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WS_FTP Server Vs MOVEit Transfer

Below we compare Ipswitch’s two flagship file transfer platforms. There are many shared features, so to help you decide which is best for you we’ve summarised the differences and why they should be considered.

WS_FTP Only Features:

WS_FTP server is a basic but popular FTP server, which has some very nice features but does lack somewhat the abilities of MOVEit Transfer.  There are a couple of things that WS_FTP server can manage that MOVEit Transfer cannot:

SCP Support

Although not many organisations will be using it, WS_FTP server can handle incoming requests via the SCP protocol.  This is particularly useful if an organisation uses a Linux environment.

SMS notifications

WS_FTP can be linked to a corporate SMS system for sending notifications.  Arguably this is not as important as it once was, given the industry preference for sending emails rather than text, now that mobile computing has advanced somewhat.

MOVEit Only Features:

It is a somewhat larger list of features that MOVEit Transfer has over WS_FTP server.


FIPS 197
While both MOVEit Transfer and WS_FTP provide FIPS 140-2 security (Cryptographic modules), MOVEit can additionally offer FIPS 197 (Advanced Encryption Standard).  Details of the differences can be found at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsFIPS.html

Continuity Management
WS_FTP does not provide any kind of continuity management  when faced with a server or site outage.  MOVEit Transfer allows both High Availability through either Active:Active configuration or Ipswitch Failover.

Using the MOVEit Transfer Gateway provides a reverse proxy that allows an organisation to locate its MOVEit Transfer server inside the network if they so desire; WS_FTP must be placed in the DMZ (which does not meet PCI-DSS compliance)

Anti-virus and Data Leakage
MOVEit can be configured to perform both anti-virus and data leakage checks through an ICAP interface on existing AV/DLP servers.

Account Expiry
MOVEit Transfer offers far more granularity for expiry and removal of accounts, based upon both age and activity.

Delegated security functions
MOVEit allows delegation of duties by group administrators, for example help desk password resets or departmental users setting folders permissions.  WS_FTP has no concept of this.

Self Service Administration
MOVEit allows users to reset their own passwords when forgotten.  External users may be allowed to self-register with the system.

SSH holding tanks
MOVEit uses SSH holding tanks; this stores SSH keys that a user presents to the system allowing an administrator to accept or reject keys as applicable.  WS_FTP requires that keys are passed to the administrator by other means.


Encrypted Filesystem
MOVEit offers a fully encrypted (AES256) filesystem which protects the files at rest.  WS_FTP simply replies on NTFS permissions

Filesystem Management
MOVEit Transfer provides more granular permissions setting than WS_FTP does.  MOVEit Transfer also has built in housekeeping functions to handle older files.


Mixed user types
In WS_FTP, each authentication type requires a new host definition (and therefore manual replication of most configuration).  In MOVEit, different user types can co-exist in the same organisation.

LDAP synchronisation
Both WS_FTP and MOVEit allow users to be added from active directory via LDAP, however they differ in some key areas:

– In WS_FTP it is not possible to synchronise group membership, leading to additional workload for administrators. In MOVEit this is not a problem.
– In WS_FTP, if an AD account no longer meets criteria to have an WS_FTP account, his account and home directory are immediately deleted, rather than expired.
– In MOVEit, users details (name or email address) are synchronised; in WS_FTP they are only set at user creation and never changed afterwards.

MOVEit Transfer also offers SAML 2.0 authentication for its LDAP users.

MOVEit is fully brandable with colour schemes and company logos.  WS_FTP isn’t.

MOVEit comes with a full set of reports which can be used out of the box immediately using a set of predefined templates.  Additionally, custom reports can be created and scheduled by administrators.  Finally, MOVEit Transfer can be connected to Ipswitch Analytics to provide even more reporting potential.

MOVEit Transfer contains a tamper evident audit trail.


Ad Hoc File sharing
Although WS_FTP Server provides basic Ad Hoc file Sharing, MOVEit Transfer offers a far more complete solution, including inbound traffic and shared mailboxes.

MOVEit Transfer provides integrity checking and non-repudiation potential when transferring files using MOVEit products (including web browser wizards)

MOVEit Transfer supports the AS* (Applicability Statement) protocols; WS_FTP doesn’t

Both products support web, outlook and command line clients; however, MOVEit also supports mobile (IOS/Android) clients and has a web transfer wizard for handling files over 2GB.

MOVEit Transfer has an API which can be used for streamlining administration, integrating to other systems, or simply providing automation functionality