We’ve found the best secure file transfer software solutions to help your business stay compliant and secure while handling sensitive data.

What is a secure file transfer? Secure file transferring is sharing information through a private, encrypted channel; it is usually used to protect sensitive data that cannot afford to be breached for legal or compliance reasons. Examples include sharing personally identifiable information, legal documentation, or company trade secrets.

What Are the Different Types of Secure File Transfer?

Secure file sharing technologies use security measures like encryption and other cryptography to ensure that information is not compromised during transit. However, “file transfer” is a broad category, and users and organizations exchange files in several different ways. Accordingly, file sharing comes in several forms and flavors, typically responding to different needs based on security, compliance, or performance.

There are several secure file transfer protocols in use today. These include the following:

  • Secure (or SSH) File Transfer Protocol: SFTP is a common, flexible, and strong form of file sharing modeled off the older File Transfer Protocol but built with the Secure Shell protocol. The use of SSH as a transfer mechanism allows systems to securely connect to one another through a server-client model, supporting encryption for in-transit data while also allowing more advanced command interactions between computers.
  • File Transfer Protocol with SSL: In a similar fashion to SFTP, FTPS uses the FTP model and builds it into the Secure Sockets Layer protocol. FTPS is a bit more difficult to set up and maintain, requiring a multi-port connection and security certificates that can cause issues with firewalls. While FTPS is still in use, generally secure transfer solutions opt for some form of SFTP.
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure: HTTPS is the secure form of HTTP, the basic file transfer protocol for transmitting webpage data. Websites that employ HTTPS must register with a certificate authority. Web browsers can confirm the presence of HTTPS (the “HTTPS://” prefix in a URL) by verifying the certificate. HTTPS allows users to interact securely with websites and web forms and supports integrity verification against hacked sites.
  • Managed File Transfer: MFT solutions usually include several types of secure transfer (SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, etc.) and bundle them with other enterprise features like automation, batch processing, or analytics.

Secure file sharing plays a major role in cybersecurity, privacy, and compliance. A given secure sharing solution might not be compliant with a given framework out of the box. However, regulations like HIPAA or FedRAMP will often include foundational requirements for encryption that can be met with modified or updated SFTP, HTTPS, and MFT solutions.


Top Secure File Transfer Software Solutions

What Are the Benefits of Using Secure File Transfer?

Many users have used unsecured transfer protocols for decades for various reasons, including speed, cost, and ease of use. However, modern businesses and enterprise users must use transfers to guarantee their data security.

While it might seem obvious, using file sharing comes with several critical benefits that empower enterprise businesses. These benefits include the following:

  • Security: Traditional email and FTP transfers are over clear text, meaning that if the transmission is intercepted, then a hacker can read the information freely. Secure transfers will ensure that the intercepted data is unreadable by hackers.
  • Compliance: Most compliance regulations will require some form of data protection in the form of encryption, firewalls, anti-malware, etc. Secure file transfers include such protections either out of the box or through upgrades and modifications. A modified or purpose-built transfer solution can meet the specific demands of any compliance framework.
  • Privacy: Even outside of compliance and security, file transfer technology can just help organizations or business users protect their data privacy. Important documents or files, regardless of compliance or security, should be protected from unwanted disclosure.

What Should Organizations Look For in Secure File Transfer?

Shopping for transfer platforms can be challenging and involves consideration of several different solutions with different feature sets and capabilities.

Some capabilities and features organizations need to seek out in a file transfer solution include:

  • Proper Security and Compliance Standards: The critical starting point is to determine if the technology meets minimum security and compliance requirements. These include proper security measures for business protection and logistics as well as minimum requirements to meet compliance regulations.
  • Enterprise Features: Not all solutions will have business or enterprise features, but many of the main providers in this industry are moving to include features like automation, easy web access, and other tools and utilities. An organization working toward adopting file sharing should articulate its business needs and look for a feature-rich platform that meets those needs.
  • Compatibility and Integrations: Modern file transfer solutions, particularly those advertising themselves as MFTs, typically include some forms of integrations with popular software. These can include productivity integrations with Microsoft 365, integrations with secure document signing platforms, or even major collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack.
  • Price: While prices are always a concern, organizations with massive transfers or data-driven logistics should see secure file transfers as an investment rather than a budget issue.

Get MFT Governance, Compliance, and Security With Kiteworks

Most secure file transfer providers excel in only a few areas like security, compliance, business technologies, and usability. Kiteworks offers a complete platform across all of these areas.

Some of the major features in the Kiteworks platform include:

  • Security and Compliance: Systems utilize AES-256 encryption for data at rest and TLS 1.2+ for data in transit. Its hardened virtual appliance, granular controls, authentication, comprehensive logging and audit, and other security stack integrations enable you to achieve compliance efficiently.
  • Audit Logging: Kiteworks includes immutable audit logs, enabling organizations to detect attacks sooner and to maintain the correct chain of evidence to perform forensics. Since the system merges and standardizes entries from all the components, its unified Syslog and alerts help SOC teams save crucial time and compliance teams prepare for audits.
  • Consent Documentation: With many frameworks like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) calling for documented consent for data collection and any data subject access request, organizations require a platform to automate that process. The Kiteworks platform provides extensive reporting and logging of all consent forms and data requests so organizations can consistently demonstrate compliance.
  • Single-tenant Cloud Environment: File transfers, file storage, and access occur on a dedicated Kiteworks instance, deployed on-premises, on Logging-as-a-Service resources, or hosted as a private single-tenant instance. That means no shared runtime, shared databases or repositories, shared resources, or potential for cross-cloud breaches or attacks.
  • Seamless Automation and MFT: The Kiteworks platform supports secure managed file transfer automation to facilitate streamlined file management, batch transfer operations, and conditional operations triggered by user and system events.
  • Visibility and Management: Kiteworks’ CISO Dashboard gives organizations an overview of sensitive content: where it is, who is accessing it, how it is being used, and if it complies. Business leaders can make informed decisions while compliance leadership can maintain regulatory requirements.

Learn more about how Kiteworks provides secure file transfer by scheduling a custom demo.


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