What the FTP Are You Thinking?

5 reasons why M&E professionals should seek relief from File Transfer Pain

Born in 1971, FTP is older than email, older than both Microsoft and Apple, and older than many of the people that are still using it. At its inception, it was a modern marvel — an open protocol to move files between any network-connected computers. One could even argue that it was the very beginning of remote collaboration. But that was then, this is now. If you’re still moving files around with this fossil — you’re living on borrowed time.

To be blunt: FTP is a liability to M&E businesses where smart, modern tools are expected by your teams and your clients. Here are 5 reasons to share with your company why you should ditch FTP for good, ASAP:

1. FTP is Slooooooow

FTP takes the slow lane when it comes to file transfer: it has no acceleration technology built in with no mitigation of latency or packet loss, which results in slow file transfers. That means moving a 30-50GB or larger file can take a very long time, especially over long distances. With workflows globally distributed now more than ever and file sizes growing, you need to optimize how you transport your files. When moving media files over long distances or congested networks without acceleration technology, throughput can be dramatically lower than bandwidth.

2. FTP is Unreliable

Most FTP solutions do not have built-in checkpoint restart, or the ability to continue data transfer from the point of failure if the transmission is interrupted. This means starting over from the beginning. With large files and a lack of acceleration, network interruptions can be immensely costly.

3. Security is Not Standard

Secure file transfer is not standard with FTP. While it’s possible to complete a file transfer securely with FTP, it requires customization or specialized security software, which also means ongoing maintenance and resources.

The severity of the risk is extreme and growing: a new ransomware attack happened every 11 seconds in 2021, costing businesses billions of dollars globally along with weeks of downtime as they performed damage control. To put the losses in perspective for a single company, the 2020 SolarWinds hack, regarded as one of the worst cybersecurity breaches ever, cost the company $18 million in the first three months of 2021 alone. Hackers exploiting FTP weaknesses have been at the root of many recent security breaches, which is why many of the world’s top media companies no longer allow FTP in their supply chains.

4. FTP Keeps You in the Dark

FTP, on its own, 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 does not afford this visibility without significant IT involvement. Often, IT resources are left to parse through log files to monitor transfer activity or purchase legacy software which often won’t be much help either. You would be left at the mercy of your IT department for basic visibility to know if your transfer was successful or if there was an issue, often far too late.

5. FTP is Not Free and Not Easy

While FTP is an open protocol, it is a drain on resources. It is also noncompliant with security best practices. The cost of (trying) to fix all the problems with FTP, FTPS, and SFTP manifests in inefficient workflows, bad use of IT talent, and lost business opportunities. It costs money to monitor, administer and support FTP and time is money so the costs of delays add up quickly.

Delays and failed transfers lead to potentially devastating consequences — missed deadlines and loss of client trust. And FTP is a roadblock for doing business with professional media organizations that have security compliance mandates.

Bonus Reason — FTP Isn’t a Great Brand Experience

Those five reasons didn’t convince you? Alright, here’s one more. FTP tarnishes your brand without you even realizing it. Your file transfer service is a client-facing representation of your brand. Done well, it provides a functional, seamless, branded concierge touchpoint. Done poorly, it sucks any excitement or joy your clients feel about your brand right out of the room.

FTP comes across as archaic and intimidating. So the question is, do you want to present your brand to a new client using technology that predates email?

FTP Replacement Checklist:

Future-Proof Your Business (and Reputation)

In the most basic terms, an FTP replacement should have easy-to-use web interfaces, making it easy to transfer any size files anywhere in the world with speed, reliability, and security. But that’s not all you should be looking for when evaluating a replacement. Below is a checklist to help identify the best file transfer solutions for your media business.

  • Built-in Acceleration: Transfer files quickly and reliably regardless of distance or how many network hops are needed, eliminating latency and packet loss and taking advantage of all available bandwidth.
  • Checkpoint Restart: Automatically restart interrupted transfers from the point of failure; no more starting from the beginning.
  • Security First: Secure data and information as it is transmitted with end-to-end encryption and standards-based technology like Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • Control & Visibility: Define who has access to your assets internally and externally and easily view transfer activity, alerts, and more.
  • Storage Agnostic: Work with any kind of storage from one single solution, whether it’s traditional on-premises file storage, on-premises object storage, or public cloud object storage from AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.
  • Cloud-Native SaaS: Keep your operations running efficiently 24/7 thanks to a true cloud-native SaaS approach with support, uptime, and automatic updates.
  • Brandable User Experience: Make sure your brand is represented well through the tools you use with customers and partners. Tools that offer brandable portals help create a strong, lasting impression.

Move Into the Present, Be Ready for the Future

FTP simply can’t keep up with the modern global media supply chain. Whether you are a global enterprise or a small startup, or an individual contributor trying to be as productive as possible, being in the media business today requires next-generation file acceleration software. Signiant connects more than 50,000 media companies worldwide and moves petabytes of high-value content every day. Signiant products offer the best FTP alternative for the media and entertainment industry, no matter the size or needs of your business.

Signiant Media Shuttle is an enterprise-grade SaaS solution for person-initiated accelerated transfer of large files. Combining the simplicity of online file sharing with proprietary acceleration technology, security, and centralized control and visibility, Media Shuttle has become the de facto standard in the industry, now with more than one million global end users from more than 50,000 companies.

For companies that need routine, automated content flow between their locations, partners, and the cloud, Signiant Jet makes it easy to automate content exchange. Jet offers a unique mechanism to support inter-company transfers, whereby two companies that each have Jet can set up an exchange with a simple handshake in the cloud. The simplicity at the heart of these innovations is the perfect antidote for complicated supply chains, allowing companies around the world to confidently and securely move files wherever they need to go.

Contact us to learn more about replacing FTP with the Signiant Platform, the market leader in intelligent file transfer.

“It used to be like the wild west of file transfer, when every vendor had their own FTP-like service. Media Shuttle has become a centralized place that we trust and know is secure, fast and reliable, so we are continuing to invest in it.”

Jesse Korosi, Sim’s Director of Workflow Services

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