EDI via SFTP

EDI via SFTP and FTPS: usage and challenges

EDI via SFTP and FTPS belong to the most commonly used communication protocols for electronic data interchange. EDI via SFTP and FTPS allows connecting business partners directly as well as via service providers.

Some time ago, FTP was considered to be the most reliable transport mean with many advantages for business documents exchange. Still, it is actively used internally in many companies today. However, FTP does not provide a high level of security when sending files between different trading partners via Internet. That is why the level of reliability is often raised by using FTP together with VPN software. In this case, VPN gives an additional security level.

Although FTP with VPN may seem enough reliable, there is one more absent feature that does not make this type of file transport still not reliable. It lacks confirmation feature – stating that the files were successfully accepted, read and/or decrypted correctly. As an alternative, FTP with VPN can be used for connection to a service provider who ensures further file transfer.

Considering the above-mentioned information, it is understood that a new protocol based on FTP must have been developed. So EDI via SFTP and FTPS appeared. SFTP means Secure File Transfer Protocol and FTPS means File Transfer Protocol Secure – almost the same. The main difference hides in how each of these protocols provides encryption and ensures security. Both EDI via SFTP and FTPS encrypt data while it is being transferred via Internet and decrypt it when the file arrives to the recipient. However, message management still remains one of the main issues, including non-repudiation and interoperability.

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