What is SFTP and How SFTP Works – Secure File Transfer Protocol

What is SFTP and How SFTP Works – Secure File Transfer Protocol. With the advancement in technology and businesses moving to digital platforms, the data transfer process has gained a lot of popularity. The day to day creation and movement of information are essential to deliver better results and gain insights from customers.

However, in some cases, file transfer is considered not a secure and safe method. To address this problem, various file transfer protocols were introduced that help securely transfer data over the web.

Today, transferring files with enabled security features is a must as there are many cyber criminals over the web looking for opportunities to hack and crack your data which lead to multiple consequences.

However, to secure data/files, many methods and techniques are adapted. In this article about what is SFTP and how SFTP Works we will discuss Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP server) that offers secure data transfers.

Follow this post what is SFTP and How SFTP Works to also discuss its advantages, how SFTP work and use cases.

What is SFTP?

SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol, an easy way to transfer files and data across the web securely. It is a secure file transfer protocol that helps transfer data over a Secure Shell (SSH) data stream. Some people also call it SSH File Transfer Protocol.

For local or remote systems file transfer protocol uses SSH to encrypt all data/files and helps transfer large files over the web. Build on FTP server, the leading protocol comprises Secure Shell (SSH) security components that are cryptographically designed for greater security of your crucial data. The Secure File Transfer Protocol protects your sensitive information from attacks by using these SSH security components and encrypted FTP commands. They further help in avoiding password sniffing.

It also supports file access and file management over different data streams. SFTP is one of the most commonly used protocols as it is trustworthy and comprises secure file transfer capabilities. It can be easily used in applications, including VPN applications for file management transfers and secure transfers over Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Further, SFTP supports directory listings, removal of remote files, and allows resuming interrupted transfers. It runs over a secure channel, such as SSH, where the client has authority, has been identified and is available to the protocol.

If you are looking forward to transmitting files containing trade secrets or sensitive information, we recommend the Secure File Transfer Protocol.

Features of SFTP

  • IPV6 HTTP protocol support.
  • SSH3 protocol implementation.
  • Offers Secure Transmission.
  • No additional data connection or hardware is required.
  • Stores files in a single location.
  • Continuous monitoring and security.
  • Off site disaster recovery.
  • Secure Backups.
  • Supports Screen sessions.
  • Flexibility and Control over files.
  • Command execution over SSH channel.
  • Supports Password and public key authentication.

SFTP Advantages

Here are a few reasons why most businesses are switching to SFTP and implementing it to get better results.

Fast Speed

Secure File Transfer Protocol support large file transfers without affecting the speed. You can also transfer multiple files simultaneously with the help of the Secure File Transfer Protocol. Thus, it helps save time while moving data from one source to the other.

Enhanced Security

SFTP can protect your data and preserve confidentiality with its advanced features, like public key authentication, encryption, and data security options. SFTP is one of the secure file transfer protocols that encrypts all your data when transmitting from one server to the other.

Easy to Manage

Another advantage of using Secure File Transfer Protocol is it can easily manage the server using its web interface or SFTP client.

Supports Integration

All the data, commands, and business files are sent over a single connection to Port 22 (enabled with firewalls). SFTP and firewalls are closely connected or related to one another.

How Does SFTP Work

SFTP protocol uses a secure shell data stream to transfer files to other servers. The file protocol establishes a secure connection by encrypting all data and making it difficult for attackers to read. Further, it allows the creation of SSH keys in advance. Thus, stopping all fraud connectors to link with the servers.

Secure File Transfer Protocol works in a client server architecture, i.e., no matter where the server is located, the client can easily access the data by sending requests. As the client clicks on a file, the request to transfer the file is traversed through the network and reaches the server instantly.

Later, the receiver can download the file and modify it as per his need. SFTP also ensures that all the transferred data is properly encrypted.

The protocol can be set up as a command line or via GUI. It uses SSH port 22 to transfer data and supports various concurrent operations.

To use the SFTP protocol, you must have an SFTP client (software that helps connect to the server) and server. SFTP client also makes it easier for users to upload data to the server for storing and supports download features.

An SFTP server uses SSH files and demands both sender and receiver to authenticate by providing a username and password or validating SSH keys.

Half SSH Key is stored on the sender and receiver’s systems (private key), and the other half is available on the server associated with their respective accounts (public key). Thus, SFTP will initiate only when the client logs into the SSH server and the key pair match.

SFTP use cases

SFTP is an advanced version of file transfer protocol used by businesses where file security is the utmost priority. Also, SFTP can be used in various remote working scenarios.

When hospitals, health care centers, doctors and other workers must keep the electronic PHI (ePHI) confidential even during transition. SFTP acts as a shield to your data and protects data from cybercriminals who try to compromise your data integrity and confidentiality. It is also used for VPN transmissions.

Using SFTP is great for your business as it also covers other operations. Users can easily transfer large files without getting uninterrupted and at a good speed. You can also remove files remotely with the help of Secure File Transfer Protocols.

Compared to other protocols, the Secure File Transfer Protocol is more independent and available for all platforms. All you require is to share your public SSH key for easy uploading/downloading of data to/from the server. As the connection with the server is established, the client sends the public key to the server for verification. Once the key pairs match, the user is requested to fill in the password, and the authentication process completes.

Great job! You have learned a great deal about what is SFTP and How SFTP Works – Secure File Transfer Protocol.

What is SFTP and How SFTP Works – Secure File Transfer Protocol Conclusion

The Internet offers various options that can be highly advantageous for your business but it also has cybercriminals over the network that can hack and steal your confidential information. With more and more businesses moving to digital platforms and exchanging data over the web or network, chances of data breach and hacking are high.

Thus, to secure your data during transmissions it is best to have a Secure File Transfer Protocol. SFTP offers a secure mode to transfer files by encrypting all data and making it difficult for attackers to read.

If you want to maintain a high level of security for your data, we recommend the Secure File Transfer Protocol. It encrypts both commands by implementing the Triple DES algorithm, AES algorithm and other algorithms.

It also supports other features, such as attribute manipulation, command execution, file locking, etc. SFTP generally involves the use of a user ID and password or a pair of SSH keys to initiate the process. Also, it is firewall friendly and runs over a single port number 22.

Unlike other protocols like FTPS, it does not support certificates and uses SSH keys to authenticate connections. With SFTP, it does not matter where your server is located, the client can make request and easily access the data at any time. It works in a client server architecture and can transfer multiple files simultaneously.

Remember, you must have an SFTP client and server to use the SFTP protocol and create a secure connection. It can be used in various remote working scenarios, VPN transmissions and by businesses where file security is the utmost priority. Create a secure connection between hosts, servers, or systems with the help of Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and its excellent features.

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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