Welcome to the SFTP Party, Microsoft

Microsoft recently announced that SFTP support for its Azure Blob Storage service is in public preview. It has taken a while for Microsoft to catch up to the rest of us on SFTP support. Coviant Software has long advocated for SFTP as the best protocol for automated file transfers between two disparate systems, and Amazon has had SFTP server access to S3 buckets for a while now. We recently explained our position on SFTP as the GOAT of file transfer protocols. In short, SFTP is the best option for securing and transferring files from anywhere to anywhere.

SFTP is available on all major computing platforms and operating systems, and has been for twenty years. SFTP also has what it takes to be secure, scalable, and reliable, with features strong cryptographic encryption and authentication (including two-factor authentication); firewall friendly configuration requiring only one port; built-in data compression; and message integrity. That means information sent over SFTP is guaranteed to be secured and unchanged, while minimizing the size of the transfer. No other protocol offers all of that across so many platforms.

So, what does Azure Blob support for SFTP mean for Diplomat MFT? It means you can welcome Microsoft to the party since Diplomat MFT already offers the flexibility of direct Azure Blob transfers and SFTP. If your organization is using – or considering using – Azure Blob Storage but need to stand up an SFTP server to allow external parties to transfer files with you in a more traditional manner, our SFTP server is a cost-effective option, and one that comes with all of Diplomat MFT’s secure file transfer automation capabilities.

More than just SFTP

Those capabilities extend well beyond our ability to work with Azure. Diplomat MFT also automates transfers with AWS S3, local or cloud-based file sharing, FTP/S, HTTP/S, and all the major cloud storage vendors including Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Citrix Sharefile, Box, and Dropbox.  Thus, by purchasing Diplomat MFT you can not only effortlessly offer SFTP services and orchestrate those SFTP files into and out of Azure Blob storage, but you can also centrally manage, secure, and automate your file transfers between any endpoint.

Best of all, when you use Diplomat MFT to transfer files to and from Azure (or any of the other cloud storage platforms), the hassles associated with the DIY approach are eliminated. For example, when using SFTP directories with Microsoft Azure Blobs, you must create a hierarchical namespace using Azure Data Lake Storage Gen 2. Maybe some customers already have Azure Blobs and don’t want to jump through this hoop. You don’t have to with Diplomat MFT.

Compliance and Security

Also, you can’t set your own user passwords with Azure SFTP for Blob; they must be generated by Azure. That is both atypical and in violation of security regulations and standards such as PCI DSS and HIPAA/HITECH. With Diplomat MFT you have control over passwords and, as noted, we support strong passwords, encryption, and two-factor authentication. Furthermore, with Diplomat MFT you get greater flexibility and additional enterprise class features like full auditing, data archive and retention, visibility, and alerts over email, slack, and teams. All built-in, and easily configured with our web-based UI — not through vendor-specific Powershell scripts, API calls, or CLIs.

At What Cost?

Finally, while Microsoft has not released any pricing details yet, based on the costs of the AWS Transfer family, including costs of overhead associated with SFTP server management for AWS, we can assume that it won’t be free. In fact, it is likely to run into the low 4 digits per year. If that’s the case, you might as well invest in the-best value Managed File Transfer offering on the market, Diplomat MFT. Get full-featured, enterprise-grade, secure managed file transfer that goes well above and beyond Azure’s limited SFTP access limited to Azure Blobs.

As always, we urge you to try Diplomat MFT for free before you make the commitment. We’re confident that, after a thirty-day trial, you’ll see why Diplomat MFT earns awards and rave reviews year-after-year, and is recognized as the value leader in managed file transfer. Diplomat MFT: Enterprise-grade performance at an SMB price.


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