Secure Copy (SCP) are a safe and efficient way to transfer files over a network. Although it was initially developed in a Unix environment, SCP would eventually find its way into many other operating systems.
Today we will be looking at the Microsoft Windows variants of SCP. If you are wondering what you would need an SCP application for, or what they do, then this article will outline all of the most important aspects of SCP.
Why Use SCP?
SCP’s main feature is its security – It allows for encrypted file transfers through the Secure Shell protocol (SSH) using any of these SSH Clients.
Other protocols that don’t create an encrypted link between hosts before beginning a file transfer are more vulnerable to interception and interference by Packet sniffers and scanners that might be on your network or over the internet.
Another great benefit of using SCP as opposed to any other regular transfer method is the speed benefit depending on certain network conditions. If setup correctly, you can expect better transfer times which means less time waiting for files to finish copying.
But if you have servers and systems that require you to use other protocols like FTP and TFTP then you can find this functionality in some SCP applications too.
If you need to copy things over networks that are not secure, such as the internet, then SFTP or SCP are ideal.
Not having control over who can access your connection is an inherent risk of using the internet. The protocols that you use should have a secure layer integrated into them when you copy data between remote nodes. This applies to both the internet and networks.
Generally speaking, SCP is used to transfer files via a medium that isn’t secure. For example, if you’re looking to transfer files across the internet, SCP would be a good choice.
The reason is that the internet can be accessed by anyone so it’s a good idea to pick a protocol with inbuilt security. In this scenario, less secure protocols like TFTP would be unsuitable because they could be accessed by unauthorized users.
SCP is also used across a wide variety of devices as a means of delivering updates such as firmware and configs such as network switches, wireless access points and even IoT devices. With some scripting you can deploy these updates across your network without taking up too much time manually putting in the work per device.
Here’s the Best SCP Servers of [date]:
SolarWinds make a variety of monitoring tools for maintaining network stability, network administration and communications. They have also made a free SFTP and SCP app for easy file transfers called the SFTP/SCP Server.
There is a file size limit on transfers up to 4GB for simultaneous transactions. This is generally enough for standard file transfers when copying over files to devices on a production network.
This application lets you upload configurations to devices as well as copying files.
It has a simple interface that is easy to use, which means that almost anyone can use it to transfer files without needing to have too much technical knowledge. There are plenty of options for you to enable for the most optimal copying conditions across the network.
You can also specify IP addresses on specific subnets so you can use the app to transfer files across your environment.
If you would like to try out SolarWinds SFTP/SCP Server for yourself then you can grab it from the link below. There is a free registration that you will need to complete before you can download it.
Pricing: This version is 100% Free to download.
2. BITVISE SSH SERVER
BitVise is a good looking program that operates elegantly and effectively for completing SCP and SFTP tasks. BitVise also has its own simple user management system built into it, so you can grant and revoke access to specific files and folders without needing to create new users in your operating system, which is quite useful.
File sizing varies between 4GB and 6GB when copying data with BitVise, which may or may not suit your specific requirements depending on how much remote copying you intend on doing. It isn’t a bad idea to have additional overhead when specifying your SCP tools in case the need arises later own for larger file support.
BitVise is security focused, which is good news for people that need to use the software in a secure corporate environment. If you have a computer or server that does not need to send files, but only receive them, then you can set that up. This helps to combat exfiltration and data loss. You can specify that the application can accept remote connections or not as well, which adds to the security of the device.
BitVise is more than a single function application though, as it has a whole host of extra features built into the platform. It is very secure with the way it is able to specify which commands can be run remotely, and its user management interface is also very easy to use. This is a great choice for a secure network that needs to transfer large file sizes and volumes.
If you would like to try it out for yourself then be sure to visit the website’s download section here.
Pricing: For full pricing information check out the Purchase section of the website here.
Not all applications need to be system resource hungry, and FreeSSHd takes this principle and runs with it. FreeSSHd is supremely light weight and works on the Microsoft Windows Operating System. This makes it an ideal candidate for deployment in most businesses because of the prevalence of Windows.
Another benefit of the application’s light weight operation is that you can use it on much older hardware, so that upgrading equipment is not necessary. Network performance is also very lightly affected during small to medium file transfers.
For the most part FreeSSHd will do exactly what you need it to thanks to its simple design, however most power users and advanced users might find its very basic interface a little lackluster and somewhat frustrating. But for the most part the clean design and easy use will mean that it is a good choice for most users.
The product itself hasn’t been updated in a very long time, so if you are concerned about any new vulnerabilities or exploits on the internet then you might want to try another application.
If you would like to try out this application then you can find the download page here.
The installation file is very small by today’s standards which fits in with the minimal system resource requirements of the application.
Pricing: The application is free to use, but not open source. If you wish to purchase the license to use the source you can purchase it from this link here. Pricing starts at $229 without the source code, and $389 with the source code respectively.
OpenSSH operates as an SSH server and as an SCP server too. By using OpenSSH together with SCP you have a secure copying platform to transfer files safely and effectively. This allows you to copy files between computers, servers, remote computers and any other device that supports these protocols. The application is another piece of software that doesn’t require too many system resources.
OpenSSH operates entirely from the terminal interface, meaning that the program doesn’t have any graphical user interface. This means that users need to familiarize themselves with the text commands of OpenSSH and SCP. Luckily the command list is not very complicated to understand, so once you have mastered the basics then you will be able to use the program with very few issues. A benefit of using applications such as this in text mode is that you can script and code automated processes to complete repetitive tasks such as backups.
But if the application has no intuitive user interface then how is it so popular? The answer is in the application’s security stack. OpenSSH uses a multitude of different encryption standards such as AES and RSA, giving you peace of mind when you are connecting over the internet. Even the authentication process is encrypted, meaning that no sniffers or scanners will be able to intercept your login requests.
If you think that OpenSSH and SCP is the right kind of solution for you then you can learn more about the applications from here.
Pricing: Free and Open Source
WinSCP is a free and award-winning file manager for remote copying and file transfers that has been downloaded 137 million times by users around the world. Because it is free it is usually quite a good choice for small to medium size businesses that don’t necessarily have the budget to but an enterprise grade software package that offers this kind of functionality.
WinSCP may be a little basic, but it has support for major protocols such as SCP, SFTP and FTP as well. What is great about this particular application is the fact that it operates with both a GUI and through the command line. This makes it that much more flexible and able to work under many more operational scenarios than a standard user-based program. Scripting and jobs are possible with the application thanks to the command line interface. This means that you can schedule and script backup operations, taking the human element out of your backup procedures.
WinSCP has a computer storage feature that lets you save the computers and servers that you have browsed to in the past. You can refer back to this list when you want to reconnect, saving you time. These are all very good features considering the fact that it is a free download. You can download it for free from here.
Pricing: WinSCP is free to use.
6. PRAGMA FORTRESS SSH SERVER
Pragman Fortress SSH Server is not the best-looking software tool out there, but for what it lacks in visuals it makes up for in sheer power and features. It offers users a huge choice range of protocols to use for file transfers such as SFP, SFTP and SSH. This makes it a good tool right out of the gate for file transfers and backups. The tool is also quite fast in terms of file transfers.
Thanks to all of the different built in functionality of this application, Pragma SSH finds itself being used in many different situations where SSH and SCP are required. Like with our previous application there is a choice between using the GUI and command line for added flexibility. The application is certified as secure with Department of Defense certification. It is also certified for use with Windows 2012, Windows 2008 R2 and Windows Vista.
The actual application itself is geared towards big businesses with multiple users. The application can be ramped up to support many different sites and computers or scaled back for smaller use. This is what makes the application popular with companies that use SAP and IBM servers.
Pricing: The pricing per license costs $799, and support costs an additional $159 per year. You can find out more from here.
CrushFTP is primarily recognized by some as an SFTP server with great functionality and performance in that department. However, what most people in that camp don’t realize is that it is also a competent SCP server as well. It has a striking user interface that is easy to navigate, and the menus are simple enough for most people o navigate without too much hassle.
CrushFTP is different to some of the other contenders in our SCP Server round up in that it is configured through a web interface. This is great for bigger businesses as the administration can be done remotely through a standard web browser, if access to the server has been configured correctly. The system runs essential protocols such as WebDav and HTTPS, as well as SCP. Security is also taken into consideration, and it runs secure enough for most enterprise grade companies that need to use it.
There are several different versions to choose from, depending on your specific requirements, so you can find the right price/feature balance for your department. It can be setup to run on probably the widest range of operating systems such as Microsoft Windows systems, OS X, Solaris, BSD, Unix or Linux OSes.
Pricing: Small business licenses start at $70, Professional ones start at $100 and site licenses start at $2000. You can find out more from here.
8. SFTP PLUS
SFTPPLUS is another good application that performs the expected operations such as SCP, SFTP, FTPS as well as HTTPS. It is a little simple when comparing it to some of the more SCP focused applications in our list. There are authorization optimizations that push this product towards an enterprise environment, which is a big plus if you are concerned about security. Other bonus features of this application are the fact that you can setup automation and triggers based on specific events.
Encryption is another big plus on the security front with SFTPPLUS, meaning that your data is safe while being transferred. Pricing is maybe one of the places where you might not be entirely satisfied with the product offering, considering the fact that there are some free applications in our round up. We will look at the pricing at the end of this description, but if you would like to skip ahead then you can look at the pricing page here.
Pricing: Server side transfer capabilities start at $1500, while cluster and auto scaling starts at $4020.
SMARTTY is an SSH application that that enables file and folder transfers via SCP transfers. As the name implies, this application is centered around text-based terminals. There are many robust features buried deep within the confines of this text-based application, but you will have to dig a bit deeper to find them.
SMARTTY is not entirely without advanced features as there is an integrated navigation bar. This makes it much easier to find your bearings when performing transfers and secure copies. There are some technical barriers with this particular application if you are not comfortable with typing out all of your commands without the assistance of a graphical user interface.
Pricing: This application is free and open source.
We hope you have found this round up useful and full of information that will help you to make the best decision when trying to find the best SCP application for your business. There are many surprising benefits to securely copying files to remote target PCs and devices, so ensuring that you have selected the right program for your specific requirements is essential.