GlobalScape Secure FTP Server Goes Gray

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted April 20, 2005


GlobalScape Secure FTP Server: FTP server with secure transfer features

If in the fast-paced world of Internet technologies FTP servers are middle-aged, then GlobalScape's Secure FTP Server is a seasoned adult — quietly growing a little wiser each year, without the manic energy and fast-paced developments found in sexy, young applications, like peer-to-peer.

Just as people begin to care more about security than excitement as they age, so too does Secure FTP Server. The software is designed to prioritize security and integrity in file transfers. In 3.0, its latest incarnation, GlobalScape extended Secure FTP Server even further in this direction, mostly with more sophisticated monitoring and logging tools.

Secure FTP Server is a trim 4 MB download and installs into 7 MB of disk. The InstallShield wizard make installation a breeze, with the installer prompting the setup of an administrator login. In less than two minutes the server is ready to go. The server itself runs as a Windows service, and it is configured using a Windows-based administration client.

The administration client presents local and remote Secure FTP servers through the familiar tree interface. However, GlobalScape does not provide a Web-based configuration tool, claiming security reasons.

But where Secure FTP Server really makes its name is in integrity and security. With support for multipart uploads, clients that support GlobalScape's proprietary COMB command can split a source file into segments and stack them as they do newer peer-to-peer applications.

Secure FTP Server supports a Virtual File System (VFS), which enables the sys admin to overlay FTP-specific access permissions onto file system folders. In doing so, both the access and organization of files on the FTP server can be independent of their "real" structure on disk. Aside from access permissions, users and groups can be managed on a wide variety of criteria, including concurrent connections, throughput, transfer quotas, and restricted command sets and protocols. Version 3 includes file locking, which prevents users from downloading partial files in the midst of uploading.

But where Secure FTP Server really makes its name is in integrity and security. With support for multipart uploads, clients that support GlobalScape's proprietary COMB command can split a source file into segments and stack them as they do newer peer-to-peer applications. In some network configurations this can make more efficient use of available bandwidth. GlobalScape's XCRC command lets supporting clients verify a file transfer against corruption. Also new in v3.0 is support for MODE Z, streaming zlib compression that packs transfers on-the-fly, including FTP commands (e.g., directory listings) and compressible files (e.g., XML, logs, and other text).

Secure FTP Server includes encrypted file transfers through SSL with up to 4,000 sized keys and, optionally, SFTP (with the $245 SSH2 add-on). Clients that support One Time Passwords (OTP), can take advantage of this "disposable password" technology. Two significant additions in v.3 are enhancements in monitoring FTP server activity. Administrators can examine logs on a per-connection basis. Search and other filters finely parse the data. In addition to industry-standard W3C, Microsoft IIS, or NCSA log styles, a new verbose logging format includes every transaction between client and server in complete form.

To ease administration and automation, Secure FTP Server supports event-based rules. Particular events, such as generating an e-mail when a certain file is uploaded or downloaded, can trigger the server to perform specific actions. Rules can also be timed so that archiving or encryption occurs at specific intervals. With version 3.0's new import/export configuration feature, all event rules and other server configuration parameters can be saved and archived or imported into another Secure FTP Server installation.

SecureFTP has increased in price along with features in version 3.0; however, it remains a strong value for organizations that rely on FTP as an integral part of exchanging information.

Pros: Easy-to-use management interface; Strong security; Convenient event trigger system.
Cons: Lacks Web-based remote administration; SSH2 support costs extra.

Reviewed by: Aaron Weiss
Original Review Date: 04/20/2005
Original Review Version: 3.0

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