As of April 2016, the European Parliament and Council adopted a new legislation that will replace, in May 2018, the old personal data protection law for European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EAA) residents. The new regulation is called The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The purpose of the new legislation is to protect the personal data of the EU and EAA residents by imposing rules to the organizations which hold or process the data within or outside of Europe. The companies from the United Kingdom are also affected (even after the Brexit). In case of a breach, the sanctions include warnings and can lead to high fines.

The SFTPPlus team offers services to the clients from the EU, EAA and the rest of the world. In this article, we would like to share and clarify how the new legislation can affect the file transfer operations in a company and how SFTPPlus MFT helps our customers comply with the regulations.


General Data Protection Regulation and File Transfers

To start, the key areas described in the regulation and affecting the data transfer operations inside an organization include:

  • Data portability and how open standards are required to achieve compliance.
  • Data protection, storage and the encryption at rest of the data.
  • Authentication and data access control, and the purpose of audit logging.

Let's review step-by-step the list above and outline how exactly SFTPPlus MFT Client and Server addresses the technical areas of GDPR compliance.

Data Portability

Article 20 GDPR covers data portability concerns and the importance of access to one's own data. File transfer technology should not imply any limitations or requirements on the format of data or the access to services providing such data.

SFTPPlus MFT was designed to address the data portability concerns. Our product uses open and standard file transfer protocols like SFTP, FTPS, and HTTP(S). All the data sent over a connection using these protocols is first encrypted using public and private cryptographic keys. The security layer is taking care of all the communication exchanged between your computer and SFTPPlus.

The open and standard technology respects the GDPR requirements and guarantees long-term support and consistent integration with the existing infrastructure. Using the SFTPPlus MFT web interface one can enable or disable multiple services within the same installation where the end-users benefit from user-friendly web portal for downloading and uploading files directly from their browsers or mobile phones.

Data Protection and Security of Processing

The data protection by design and by default is described in the Article 25 and the security of processing of the personal data is part of the Article 32. The two outline procedures for secure storage and secure access to personal data for processing at a later stage.

By using the SFTPPlus managed file transfer Client and Server organizations can automate the distribution and the synchronization of the data with full encryption support. For a better data protection in the age of cloud services, SFTPPlus can be configured to encrypt the data using local encryption keys before sending it remotely, just as described in the ENISA report (Privacy and Data Protection by Design).

The SFTPPlus MFT pre- and post-processing functionality and the external program execution support are particularly relevant here. These two simplify and make the deployments much easier for complex operations like the decryption of the data before the transfer and the encryption of the data after the transfer. It also works with both, the custom encryption/decryption solutions and the standard GPG tools.


General Data Protection Regulation also addresses the audit and reporting concerns. The Article 30 does not refer directly to the transfer of the data, but it focuses on the tracking and the maintenance of persistent data operations activity log. This information can be required by the supervisory authority on request and is a GDPR requirement.

We cover the audit logging and reporting requirements in the SFTPPlus MFT. Our product integrates with the MySQL and SQLite databases to provide custom filtering, export, and integration with external reporting tools. The web-based administration panel offers a simple and user-friendly interface to browse the logs, which is essential for the internal research in case of an incident.

The authentication and the data access control are also easier with our product. SFTPPlus provides multiple authentication methods, from virtual users to system accounts and remote account databases like LDAP.


At first, the General Data Protection Regulation might look intimidating and complex to understand, but with more than 10 years in the secure managed file transfer services, we are ready to help!

Our clients work with personal data on a daily basis and use our products in various industries: government agencies, the financial sector, healthcare and other PHI processing organizations. And while we know we can not change the compliance process, we are confident we can speed up the process for your organization by using our technology.

Try SFTPPlus MFT and reach faster GDPR compliance now!