Understanding EDI Protocols

March 10, 2020
Lynne Berg

Communication protocols allow for two machines to communicate with each other. In other words, it’s the method you use to send and receive your EDI or other formatted documents. You can use any valid protocol for your EDI. However, you’ll typically need to use the same protocol as your partner, so most often companies that have trade documents with multiple agencies need to support multiple types of protocols.


The most popular EDI protocols currently are:

FTP: File Transfer Protocol is a basic network protocol used to exchange files over the internet. It uses a client-server architecture, typically secured with SSL or TLS. It does not decrypt data, which can be a security issue.

SFTP: Secure File Transfer Protocol (also known as SSH File Transfer Protocol) is a network protocol that provides file access, file transfer and file management over any reliable data stream.  Unlike standard FTP, the data is first encrypted at the source and then decrypted at the destination before being processed, providing a higher level of security.

AS2: developed for secure transmission of files over the internet. It is a reliable messaging system that uses HTTP or HTTPS technology to transfer data. In addition, it adds another layer of security as it requires both parties to exchange an SSL certificate to initiate data transfer.

HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol is an unsecured client/server protocol that quickly transfers data over the internet. It can be used for any type of file but it is most commonly used for web pages and components.

HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure includes SSL/TLS protocol and provides encryption using a signed certificate, providing a higher level of security. It is often used for banking transaction and exchange of sensitive information.

One protocol is not inherently better than another but will have pros and cons depending on your specific scenario. Data Communication Solution (DCS) EDI Specialists are well versed on various EDI protocols and industries and can help guide you to the right choice. To learn more contact DCS today!


Data Communication Solutions

If you’re looking for an EDI partner with a decades-long record of helping businesses succeed, look no further than DCS. Since 1991, our team of experienced and knowledgeable EDI specialists has been providing services such as developmentmanaged servicessupport, and training for a variety of EDI systems and industries. Check out our list of clients to see the hundreds of companies we’ve worked with and consider reading some of our case studies to learn how we help organizations find the best EDI solutions. To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today!