Authentication vs authorization vs access control

Being able to transfer large amounts of data isn’t just something that businesses should be doing — it’s something that every business needs to do, and they need to have a way to transfer this data without worrying about the security of the file itself, or even the security of the larger network. File transfer services today provide the safest method for sending and receiving data — but despite being widely used today, many of these services still sound so confusing that many businesses simply forego investing in a data transfer service.

To help you out a little bit, here are three popular terms used in the data transfer industry, along with what they mean:

What is FTP? FTP stands for “File Transfer protocol,” and it’s the standard network protocol that individuals and companies use for file transfer services between two different hosts, e.g., between two different computers. One of the more common file transfer services is called SFTP, or “Secure File Tranfer Protocol,” which provides an extra layer of protection through encryption and complex algorithms, and it transfers data over a private data stream as well.

What is encryption? Encryption is the process of mixing up plain text and digital data through an algorithm. This algorithm creates a new scrambled version of the text, called a “ciphertext,” and this cannot be read without allowing the algorithm to “unscramble” the text into a plain-text form again. There are two main types of encryption, including symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Symmetric encryption is typically considered to be riskier, because it uses the same algorithmic key to code and uncode the plain text; asymmetric encryption uses two different (but related) keys, making the entire encryption process more secure.

What is PGP? PGP stands for “Pretty Good Privacy,” and it’s a program that provides file transfer services with data encryption and decryption. PGP is typically the secure file transfer service used when anyone signs something electronically, sends an email or text, and when large amounts of data are transferred between users.