Security vendor Tumbleweed has released a new tool for monitoring network File Transfer Protocol (FTP) connections, available as a free trial download.

The FTP Analyzer will appeal to anyone who wants to monitor FTP activity in and out of their network, possibly, the company said, for reasons of compliance.

Working as a Java-based FTP packet sniffer, the analyser can track overall FTP traffic, which files have been transferred, and which servers within the network are doing the lifting work.

Most important of all, it can track insecure and unauthorised as well as secure FTP channels. The compliance issue is carried out through the generation of a 2-page report, detailing all activity.

"FTP by itself does not provide mechanisms for management, monitoring, security or process control. Any device that can detect, monitor and analyse FTP usage can help organisations identify their unmanaged FTP - an important first step in securing and managing file transmissions,"said Gartner’s L. Frank Kenney.

The software can be set up to perform scans at scheduled points in time, generating regular reports that the company promises will be readable to a non-technical user.

The company’s own press release continued: "The use of unmanaged FTP to share sensitive data continues to put organisations at risk. Internet FTP usage is widespread, often insecure, and leaves company data exposed and vulnerable. In many instances, organisations are unaware of the FTP traffic taking place within their IT environments."

Tumbleweed’s description of it as "free" is slightly disingenuous. It is free to download – as are many software products nowadays - but only for a trial period of 30 days. Anyone wanting to continue using it will have to persuade Tumbleweed to let them do so - and take the hit of the inevitable sales email.

The download request form can be found on the company website.

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