SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is an extension to Secure Shell protocol, version 2.0. Working on top of the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol, SFTP provides secure file transfers. SFTP offers several benefits in comparison to a non-secure FTP. For example, SFTP encrypts not only the transferred data but also the user credentials. Additionally, it does not require a separate port on the router or firewall because it is layered on SSH server and uses the same port. Unlike non-secure FTP, SFTP also avoids issues related to NAT (Network Address Translation). SFTP is used to enhance data security when remote users, such as partners or customers, need to access a server located outside of the firewall, sometimes also known as DMZ or Secure Extranet.
SFTP creates an extranet so that the clients or partners outside the firewall can receive files without compromising the company’s security. A secure extranet or DMZ allows for secure file uploads, archiving of downloadable files and secure remote task performance on these files. As compared to communication through phone or fax, extranets offer much more value to business partners by automating several transactions.
Through a secure extranet or DMZ, specific files become accessible to remote users without compromising the security of critical files or data present in the private network. SFTP limits data access to authorized users only and additionally, encrypts the data and user credentials to provide secure data transfer between remote partners, clients or employees.