Microsoft Office 365 provides anywhere access to your familiar Office applications, email, calendar, video conferencing, and most up-to-date documents, across your devices – from PCs to smartphones to tablets. Choose to run it the way you want with enterprise-grade security, IT controls and flexible deployment options that let you run it on-premises, as a hosted service or as a hybrid of both.
However, even an enterprise-class productivity and hosting solution like Office 365 will not fully meet the Access web database needs of all customers. An On Premise or 3rd Party Hosted Access Services 2013 implementation helps provide focused, reliable solutions for the following common customer needs:
- Web Based Reports: SQL Server Reporting Services can be used to create reports and link them back into the menu structure of the web app. Access 2013 web databases use the browser as the primary interface to the client. This environment provides an excellent cross platform solution that allows users to participate without a copy of Access on their desktop and create/read/update/delete records in the database, but it lacks a mechanism for reporting on that data. With SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) you have the ability to deliver browser based reports to your users alongside the Access 2013 web database forms.
- Anonymous Access: With this feature enabled Access web databases can be viewed by an anonymous read-only user without requiring authentication. We recently had a customer looking to provide an up to date inventory of their video game and pinball machine inventory to their web site visitors. With Access Services 2013 and anonymous access enabled inside the SharePoint web application, web visitors could view the entire catalog of available games and pricing information without authenticating to SharePoint. This is a powerful feature for any organization that wants to make their product inventory visible to any web visitor, delivering the information quickly and seamlessly without complicating the end user experience.
- Full control of SQL Server security: Access 2012 allows for the automatic creation of 2 SQL Server user accounts, one with read-only privileges and another with read-write. While that is useful, some customers would like to extend this model to multiple user accounts. By creating multiple SQL logins via SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) you can create a much more complex security model for applications that want to leverage the Access 2013 web database information stored in SQL Server. Password complexity and aging requirements can also be enforced on these accounts.
- Full control of the network firewall: Many Access 2013 applications require extended security to comply with corporate or regulatory requirements. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) security requirements are a good example of this necessity. In a self-hosted or 3rd party hosted solution you have enough firewall configuration flexibility to lock down your entire database by imposing restrictions on the network perimeter based on TCP/IP address ranges, machine names, and network protocols. A combination of these restrictions can be imposed to address any security mandate.
- Render http links in the web browser control of an Access 2013 web database: The browser control is a powerful feature in Access 2013 web forms that allows you to call external resources into your application. Office 365 requires https for all external links which limits the use of browser based resources that do not support https. This restriction can be lifted in a self-hosted or 3rd party hosted configuration.
- Customized backup: You can create a backup rotation scheme in SQL 2012 for the Access Web Apps that mirrors the site collection backup routine in SharePoint. This allows for a synchronized full fidelity backup of the SharePoint site and the Web Apps with multiple restore points. We recently assisted a customer who required a complete snapshot of their SharePoint and Access Services environment to be available for rollback to 24/47/72/96 hour recovery points. In addition, the second and fourth snapshots needed to be available in a secondary data center in the event of a problem with the primary facility. All of this is easily accomplished in a hosted configuration where both the SharePoint and SQL Server environments are completely controlled by the hosting organization.
- Ability to change Access Services configuration parameters and SharePoint web application settings: When running Access Services 2010 alongside Access Services 2013 you maintain complete control of the SharePoint service parameters for Access Services. These parameters can be tuned to enhance the interaction between Access 2010 and SharePoint lists and eliminate the “List Threshold Exceeded” errors that can appear when using the default configuration settings and manipulating large tables. Full support for web based reporting in published Access 2010 Web Databases and permissive file handling for things like PDF can also be enabled when you have full control over the entire SharePoint Central Administration console.
More Questions ? Contact Us