Alternatives to email file attachments

32,960 pts.
Tags:
Data storage
Email attachments
Email security
Quota management
Has anyone implemented a mechanism to provide alternatives to email file attachments? If so, what product(s) did you use and what were the gotchas? We are looking at this to manage data storage requirements and ensure data security on transferred information.
ASKED: October 8, 2008  8:09 PM
UPDATED: October 9, 2008  3:58 PM

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In environments where there either were or where there were expected to be transfers of either large files or large numbers of files, I have used FTP (SFTP / FTPS) to allow for the file transfers. This serves to keep large files/attachments off of your e-mail system while still preserving the collaborative ability of a distributed team (either internal or with your business partner(s)).

The gotcha: you need to either dedicate a server (virtual or physical) or at the very least an area of your SAN as the “drop box” (the transfer area), and the FTP protocol is by definition somewhat less than secure (and I’m being generous). I would suggest using either SFTP or FTPS as they are substantially more secure than plain old FTP.

A good discussion of SFTP vs FTPS and the pros and cons of each can be found here:

http://www.codeguru.com/csharp/.net/net_general/internet/article.php/c14329

There are a variety of FTP clients available, both proprietary and open source: all perform similar functions…

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  • Labnuke99
    [...] looking for some help on this topic and have posted a question to the ITKE community. Hopefully someone out there has had some experience with this service for your organization and [...]
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  • Labnuke99
    Please see my blog posting for additional information.
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  • Labnuke99
    I should have mentioned this in my question. We use FTP & FTPES but that is onerous on members of the "general user" population. They are most familiar with file attachments and you mention FTP and their eyes just glaze over. The users most comfortable with FTP are the engineers and technical users. But you ask an accountant or HR person to use FTP, they wonder what that is all about. I know you can setup a Network Neighborhood place and make it easier but that is foreign to most computer users.
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  • Pressler2904
    Have you looked into Adobe.com or any of the Yahoo or Google cloud services? I would echo your security concerns (as a SANS alumnus), but it a trade-off anyway: FTPS is probably the best way to go (and yes, my end users eys glaze over and roll back in their heads if I mention "Client - Server"...) and all else is really a compromise... Now I've not used any of the three myself (anyone???), but from what I've read, any/all might be worth investigating. PDR
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