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How Does FTP Cloud Storage Work?
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on December 13th, 2017

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How Does FTP Cloud Storage Work?

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If you’re shopping for a file transfer solution, you’ve probably heard a lot about “FTP cloud storage.” Maybe you know a little bit about the cloud or a little bit about FTP, but you may not know exactly how these two concepts connect and work together.

It’s hard to really grasp the benefits of FTP cloud storage if you’re unsure how cloud file sharing and storage actually work. To get an understanding of FTP cloud storage, let’s examine three important questions:

  • What is the cloud?
  • What is FTP?
  • How does FTP cloud storage work?

When you know the answers to these questions, you’ll easily see that cloud FTP storage is the ideal solution for modern companies.

Learn More About FTP Cloud Storage

Download this free guide to gain even more insight into public and private cloud solutions.

Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud Guide

 

Understanding What “The Cloud” Really Is

You’ve probably noticed people throwing around the phrase “the cloud” for the past decade. And, though you might have a vague idea of what the cloud is, it can be hard to fully understand the benefits of using cloud-based solutions, unless you have a robust understanding of how the cloud works.

When you’re thinking of the cloud, think server virtualization. Virtualization software, or “hypervisors,” separate each physical machine (“host”) into one or more virtual machines (“VM”). Each of these VMs consist of virtual CPUs, virtual memory, virtual storage, and a “guest” operating system like Linux or Windows. Sound complicated? It’s actually pretty simple. Think of it this way: A cloud server operates the same way as a traditional server – it’s just virtual, not physical.

If you’re working in the cloud, you’re accessing remote servers via the internet, from any device, including laptops and mobile phones. These servers facilitate the same services a physical server facilitates, like running software, storing data, etc. But, you don’t have to download or install anything onto your hard drive.

It’s also important to note that there are two types of cloud: public and private.

  • Public – These are cloud services available to and shared by everyone; not just the computing resources, but also the network resources. When using a public cloud provider, the IP addresses are randomly assigned one-by-one (by the cloud provider) from a very large network block. There is no inherent network isolation.
  • Private Private cloud solutions are not a shared network environment. With a private cloud solution, IP address assignments are controlled by the cloud customer -- not by the cloud provider . This is the choice for enterprise-level cloud solutions due to the security advantages over a public cloud. A private cloud will consist of either multiple physical hosts dedicated to one company, or a private pool of isolated resources within a multi-tenant cloud -- with a dedicated firewall around the network in either case.

Now that we’ve examined the nature and types of cloud solutions, let’s move onto FTP.

 

Defining FTP & Why You Should Use It

At its most basic functionality, FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, is used to transfer files via the internet. It’s essentially the language computers use to transfer files efficiently. Since the early days of the internet age, people have been using FTP to upload and download files. If you’ve ever downloaded software from the internet, you’ve likely used FTP.

Outside of software distribution, companies use file transfer solutions to privately share and store data. Whether companies use hosted FTP solutions or ones managed in-house, these solutions allow users to share files with intended parties and store files for later use. Access controls are common features of FTP solutions, allowing administrators to set edit, upload, download, and delete permissions.

Early FTP client/server connections were unencrypted; and software distribution by FTP does not even require user and password credentials. FTP solutions today are usually designed for secure file sharing and storage. Connections are encrypted and all users need a password or other form of authentication like a SSH key to access the FTP solution, keeping unwanted entities out.

 

How FTP Cloud Storage Works

So, how do the cloud and FTP connect when it comes to data storage? FTP cloud storage blends all the convenience and benefits of using a cloud solution with the basic functionality of FTP. Servers are often housed by an FTP provider, and your files can be transferred and accessed remotely via their cloud.

Why should you use FTP cloud storage? There are four main reasons companies turn to FTP cloud storage:

  • Convenience – More and more companies are enabling people to work remote today, and that trend will continue. With FTP cloud storage, you can enable remote work and your employees can access your FTP solution wherever they are from their laptops or mobile devices.
    • Also, you don’t have to house, manage and secure the FTP server yourself. Your FTP provider is responsible for those tasks, and you can simply focus on your solution. The convenience of a FTP cloud storage is one of the greatest draws for companies.
  • Security – For businesses that work with sensitive data, security is imperative. With private FTP cloud storage solution, you know exactly where the servers are housed (domestically or internationally) and top cloud FTP providers go to great lengths to protect data from potential breaches. You’ll have a team of experts working to keep your data safe.
  • Cost – Investing in your own servers and hardware can come at a high price, and you’re also on the hook for any maintenance costs. With a cloud FTP storage solution, you simply pay a monthly fee for the plan that’s best suited to your company’s needs. You’ll eliminate the need to invest in expensive equipment and software, while still reaping the benefits of a reliable file sharing solution.
  • Scalability – With a FTP cloud storage solution, you can easily scale storage as needed. When you rely on an on-site FTP server, you may not have the storage to immediately support your business as it grows. FTP cloud storage solutions enables you to instantly add or reduce storage and the number of users based on your business needs.

FTP cloud storage solutions are ideal for the modern company focused on data security, cost, and convenience. In terms of efficiency, you get all the functionality of traditional FTP with the added modern advantages of cloud computing. As you search for the right FTP solution for your business, keep the benefits of cloud solutions in mind.

Do you want to learn more about FTP cloud storage? Download this free guide to gain even more insight into public and private cloud solutions.

private cloud vs public cloud file sharing guide

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.