Marketing Data Security: FTP and Data Shipping Security

by Kevin Gilbert on September 9, 2010

Kevin Gilbert

Kevin Gilbert

Marketing data, including customer and sales information, is some of the most valuable information within an organization. It is paramount that this information remain secured from tampering and theft. Companies that have experienced data loss have experienced large fines and loss of reputation, and some have gone out of business.  In this series of short articles, we’ll provide tips for securing your data on various devices and at data connection touch points.

There are many ways data can leave your building:  taking a customer file home on your laptop, mailing a USB drive, sending an email, using FTP, accessing company resources from offsite, and more.  In this post, we’ll discuss securing data that leaves your office building via FTP or methods of shipping data.We’ll explore each item and discuss how to keep activity secure.


One way to send a large amount of data is to put it on a USB drive or a CDROM and mail it to someone.  What would happen if that package became lost? Lost customer data could be a security incident. To protect against this, you should do two things:

  1. Encrypt the data. Before putting data on the USB Drive or the CDROM, encrypt it. An easy way to do this is to use 7Zip and then put the archive on your media for shipping.
  2. Sending passphrases securely. Do not put the passphrase for the archive in the shipping container because if someone intercepts the package, they’ll be able to decrypt the data. Instead, send the passphrase using a different method: email or telephone call.


Suppose you are working with a vendor and they need you to send them data. One way to send a large amount of data is to send it to their FTP server. However, FTP is not secure! Sending information over FTP could publish that information to the internet. The following are some ways to keep FTP secure:

  1. Use Secure-FTP (SFTP) or Secure-HTTP (HTTPS) instead of FTP.
  2. If you are forced to use FTP, you should send an encrypted archive of the data. You can encrypt data using 7Zip (see above).

There many things that can be done to keep data secure. In this post, I have touched on some of the most common. By implementing these best practices for shipping data and secure FTP, you can help to assure valuable data does not fall into the wrong hands.

About the Author:

Kevin Gilbert is the Technology Manager at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Kevin headed the data center virtualization project for four years and is a VMWare Certified Professional (VCP).  Connect with Kevin on .

Related Articles:

Marketing Data Security: Securing Your Cell Phone or Mobile Device

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