How to Choose the Right FTP Host
Choosing the right FTP host is a tall task for any business. When you started the search process, you probably realized how many options there were to choose from.
Making this important decision today has an impact on the future of you business. You want to be sure you’re not only selecting a provider that gives you everything you need in your current business state, but can also grow with you, so you don’t need to change providers later down the road.
Explore this article where we will walk you through steps to take when choosing an FTP host to ensure you pick the best one for your business.
Know Your File Sharing Needs
In your search for the right FTP host, you might be surprised that the first place to start is with yourself! You need to take a hard look at your own file sharing needs before diving into a partnership. Do you just need an FTP solution to share files? Do you need collaboration capabilities? What are your security concerns? As you ask yourself these questions, be sure to take note of your needs. This will help you narrow down your options as you search for the right partner.
Select the Best Server Type for Your Business
Next, once you’ve outlined your specific needs, you should narrow your focus to the type of server you need. If you need a professional-grade FTP server, using public cloud options like Dropbox or Google Drive probably won’t meet your needs. While these cloud server are known for their usability and affordable price points, they generally fall short when it comes to security, compliance, and access controls.
Top FTP hosts, like FTP Today in contrast, offer users a private cloud solution that is accessible via a web browser, but has the heightened security and privacy associated with dedicated servers. These dedicated servers are maintained by the FTP host and offer users dedicated CPU, memory, and bandwidth. Unlike public cloud solutions, you don’t share system resources with any other companies.
The Essential Features Checklist
While you may have a long list of features you want to find in an FTP host, it’s crucial that you pay attention to the specific features you need in an FTP host. As you consider different FTP hosts, keep these essential features in mind.
When it comes to finding the right FTP host for your business, security should be a top consideration. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that you address vulnerabilities in data security. Hackers’ methods advance every day, meaning you need an FTP host that’s up to the job. As you evaluate the security measures that different FTP hosts offer, look for these specific security features:
- Encryption – When data is transferred to another user or a third party, you don’t want to worry about files being compromised. This is why you need an FTP host that provides an SFTP solution. Encryption scrambles the data, making it decipherable only by the intended recipient. So, even if your data is exposed to the open web, you don’t have to worry about hackers taking advantage of it.
- Compliance – If your business is subject to compliance regulations like HIPAA, ITAR, PCI-DSS, GLBA, and more, you know how vital it is that you align with these standards. Fortunately, the right FTP host can make alignment easy. Look for an FTP solution that has built-in features like firewalls, encryptions, server location transparency, and more, that ensure you align with relevant compliance regulations.
- Multi-Factor Authentication – A stolen device or compromised passwords could do irreparable harm to your business both from a financial and a reputation standpoint. Multi-factor authentication solves this problem. This is the process of using two methods of verifying a user's identity. So, a user would enter their password, and then a one-time code would be sent to their email or mobile device via a push notification. This ensures every user who tries to log into your FTP solution is actually who they claim to be.
Businesses are constantly changing and evolving, so what’s right for your business today might not meet your needs in the future. So, you need an FTP host offering a solution that’s flexible enough to meet your developing needs. Look for a solution that can scale to reflect growth and provide storage space to keep up with data demands.
While you may have ten employees today who need access to your FTP solution, you might have 20 employees next year. When you choose a cloud-based solution supported by a top FTP host, they can easily add to or subtract from the number of user accounts you have. Because the solutions come with monthly subscription fees, you can simply change plans to reflect the needed number of users. This saves money, as well. If you were to decrease the size of your business, selling a division to another company for example, you can change your plan so that you’re only paying for the number of user accounts you actually use.
Look for flexibility when it comes to data storage space, as well. Unlimited storage is key for companies that deal in massive amounts of data. So, if that’s your company, make sure the FTP host you choose for your business offers truly unlimited storage. Some hosts will allocate more storage as needed, which means you will still eventually hit a storage ceiling at some point, and you don’t want to be in the middle of an important data upload when that happens. Talk to the FTP hosts you’re considering about what unlimited storage means with their solution.
Automation is an FTP solution feature that can take productivity in your company to a new level. For example, if your company transfers sales and order data from the retailer to the warehouse to the accounting department, an FTP host that can automate this function, saving your business time and money. You can also automate file organization, uploads, downloads, and numerous other unattended file transfers.
With a top FTP host like FTP Today, you have a few price points to choose from. Unlike building and maintaining your own file sharing solution, a hosted FTP requires no upfront cost and you only pay an affordable monthly fee. Plus, with this pricing structure, you only pay for what you need, meaning you can choose plans based on your business` today, with the option to upgrade or downgrade your plan to reflect changes in the future.
When the power goes out, what happens to your data? Disaster recovery plays a huge role in preserving your essential files and maintaining productivity even in the face of a flood, fire, power outage, or other disaster. Talk to the FTP hosts you’re evaluating about whether or not they offer disaster recovery and how frequently they backup data. It’s also wise to choose a new FTP host that houses backup data on a server at a different location, so no two servers are down at the same time.
Sign Up for a Demo or Free Trial
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of FTP hosts to your top options, you’re ready to start trying these contenders out. Sign up for free trials or demos with a handful of FTP hosts. These free demos give you the opportunity to see features and test usability firsthand. And, you can ask as many questions during the process as needed.
After you’ve tried out the different solutions and engaged with the FTP hosts, you’ll have a much better idea about which solution is best for you. Be sure to evaluate each FTP host based on your organization’s specific needs, and look for one that meets the crucial criteria for secure file sharing at a reasonable price.
Are you ready to choose the best FTP host for your business? Download this free guide on the five essentials for choosing the best FTP hosting service.
About Martin Horan
Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.