What the FTP?

FTP on a grace stone with cobwebs on it

There aren’t many other 50-year-old media production software still in use today. Even though FTP found a natural home in the early infrastructure of the information superhighway, file transfer technology has more than moved on. Amazingly, there are almost 13 million FTP sites still active in 2021, and many in the media and entertainment industry. With slow speeds, shaky security, and lack of basic visibility and control functionality, it’s time to retire that old technology for good. 

So What’s the Problem with FTP?

Lack of Speed and Reliability

The first problem is that it is too slow for the modern media content exchange. FTP doesn’t have the built-in acceleration needed to move large files through congested networks and inconsistent connections. But even aside from speed, who among us hasn’t had the annoying experience of a file delivery reaching 98% and then failing? In today’s time-sensitive media environment, checkpoint restart is crucial — it’s the bare minimum needed to eliminate delays caused by interrupted transfers. File transfer needs to be a set it and forget it task to free up staff, bandwidth and processing resources.


Increasingly, rogue actors target FTP because of its unsecured entry points, putting businesses at risk. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Motion Picture Association, and the Trusted Partner Network (TPN) have standards, guidelines, and best practices to manage cybersecurity-related risk. FTP and related technologies like SFTP/FTPS meet none of them.

And if industry associations don’t have you convinced, maybe one of the most successful media companies on Earth will. Netflix’s content security best practices identify encryption, both in transit and at rest, for all file-based, database, and disk-based data as a minimum standard for doing business with the company.

FTP has none of the above standards.

Control & Visibility

Most FTP software is as transparent as a brick wall with no intuitive visibility. You need to know when your files arrive at their destination, and the recipient needs to know that you’ve sent them. FTP, on its own, does not afford this visibility without significant IT involvement. Often, IT resources are left to parse through log files or utilize additional third-party software to verify transfers or debug problems — so much for “free” technology.

Move Into the Present, Be Ready for the Future

The fact is FTP not only doesn’t work well, but it also impedes new business and creative opportunities. It might be good enough on the surface, but it can’t stand up to challenges of the present, let alone those of the future.

Research giant Gartner agrees. Its 2021 IT Leadership Vision report says that the gradual realization that old technologies don’t apply to new paradigms in cloud, digital and radical outsourcing will cause “dramatic change.” Signiant has seen the consequences of companies being resistant to change; more than one company has stuck with their way of doing it and come back to Signiant when their choices were too hard, too costly, or they just couldn’t get it to work.

FTP simply can’t keep up with the modern global media supply chain. Signiant has witnessed a wave of companies looking for secure FTP alternatives, particularly when the pandemic started, which caused a surge in data, file sizes, and remote users. Whether you are a global enterprise-grade company or a small startup, being in the media business today requires next-generation file acceleration software.

Signiant is Fit-To-Purpose

Nobody should sacrifice speed, security, reliability, or simplicity. Signiant offers software that serves as an FTP replacement no matter the size or needs of your business. Media Shuttle is a modern FTP replacement when you need the easiest and most secure way to send any file anywhere. Signiant Jet offers simple and easy automated point-to-point file delivery between companies for more complex, multi-partner media supply chains.

If you are looking for an FTP alternative, particularly for secure, fast and reliable large file transfers between people, systems, or to and from the cloud, take a look at Signiant. Signiant connects more than 50,000 media companies worldwide and moves petabytes of high-value content every day, and offers the best FTP alternative for the media and entertainment industry, no matter the size or needs of your business.

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