Software

DEPCON

DEPCON is the common name for the Unisys Distributed Enterprise Print Controller software.  This software is often deployed in financial data centers that use it to break apart and distributed aggregated reports.  As more and more print jobs moved to electronic distribution formats, file transfer technology was frequently applied to either handle incoming report batches or to deliver the final product.

Core FTP

Core FTP is a secure FTP software brand that includes a free desktop FTP client (Core FTP LE), a commercial FTP client (Core FTP Pro) and an FTP server (Core FTP Server).

Cyberduck

Cyberduck is a free open source file transfer client for Windows and Macintosh desktops.

Cyberduck offers support for FTP, FTPS, SFTP, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files, Google Storage for Developers and Amazon Cloud Front.  Cyberduck features sychronization across multiple server types and support for many languages.

Cyberduck’s official site is cyberduck.ch.  It is licensed under GNU.

AndFTP

AndFTP is a free, full-featured, interactive FTP client for Android smartphones and devices.   It was created by Lysesoft, a company specializing in Android phone file transfer client development.

AndFTP offers support for FTP, FTPS, SFTP and can remember a large number of connection profiles.  FireFTP does not yet (as of version 2.4) supports integrity checks using MD5/SHA1 or file compression on the fly (i.e., “MODE Z”), but it does already support multiple languages, ESPV and IPv6.

AndFTP’s official site is http://www.lysesoft.com/products/andftp/.

AD

AD (pronounced “ay, dee”) is an abbreviation for Microsoft Active Directory, a very common external authentication system used in the file transfer industry to centralize authentication, user account information and access control.

See “Active Directory” for more information.

Active Directory

Microsoft Active Directory (AD) is a type of external authentication that can provide rich details about authenticated users, including email address, group membership and client certificates.

AD is essentially an extended version of LDAP optimized for Windows environments, but AD is only available from Microsoft.  As such, AD (LDAP) connections use TCP port 389 but can (and should) be secured with SSL.  When AD (LDAP) is secured in this manner, it typically uses TCP port 636 and is often referred to as “LDAPS”.

BEST PRACTICE: Use SSL secured connections to AD whenever possible; the information these data streams contain should be treated like passwords in transit.   Store as much information about the user in AD as your file transfer technology will permit; this will improve your ability to retain centralized control of that data and allow you to easily switch to different file transfer technology if your needs change.

WS_FTP LE

WS_FTP LE is a free commercial file transfer client for Windows desktops.  The current edition is built on WS_FTP Home‘s code base and was reintroduced to the market in 2010.

WS_FTP LE offers a two-panel user interactive user interface and its supported protocols are all variants of FTP/S.

WS_FTP LE is a stripped down version of WS_FTP Professional.  The main features missing from the stripped down version are SFTP and scripting/scheduling.

The original version of WS_FTP LE was one of the most popular pieces of freeware ever (nearly a hundred million downloads). The original combination of WS_FTP LE and WS_FTP Professional provided one of the most successful implementations of the now-common “freemium” software business plan ever.

See also “WS_FTP Professional” and “WS_FTP Home“.  WS_FTP LE may be obtained from www.wsftple.com.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The president of File Transfer Consulting pushed through the retirement of WS_FTP Home and the return of WS_FTP LE while serving as VP of Product Management at Ipswitch.

WS_FTP Home

WS_FTP Home was a commercial file transfer client for Windows desktops.  It was in the market for about five years but was retired in favor of a new edition of WS_FTP LE in 2010.

WS_FTP Home offered a two-panel user interactive user interface and batch scripts that can be scheduled with Windows scheduler.  The protocols were all variants of FTP/S.

WS_FTP Home was a stripped down version of WS_FTP Professional.  The main features missing from the stripped down version were SFTP and scripting/scheduling.

See also “WS_FTP LE” and “WS_FTP Professional“.

WS_FTP Professional

WS_FTP Professional is a commercial file transfer client for Windows desktops.  It offers a two-panel user interactive user interface and batch scripts that can be scheduled with Windows scheduler.  Supported protocols include FTP/S and SFTP, plus proprietary HTTPS connections to MOVEit DMZ.

See also “WS_FTP LE” and “WS_FTP Home“.

BEST PRACTICE: The WS_FTP clients still constitute one of the most popular desktop FTP brands in the market today.  All credible file transfer applications should support file transfers with WS_FTP Professional over the FTP/S and SFTP protocols.

FIPS 140-3

FIPS 140-3 will soon replace FIPS 140-2 as the standard NIST uses to validate cryptographic libraries. The standard is still in draft status, but could be issued in 2011.

FIPS 140-2 has four levels of security: most cryptographic software uses “Level 1″ and most cryptographic hardware uses “Level 3″.  FIPS 140-3 expands that to five levels, but the minimum (and thus most common) levels for software and hardware will likely remain Levels 1 and 3, respectively.

FireFTP

Mime Čuvalo’s FireFTP is a free, full-featured, interactive FTP client that plugs into Mozilla Firefox as an add-on.

FireFTP offers support for FTP, FTPS, SFTP and can remember a large number of connection profiles.  FireFTP supports integrity checks using MD5 and SHA1, file compression on the fly (i.e., “MODE Z”), support for most FireFox platforms, support for multiple languages and IPv6.

FireFTP’s official site is fireftp.mozdev.org.

BEST PRACTICE: File transfer vendors that offer FTP, FTPS and/or SFTP support in their server products should support the FireFTP extension to Firefox.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (“IE”) is a free web browser that is installed by default on all Microsoft Windows desktop and server operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

As of December 2010, IE held about 47% of the desktop browser market, making it the #1 browser ahead of Firefox.  IE relies on individual end users and corporate IT departments to push out major browser updates.  In practice, this means that it takes about a year after release for each new major version to become the dominant version of IE in the market.

IE’s native FTP capabilities allow it to connect to FTP servers using both active and passive mode and upload or download specific files as anonymous or authenticated users with passwords.

Internet Explorer’s official web site is www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/.

BEST PRACTICE: All credible file transfer applications that offer browser support for administrative, reporting or end user interfaces should support the Internet Explorer web browser, and file transfer vendors should commit to supporting any new IE browser version within one year of its release.   Furthermore, file transfer vendors that offer plain old FTP access should support the Internet Explorer interface, including its tight integration into underlying Windows desktop operating systems.

Firefox

Mozilla’s Firefox is a free, open source web browser that offers a similar browsing experience across a wide variety of desktop operating systems, including Windows, Macintosh and some Linux variants.

As of December 2010, Firefox held about 30% of the desktop browser market, making it the #2 browser behind Internet Explorer.  Firefox uses an aggressive auto-update feature that ensures that most users are running the most recent major version of the browser within three months of release.

Firefox’s native FTP capabilities allow it to connect to FTP servers using passive mode and download specific files as anonymous or authenticated users with passwords.   Many advanced Firefox users use the free FireFTP Firefox extension to add the ability to upload files, connect using FTPS, connect using SFTP and browse local and remote directory structures.

Firefox’s official web site is www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/.

BEST PRACTICE: All credible file transfer applications that offer browser support for administrative, reporting or end user interfaces should support the Firefox web browser, and file transfer vendors should commit to supporting any new Firefox browser version within a few months of its release.   In addition, file transfer vendors that offer FTP, FTPS and/or SFTP support in their server products should support the FireFTP extension to Firefox.

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