5 Drawbacks and Limitations of Microsoft Office 365 Hosting

Is your company on the fence about whether it’s time to switch to Office 365 hosting service? If so, you are not alone. Many businesses are mulling of the pros and cons of Office 365 to determine if making the switch is the right option for their specific business.

At first glance, the subscription-based platform Microsoft 365 certainly seems to have a lot to offer, such as continuous updates and low subscription fees. However, Office 365 is not without its drawbacks. Below is a look at the top five drawbacks of Microsoft 365 hosting that you should consider carefully before making your decision.

1. Data Privacy

One of the biggest drawbacks of Microsoft 365 is the lack of data privacy. Microsoft has certainly gone out of its way to create a very secure platform that provides a high level of data protection. It does, however, take the control of maintaining and monitoring data security out of your hands and into the hands of Microsoft. For many companies, this obstacle is too great to overcome and it even may go against company or governmental regulations, which makes Office 365 an unrealistic option.

2. Cost Efficiency

Office 365 offers some very low initial subscriptions plan rates. This may sound like a great deal, but there’s more to consider. First, this initial low-cost plan is very limited and likely will not provide all the services and capabilities your business requires, even if you operate a small business. In order to have the types of services your business needs, you can expect the rates to be much higher.  Even more troubling is the lack of support that Microsoft includes in their hosting packages.  You have to solve the problems yourself using their Office 365 community which is filled with both correct and wrong answers.  Microsoft almost expects you to hire or have a knowledgeable IT person in your company to manage the Office 365 service. In the end, you could end up spending a lot more with Office 365.

3. Less Flexibility

Since Office 365 is created for a wide range of customers, it does not offer the same level of flexibility. This lack of flexibility can make it more difficult, or even impossible, for your business to customize these services to meet the unique demands of your business. It is crucial that you take a close look at the various features that Office 365 offers to ensure that it offers everything you need to continue meeting the needs of your business’s day-to-day operations.

4. More Limitation

Another major drawback is the limitations that come with Office 365. Perhaps the most alarming limitation is that the platform limits the amount of emails you can send and receive on any given day. It also limits how long you can retain and archive older emails. This could be a major problem for companies that send or receive a large volume of emails on a daily basis, as well as companies that require email to be saved for a long period of time.

5. Loss of Control

Companies that are overburdened with maintaining Office data may find it refreshing to have Microsoft control management and security. However, this level of control does not come without drawbacks. You will find that Microsoft has set up a series of safety and management regulations. These restrictions could interfere with your company’s daily activities. For example, Microsoft does not allow the importation of XML files. If your company uses these types of files on any basis, it may be impossible to switch to Office 365.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before deciding if you should switch to Office 365 or not. Managed Microsoft hosting services may be the perfect alternative for your business. Hosting companies such as Access Hosting offer low-cost services that provide a greater level of flexibility and customization to ensure your platform meets the specific needs of your business.

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How to Connect Microsoft Access to QuickBooks

QuickBooks is an accounting application that many individuals and small business owners use to manage their finances. It allows you to maintain a variety of database files such as customer contact information, budgets and inventory records.

Microsoft Access, on the other hand, is a broader database application, which can store everything from mailing lists to financial data and everything in between. While many users enjoy the convenient financial tracking that QuickBooks provides, they also like the flexibility and advanced query options that Microsoft Access offers.

The good news is that you can merge these two different applications. This allows you to record your financial and business records efficiently, while still being able to create a variety of queries for analytical purposes.

In order to connect Microsoft Access to QuickBooks, you will need to use an ODBC driver like QODBC. While this driver does not import files from or into these applications, it does allow Microsoft Access users to view their QuickBook files externally.

You will still be able to be able to create all the tables, queries, reports, modules and macros using data stored in your QuickBook files, just as you would your files stored in Microsoft Access. Data within these files is updated instantly whether you are working in QuickBook or Microsoft Access.

The process for connecting Microsoft Access and QuickBooks is fairly easy and can be completed within just a few minutes. Below is a look at the seven steps you need to take to connect these two applications.


  1. Start by opening up your Microsoft Access application. You can do this by clicking the Start button on your desktop, selecting Microsoft Office and choosing Microsoft Access. Select the Blank Access Database Click the OK button.
  2. A default name will appear in the File Name Feel free to edit the name of the file to better meet your specific needs. This name cannot match any other file name within your Microsoft Access database. When you are done, click the Create button.
  3. Click the New tab at the top of the box.
  4. The Microsoft Access database wizard box will appear. Select Link Table. Click the OK
  5. Locate the Files of Type box at the bottom of the screen. Use the drop down box to change the Files of Type from Microsoft Access to ODBC Databases.
  6. The Select Data Source box will appear. Select QuickBook Data or another DSN Data Source you set up with your QODBC driver. Click on the OK
  7. The Link Table will appear, which lists all the tables from QuickBook that you can now access with Microsoft Access. Select all the QuickBook tables you want to connect to Microsoft Office. Click the OK

You will now be able to view all your QuickBook tables in Microsoft Access. It is important to note that this process technically does not import your QuickBook files into Microsoft Access. Instead, Microsoft Access will open these external files through the QODBC driver.

This allows changes to be updated instantly whether you are working in QuickBooks or in Microsoft Access. This creates fewer errors and ensures your records stay up to date at all times.

If you create a table in QuickBooks, you will need to repeat steps one through seven to make sure these new files are connected to your Microsoft Access.

Posted in Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Access 2016, quickbooks hosting, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Hosting | Leave a comment

What’s New in SharePoint 2016


SharePoint has come a long way since its inception in 2001. Whether your business adopted SharePoint and the Office Suite from the beginning, or you are brand new to this collaboration tool, the changes in 2016 can help your business use resources to their fullest. See what’s new to increase your workforce mobility and your document management efficiency.

Hybrid Deployments

One often-difficult business decision is whether to use on-site and cloud deployments. The easy solution is a hybrid of the two, and SharePoint 2016 offers a hybrid model. Instead of only having access to on-site or cloud servers, several hybrid deployments allow you to access sites and documents regardless of where they are stored.

Hybrid Search

Hybrid Search is a new option that searches content across both on-site and online sources for a complete Office 365 experience. This replaces the necessity to be logged in to the source at the time it’s needed and opens up a more consolidated search.

OneDrive Redirection

OneDrive Redirection integrates a OneDrive button into the navigation bar. When it or the Sites button is selected, users are redirected to Office 365 seamlessly.

Hybrid Team Sites

Hybrid Team Sites allow you to follow in one place. In conjunction with OneDrive redirection, your team sites are accessible, and you can link to Exchange Online and Delve.

Apps and App Launcher

As business becomes even more mobile, the ability to access information on the go is a necessity. SharePoint 2016 not only has a new, user-friendly look, it also has corresponding apps for all your employees’ iOS, Android and Windows devices.

In addition to the SharePoint app itself, configuring hybrid team sites or hybrid OneDrive enables users to see their app tiles within SharePoint. The App Launcher then allows linking to the appropriate location, whether it’s on-site or online.

Touch-Friendly Interface

If your team carries tablets, you’ll appreciate the new responsive user interface. To provide a seamless experience, SharePoint 2016 has a fresh, clean look that adapts to screen size and optimizes for your devices. It also integrates Delve and Office Graph with activity streams, recommendations and top links for user convenience.

Other Improvements

Although the following features aren’t necessarily new, they are improvements on the existing features from 2013 and before. They work hand-in-hand with the new emphasis on speed, mobility and access to create a friendlier user experience.

Upload Larger Files

Previously, file size was limited to 2 GB, but now, file size is unlimited. However, you may experience timing out if the files are greater than 10 GB.

Sharing Improvements

The invitation mail has been improved with one-click approval or denial of requests. There is also increased visibility of who the file has been shared with and when it was viewed, and this 2016 version includes sharing hints and the ability to create and share folders.

Faster Site Creation Time

After configuring PowerShell, sites can be created in one second rather than the 40 seconds in SharePoint 2013.

Better Durable Links

If files are moved or renamed, durable links ensure that users can still access the files they need.

Creation and collaboration of documents and projects have never been easier or more in demand. With these improvements and new features, SharePoint 2016 can help your business reach the next level of success.

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5 Reasons Why Microsoft Access Schools Quickbooks

You have many choices for your business accounting needs, and Quickbooks frequently comes up in conversation. However, that doesn’t necessary make it perfect for your organization. Microsoft Access gives you a Quickbooks alternative with five compelling reasons to add it to your technology stack.


1. Intuitive for Microsoft Office Users

How long do you want to wait for end users to get up to speed on new software? Every minute they spend in training takes away from the time they could devote to critical business tasks. Microsoft Access offers a familiar interface that helps cut down on the learning curve. Plus, you gain deep integration with the Microsoft Office software suite, so if you’re already using these applications extensively, Access makes the most sense. Excel users, in particular, get a lot out of pulling their spreadsheet data into an Access database.

2. Highly Customizable

Quickbooks is good at its primary function, but when your needs change and go outside of these parameters, you run into trouble. Microsoft Access offers a flexible database that adapts to your current business environment rather than making you build workflows held back by application limitations. Many companies want more agility to respond to new changes in their industry, especially in quickly changing sectors.

If you have to switch out to new solutions every time you go through a market disruption, you end up in a perpetual deployment cycle and the associated decrease in productivity. Access empowers your organization with tools that can address many possible scenarios, whether you predict them or not. Countless industries evolve overnight due to high-tech startups, so being on your toes and ready to shift with the tides is an essential part of doing business.

3. Strong Network

Microsoft Access is used by millions globally, which creates a robust ecosystem of consultants, developers and other professionals with significant experience working with this tool. You can find a specialist offering deep familiarity with Microsoft Access if you don’t already have the necessary expertise available in house. Deployment is a breeze when you have experienced help guiding you along your path. Online Deployment for Web Databases is even easier with Access Hosting’s plans. You also have extensive access to training materials, should you want to invest in skills development for your own staff.

4. Extensive Third-Party Integration

Modern business infrastructure calls for organization-wide integration. Both Quickbooks and Access offer this feature, but Access ends up with more options due to its broad applications. Most of Quickbooks’ integrations revolve around accounting tie-ins, while Access finds its way into many software categories and business sectors.

5. Macro Creation

You don’t want to waste man hours on repetitive tasks. Access opens up macros for your end users, which can drastically increase overall productivity. Your staff gets to focus on high-value tasks that require their knowledge and skills, rather than going through a painful manual process. The macros you create are highly customized to your company’s workflow, rather than following a pre-set function that uses its own task list.

Ultimately, you have to choose the system that makes the most sense for your company. If you only foresee yourself having basic accounting needs, Quickbooks is a fine option. However, should you develop more complex requirements or a desire to branch out into a fully customized system for your organization, Microsoft Access delivers a flexible and powerful tool to create this foundation.

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Access has been added to the Office 365 roadmap

I was happy to discover that Microsoft has added Access to the Office 365 Roadmap.  That means they are actually working on new features for the Office 365 program that often feels forgotten.



Access Developers and users have two new features to look forward to:

dBase File support

DBF files were originally used in dBase II and continued through to dBase Version IV. The DBF file format originated by Ashton-Tate, but is understood by Act!, Clipper,FoxPro, Arago, Wordtech, xBase, and similar database ordatabase-related products.

dBase has evolved into a modern object oriented language that runs on 32 bit Windows. It can be used to build a wide variety of applications including web apps hosted on a Windows server, Windows rich client applications, and middleware applications. dBase can access most modern database engines via ODBC drivers. DOS versions can still run on the latest Windows/Linux machines using the Virtual Machine (VM)DOSbox, or the later variant dbDOS. In 2015, dBase, LLC. introduced a set of new utilities called dbfUtils. The utilities include: dbfExport(TM) to export data from .dbf files to CSV, Microsoft(R) Excel, and XML, dbfImport(TM) allows users to import CSV, Microsoft(R) Excel, and XML files into a .dbf. dbfCompare(TM) allows 2 .dbf tables to compare differences and gives an easy way to synchronize tables. Finally the new dbfInspect(TM) allows users to deep-dive into the .dbf files and their contents.

dBase features an IDE with a Command Window and Navigator, a just-in-time compiler, a preprocessor, a virtual-machine interpreter, a linker for creating dBase application .EXEs, a freely available runtime engine, and numerous two-way GUI design tools including a Form Designer, Report Designer, Menu Designer, Label Designer, Datamodule Designer, SQL Query Designer, and Table Designer. Two-way Tools refers to the ability to switch back and forth between using a GUI design tool and the source code editor. Other tools include a Source Code Editor, a Project Manager that simplifies building and deploying a dBase application, and an integrated Debugger. dBase features structured exception handling and has many built-in classes that can be subclassed via single inheritance. There are visual classes, data classes, and many other supporting classes. Visual classes include Form, SubForm, Notebook, Container, Entryfield, RadioButton, SpinBox, ComboBox, ListBox, PushButton, Image, Grid, ScrollBar, ActiveX, Report, ReportViewer, Text, TextLabel and many others. Database classes include Session, Database, Query, Rowset, Field, StoredProc and Datamodule classes. Other classes include File, String, Math, Array, Date, Exception, Object and others. dBase objects can be dynamically subclassed by adding new properties to them at runtime.

BigInt datatype Support

As SQL server has evolved to support 64Bit architecture, it has also become increasingly common to run into BigInt as a primary key. The problem was that if you connected to such a SQL database in MS Access 2016, that large number was displayed as a text string instead of a number.  Native support removes the need to use clumsy workarounds and relieves a huge pain point for Access developers.

It’s nice to see Access evolve and be able to more easily connect with a external databases.

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Top 10 Reasons to Move Your Access Database to the Cloud

The cloud is a fast, convenient technology suitable for modern businesses and consumers. You simply get faster time to market. It’s not a surprise 90 percent of businesses already utilizing the cloud in some way.

If you haven’t already, consider moving your access database to the cloud. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should.  Remember that Access Hosting offers great web database hosting solutions for small businesses.

1. Unmatched Storage Flexibility

Most businesses have growing or changing needs, and they need data services with flexibility. Access Hosting’s Cloud capacity can easily be scaled up by drawing on other servers (or scaled down). With such capabilities, cloud computing has a distinct advantage. Perhaps that’s why IT experts rank “operational agility” as a top reason for increased cloud adoption.

2. Collaboration Capabilities

As companies move increasingly online, it’s vital for employees to still be able to collaborate on projects. Access Hosting’s private cloud provides users the ability to access, edit and share files from virtually anywhere — which helps increase productivity. For instance, if you choose to build an MS Access Web Database that integrates with Excel, you can secure and manage access to data, and choose what to share within the organization with our Windows Terminal Servers.

3. Lower Costs

Cloud computing takes out the cost of hardware, and most employ a pay-as-you-go or subscription-based model. While spending on cloud services is projected to reach $240 billion in 2017, services are getting cheaper and more efficient. That’s why large-scale adoption is taking place. Access Hosting has plans starting at only $19/month to get your database in the cloud.

4. Constant Worldwide Access

Think about this: Lost laptops cost companies tons of money, with estimates in the billions of dollars. If an employee is storing work just on his computer, that work is lost if something happens to the computer. If the work had been stored in the cloud, it would still  be accessible from another device – our RDP hosting plans even let you access and run your MS Access Database from iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.

5. Competitiveness

Moving your database to the cloud does many things to make you more competitive, from increasing team communication and productivity to reducing expenses. Furthermore, having all that data in one place gives decision-makers a comprehensive view of what’s happening, making it easier to dig through and choose directions that will benefit the business.

6. Strong Security

The cloud helps prepare businesses for disaster, as it is a timely data backup built to consistently ward off the latest cyber-security threats. If something like a server crash happens with your MS Access database, a dedicated IT team from your hosting service is already there to deal with the issue, and you’ll be running your business again in no time.

7. Instant Publication

The cloud is popular because of its ability to show changes and updates instantaneously. For example, if you are using MS Access and have chosen an efficient MS Access hosting service, you can publish data to SharePoint within minutes. This boosts team productivity and makes it easier to get new products and updates to your customers.

8. Automatic Updates

There are two main advantages to automatic updates from cloud computing providers: One, you save time, which saves your company money; and two, you don’t need to bring in an IT expert to install the update, which again saves you time and money. With most services, installing updates is very straightforward. If you use Quickbooks to handle accounting, for instance, updating is just a support ticket away.

9. Environmentally Friendly

Companies have a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint. Cloud computing does use its fair share of energy, but it leaves less waste. According to a Scientific American report, consolidating documents on remote servers is more energy efficient than saving them on personal computers.

10. Easy Integration

Many employees may have trouble understanding the cloud, but most reliable providers do one thing well: They make it very user-friendly. Hence, moving your database to the cloud is usually a seamless process that doesn’t waste resources.

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Download the Access 2016 Runtime

The Microsoft Access 2016 runtime has been released.

The wait is over for Access 2016 Runtime. Here are the download links for the last 4 versions of the MS Access Runtime environment. Remember that you can use these runtime packages to deploy Access Applications free of charge. They make a great low cost solution for putting legacy Access applications on the internet, the iPad, and most Android devices WITHOUT the hassle and expense of conversion using our Remote Desktop Hosting and SQL 2012 Hosting Plans.

Access 2016 Runtime Download

Access 2013 Runtime Download

Access 2010 Runtime Download

Access 2007 Runtime Download

Remote Desktop Hosting Plan Free Trial

SQL 2012 Hosting Plan Free Trial


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Learn about the Differences Between MS Access and QuickBooks

When your business is growing, you need to keep regular track of your finances. Microsoft Access and QuickBooks are two programs that can help you achieve this, but which system will work best for you? You want to make the right choice to fulfill your business needs while saving time. Discover the key differences between these two data management programs to help you choose.

Customization Capabilities

Both Microsoft Access and QuickBooks are useful for collecting and managing data, especially for accounting. Both programs are also available in different formats to accommodate business size, but they differ in customization capabilities.

Small businesses often find QuickBooks to be a simple tool to manage their financial transactions. Alternatively, Microsoft Access is a more robust database management system that allows its users to build and develop applications unique to their business needs. It allows users to customize databases and templates and automate apps without the need of a developer.

There are even times when a MS Access database solution needs to integrate with Quickbooks and pull in financial data.

Ramp-Up Time

The time it takes to learn a system can affect a company’s productivity. If your business is implementing tools that require extensive research to use, then you have to assess whether it’s worth using that tool. QuickBooks is a popular accounting tool many small businesses use because it’s a simple accounting software tool to get started with when you have only a few business transactions to track.

On the other hand, Microsoft Access can be complex for some businesses starting out because of the knowledge required to use some of the functions and the time it takes to acquire this knowledge. For example, if a user wants to automatically sync his apps to the cloud, he must understand SQL compatibility formats. If he doesn’t understand how to convert his applications to a format that is compatible with SQL, then he’ll need to learn SQL or outsource the job. Luckily for you, Access Hosting has this expertise and can make this process easy for you.

Limitations on Users

Both Microsoft Access and QuickBooks have a multi-user support team, but the programs differ in how many people can use the system concurrently. For example, QuickBooks is limited to 30 users, as of 2016, while Microsoft Access can handle more than 200 users at a time on an enterprise level or with an Access Hosting dedicated machine.

Cloud Capabilities

Both Microsoft Access and QuickBooks offer cloud-based versions of their software programs, but these cloud capabilities are limited to the size of the business. For example, QuickBooks does not offer cloud-supported software for its enterprise level edition.  Access Hosting is here to help you every step of the way as you move your data into the cloud and has a variety of solutions built around MS Access and Quickbooks. Private Cloud  hosting is becoming a necessity for many businesses as the need to store data online keeps growing.

Posted in Access 2003, Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Access 2016, quickbooks hosting | Leave a comment

Consider These 5 Key Factors Before Your Next SaaS Product Purchase

Investing in Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, products can help grow your business through efficiency. However, you may want to consider several factors before making a commitment. Learn five key factors to consider before buying SaaS products, including business needs, cost, service terms, the ability to negotiate and security.

Business Needs

One of the first factors to think of when buying SaaS products is whether the item fits the needs of your business. You can achieve this by making sure your IT strategy and the goals for your enterprise are aligned. Defining your business needs will serve as a guide to determining what features and functionalities you need. This can be a dashboard that shows reports clearly at the top of your web browser or features, such as templates and notifications, that automate to improve enterprise operations. The features you ultimately choose should simplify work rather than make it complicated.


Cost is a pain point for small businesses. SaaS products offer a lower-cost option that on-premise data centers. Using Access Hosting to host your Windows Server, Web Database Application, or Collaborate using Microsoft Office 365 is way more affordable than purchasing your own hardware. However, you don’t want to be blinded by price baits only to be faced with any surprise expenses, such as rising monthly subscription fees – that is why Access Hosting plans are month to month and let you cancel at any time. Get a clear picture of what to expect when it comes to the price of the SaaS product you are considering. If you are offered a trial subscription, find out when it ends and the set roll-to price. Inquire about add-on fees and pricing structure, such as per-user fees, license fees and subscription fees.

Service Terms

When you are considering your next SaaS purchase, you want to make sure that the service terms are agreeable. You also want to ensure the product will be available when you need it the most. The service terms can discuss service level agreement to determine availability as well. Make sure the terms of service, including the vendor’s security policy, are also well-documented.

Flexibility in Negotiation

If you like the support a SaaS vendor brings but can’t seem to find the product that’s right for you, then you may want to consider if terms or the actual product is negotiable. Discuss customization options with a sales representative to see if there is a package or service they can offer you that aligns with your business needs. You also want to make sure your vendor has flexibility with negotiating terms regarding service level so that you can get reliable service that takes hours rather than days to fix should a problem arise.


Any information that is personally identifiable can be at risk if a data breach occurs. Hackers can use their social engineering and doxing skills to find pertinent information, such as phone numbers and emails, and pose as an employee. That is why you want to consider a SaaS product’s security. Take care to assess the safety of your data with any SaaS vendor you are considering before purchasing its products.

Have a checklist of questions prepared to make sure you’re asking the right questions. You can even create a ranking system by using a standardized information-gathering or SIG questionnaire to determine if one security feature is more important than another. Consider SaaS products that routinely back up data and have encryption options available. Get to know the procedure for disaster recovery and information security control coverage.

Final Thoughts

Investing your company’s hard-earned profits in SaaS products should not be taken lightly. By considering the needs of the business, the price of the product, its service terms, security and whether you can negotiate any of these factors, you can buy the right SaaS for your business with confidence. Access Hosting is confident that we can build a cloud solution perfect for your business and database application.

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8 Benefits of Using Collaborative Software in the Cloud

Cloud technology was a global phenomenon just a few years ago, but it is now integral part of business operations. The cloud has been particularly helpful to companies that use collaborative software like Microsoft Office, specifically Excel and Access, as it allows for safe, quick and encrypted access to potentially sensitive data — from anywhere in the world.

If you are contemplating moving your collaborative software to the cloud, there are eight very clear benefits of doing so.

1. Reduced Hardware Costs

The cost of purchasing and installing sophisticated IT systems can be considerable, particularly for startups and small businesses. But using the remote servers of a cloud provider like Access Hosting means companies and relatively small organizations can bypass these costs and save money. There is no systems maintenance or management cost, but just a fixed monthly subscription that makes financial planning simple.

2. Reliable Security Features

The use of collaborative software can pose significant security problems. Several users all accessing and sharing the same data via different devices is a situation with inherent risk. But cloud storage providers offer protection from all the latest viruses and malware. And depending on the provider, there may be the option of two-factor authentication at login. Most cloud providers offer automatic updates, which means businesses don’t need to pay IT specialists to update several physical servers and devices with the latest protection.

3. Remote Working

This brave new world of cloud computing is making the traditional office environment increasingly obsolete. Users with access to collaborative software in the cloud can view, share and update files from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. That means you can collaborate in MS Access, Excel or even Quickbooks without having to physically be in the office. This can reduce costs, improve staff morale and boost productivity levels.

4. Reduced Operational Costs

Most businesses have fluctuating bandwidth costs, so there’s often a need to scale up and scale down capacity at short notice. Cloud storage allows businesses to pay for only the capacity they need, rather than wasting cash on excess storage and bandwidth.

5. Seamless Collaboration

The success of collaborative software — such as the many packages developed by Microsoft Office 365- relies on the ability to share, view and edit files in real time. Any updates made to files in cloud storage are immediately available to all users, so they’re able to make their own contributions in the knowledge that they have the latest information at hand. Best of all, our terminal services collaboration plans allow for developers to leave their MS Access Database as-is and move it into the cloud seamlessly.

6. Cost-Effective Disaster Recovery

Every business needs to prepare for the worst when it comes to data storage. A man-made or natural disaster has the potential to wipe out a business’s data in seconds, so having a plan to continually back up data — and restore lost data — is essential. However, this can be a complex and costly process, and it can put a huge financial and administrative strain on small organizations. Collaborative software in the cloud usually includes disaster recovery measures, saving businesses time and money.  Access Hosting takes daily backups of our architecture and you can add individual file backups for as little as $20/month.

7. Improved Competitiveness

Small businesses often struggle to compete financially with their larger competitors. Collaborative software in the cloud can level the playing field in this respect. Cloud computing is cheaper than installing and maintaining physical IT infrastructure, which makes it possible for smaller organizations to be competitive within their industries.

8. Restricted Access Based on Security Clearance

In an organization with hundreds of employees, it is inevitable that certain people will need to access sensitive files that aren’t for general consumption. Providers of cloud-based collaborative software offer varying levels of user access, so sensitive data remains private.

Cloud technology gives businesses flexibility, reliability and simplicity — and cuts the cost of doing business. This is why more and more organizations are transferring their collaborative software to the cloud.

Posted in Amazon Web Services, blog, quickbooks hosting, Remote Desktop Hosting, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016, SQL Hosting, SQL Server 2012, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 | Leave a comment

Getting Started with an Access Wep App in Sharepoint

Note : This article is written for an Access 2013 web app using Access Hosting’s Sharepoint 2013 Enterprise plan, you will need Access 2013+ and this subscription configured for Access services.

Access 2013 introduced a new way to make a database available in the browser, called the Access Web App. This first article focuses the general features and points for consideration when developing your Access database.

With the release of Access 2013, you can create now create two different types of database applications, the first is the traditional desktop database. This has traditionally been called an Access database and consists of one or more files stored on your computer, network, or remote server with Access or the Access runtime installed so that you can open and operate these databases.

The second type of database application you can create is called a 2013 web app (not to be confused with the Sharepoint 2010 Web Database). These Web Apps can only reside within Sharepoint 2013 Enterprise or newer.  They are not created and do not reside on your local computer.

No need to publish design changes!

A web app is cleverly designed so that everything is hosted on Access Hosting’s private cloud, so while you are using a desktop copy of Access to work on changing your design, all the changes you make once saved are automatically saved up to our Sharepoint solution. This means that there is no publishing process, but it also means that you can’t easily undo your changes (or mistakes). Keeping a backup of your own work is very important, but Access Hosting also backs up your entire site collection (not just the web app) every night so we can restore your entire site from a major blunder.

Your web app can be placed in your personal folder in Office 365, or created in a Team Site/Subsite. Team Site/Subsites allow for you to both collaborate with other licensed users and what are known as external users. An external user is someone with a FREE Microsoft Online account (easily obtained), and you are allowed between 500/10,000 external users depending on your subscription.

Access Web Apps run in your Browser

Access Web Apps run in your browser. This is where most of your users will interact with your application. Web Apps do not have the same robust design features as traditional desktop based applications.  When designing a web app you will find yourself switching between your installed copy of Access on your desktop computer and the runtime browser window.  You’ll have to have Access installed on your computer to make changes and design the Sharepoint Web App, but will often want to reload your browser to see your changes take effect and to visualize the end user experience.

Simplified Design Tools

The MS Access interface used to design web apps is very different than the traditional design tool so you will need to spend some time getting used to the new interface. It is relatively simple and offers standard form views and formats to get an Access web app up and running quickly in Sharepoint.

Tables and Lookups

When designing an Access Web App, it helps to forget everything you already know about designing a traditional ms access desktop database application.

Web Apps do not have the customization options and power of a traditional access application (if you have a powerful Access application developed for the desktop, you can look at our Remote Desktop hosting which lets you leave your robust database application or custom software as-is while you move it to our private cloud). Don’t worry though, your ms access database still stores data in tables. In an Access web app, you can easily jump from table to table using the navigation included on the left pane of the browser.  Tables can be re-ordered, hidden, have the captions changed and a graphical icon changed. This acts as the primary method of navigating between parts of your application.

access web apps table view

You relate your tables together using a lookup. For those familiar with desktop databases then think of a web app lookup as a combination of desktop lookups and table relationships. There is no place in the web app to view all the lookups together, these are managed individually as part of the table design process.

Once tables are linked by lookups, Access will automatically create views of the data which link the data together using the lookups. For example in an order processing system, an order will have a lookup to a list of products in that order. Access will then automatically create a view including a list of related orders for each product.

If you don’t use lookups, then you will miss out Access saving you time by the process creating views of your data automatically. Once you have these different views of your data, you will find that some of them are exceptionally useful for viewing data from a different perspective. If you find something that you don’t like, you can remove it that view from the web app.

anatomy of an access web app

Views for displaying your data

When you select a table, then on the top right of the main screen area next to the table selector is the View Selector for the chosen table. Microsoft Access will automatically create a List (Details) View and Datasheet View (Big Excel Sheet). You can then add to, remove, re-order, re-title and change the views.

Easy Data Search

access web app search

The default List View comes with a built in search bar feature. By default, your web app will search every field for whatever you type in. Once again, Access does all the hard work for you.

Restrictions on Primary Keys

A web app only supports one kind of primary key which is an auto-incrementing number (this is similar to the Autonumber data type found in a traditional desktop database and the Access Web Services 2010 primary key restrictions). The key field will automatically be named ID, but you can rename it.

Working with Existing Data

Access has great features for importing data, but you should note that upgrading a database to a Web App is very much starting from scratch; You can import your data into your web app, but you will have to design all your views, reports, forms, and other functionality from scratch (mainly because web apps can’t do everything that a desktop database can).  Before you try an import an existing desktop database, make sure that you change your desktop database so that every table has an autonumber primary key, and every foreign key is a long integer. If you don’t do this then you will run into problems.

Certain legacy data types are not supported, and those fields will not be imported. OLE Objects and Attachments are not supported. Instead there is a new Image data type which supports .gif, .jfif, .jpe, .jpeg, .jpg, or .png formats (notice that the bmp format is not supported).

If you have data in Attachments or OLE Objects, then these will need to be extracted and held outside the database in separate files, the exception is for supported image formats in

Data stored in SQL

The web app data is held in a SQL database on Access Hosting’s servers, these are automatically managed as part of your Subscription and hosting plan. You can create as many web apps as you like with our plan and are only restricted by storage (which can be upgraded at any time).

Programming Macros

To program a web app you use macros (VBA is not supported!). There are two different kinds of macros. User Interface macros manage how a user interacts with you application interface. Data macros are used to perform operations on your data.

Connecting your Web App to a Desktop Database

While Access Web Apps DO NOT support VBA programming or provide a browser based reporting capability, you can use the Access Desktop application to link to your data online to perform more complicated actions. You can quickly and easily connect to your Access Hosting Web App to create reports and more.  Check out this tutorial and video on how to use this feature.

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How to Decrypt a MS Access Database

As a reminder, it is critical that you remember your password  — if you forget your password, there is no method by which it can be retrieved.

Step 1: Select the Microsoft access database file that you want to open and choose Open Exclusive.

Open encrypted access database

Step 2: Once you select the encrypted access database and are ready to open it in Microsoft Access. A dialog would pop up to ask for database open password.

Step 3: Type database password in Enter database password box. Click OK.


Step 4: Remove a password from a database

When you remove a password from a database, you can restore it at any time (or replace it with another password) by repeating the steps in our post about How to Encrypt an Access Database.

Go to the File->Info section and select Decrypt Database.

decrypt ms access database online

After prompting you for the current password one last time, all encryption will be removed and your database will no longer require a password to open.

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How to Encrypt an Access Database

If you are using our Remote Desktop Hosting to host your database and you want increased security, you may want to consider protecting and encrypting your MS Access database with a password.  If you know the password for an encrypted database, you can also decrypt the database and remove its password. This article explains how to encrypt a database by using a database password, and how to decrypt a database and remove its password.

In earlier versions of Access, you could create user accounts and passwords using a feature called user-level security. This topic does not discuss user-level security, which is not available when you use the .accdb file format.

If you encrypt a database and then lose the password, you will be unable to use the database. You cannot remove a database password if you do not know the password. Access Hosting cannot recover or decrypt an Access Database on our servers without your database password.

How to Encrypt an MS Access Database File

This is a process of setting a password to encrypt access database, restricting access to Access database.

Step 1: When access database file is open in Microsoft Access, tab File > Info.

Encrypt Password location in Access 2010

Encrypt with Password location in Access 2010

Encrypt Access 2016 database

Encrypt with Password Location in Access 2016 is the same place

Step 2: Click Encrypt with Password button under the info tab for the database.


Sometimes, maybe you will receive a message to ask you to open the access database with Open Exclusive mode at first, otherwise you cannot encrypt database. When this happens, click OK and follow the prompting message.

Step 3: In Set Database Password dialog, enter a powerful complex password in the Password box and type it again in the Verify box. Click OK to finish MS access database encryption.encrypt-access-database-with-password


Remember that this is an optional and additional security feature for our Remote Desktop Hosting services and blocks access to your database even from our own support technicians.  If you forget this encryption password, Access Hosting cannot decrypt or restore your database.  If you have any further questions about this feature, please open a support ticket at http://support.accesshosting.com

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Announcing Quickbooks Hosting options and integrations

Quickbooks Hosting

We are currently hard at work on some exciting new hosting options including QuickBooks  Hosting in our private cloud.  We are going to build out and extend our Remote Desktop hosting options beyond Office 365 and into a full-featured QuickBooks Desktop at anytime, from anywhere. Increase collaboration and flexibility in a secure, fully-managed environment.  We are currently in the final stages of testing with some hand-selected clients who were looking for this feature and would be happy to notify you as soon as it is a widely available.  If you are interested in hosting your quickbooks application alongside your Access database and Microsoft Office, please provide your email address below:

Get Notified when this new feature is available:

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Here is a quick list of features and benefits to using our hosted Quickbooks solution.

Multiple QuickBooks Hosting Versions

Run any number of full-featured, desktop QuickBooks editions or versions from QuickBooks 2013 Pro to QuickBooks 2016 Enterprise. Use additional versions of QuickBooks at no extra charge.

Full-Featured Desktop QuickBooks

Access the full features of the desktop versions of QuickBooks from anywhere.

Multi-User Access

Have multiple users access the same QuickBooks company file at the same time. A business user and their CPA can be in the same file at the same time.

Multiple QuickBooks File Access

Access multiple QuickBooks company files from a single log-on, all within your hosted desktop. You can work with multiple company files for the price of just one user login.

Save Time

With a hosted desktop by Access Hosting, you are able to access your files from anywhere at anytime. There is no more waiting for clients to send their files. Instead, you are able to share the files from your computer, no matter where you or your clients are located.

Increased Security

Access Hosting handles all of the server management. Your data and applications are stored in SSAE-16 compliant, top-tier data centers. Fully-clustered server redundancy, encrypted communication, encrypted backups, firewall protections help to secure your data and applications against natural disasters. Rather than keeping your servers in house, our server management increases your data security.

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Microsoft Access Explained: Reports

Reports are the primary means by which you print information from your cloud database for use by company personnel and clients. You can certainly format and print in datasheet view directly from a specific form or table, but the best way to print and summarize large sets of data from multiple places in your database is through the use of a visually appealing report.

Reports are the best way to create a printed copy of information that is extracted or calculated from data in your database. Reports have two principal advantages over other methods of printing data. First, reports can compare, summarize, subtotal and total large sets of data. And secondly, reports can be created to produce attractive invoices, purchase orders, mailing labels, presentation materials and other output you need to efficiently conduct business.

When designing a report you are able to group data and present each group separately by defining separate headers and footers for each group. You can also perform complex calculations within a group or across several groups. As with other items in Microsoft Access, you can embed pictures of charts in any section of a report. You can also embed subreports, which are particularly useful for showing related details or totals of the records that make up specific rows of your report.

All of these functions can be set up in the design view of a report, but because reports are primarily used for printing hard copies of your databases essential information the primary view used to work with reports is the print preview view.

Remember that for Access 2013 Web Apps, Reports have to exist in the Microsoft Access client so anyone who wants to view them will need an Access Frontend installed on their computer and connected to Sharepoint 2013.  Access 2010 Web Databases offer browser-based reporting features with the powerful hybrid application.  All client based reporing works in our RDP hosting environment.

Being able to print attractive reports is an essential component of Microsoft Access and will benefit your company greatly. This way you can provide hard copies of essential information, which has been drawn safely and accurately from your company’s web database. Check back in with Access Hosting for more information on all the Microsoft Access web database software can do for you and your business.


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Microsoft Access Explained: Queries

Queries are used to sort or filter data and display data from more than one table at a time. Although you can certainly build forms and reports that get their data directly from tables, most the time you will want to aggregate data from a number of tables at one time.

There are two basic types of queries within Microsoft Access.

A selection query takes information from the tables and queries in your database. When you define and run a select query Microsoft Access creates a recordset of the selected data. In most cases, you can work with a recordset in the same way that you would with the table or form. You can browse through it, select information from it, print it and even update data within it. Unlike a real item, a recordset doesn’t actually exist in your database. Microsoft Access creates the recordset from the data in the source tables of your query at the time you run the action and provides you with a readout of the desired information from your web or cloud database.

Action queries insert, update or delete data. These queries will be essential when learning how to work within web databases. However, it is important to understand the basic functions of queries and how they operate within simple databases because all the techniques you use for working with a single table apply equally to more complex multiple table queries and all action queries will in fact begin as simple selection queries. Action queries can be used to archive data that is no longer essential to your cloud database, so that, if the data ever becomes relevant again, the record can be easily recalled.

Within design view, you will notice that queries possess a few specific visual signifiers that you may not be familiar with as of yet. The first is the asterisk (*) symbol. At the top of each field list in the upper part of the query window is an asterisk. This symbol is shorthand for selecting all the fields in the table or query with one entry on the field line. You can simply add the astrisk to the design grid to include all the fields from a list, or you can use the check boxes seen in the show row to indicate the fields that will be included in your recordset.

Next is the exclamation point (!) symbol. This symbol can be seen in most of the query commands pictured in the ribbon, and simply serves to remind you that a query must be run before it can create a recordset based on the design stipulations. When you begin to work with queries it is important that you identify the run command located in the ribbon within the query group.

Queries are the best way to focus on the specific data you need for the task at hand. You’ll also find the queries are useful for providing choices for combo and list boxes, which makes entering data in your database much easier.

For more information on running queries and other basic functions of Microsoft Access check back with the Access Hosting blog or contact Access Hosting customer support for immediate assistance with issues concerning your cloud database.

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Microsoft Access Explained: Forms

Forms are the primary means by which Microsoft Access allows users to review the data within your database. Forms serve several functions. Although they can simply be a means to change and input data into your database just like tables, forms are usually bound to an underlying table or query.

The primary function of forms is to present information in a customizable and easily understood manner. You can set options in a form that make all or part of your data read-only, fill in related information from other tables automatically, calculate values to be displayed, or show and hide data depending on the settings selected by a user. Remember that there are forms that will only work within the Access desktop client and then specific web compatible forms (Access 2010 Web Databases) and Web App forms (Access 2013 Web Apps) that offer less functionality but work with Sharepoint Hosting environments.

You can design forms that work with macros to automate the display of certain data or the sequence of certain actions. You can create special controls on your form, called command buttons, which run a macro or a basic visual procedure when a user clicks them. With these commands you can open other forms, run queries or data macros, restrict the data that is displayed, execute commands from the ribbon, display customized ribbons, print records, or perform a host of other actions.

You can also display messages on forms. Microsoft Access provides a MessageBox macro action and basic visual function that you can use to display information, warnings, or error messages. Although you will inevitably design and use reports to print most information about your relational databases, the ability to print with custom messages on forms is sometimes more desirable. Also, you can specify one set of options when Microsoft Access displays a form and another set of options when Access prints a form, so a form can serve a dual role. For example, you might design a form with two sets of headers and footers, one set for entering an order and another set for printing a customer invoice from the order.

To create a form, simply open the desired table, click on the create tab and find the forms group in the center of the ribbon.

At first the form might look a lot like a regular table, but if you enter design view you can see that it provides a many things that are unavailable in table design. Its structure is broken into three parts: header, footer, and detail.

Headers and footers are common features in forms, but the detail section is the most important. This is the part that is repeated for each record in our tables. To change the properties of the fields (which fall under the details bar) right click your chosen field and find the properties command. This will open up a property sheet on the right side of the screen. From here you can see all of the properties you can control with Microsoft Access, for whatever your selection type may be. You can also view the properties of the entire form by entering the properties command of the entire form. Here you can change the text that appears in the header of your form, as well as several of the more advanced properties.

Experiment with forms and you will quickly begin to realize all the benefits this aspect of Microsoft Access can contribute, and don’t forget to check back in with Access Hosting for more helpful hints about all that Microsoft Access can do for your business! Please feel free to experiment with any of our 30-day free trials.

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Microsoft Access Explained: Creating Items and The Wizard

To create a any new item in Microsoft Access, simply open the desired item from the navigation pane, click on the create tab in the ribbon, and find the appropriate group from the selections in black lettering at the bottom. Within each group there are four main ways of creating a new item.

The first is the basic command. This allows you to create a new form, table, query or report, and allows you to enter information for one record at a time. The next is the design command. This command opens the new item in design view and allows you to layout the new item in exactly the way that you want by adding controls and restrictions or tweaking the properties of the new item. Then there is the blank command, which gives you a completely blank version of the new item and allows you to begin working completely from scratch.

Finally, there is the Wizard. It’s a very helpful way of creating new items in Microsoft Access.

The Wizard is a command that allows you to create a new item from a series of dialog boxes. The first dialog will give you a list of all the available fields within the table that you can provide. To select a field simply highlight the name on the left side of the dialog and click the right arrow button to move the selected item over into the selected fields category. After clicking the next command at the bottom right of the dialogue box, you are given a choice of layouts. From there, you can name your new item and you choose to modify its design.

To change the properties of the fields, right click your chosen field and find the properties command. This will open up a property sheet on the right side of the screen. From here you can see all of the properties you can control with Microsoft Access, for whatever your selection type may be. If you were looking at a text box you would be able to see the name and the control source. There are also more common commands such as text align or font color or size.

Finally, you should also be aware of the navigation command within the groups under the create tab. This will allow you to control the front end of your database and what users are allowed to do with in your web database’s parameters.

Check back in with Access Hosting for more valuable information about how to optimize your Microsoft Access experience, get the most out of your company’s information, and better serve your business! Remember that we offer free trials and recommendations on how to get your MS Access database on the web.


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Microsoft Access Explained: Tables

Tables are the basic building blocks of any database. They are defined by a collection of rows and columns that separate the data into individual fields. When you open Microsoft Access for the first time it will give you a blank desktop and will automatically open a dummy table. The dummy table is simply a blank datasheet that will serve as the foundation for any database you will create.

After values of a few key fields are entered, you should be ready to begin to input data as short text or number values and create a basic datasheet.

When working in Microsoft Access there are three views from which to manipulate the information in the tables that make up your database: form view, layout view, and design view. To change views simply click on the view command in the ribbon and select your view from the drop down menu.

Form view is ideal for entering or updating information, while layout view will give you a clear overview of all the information currently entered in the table. Design view is slightly more advanced, and will allow you to restrict the data in certain fields by adjusting the properties and datatype or renaming a field.

Designing your own table from scratch may be helpful in certain situations, but don’t forget to check out the pre-loaded table templates that the Access software provides to help save valuable time and gain a better understanding of how to build your own tables with design view.

To begin creating a new table the first step is to change the field names. In design view and you can define the parameters of the table by labeling specific fields with a name and matching them with the appropriate datatype from the dropdown menu on the right. There are many different choices for datatype but most likely it will either be a number, which appears as a long integer, or short text.

You may also notice that an ID field is automatically entered to correspond with each entry. This is a number that is automatically given to each specific field to stand as its unique identifier.

Although it is an option, you should never remove the ID field. The specific identifiers may never be seen by users interacting with your database but they are essential when building more complex relationships between databases.

Take notice of the primary key command in the top left of the ribbon. Be sure that the primary key is set to the ID field so that each field can be independently identified and always unique.

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Microsoft Access Explained: What is a database?

A database is any collection of files and records, gathered with a particular purpose in mind. Think about all the information that your business records in a given day. Information on customers, employees, sales and accounting are only a few of the most essential databases a business would need to build to thrive in a modern economy.

The basic building block of any database are tables, or a collection of rows and columns that separate the data into individual fields. These datasheets make up a basic desktop database.

Microsoft Access is some of the most advanced relational database management software available to the public. It allows you to take basic database capabilities to the next level by incorporating tools, which allow users to build relationships across multiple databases.

The navigation pane to the left of the main window in Microsoft Access will display all the objects in you current database. Using the navigation pane will allow you to move between different forms, tables, reports and queries you have incorporated within your relational database.

It’s important to have a basic understanding of databases so that you are able to communicates about any issues you may be having or hand down tasks to subordinates who maybe using Microsoft Access for the first time.

Check back in with the Access Hosting blog for more explanations the basics of Microsoft Access, and of course don’t forget about Access Hosting customer service for additional questions about database basics or other issues.

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