SFTP vs MFT – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

SFTP vs MFT – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). This blog will help you decide between an easy to use solution like FTP and a more sophisticated file transfer such as MFT. Let’s get started.

Data transfer including sensitive data is a part of day to day business. It’s best to select a solution that can protect your files when moving sensitive data from one point to another in your organization.

Shall we start with SFTP vs MFT – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons).

What is SFTP?

The SFTP protocol (also known as FTP over SSH) transmits files securely over SSH (Secure Shell). SFTP’s secure features are attributable to SSH, which offers high levels of security for file transfers. Additionally, SFTP uses Triple DES, AES, and similar algorithms to protect files during transmission.

There are several authentication options available to SFTP users. Users can test connections using an SSH key, user ID, and password, or using a password and SSH key together. This is beneficial for organizations that require a more secure environment around user access and file transfer processes.

The SFTP file transfer protocol is available to organizations for an affordable cost, but it lacks features such as automation, monitoring, and auditing that make file transfers safer, simpler and more affordable.

Features of SFTP

  • Free and open source software.
  • Supports encryption and public key authentication.
  • Compress the data and transmit them over secure channel.
  • Enhanced functionality for uploading and downloading files.
  • IPv4 and IPv6 support.
  • Interactive keyboard authentication.

Pros of SFTP

  • It only uses one connection.
  • Provides a detailed background of requirements that specifies most aspects of operations.
  • Through firewalls, it is easier to port.
  • Site Listings in directories are machine readable and consistent.
  • It includes operations for manipulating permissions and attributes, locking files, and more.

Cons of SFTP

  • A binary communication, not a human readable communication
  • Compatibility issues.
  • Harder to validate and manage SSH keys.

What is MFT?

MFT (Managed File Transfer) is a comprehensive solution for handling all aspects of file transfers. It provides a centralized solution for managing security, workflows, auditing, and administration. Other than transferring files securely, MFT solutions also offer several security features. Protects data at rest, automate and schedule batch transfers, and provide file encryption like AES and Open PGP. Also, it helps to securely collaborate on premises or in the cloud and track file transfer activity for reporting, compliance, etc.

In addition to performing all that SFTP tools can do, MFT file transfer solutions do a whole lot more. If you are looking to simplify your file transfer process, MFT is a good choice. Using MFT, organizations can eliminate multiple tools and legacy scripts and integrate easily with Dropbox, SharePoint, and JIRA.

Features of MFT

  • Role based access control.
  • File level encryption with Pretty Good Privacy
  • Encrypt internal and external transfers.
  • Support for multiple file types, including multimedia, PDFs, email, XML, EDI and more.
  • Secure file transfers with advanced capabilities like session breaks and protocol inspection.

Pros of MFT

  • Auditability and visibility across the globe.
  • A complete end to end file transfer report.
  • Community based support and development.
  • Customize the solution to fit your needs.

Cons of MFT

  • A free (or effective) support service isn’t guaranteed.
  • Setup and maintenance are time consuming.

When to Choose SFTP vs MFT

SFTP is the right solution if want a free or cheap option for sending and receiving secure files to a few trading partners. It allows you to authenticate your users, transfer unlimited files over the server connection, and control your port usage.

But MFT solution is a better choice if you need a system that streamlines your file transfers.

There are a number of secure FTP protocols you can use with MFT, including HTTPS, FTPS, SFTP, and AS2. You will receive text, email, or system message alerts when a file transfer fails, auto resume and connection retry are available. All SFTP transfers are audited and tracked to make sure you meet the compliance and in house requirements.

Additionally, MFT solutions also assist with initiatives such as user to user file sharing, automation, cloud and web integration of popular applications, data clustering for maximum system availability, and generating PDF reports.

Which is the better option?

Even though MFT offers the best of both worlds, the right choice depends completely on your present business needs. You might just need an SFTP server if you are on a budget or don’t do file transfers very often. Your security needs might be met with SFTP if you don’t work with sensitive files often.

In contrast, managed file transfer solutions offer an enormous amount of value to organizations of all sizes. Whether you are concerned about compliance, automation, auditing, or transferring a large volume of files per day, MFT can help. MFT solutions simplify your processes, free up valuable resources, and result in positive returns on investment (ROI).

SFTP vs MFT - Key Differences

Here is a detailed comparison of SFTP and MFT to help you understand how they differ.

1. Cybersecurity


Every organization needs to protect its data. Unfortunately, SFTP solutions do not meet the cybersecurity needs of modern businesses. When it comes to sending or retrieving data via SFTP, there is no good authentication. The credential information of the users is sent as plain text. Since the files you send via SFTP are not encrypted, so anyone with access to the files can read them.


MFT solutions provides better security by ensuring secure file transfer both inside and outside an organization. It also provides greater control over user access. Due to its extensive security features and controls enterprises can define password policies and manage user authentication. It provides access and identity management capabilities with AD, LDAP, and other tools.

2. Encryption


Well here SFTP lacks encryption of the tunnels created for sending and retrieving files. Anyone who watches a network would be able to view all files. They can see the sensitive and non sensitive data exchanged in the cloud between your company and its trading partners. Hackers aren’t the only ones who do this. It’s also possible that employees, vendors, and others can see what you send.


It is vital to protect an organization’s data and ensure its integrity. To eliminate the possibility of unauthorized access or data breaches, MFT uses advanced encryption techniques like AES and Open PGP.

3. File Transfers


Basic features are lacking in SFTP. For example, you would need to add a second solution if you wanted to automate file transfers with FTP. But that is not recommended even for new tech. It is likely that your organization will quickly outgrow FTP, as there are no new FTP security features updated/added. For example, to use cloud or cloud computing platforms like AWS or Azure, you have two choices. One, you would either have to use an alternative to SFTP or be prepared to take a lot of risks.


With MFT, you don’t have to worry about desktop applications, custom scripts or failed transfers. It features an easy to use interface for creating, testing, and automating file transfers. Additionally, it helps you keep track of who is viewing, editing, and sending files through your system.

Organizations can easily receive failed file transfer notifications and also perform auto retries when necessary. This saves you valuable time troubleshooting. If you automate recurring tasks, you can improve your reliability by using retry features. This will also limit how much sensitive data must be handled by any user.

4. Time, Money, and Valuable Resources


It can be time consuming to use SFTP. Employees have to spend a considerable amount of time developing, maintaining, and troubleshooting scripts. Especially when the employee is unavailable or pressed for time, this can be a problem.

Also, it is important to keep in mind the monetary losses and reputational damage. Because the free file transfer software can save you money upfront but data breaches will cost a lot more later.


With MFT solutions, you can cut costs in many different ways because they are automated. Taking care of tedious file transfers and scheduling them with ease is possible with MFT. It helps organizations improve process efficiency and increase employee productivity while taking care of high volume transfers in a timely manner. It is also possible to smooth out troubleshooting so that it no longer burdens a single employee.

5. Compliance Requirements


Keeping it simple SFTP is not capable of keeping your organization stays compliant with important regulations and requirements. This is because it lacks encryption, cybersecurity, auditing capabilities, and many other compliance requirements.


The ability for organizations to encrypt file transfers is crucial to comply with current and evolving privacy laws. MFT complies with regulations specific to the industry, such as HIPAA, and ensures sensitive and high risk information is kept confidential.

Besides encryption, MFT also enables organizations to monitor, track, and audit information. Using MFT makes it easy to retrieve reports about all file service activities and relevant processes.

Thank you for reading SFTP vs MFT – What’s the Difference ?

SFTP vs MFT - What's the Difference ? Conclusion

In this guide, we have introduce each software with their advantages, disadvantages and a brief comparision. Hope the above comparison with pros, cons, and key differences will help you choose the best one for your organization. No matter which one you choose, make sure it meets the needs of your organization.

Why don’t you take a look at more SFTP content here.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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