Selecting the correct API for secure data transfer is critical. SOAP and REST APIs emerge as leading options, each with distinct features catering to security and architectural needs. Whether you prioritize the comprehensive security measures of SOAP or the simplicity and scalability of REST, both paths lead to the secure handling of sensitive information.

What is a SOAP API?

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is an API specification developed to help organizations transfer data throughout their corporate networks. SOAP APIs format data into XML and primarily communicate over HTTP but can use other protocols like SFTP or TCP. While SOAP was created in the 90s, it still offers significant extensibility because it gives administrators a large degree of control over how they can structure their messages.  

How are SOAP APIs Implemented?  

SOAP developers can use any programming language supported by web services to code their applications. Provided those applications follow SOAP’s guidelines, they will be able to send and receive messages independent of the communicating machines’ application language or operating system.   

In practice, SOAP APIs are used in millions of unique ways all across the internet. They allow users to create, update, delete, and recover sensitive data such as passwords, account information, and custom objects thousands of times per second.   

Of course, many of the above activities are accomplished through file transfer servers, which brings us back to MFT servers.  

Choosing Between SOAP and REST for MFT Servers  

SOAP API: Structured and Secure

  • Enhanced Security   
    • SOAP supports SSL for data protection, just like REST, but it also adds Web Services Security (WSS) protection. WSS gives senders additional security options to customize how aspects such as message integrity and sender authentication are handled.  
  • Protocol Flexibility  
    • SOAP APIs format messages into XML, allowing them to function across communication protocols such as simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP), transmission control protocol (TCP), and HTTP. This makes them ideal for situations where several clients may be making data requests across various protocols.  
  • Less Coding/Smaller Learning Curve 
    • When supporting complex MFT server operations, SOAP requires minimal coding in the application layer to execute transactions, security, and other commands. This makes SOAP’s learning curve more manageable than that of other APIs.  
  • Programming Language Flexibility  
    • SOAP APIs are compatible with any web programming language, which helps your MFT server be extensible to support future applications, environments, and staff skills.
  • Deliverability  
    • SOAP’s use of the standard HTTP protocol makes operating across proxies and firewalls easier without requiring modifications.  
  • Transaction Reliability   
    • SOAP’s use of HTTP allows for greater transaction reliability, assisting with ACID-compliant transactions in case of errors, power failures, or other mishaps occurring.  
  • Greater Extensibility  
    • Whip SOAP is approaching its 40th birthday; it remains a highly flexible choice for data transfer due to the fine-grained message and security control it gives developers. It can also communicate across any protocol your organization might use now or in the future.  

REST API: Simple and Scalable

  • Architectural Simplicity
    •  REST uses standard HTTP methods, making it straightforward and scalable.
  • Lightweight Communication
    • Favoring JSON over XML, REST APIs reduce bandwidth usage and simplify client-side handling.
  • Secure Data Transfer
    • While SOAP and REST use SSL for encryption, REST’s option for HTTPS adds an extra layer of security.
  • Broad Compatibility
    •  REST’s design aligns well with web services, making it a preferred choice for internet-facing applications.

Exploring secure file transfers with SOAP and REST APIs is just the start. As a part of Redwood Software, JSCAPE MFT Server offers a secure, scalable solution for midsize to enterprise companies. It supports any file, protocol, and platform, ensuring your infrastructure is ready for any challenge.

Learn how JSCAPE, a Redwood solution, can enhance your file transfer processes by visiting JSCAPE’s Managed File Transfer product page. Elevate your data exchange with JSCAPE’s comprehensive MFT capabilities, or to learn more about Cerberus FTP Server, visit