: live tracking of what files have been uploaded and downloaded, when and by whom.
There are many more features and our development team is always working on more...while fly-by-night "free" operations should be worried about the news out of Brooklyn, we know that FilesDIRECT will still be around for a long time to come.
Now, this post probably won't be of interest to the technically inclined, but for folks who are curious about some of the jargon flung about the file transfer side of the internet, this one is for you.
FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol", and it is a method used to copy files from one host to another over networks like the internet - technically, over "TCP/IP" networks, which stands for "Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol". Access to an FTP client can be either anonymous or password-protected, depending on how it's been set up.
FTP was originally created by Abhay Bhushan in 1971, with the standard specifications having been updated twice since then (in 1980 and 1985). Let's look at that again: the File Transfer Protocol, one of the major methods used to send files, was first written in 1971 and it's last major update was in 1985.
25 years ago.
Moreover, ask any (honest) IT professional and they'll tell you that FTP was never designed to be a secure method of sending data, and even with security upgrades, it's still vulnerable to a wide variety of attacks (according to the good folks at Wikipedia). Though somewhat mitigated in modern versions, data (including user names, passwords, etc.) can often be easily accessed and read. Additionally, it tends to leave mile-wide holes in your firewall, thereby opening your computer to potential attack.
As one would expect for such an old system, usability is not very good - even newer versions are often clunky and distinctly not user friendly. If you've ever had to use FTP, chances are you've experienced this firsthand...I know I have.
"There's got to be a better option!" You might say. And I would respond "Yes, yes, there is." It's been 25 years since the advent of FTP, and a lot has changed since then, including the coding languages available to programmers and, in fact, the very structure of the internet.
This is a very good thing, because it's given us a variety of choices, the best of which are probably online file transfer services like FilesDIRECT. I confess to being biased, but let's look at the reasons why:
- Password protected uploads and downloads
- 128-bit SSL encryption
- Easy to use - super-simple user interface
- Send large files (2GB using your browser, or files of any size with the desktop app)
- Send and receive multiple files simultaneously
- There are no servers to maintain
- Works with any operating system
And, of course, much more.
With modern, more secure options like this, I can't think of any good reasons for using something as outdated as FTP.
It's time to move large file transfer into the 21st century.
Okay, so I may be exaggerating, but only a little!
This post is really to toot my own horn (so to speak) but what can I say: I'm excited, and the rest of the team here encouraged me to write a blog post about it, so here we are:
I am now listed as an "Expert Author" on EzineArticles.com, the Internet's leading article directory.
And yes, before you ask, I was almost as excited as a kid at Christmas.
Anyways, the article is titled: "Send Large Files Safely Online" (feel free to click the link) and it gave me the opportunity to discuss some of the knowledge I've gained over the past few months about sending large files, receiving large files, and online storage - specifically focusing on the security issues involved in online file transfer.
It's not an in-depth discussion of different security protocols, or a careful examination of different methods of cryptography (although, come to think of it, those are some petty good ideas for later articles...hmmm...) so much as a brief overview of the security issues to consider when choosing a file transfer service.
Feedback is welcome (just leave a note in the comments) but please - be gentle. :)
Healthcare organizations (including hospitals, claims administrators, doctors' offices, etc.) exist in a high-pressure, highly-regulated environment, and several of those regulations are about keeping and transferring patient data.
Regulations like HIPAA demand that healthcare organizations keep personally identifiable health information confidential, and that they track and report on how that information is accessed.
The challenge is that the systems used must not only be secure, but be simple enough that any staff who need to access the information can do so easily and effectively.
Email, though widely-adopted and easy to use, suffers from a lack of security and an ability to transfer only small files (10MB or less). FTP, though commonly used by IT professionals, is very complicated to use and very insecure.
A local hospital has a wide variety of staff, clients and partners, not all of whom are on-site. Doctors and nurses need to access and update patient information on the fly, while hospital administrators have to manage the access given to the hospital’s billing service, who is then in contact with patients' insurance companies. They had previously used email and FTP – but their FTP system lacked encryption abilities, and email was becoming less scalable and using increasing amount of server resources. To top it all off, neither system lets them manage workflow or enforce appropriate access to patient records.
The solution is online file transfer and storage. These services (like FilesDIRECT) let healthcare organizations store data offsite, which gives redundancy of important information and reduces server load.
FilesDIRECT’s “One-Click Send” system is easy to use; with a simple, customizable public upload page. This allows hospital staff and partners to use the system without time-consuming (and expensive!) training.
Our online file transfers use the same level of encryption as banks and major online retailers (like Amazon). This means healthcare organizations can rest assured their patient information is secure.
Simplicity, security, and built-in tracking means FilesDRECT is the perfect solution for HIPAA compliant file transfer.
Try it FREE today!
Trying to email large files is a process filled with limitations and problems, and even though it’s a popular method to send files, you shouldn’t risk losing your work to it. Low file size limits and a tendency for messages to disappear without any kind of notice are all reasons to switch to something new. Now, you can quickly and safely email large attachments to anyone, anywhere in the world with FilesDIRECT.
Using one-click send and a secure SSL encryption, FilesDIRECT is the best and most convenient web based file transfer service available.
Whether you are a large enterprise business needing to email thousands of confidential documents or a small graphic design firm trying to get dozens of large Photoshop files to the printers, FilesDIRECT is the perfect solution. In addition, no FTP or tech knowledge is required, just click to upload your file and emails are instantly sent to both you and the recipient letting everyone know the files are ready to be downloaded.
Have questions? Want to try FilesDIRECT? Sign-up for our FREE trial and start emailing large files right now.
We've been promising everyone tutorials on how to use the service to transfer large files, and while we're setting up our video studio, we thought we would post these in the interim.
Okay, you've just signed up with FilesDIRECT, and you have some files you'd like to send - now what?
First, log in to FilesDIRECT by entering your username and password in the upper right-hand corner of the screen:
Once you have logged in, you will see two tabs on the upper left: "Dashboard" and "Manage Files". Make sure the "Dashboard" tab is selected:
Once you are in the Dashboard, you have 3 main options:
1. Send a File
2. Manage Files
3. Customize Page
Click on "Begin Upload" (underneath Send a File)
This takes you to the Upload page - once the page loads, click "+ Direct Send" at the bottom of the page:
This will bring up the additional fields to fill out to send the file(s).
First, verify your personal information at the top of the page: feel free to add or remove data as you like (the only information you need to have is your name and email address)
Halfway down the page is the "Add files" button. Click it.
Now you can select the files you want to send via the popup window:
Once you've selected the files you want to send, just scroll down, enter in the recipients' email address, and the subject and text of the message you'd like to send them along with the file. Then decide if you want to password-protect the download and/or have the file automatically erased after being downloaded:
If you want to encrypt the files, select "Click Here for Secure Uploads" at the top of the screen.
Then just click "Continue" and sit back and relax as your files are uploaded and sent!
Simple, easy, safe: that's FilesDIRECT.
For thirty years, FTP has been the default method of moving files around networks, including the internet. It's no surprise that FilesDIRECT replaces FTP, but on what basis?
The real question is: on what basis does it not?
Security - For the past thirty years, plain FTP has ignored security concerns, passing its passwords across the net in plain text. In today's world that's completely unacceptable, especially with the huge rise in easily eaves-droppable mobile devices. Also, FTP plays havoc with firewalls, opening a new connection for every file, which makes your network less secure (especially when the firewall is configured out of desperation to allow FTP, but disallow better security.) FilesDIRECT is SSL-encrypted every time, and nothing passes in plain text.
(Photo: Dazzie D)
Usability - Timestamps on files aren't kept with FTP, leaving users lost as to what version of what file they're looking at after a transfer. Directory listings aren't standardized, meaning users can be stuck working with clumsy, incorrect information about what files are where. FilesDIRECT uses easy to read links and lists to display directories and timestamps are what they're supposed to be.
Simplicity - FTP clients are confusing, especially for new users. What thirty year old software technology wouldn't be? By comparison, if you can use email and a web browser, you can use FilesDIRECT.
Sadly, FTP won't be going away any time soon. The good news is you don't have to keep using it: now you can choose FilesDIRECT!
There are many problems with receiving large files – almost as many as there are trying to send them. FilesDIRECT takes care of everything for you: no more complicated FTP, email size limits or expensive couriers.
Our web-based service means even someone without a FilesDIRECT account can send you files up to 2GB in size with literally a single mouse click – and you can download it just as easily.
Here’s how it works:
When you sign up with FIlesDIRECT, we’ll create (and host) a webpage where others can upload files for you.
This page is easily (and completely) customizable to meet your company’s branding needs.
Once files have been uploaded, we’ll send two emails: a confirmation to the sender and a notification to the user. Once you receive the email, just log in to your FilesDIRECT account and start downloading!
The files are stored on our servers for as long as you like, ready for you to download at your convenience.
All our file transfers come with full 128-bit SSL encryption – the same level of protection used by banks and big online retailers like Amazon.com.
No more burning cd’s, hiring couriers or putting up with FTP. Easy file transfer is finally just a click away!
(Photo: Anonymous Account)
Whether you need to send confidential financial data or personal information, you can never be too careful when making sure it doesn't get in the wrong hands. With so many security issues caused by the vulnerabilities of email (easily hacked) and FTP (opens huge holes in your firewall), you need to make sure you keep your files safe with a secure file transfer service like FilesDIRECT.
At FilesDIRECT, every file uploaded to our secure servers is protected with 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption so that your information stays secret. This is the same encryption protocol used by banks and major online retailers like Amazon.com. In addition, our one-click upload and send offers the easiest secure file transfer possible.
FilesDIRECT is perfect for: hospitals, health care providers, government agencies, financial institutions, universities, and anyone else sending sensitive information online.
Click here to see just how easy FilesDIRECT really is - try it FREE for 30 days!