Recently, we had a customer who needed to send us a copy of their data for evaluation. The copy was around 100 MB in size.
One option was to open our system to them, and then have them use FTP to transfer the file. This would mean increasing our risk exposure by allowing outside access to one of our servers. It also would mean using some of our bandwidth for an extended period of time while they transferred a large amount of data.
Instead, I walked this customer through creating a ZIP compressed archive of all of the information that they wanted to send. The archive ended up being about 10 MB in size. At this size, they were able to email us the file, and no security risk was incurred. Also, the use of our bandwidth was decreased by 90%.
There was an added benefit, in that because all of our email is scanned for viruses, the file that he sent was automatically check and determined to be virus free.
The required software to do this is already installed on many of the systems out there. By using ZIP archives to transfer data, not only is the amount of data that is required to be transferred reduced, the number of files is reduced, also. One archive can contain several to a large number of individual files, so there is only one file to have to worry about.