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  Secure FTP Service

How all this started.

I have a CPA friend named Bob. He has a very busy practice here in Boise, Idaho.  One day I got a call from his office asking for my assistance.  As it turns out he has a client in Colorado who was trying to send QuickBooks data to his office.  Normally they had been sending files back and forth via e-mail. Not a good idea for security reasons, but until now it was working. 

At the time Bob was out of the office on vacation.  He told his staff, ďCall Harold, he will know what to do.Ē   It didnít take long to figure out what the problem was.  The clientís data file was 3.84 Megabytes in size. This was simply too large and was being blocked by the clients Internet Service Provider.  To solve the problem I setup an FTP site and walked the client through how to manually send the file up to it.  I then called Bobís office and walked his staff through the process of downloading it from the FTP site.  Then when they were finished, I did the same process in reverse.  It all worked very well but it left me thinking, there has got to be an easier way to do this.

I knew that FTP was the answer to sending large files through the Internet. I just needed to find an easier, more automatic way to make it all happen.  During my research I also found that normal FTP had the same security issues as e-mail.  So now I had to find a way that was easier and secure.  I researched several products and methods.  I was delighted to find a company whose products I had used before and had been very pleased with their tech support. A proven track record is always a plus.

I installed their FTP Server Product and found that if I also used their FTP client product I could get full 128 Bit SSL encryption.  That solved the security issue.  Next I was totally pleased with how easy the client software was to use.  In fact I found that it has several really cool features.  The one I got the most excited about was the synchronize feature. 

With the synchronize feature I am able to setup a watched folder.  This also happens to be the folder where I have QuickBooks back up its data to.  Then the user simply clicks on the Synchronize icon that I placed on their desktop.  If a file is newer on the clientís machine, it automatically sends it to their password protected folder on the Secure FTP Server.  If the file is newer on the FTP server, it sends it down to the clientís hard drive.  My CPA friend quickly found that he could send other types of documents and reports to his clients using this method.

Bob now has his own FTP site on my server, and he now has it working at his office and  several of his clients.  He offers it to all his clients, not just the ones in other states.  His local clients appreciate this service because now they don't have to drive across town.  And if a mistake is made, they simply resend the file. Bob's staff is more productive and find the system extremely easy to use.  And as a side benefit, they have also lowered their risk of contracting viruses and worms, because now they don't have all those CD-ROMs, Zip disks and floppies entering their systems.

As a result of all this, I am now offering a new service to other CPA firms and business who could benefit from an easy to use, yet Secure, FTP Service.

 

The Problem:

E-mail is not secure.   You need a fast, easy and secure way to send and receive your clientís data.

E-mail, is it secure, and can it handle large files?
Electronic mail makes personal and business communications fast and easy, but what about confidentiality? By default, e-mail is about as secure as a postcard; that is, anybody along the way can read what it says.

Despite the inherent insecurity of e-mail, people continue to confide their secrets and send ultra sensitive business information via the Internet. E-mail also has file size limitations.  Many ISPs have a 2 megabyte size limit. Have you ever had an e-mail bounce because the file size was too large?  This could be because of the limit imposed by your Internet Service Provider or by the ISP you are sending it to. 

The FTP protocol is not a secure protocol, therefore any data or commands transferred using standard FTP clients are not secure. Your data and passwords can be captured on the Internet.

The Solution:

North American Technology now offers a New Secure FTP service.

The smarter and more secure way to transfer files

Our Secure FTP (file transfer protocol) is the smarter way to transfer files because it enables users and organizations to move files between local and remote systems while enjoying the utmost in:

  • Security: Protects your business critical and sensitive data with 128-Bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, the highest commercially available encryption level, to protect your confidential data when transmitting through over the Internet. We also offer an option to have your files 256-Bit AES encrypted before they leave your system with our enhanced compression / encryption utility. Our service meets the encryption requirements for HIPAA transactions and file transfers.
     
  • Ease of use: Makes sharing files fast and easy. When properly configured, one click is all it takes to send your files to our secure FTP server.
     
  • Reliability: Maximizes the rate of successful file transfers. Manage your transfers better by getting successful transfer status at a glance. 
     
  • Efficiency: Allows transfers of more files to and from more clients without adding to your workload.  If a file transfer is interrupted, our system has Auto-Retry and Auto-Resume features.

Now your clients no longer have to drive across town to bring you their data.  They will appreciate the convenience and ease of use of this new service.  Also you can now expand your practice. It doesnít matter if the client is in the same town or in the next state.  


Frequently Asked Questions

What is FTP?
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.  The technology has been around for over 20 years. Instead of attaching a file to an e-mail message and hoping it doesn't get intercepted or bounced, you simply transfer it to a our Secure FTP server.  And unlike e-mail your files of any size can be sent.  The only thing limiting your file size is the size allocated to your server.  The technology just recently became available to make FTP transfer secure.  Security and ease of use is what sets our service apart from all the others.  If you have us help you with the software installation, we will configure your systems so all you have to do is click one icon, and your files will be sent to our secure FTP server.

Why not use just regular FTP?
FTP sites are offered by thousands of Hosting Services.  The problem is regular FTP is not secure and file transfers are not encrypted, therefore your data is not secure.  Thus, regular FTP is not HIPAA compliant. However, if you use our new Secure FTP Service and our FTP client software, all your data and command streams are encrypted. We can offer regular FTP also; however, we do not feel it is in your best interest to do so. 

Can I use your Secure FTP server for a remote off-site backup?
Yes.  However you may also want to look into the advantages of our Secure Remote Backup Service.  Give us a call or click here to look at our Remote Backup Service.

Is it difficult to setup and use?    Desktop icon clients use to UP-Load files to Secure FTP Server     Desktop icon clients use to Download from Secure FTP Server
Not at all.  Our goal is to make it easier that e-mail. As your technology partner we will setup your secure FTP site and show your staff how to use it.  If your clients purchase our "Best" combo bundle for the Secure Client FTP Software, we will also install the required software on your clientís system and configure it so all they have to do is click on one button to transfer their files to your Secure FTP site and another to bring them back down. We make it very simple and easy.

Can this be branded to look like a service that my company provides?
Yes!  In fact, that is what we prefer. All we have to do is host the domain name of your choosing.  Then your clients will connect to ftp.yourdomain.com.  If you donít have a domain name, we will be happy to register one for you. We can also transfer your existing domain name to our server, or you can use one of our domain names such as remotedatastor.com. 

Can you help me with a web site for my company?
Our service also provides website hosting and e-mail accounts.  It is all part of the Secure FTP Service package we are offering you. 

Is your service HIPAA compliant?
YES!!! Because of the unique blend of our FTP client software and our FTP Server software, we can provide full 128-Bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, the highest commercially available encryption level which is used when your files are transmitted through the Internet.  We also offer a 2nd layer of protection to your files.  If you opt for our "BEST" FTP client software option we will provide you and with an enhanced compression and encryption utility.  This utility will provide 256-bit key AES encryption, which provides much greater cryptographic security to your files. 

So before your files leave your system they can be encrypted and as they are uploaded or downloaded to our FTP Server they transition will also be encrypted.

Another key part of HIPAA compliance has to do with audits of who accessed what data and when. Our server has a logging system that logs all events for all FTP sessions.

What is SSL?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol for encrypting and decrypting data sent across direct Internet connections. When a client makes an SSL connection with a server, all data sent to and from that server is encrypted to keep your data confidential.

What is AES encryption?
AES was specified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Publication 197 as the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

After a three-year competition, the AES was announced by NIST as an approved encryption technique for use by the U.S. government, private businesses, and individuals. When properly implemented as a key component of an overall security protocol, the AES permits a very high degree of cryptographic security, yet is fast and efficient in operation.

Is my data safe on your server?
Yes!  If you want an extra layer of security we suggest you use our optional Enhanced Compression / Encryption Utility which is provided with our "Best" Secure FTP Client Software option.  Your data files will be encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption before they leave your system.

I have my own FTP client software, can I use it?
Maybe. We will have to test it.  Please keep in mind you will probably lose the SSL encryption along with several other advanced features.  Our FTP client is extremely easy to use, and should you have any questions or problems, we are best equipped to help you if you use our complete solution.

Do I have to have a super expensive high speed line to use this service?
Any connection to the Internet will work, but of course the faster the better.  We also offer a full range of high speed access options nation wide.  Please give us a call.

What happens if my transfer is interrupted?  Do I have to start over again?
NO!  Our FTP client software has an Auto-Retry and Auto-Resume features.  It has the ability to resume sending the file where the last attempt left off.  

What type of files can be sent to the Secure FTP Server?
Any file.  If it is on your hard drive, it can be sent to the server. 

Is their any file size limitation with Secure FTP?
The only limitation is the amount of space available on your site.  Plans start at 25 megabytes and go up from there. You can start with a small site and add space as needed. 

What are the System Requirements?
Windows 98 SE/Me/NT/2000/XP
16MB of RAM for Windows 98 SE/Me
and 32MB for Windows NT/2000/XP
8MB of disk space

What other products or services do you provide?
We build high quality PCs and Servers. We provide a full range of IT services, support, consulting and training for small and large business.  We also offer Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs) and Wireless Networks (WLANs). We offer a secure Remote Backup Service, Remote Application Hosting Service, web development and hosting, and secure E-Commerce (online shopping) hosting and development.  For more info give us a call.

I have employees that work remotely from their homes or branch offices, will this service work for them?
Absolutely!  In many situations our Secure FTP is a perfect fit.  However, in situations where your remote people need to be sharing data with others at the same time, we have a better solution.  For example if you all need to use a customer database or an accounting system or want to collaborate in real time using the same data at the same time, you should check out our Remote Application and Data Hosting Service.  Give us a call for more information and a free demo.

Application Hosting Service. We will host your applications on our servers and you can access them from anywhere through the Internet. Itís fast, secure, economical, and easy!

 

Secure FTP Service - Monthly Investment:

Level 1 SECURE FTP HOSTING & WEB SITE HOSTING & E-MAIL,  25 MEG 25.00
Level 2 SECURE FTP HOSTING & WEB SITE HOSTING & E-MAIL,  100 MEG 50.00
Level 3
SECURE FTP HOSTING & WEB SITE HOSTING & E-MAIL,  500 MEG
75.00
Level 4
SECURE FTP HOSTING & WEB SITE HOSTING & E-MAIL,  1000 MEG
100.00
Level 5
E-COMMERCE WEB SITE  & SECURE FTP HOSTING & E-MAIL,  1000 MEG
105.00
 
Each level includes the following: Daily Tape Backup, SSL Secure FTP Server, E-mail to a PC client (i.e. Outlook or Outlook Express) and / or web based e-mail, E-mail service includes anti-virus service, and anti-spam control.

Please contact us if you need greater capacity or other options.

 

 

Secure FTP Client Software - One Time Investment:

  FTP client software is required for each PC accessing the Secure FTP Server. This software is needed for your office and at your clients location.  The FTP client software is essential to enable secure FTP transfers.
GOOD FTP CLIENT SOFTWARE / NEW USER FTP SERVER ACCOUNT SETUP 55.00
 
BETTER FTP CLIENT SOFTWARE /  NEW USER FTP SERVER ACCOUNT SETUP
1 YEAR FTP SOFTWARE UPDATES & UPGRADES
75.00
 
BEST
NEW USER E-MAIL / NEW USER FTP SERVER ACCOUNT SETUP
10.00
 
FTP CLIENT SOFTWARE / 1 YEAR FTP SOFTWARE UPDATES & UPGRADES
65.00
  ENHANCED COMPRESSION / ENCRYPTION UTILITY.  Your data files will be encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption before they leave your system. 30.00
 
1 BUTTON FTP SYNC CONFIGURATION SERVICE,
 & UP TO 1 HOUR FOR INSTALLATION & CONFIGURATION
125.00
 

SUBTOTAL

230.00
 

BEST COMBO DISCOUNT

-75.00
 

BEST COMBO TOTAL

155.00
  A representative from North American Technology will come on site if you are located in the Boise area.  Otherwise we will access your machine through the Internet.
 
 
1 YEAR NEW DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION SERVICE
OR TRANSFER YOUR EXISTING DOMAIN
INCLUDES:
1 YEAR DNS SERVICE
WEB SERVER SETUP
E-MAIL SERVER SETUP
SECURE FTP SERVER SETUP
(Domain transfers will extend your current domain name registration by 1 year)
50.00
 
 
ALL OTHER SERVICES ARE PERFORMED AT 125.00 PER HOUR **
 
 
*  All sales will be charged applicable sales tax & a shipping/handling fee
*  Payment for services is required in advance.
*  Pay for 11 months of service and get the 12th month free.
** Discounts on labor are available if purchased in blocks of time in advance.

Ask about our other services

Secure Remote Backup Service
E-Commerce Web Hosting, Secure Shopping Cart System
Application Hosting Service
 

 

 

If you have any other questions please contact:

North American Technology
2645 North Cole Road, Suite B
Boise, Idaho 83704

208-323-8194
 Click here to send us an e-mail   

 

 

 
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©North American Technology, LLC All Rights Reserved

Last Updated on 05/02/06

Created by: Harold Hegerhorst
North American Technology LLC 

"Your Technology Partner"
 www.northamtech.com


 

 

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