Understanding the Key Differences Between MFT and SFTP: A Comprehensive Guide

MFT (Managed File Transfer) and SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) are both technologies used for transferring files securely, but have distinct features and use cases that set them apart.

Definition and Basic Functionality


  • SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol.
  • SFTP encrypts commands and data by default, preventing passwords and sensitive information from being transmitted in the clear over the network.
  • While often used for basic file transfers, SFTP can also be integrated into automated and complex file transfer processes.


  • MFT stands for Managed File Transfer.
  • It is a more holistic approach to transferring files in an organization.
  • MFT solutions offer features like automation of file transfer processes, compliance with security protocols, and monitoring and reporting of file transfer activities.
  • MFT is not a protocol but a technology that often uses several protocols, including SFTP.

Security and Compliance

  • SFTP provides basic security through encryption, ensuring that data is safely transmitted over a network.
  • MFT, on the other hand, offers advanced security features. These can include encryption at rest, detailed logging for compliance reporting, and integration with advanced security tools.

Automation and Integration

  • SFTP is limited in terms of automation and integration. It generally requires manual setup for each file transfer or scripting for automation.
  • MFT solutions excel in automation capabilities. They can automate complex workflows, handle large volumes of file transfers, and integrate with other systems (like ERP, CRM, etc.).

Scalability and Performance

MFT systems are designed for scalability and can handle large volumes of data more efficiently. They often include features like checkpoint restart, file compression, and bandwidth throttling.

Use Case

  • SFTP is suitable for basic file transfer needs, such as transferring files between businesses or secure file sharing with remote access.
  • MFT is ideal for organizations that require robust file transfer management, including automated transfers, compliance with specific regulations, and integration with other systems.


While SFTP provides a secure protocol for file transfer, MFT offers a broader, more integrated solution for comprehensive file transfer management. Organizations should choose based on their security needs, the complexity of their file transfer processes, and their requirements for compliance and integration. Try our CompleteFTP - EnterpriseMFT products or watch our MFT product video.