Does your business need a way to share files? Sure, every company does. The problem arises when you need to decide between a cloud tool or an FTP server hosted on your network for file sharing.

The cloud file sharing tool is often easier to use, but you can’t access it via an FTP client, you can’t always secure it, you’ll struggle to send massive files and you don’t always know who owns the data.

On the other hand, your FTP server usually requires a clunky FTP client, lacks device access, has weak reporting and it has limited access options.

That said, there is an answer — the cloud FTP server. With it, you can make this decision yesterday’s news. Keep reading to find out how the cloud FTP server delivers the best of both worlds with regard to cloud file sharing and FTP servers.

What is a Cloud FTP Server?

A cloud FTP server delivers the consumer-grade file sharing experience for non-IT employees while also providing enhanced FTP features and enterprise-grade compliance tools for IT users. The Cloud FTP server can be a physical device hosted behind your firewall, like SmartFile’s FileHub™, or a cloud service like SmartFile’s Business product.

Sending Files Through a Cloud FTP Server

With a cloud FTP server, you get many access options. Want to use an FTP client? Do it. Need some extra security? Force employees to use SFTP, FTPS or FTPES through those same clients.

Do employees complain about access or a difficult-to-use FTP client interface? Let them use a brandable HTTPS browser portal instead! They can use it on any device.

mapped drive for cloud ftp serverMaybe your employees want a more native experience? With a good cloud FTP server, you can access, share and manage files through your file explorer via mounted drives and even integrate it with Outlook’s email client. Now the user doesn’t have to stray too far to send a big file.

Need something custom? A quality cloud FTP server comes with strong API capabilities, making it easy to integrate with other applications, and if you go on-premises, with other hardware you already own or use.

Receiving Files Through a Cloud FTP Server

If you worry about your customer’s data (or your own), you need to focus on how you accept files and documents. Your cloud FTP server should let you receive any type of file with peace of mind. This includes CAD drawings, photoshop files, massive videos, medical images and more.

With a cloud FTP server, you can get files in many ways, including a form you can place on your own site. Remember, that experience should be branded as well, so your customers recognize you and know they’re in the right place.

For file sharing tools, receiving files from external users can be difficult, because often they need to set up their own account or have an account created for them. With SmartFile, your external users and clients can upload files safely, without the need to create a SmartFile account.

Granular User and File Permissions

access for cloud ftp serverA major issue for FTP servers is permissions. With SmartFile, we’ve got the most advanced and granular permissions in the industry. This feature is definitely enterprise-grade, but can be found on both our cloud and on-premises products.

In addition, AD/LDAP authentication is also available for those who require it for their cloud FTP server.

Accessing Files on the Go

responsive design for cloud ftp serverA cloud FTP server needs to do more than just send and receive files, and that’s why file sharing tools became popular. FTP tools were too difficult to use in this regard, and even traditional file servers struggle from a usability standpoint because they require VPN access. Accessing files on the go is an area where file sharing tools shine because they often have the fallback option of letting you use a browser.

With SmartFile, you can use any browser on any device, no installation or VPN required. Just visit your SmartFile site, enter your credentials and you have access! This makes accessing files easy, and your employees more productive.

No More Overwritten Files

With an FTP tool, another issue is accidental overwrites. Someone uploads a file with the same name and extension and POOF, your file is gone! A cloud FTP server should eliminate that problem with strong versioning control that empowers users and admins to restore the file if this happens.

File Activity Alerts & Reporting

reports for cloud ftp serverWe’ve all been startled to find out our most important file has been changed, moved or deleted. With activity logs and alerts, you can find out what happened to a file.

You can also receive activity alerts or reports directly to your inbox as well, even if you’re not a site admin. This is great for managers who need to keep an eye on a couple of files that are important to them.

Interactive Behavior Dashboards

smartstats for cloud ftp serverSmartFile on-premises customers can take advantage of SmartStats, which is SmartFile’s interactive analytics dashboard.

Want to find out all the logins that took place outside of your country? It’s just a few clicks away. Once you’re done, you can stick it on your dashboard to easily find in the future.

Any log activity can be turned into a graph for quick consumption and action. This makes looking at audit data a lot easier and more useful!

Safer & Faster On-Premises Deployments

Businesses that turn to cloud FTP servers can host it behind their firewall. Not only does this add the security of your network, it also makes access faster compared to other services that use Amazon S3 or another offsite tool to host their data. The data doesn’t have to travel as far because it’s on your infrastructure.

If you have multiple deployments, your remote office(s) may experience similar speeds to those cloud servers, but your HQ or wherever you choose to deploy your cloud FTP server will experience lightning fast speeds.

Less Downtime with HA and Failover

Another benefit SmartFile on-premises customers gain is the option for high availability or failover deployments. This ensures that your data is readily available in case of some kind of disaster.

With regards to high availability, the two cloud FTP servers run in active-active redundancy. Because both devices are working in coordination, the traffic and processing burden is lifted from a single device. This improves speed and effectiveness of the network, translating to minimal or no downtime.

For failover, SmartFile deploys geographically diverse servers that leverage an active-passive redundancy. When an anomaly is detected in the primary’s work pattern, workflow can be directed to the second device.

Regardless of your choices in this regard, you can make sure your files are always available for internal or external clients.

Better Overall Value

Many teams will turn to an FTP server on its own and then get cloud file sharing services. Or they’ll try to upgrade their FTP server on their own or force users to turn to tools they find too hard to use.

The bottom line is that a cloud FTP server is an all-in-one service that delivers the best total cost of ownership (TCO) because it consolidates file related services into one tool. Here are some of the ways it can help you save time and money:

  • Upgrades & Maintenance: Set it and forget it. We handle all of this for you.
  • Shadow IT Alternatives: Our UI is consumer-grade, ensuring your employees will love the experience.
  • Analytics and Reporting for Files: Built right into SmartFile, with more advanced features for on-prem clients.
  • Another FTP Server: SmartFile becomes your enhanced FTP server replacement.
  • File Server with Remote Access: SmartFile isn’t just for sharing files.
  • Corporate File Sharing Tools: SmartFile acts as your file sharing tool.
  • External Client Portal: SmartFile can receive files from clients.
  • File Server: SmartFile is even used as a file server for many businesses, no VPN required.

Overall, these are just some of the ways SmartFile can save you on services, hardware or time. Even enterprise customers won’t find a better value anywhere else.

No More Compromise, Go With a Cloud FTP Server

A cloud FTP server is the ultimate business solution for accessing, managing and sharing files. SmartFile’s cloud FTP server eliminates tons of headaches for your business and your employees. If you’re interested in learning more, use one of the buttons below!

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Related Topics & Tags: File Management File Sharing FTP

About Curtis Peterson

I'm the Digital Marketing Manager for SmartFile who loves content, email marketing and web analytics. As a child, I built awesome websites with animated starry night backgrounds and multi-colored font headers on AngelFire and GeoCities.

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