File Transfer Protocol
Frequently Asked Questions
The state email systems will accommodate messages under 20MB in total size. Attachments can grow somewhat when formatted for email transport, so the effective limit may actually be smaller than 20MB. Other email systems may have smaller message size limits. One alternative for moving larger volumes of data is to use an FTP server as an intermediate transfer point.
FTP offering by ETS
The server ftp.state.ak.us permits only "anonymous" access. To authenticate use the userid: anonymous and password of your email address.There are two directories to which you can upload files once you have authenticated.
--NOTE you must change to one of these directories to save any file!:
/transfer: Files uploaded here will be visible to the entire internet. It is polite to delete your files manually once a transfer is complete, in order to vacate limited space for use by others and reduce clutter, but any content left here more than 24 hours will be deleted. Be aware that anyone can read files put here -- if it's confidential -- DONT PUT IT HERE without first encrypting it.
/incoming: This directory makes use of a "blind" security feature -- you will not be able to list (see) files that you upload to this directory. The files are still there, but in order to download them, you have to first know the exact name of the file (CASE SpECiFIc!). Any content left here more than a week will be deleted.
Hints & Comments:
- The ftp service is provided free of charge as a courtesy. ETS liability is limited to a refund.
- Copying complete directory structures can be problematic, is wasteful of resources, time, bandwidth, and simply poor form. Please ZIP multiple directories and/or files into one for efficient transport. Name the file without using spaces or special characters to reduce retrieval problems.
- Confidential data should be encrypted using gpg or a similar tool. The recipient will require a compatible decryption tool and a shared decryption key sent separate from the data.
- Since email message sizes are limited by most email systems (20MB in enterprise email), this service can be easily used for the transfer of large files that cannot be sent via email. You can upload a file to ftp.state.ak.us and then use email to send an appropriate link using one if the URL formats below.
Downloading files from either one of these directories can be accomplished using a simple URL in the form:
- ftp://anonymous:firstname.lastname@example.org/transfer/<filename> -- the file and directgory names are case-specific
- Omitting the filename will present a directory of files and directories within the /transfer directory.
- ftp://anonymous:email@example.com/incoming/<filename> -- the file and directory names are case-specific
Authenticated ftp accounts are available for specific business requirements, usually for automated processes with business partners which cannot support other mechanisms. Their use of clear-text passwords constitute a violation of security policy.
Authenticated accounts on an ftps server are available for specific business requirements, usually for automated processes with business partners which will not support other mechanisms. The practice of encrypting a transport path while not encrypting data storage is false security. GPG and anonymous transfer is recommended.
The state mainframe also provides ftps client functionality to anywhere, and ftps server within the state WAN.