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What to Look for in FTP Hosting: 10 Essential Features & Benefits for 2022
Brendon Ainsworth

By: Brendon Ainsworth on November 4th, 2021

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What to Look for in FTP Hosting: 10 Essential Features & Benefits for 2022

Cyber and Data Security FTP Cloud FTP Solutions File Sharing Best Practices GOVFTP Cloud Secure File Sharing The Cloud

FTP servers empower users to download and upload needed files and information securely. Because the use of FTP servers is the best way to share sensitive information, many organizations are seeking out FTP hosting solutions.

But the FTP hosting landscape is full of different providers that offer a range of features and benefits. How can you know exactly what your organization needs? See below for 10 FTP hosting features and benefits that are absolutely essential for secure FTP hosting in 2022 and beyond.

1. Security

Security is the primary reason why organizations look for FTP hosting. Many organizations are sharing personal data that needs protecting. Many are sharing proprietary information that needs to remain secure. Others are sharing sensitive information that could expose them to liability if not fully protected.

Because security is so important in these use cases, look for high speed FTP hosting that also provides the highest levels of security. Specifically, look for an FTP service that offers:

  • At-rest encryption
  • In-transit encryption
  • Password enforcement

We live in a world where cybercrime is prevalent, including the use of ransomware to hold organizations hostage. By choosing a fully secure FTP server hosting provider, you can share sensitive, personal or proprietary information without fear of exposure or liability.

2. Compliance

The protection of some types of information is required by regulations like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ITAR and others. If your organization is sharing information that would fall under these regulations, or if you’re working with a government agency or organization that requires one or more of these regulations to be followed, compliance is absolutely necessary.

Thankfully, some FTP hosting solutions are designed for compliance with PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ITAR and similar standards. If you need to share sensitive data in a compliant manner, make sure your secure FTP hosting service offers the following:

  • Enforcement of user-level IP address and protocol restrictions.
  • The ability to restrict access on a country-by-country basis.
  • At-rest and in-transit encryption.
  • Controls to enable or disable each protocol.

If you regularly share and transmit information that falls under the previously mentioned regulations, your organization simply can’t afford to fall out of compliance. Without compliance, you leave your organization open to violation-related consequences (like fines) and data breaches that could pose a threat to your organization’s continued existence. When you choose a secure FTP server hosting solution, you insulate your organization from liability.

3. User Access Control

Not everyone in your organization needs access to sensitive data. Not everyone in organizations with which you share sensitive data needs access. For that reason, seek out an FTP web host that allows for granular user access control.

Granular user access control means that you can provide access on a person-by-person basis, that you can track who has made changes to any given file and at what time, plus who has accessed documents and files and the location from which they have accessed those documents and files. Look for these 2 general security measures before choosing cloud FTP hosting:

  1. The ability to configure multiple site administrators, sub-site administrators for team management, plus standard users.
  2. Enforcement of upload/download permissions, delete permissions and list directory permissions on a per-folder and per-user basis.

When you’re looking to buy FTP hosting, Remember that many solutions on the market do not offer the same granular user access controls. If and when you come across one of these FTP hosting solutions, know that they cannot provide the data privacy and security that your organization requires. There's simply too much risk.

4. Multiple access Methods

FTP hosting providers should also offer multiple access methods. When you choose a highly secure FTP solution that also offers multiple access methods, users will be able to access needed information, data, files and documents from anywhere in the world. This allows them to work productively and efficiently.

In many cases, multiple access methods allow users to access needed files without installing FTP client software. As an added benefit, multiple access methods give you the ability to select from among different standard TCP/IP protocols, which actually gives you more control over who connects to your site, how they connect, and where they connect from.

If you’re looking for a checklist, make sure your FTP server solution allows for these protocols: web browser (HTTPS), share links, FTP, FTPeS, FTPS, SFTP, SFTP with authentication key.

Compare Top Secure File Sharing Solutions

FTP Today has put together an in-depth comparison of top SFTP solution providers to give you a better idea of what solution is the right fit for your business. Check out our comprehensive comparison guide today!

Get My Guide

5. Branding Options

The best FTP hosting solutions allow you to create an FTP site that looks and feels like it belongs to your business. Look for FTP web hosting providers that allow you to add your own color scheme, your logo, your SSL certificates, and your domain name.

An FTP site is an extension of the brand experience you create for customers, partners, colleagues and others. Make sure you create a compelling branded experience by choosing an FTP solution that offers a customizable web user-interface, a dedicated IP address, a custom DNS hostname, a custom SSL certification for your domain, as well as branded email notifications.

6. Scalability

The best hosted FTP solutions scale along with your business. The last thing you want to do is implement an FTP solution … only to discover that you need to change solutions as you grow. Scalability is key.

Choose a truly unlimited FTP server, one that allows for unlimited bandwidth, unlimited users, unlimited simultaneous connections, and unlimited file sizes. You also want to purchase FTP server space that comes with real-time updates and upgrades that implement with zero downtime. If you don’t find an FTP provider that delivers these things now, you’ll find that you need to switch providers as you grow.

7. Flexibility

You never know what the future holds for your business. Will you experience rapid growth? Or will your business be affected by an unforeseen circumstance that changes your FTP needs? Those questions are unanswerable at this moment, which is why you should choose an FTP web host that delivers flexibility.

Look for fast FTP hosting that also allows you to quickly add and subtract users as needed. Pick an FTP solution that allows you to change plans as needed. And choose an FTP service that allows you to raise or lower your storage based on demand. Or, better yet, choose an FTP service that offers unlimited storage.

In short, an FTP service should be a key engine for your business, one that helps your business accelerate and decelerate as needed. If you’re contractually stuck with a certain number of users or a certain amount of storage, you don’t have the flexibility that your organization needs.

8. Automation

You should rarely have to think about your FTP solution. For example, upgrades and updates should take place in real-time and without your involvement. The full experience on your end should feel customized and automated.

Automation is the key to your company’s productivity, growth and future success. Think about the most common workflows within your organization that include the transfer of sensitive data. You can fully automate those workflows so that your team members can focus on other high-value tasks. Choose an FTP solution that allows for automation, and watch your business grow.

9. Disaster Recovery

All FTP providers should frequently backup their data and have in place plans for recovery after a disaster. Make sure to ask about this while you evaluate your FTP options and before you make a buying decision.

Strong winds, fierce winter storms and even hot summer days can lead to power outages and blackouts. Floods, fires and other disasters also pose a threat to your data. Choose cloud FTP hosting that regularly backs up its data and that runs servers with battery backups to keep things live during power outages. Also, look for cloud FTP hosting that places its backup data on a server in a different location. That way, at least one of the two servers will always be up and running at any given time.

10. Price

We’ve written previously about how cloud FTP hosting saves significant money when compared to on-premise solutions. Take the savings by choosing a cloud service, but then make sure you’re paying the right price for your FTP services.

At FTP Today, we provide multiple price points so that there’s an ideal solution for any organization. There’s no upfront cost — only the affordable monthly fee. And you have the flexibility to upgrade or downgrade your plan as needed.

When you’re ready for the perfect FTP solution, we’re here to help. Schedule a demo to learn more about what FTP Today can do for your business.

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About Brendon Ainsworth

Learner, Researcher, Customer-focused, and the Director of Sales for FTP Today. Brendon has successfully navigated multiple industries and has infrastructure certifications in GCP and AWS. He started his career in Oil & Gas business development and successfully transitioned to Rackspace as a Mid to Large enterprise technology consultant and then as a leader.

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