Organizations often have numerous departments and employees of all skill sets using the same CRM. In Salesforce, transferring data and files from an external location can be complicated, especially when dealing with confidential information.

An SFTP is an excellent solution for securing data transfers. Here is a step-by-step guide on Salesforce SFTP integration. 

Here are five key takeaways:

  • SFTP is a client-server protocol to transfer files and data securely. While beneficial for many use cases, it is vital when transferring any sensitive data, such as health records.
  • For data migration, SFTP is the golden standard. To limit errors, invest in tools to streamline the integration process. 
  • Data breaches are on the rise as more people and organizations fall victim. Data security is no longer an option — it’s a requirement. 
  • Take the proper steps before you migrate data, ensuring you organize and cleanse data while prioritizing a secure transfer. SFTP is the solution here.
  • Data pipelines and ETL streamline this process, enabling you to establish an automated and secure data flow.

Table of contents

  1. What is SFTP?
  2. Data Migration
  3. Why Should You Use an SFTP When Migrating Data to Salesforce?
  4. Things to Consider Before Migrating Data
  5. How SFTP's Secure Your Integration
  6. Setting Up an SFTP Server
  7. Data Pipelines and ETL's
  8. Setting up Your Data Pipeline

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What Is SFTP?

SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is a client-server protocol designed alongside Secure Shell (SSH) for greater web security. 

SFTP does exactly what the acronym states — it is a way to transfer files across a network securely. This protocol is usually more secure than FTP (File Transfer Protocol) because SFTP encrypts commands and files before traveling over a network connection.

The protocol does not contain built-in authentication mechanisms; users must rely on SSH keys or passwords to authenticate themselves when transferring data between servers.

Some popular transfers that would benefit from SFTP transfers include transferring Salesforce data to Amazon Redshift, using an ETL solution such as to transfer data to Snowflake, and moving Salesforce data to Google BigQuery.

Secure FTP is useful in many situations and applications, primarily when sensitive data is a concern  — and is especially effective when migrating data to and from different programs, computers, and software. One of the most significant uses for SFTP is when aiming to comply with standards like the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA), which protect health information. 

Data Migration

Storing data in multiple places can limit an organization's strategic planning and optimization success — and the consequences can be costly. For example, data shows employees lose 12 hours a week chasing siloed data. From a lack of shared insights to wasted time and money, these data silos are problematic. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. 

Data migration can be a game-changer. For example, migrating data into one location, such as Salesforce, can help decision-makers make quicker and more informed decisions.

A centralized company data repository is advantageous because it ensures all departments access the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, allowing for data-driven insights.

Data migration is done by checking multiple folders for changes and manually inputting this information or through automation with third-party tools.

Using software can help limit errors and streamline the integration processes. However, you must implement best practices, such as developing a data governance plan and monitoring integrations. A tool like offers the best of both worlds, offering a great integration experience while helping you achieve best practices. 

Why Should You Use an SFTP When Migrating Data to Salesforce?

Using a Secure File Transfer Protocol is essential when dealing with confidential information. Data shows that while 2021 was the year of the breach, 2022 wasn’t far behind. There were a total of 1802 compromises, down from 1862.

The bad news? 

The number of victims skyrocketed from 294 million in 2021 to 422 million in 2022. Some of the biggest breaches were Twitter, Neopats, and AT&T.

These figures exemplify the importance of maximizing security, especially when vital information is vulnerable, such as moving and migrating data. File transfers expose data to higher risks than static data because when data is in the transferring process, it risks data interception from hackers or unintended recipients.

Organizations using Salesforce data, whether it be information about customers or subscribers, often have highly sensitive information stored within the software. So, transferring to and from Salesforce must be cautiously approached. SFTP is crucial in this data transferring and migrating process, and with the right planning, it can be rather seamless. For example, Salesforce offers the option to classify sensitive data based on your data management policies. 

If this applies to you, configure and use SFTP activities in your Salesforce Marketing Cloud account. You will require SFTP when you import data from the SFTP server, export information over 5 MB, export from the application database to the SFTP server, etc. 

Things to Consider Before Migrating Data

Before starting a data migration, there are some essential things to consider, some of which will be dependent on your organization and associated use cases. Salesforce offers best practices to follow. For example, after you identify the data to migrate, create templates, populate them, and prepare the destination org. 

At the very least, before you migrate any data, be sure to address the following steps:

1. Organize the data

First, the data is organized and will be easily understood after the migration. If data is disorganized and difficult to understand, errors will likely occur when using software such as Microsoft Power BI.

2. Cleanse the data 

When importing a data source or information from multiple locations, cleansing before the data integration is very important. This process involves finding and removing errors to ensure your data is correct and of the highest quality. 

3. Ensure the transfer is secure

As discussed, ensuring real-time data is secure is very important when dealing with confidential information. The previous two steps won’t matter much if your data is hacked. For some businesses, this could lead to a tarnished reputation or worse — legal action. If you haven’t already, it’s recommended that you develop a data security policy

The best way to secure the transfer is by using an SFTP to Salesforce.

How SFTP Secures the Integration

When you export data, SFTP protects the integration process by providing secure connections and limiting errors.

To protect "man-in-the-middle" attacks, SFTP manages public key authentication via one of its various protocols and ensures encryption on all transmissions.

When installing an SFTP on a new system, that system will automatically gain protection with no extra steps.

Setting up an SFTP Server

SFTP transfers files securely over an open network, using the same encryption as SSL/TLS (secure sockets layers).

When using an SFTP, no one can intercept the information while it's being transferred from place to place and read its contents. 

There are two main ways to set up an SFTP Server.

  • Build it manually
  • Use a managed cloud service

To manually build an SFTP server, using a Linux machine is a recommended solution. When Using a Linux machine, manually creating accounts, passwords, and public keys and assigning various permissions will occur.

If using Windows servers, using 3rd party software such as Filezilla SFTP Server or WinSCP will be required.

However, cloud-based solutions may be a more suitable option for individuals who may not be as familiar with the server interface and processes.

One of the best options is using AWS Transfer for STFP. AWS Transfer provides access to Amazon's S3 platform, which is industry-leading in multiple areas.

After configuring the STFP server, the server must be connected before transferring files. 

Various commands are required to transfer from local machines to remote servers and vice versa. Here is a list of commands you may need to know. 

Once the server is established, a data pipeline can help expedite the transfer process into Salesforce.

Data Pipelines and ETL

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When integrating systems with Salesforce, a data pipeline can expedite the transfer. If the data transfer happens from multiple locations, having a data pipeline can save countless work hours and minimize errors. 

Data pipelines can be complicated if using manual integrations. However, third-party software and ETL tools can help streamline the process. has a drag-and-drop solution that allows employees with varying technical expertise to operate and organize data pipelines.

To utilize ETL in the data-transferring process, connections need to be created on both ends. Since the connection with the STFP server has been established, the connection with Salesforce must be secured.

If you are looking for the proper steps to set up your sales force connection with, discover more here: Create a Salesforce ETL Pipeline in 30 Minutes.

Transfer Data From SFTP to Salesforce With

To securely transfer data into Salesforce, having an STFP server is one of the best ways to limit breaches and data hacks. When transferring data from SFTP to Salesforce, multiple steps exist.

  • The first step is to ensure that the data for transfer is as organized as possible.
  • The second step is to set up a data pipeline and implement third-party software that cleans the data during transfer. can seamlessly connect to SFTP servers and provide a data pipeline that is a simple-to-use, drag-and-drop solution. In fact, you can fetch data from nearly any source via’s REST API connector. By connecting Salesforce and SFTP, you can sync data and create secure, automated workflows. works directly with Salesforce and can solve your data transferring problems without the hassle of manual coding or hiring a dev team. Whether you are troubleshooting an SFTP ETL issue, have questions about an SFTP client, or want to know more about ETL functionality, take advantage of 24/7 support

Interested in getting started? Access your demo today!