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How to Use Microsoft Access Database Remotely?

Many organizations rely on line of business (LOB) applications written in Microsoft Access. In many cases, these applications use on-premises databases for their backend operations. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to marshal their workforces remotely, accessing these resources became challenging. Thankfully, the recent developments in cloud computing technology have helped in minimizing disruptions to accessing critical resources. In this article, let us explore the options for remote use of Microsoft Access databases.

What Are the Ways to Share Access Data?

There are different ways in which Access databases can be shared depending upon factors such as network environment, throughput, latency, the size of the database, peak usage times, and expected growth rates. Here is an overview of the techniques used for sharing Access databases.

Sharing A Single Access Database

The simplest option for sharing an Access database is to store the database file on a shared network drive. Multiple users can access the database file simultaneously. This option works when there no need to customize the design of the database and only a few users need to access it. The limitation of this method is that it could affect performance, and is less secure, especially for remote operations as it relies on using Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.

Sharing A Split Access Database

By splitting an Access database into two files, one a back-end database with the data tables, and the other a front-end database with objects such as queries, forms, and reports, each user interacts with a local copy of the front-end database. This setup is ideal for multi-user support not only because it minimizes the chances of back-end database corruption, but also improves development flexibility. This method is better suited for remote access as changes can be made in the front-end database locally while pointing to the shared database.

Sharing Access Data on A SharePoint Site

Users can either link Access data with SharePoint or move it to a SharePoint site. When data is moved from Access to SharePoint sites that can be accessed remotely, lists that are linked to tables in the Access database are generated. By linking SharePoint with Access, users can run queries and generate reports without creating duplicate content.

While this method allows users to save an Access database file to OneDrive or a SharePoint document library, it is not recommended because multiple copies of the database could be generated if more than one person opens it resulting in unexpected behaviors.

Sharing Access Data with Database Server

Accessing Access data by using a database server is the most flexible option available for sharing. Similar to splitting the Access database, this method involves the use of separate front-end and back-end databases. However, a dedicated database server product, such as SQL Server is used in the back end. This not only overcomes the 2 GB limit on the Access databases, but also adds features such as the ability to add user accounts and selective access to data, automatic recoverability, improved data availability, scalability, and reliability, and integrated data management tools. Most importantly, this deployment can be a cloud-native solution with the front-end Access application installed on globally accessible virtual machines, and the back-end database implemented with Azure SQL Server that offers dynamic scalability with no downtime, intelligent optimization, global scalability, and availability, zero hardware costs, and reduced administration.

Apps4Rent Provides Microsoft Hosting Services

Regardless of the database architecture, cloud hosting is the most efficient method for accessing Access databases remotely. It improves security, availability, and performance. As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP with over 18 years of experience in providing hosting services, Apps4Rent can help businesses deploy Microsoft Access on managed servers in our top tier SSAE 16 certified data centers in New York and New Jersey or Azure. Contact our Microsoft Access virtualization consultants, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for assistance.

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