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Software that supports offsite file transfer

What software would you recommend to support the transfer of selected files offsite? The process must be secure and automatic. The software must be free or inexpensive. It must provide means for monitoring and verifying successful transfers. It must work without a lot of attention or tweaking.

Our offices are scattered across five universities, several technical colleges and some off-campus locations, so things like virtual private networks (VPN) are not feasible -- too many network fiefdoms are involved.

FTP, (Internet Information Server) IIS and WebDav could be used, but are subject to a lot of hacking. (Secure Shell) SSH and Rsync are attractive but involved. Your recommendations would be appreciated.

What exactly do you mean by automatic? Do you mean a running process that downloads specific files at assigned times, or automatic, as in the user doesn't have to do anything special?

From the solutions you mention, I'm assuming the latter. Without knowing more about your situation, I'd look at (Secure Sockets Layer) SSL/IIS combination. Of course you have to secure IIS, and you must obtain a certificate for SSL, but you can secure the operation including authentication. Turn on auditing to log file access and authentication. IIS logs will include info on transfer, security log on logon and file access. The reason for using SSL is that to get user names in audit. You need NTFS and Windows authentication on IIS, and you don't want user credentials crossing networks in clear. With SSL, the connection is made, and then even the password and user name will be encrypted.

This was last published in August 2003

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