WS_FTP Server and MOVEit Transfer - What Are the Differences?

WS_FTP Server and MOVEit Transfer - What Are the Differences?


Chances are you have probably heard of or used, either WS_FTP Server or MOVEit Transfer. What you might not have known is that they are solutions from the same vendor, Progress.

Both solutions provide access to permission defined folders using protocols such as HTTPS, FTP and SFTP. Both have audit trails and the ability to send one-time links, for guest users to be able to download particular files.

With so much overlap, you are probably wondering what is the difference?

You are not alone, it is a common question that we field on an almost daily basis.

On the face of it, MOVEit is a much larger solution and commonly falls within the definition of a managed file transfer solution, which its price tag reflects. But there is much more to it than that.

In this blog, we take a look at five key capabilities which MOVEIt has, over and above that which WS_FTP server can provide.


1. File Encryption and Security

When we have customers choosing between WS_FTP Server and MOVEit Transfer, we normally ask them if the data they intend to transfer using the solution is sensitive in any way.

The reason we ask this is that MOVEit Transfer is packed full of file-level security features for protecting files at both rest and transfer.

At rest, MOVEit Transfer uses FIPS140-2 validated AES 265-bit cryptography to encrypt stored files. It encrypts each file with a completely different key, limiting the exposure of one key being compromised. Files and folders are stored using an identification number and never using their real file names, types or other attributes.

On Top of this, MOVEit hashes files before and after the transfer process to ensure they have not been tampered with, whilst being transferred.


2. Tamper-Evident Audit Logging

While it is true that both WS_FTP Server and MOVEit Transfer have audit logging capabilities. MOVEit Transfer really takes the concept of a log much further.

Each log is stored in the database and its record hashed and sequence numbered. Every night, a nightly task is run to verify the hashes and check the sequence to ensure there has been no modification, addition or removal or log items.

MOVEit Transfer also provides a robust filter for searching through logs for particular actions, user accounts or times.


3. Increased Authentication Options & MFA

WS_FTP Server supports local accounts and LDAP integration, with the highest edition of license. MOVEit Transfer builds on this by including a number of additions:

  • SAMLv2 - Federated Identities.
  • ODBC. well as local accounts and LDAP integration.

In the past, some of our more advanced customers would add multi-factor authentication capabilities through RADIUS, however since early 2018, MOVEit Transfer has included MFA for free.

Using either a smartphone app or email, users can receive MFA token values which further validate their identities when logging into MOVEit Transfer.


4. Complex Architecture Requirements & Cloud

Outside of standard high-availability setups, MOVEit Transfer can be configured to work in a number of different ways. Whether that be with a Gateway server in the DMZ, separate file store, separate database and/or multiple MOVEit Transfer servers in a web farm.

MOVEIt Transfer has also been ported to Microsoft Azure, where it currently can be deployed from the Azure Marketplace with the click of a provisioning button...

...and Ipswitch even offers a fully managed cloud option at a subscription rate.

The flexible deployment options mean that MOVEit Transfer is ideal for complex environments or those with particular requirements.


5. Integration with Anti-Virus/DLP & Automated Clean-Up

For welcoming reasons, security is no longer a department which seeks to slow down the operational capacity of an organisation. It is now embraced as having critical function.

This slow shift in thinking has meant that we are often asked about the integration capabilities of MOVEit with anti-virus or data leakage prevention scanners. Both of which are supported by MOVEit Transfer using the ICAP protocol.

Files can be scanned on upload and/or download, and subsequently prevented from completing that action should it be found in violation of a scanner.

Finally, one of the most underrated features is automated clean-up.

For anyone who has managed a file transfer server before, you will know that one of the more difficult aspects is the build up of legacy files and accounts over time which eventually become unmanageable. MOVEit Transfer has expiration policies for both files and user accounts which can keep your system efficiently clean.

Are you looking for a file transfer solution; or wondering about the differences between WS_FTP Server and MOVEit Transfer? Why not speak to one of our solutions specialists today?


About the Author

headshot of Christ Payne, Director of Strategic Alliances and Technical at Pro2col


Chris Payne is the Director of Strategic Alliances and Technical at Pro2col, with decades of experience in software management and Managed File Transfer solutions. Chris is not your traditional techie with server racks under the stairs. He advocates for a healthy work/life balance, saving his love for technology for work and developing his passion for craft beer at home. Chris is a qualified brewer and has on occasion whipped out the brewing equipment. He’ll be up for a Friday pint.

Find out more about Chris Payne here.

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