Password Protecting Your Access Data

If you’re using Microsoft Access to manage your mom-and-pop company’s data, then you’ll be impressed with the security that the Access password regimen provides. Select a password, and you can be confident that you’ll lock the bad guys out of your database. Access uses a proprietary formula to convert your password into a user key. The process is so secure that only the most sophisticated hacker would be able to break into a password-protected Access file without knowing the data

Your data is less secure, however, if you allow multiple people to access and change the data that you store. For example, if you’re using Access to manage the data needed to run a bookstore, you would probably set up different tables for different types of data. You would have a book master table, with one record for each book that you sell in your store. You would have a publisher table to keep track of which book publishers publish each title. You would need a distributor table to manage orders from the distributors who buy books from the publishers in large quantities and sell them to bookstores in much smaller quantities.
You would need to have a customer table so you can email and postal-mail advertising flyers to your clients. You might have a billing and collection system with its own tables to keep track of orders.

Unlike a mom-and-pop company where one or two people do all of the work, in the bookstore example you would have multiple people maintaining your data. Your billing manager, inventory manager, and customer support manager would all need to work with different parts of the Access database system that you have built. And that’s where the security problem arises.

While you can assign a strong password to your Access database, you can assign only one password. All of your people will use the same password to work with your data. If you hire good employees and keep them happy, then you shouldn’t have any password problems. But if you have people who are incompetent, then they have access to data that they may not understand. It’s possible that they can make changes to your database that they’re not authorized or experienced enough to make.

One way to keep employees from changing data that they are not authorized to change is to create front-end code for each employee. The front-end program would make it simple for employees to get to their information, and much more difficult for them to accidentally view or change information that they shouldn’t be working with.

Life becomes even more complicated when you have an unhappy employee who wants to corrupt your data. By knowing the password that all employees are using, they can find – and change – any data in your database.

  • Keeping your data secure requires training your employees properly.
  • Every worker needs to know the purpose of every table in the database.
  • And they have to respect the fact that different employees are responsible for different tables.

The more employees who share access to a database, the more important it is to back up your database regularly. Equally important is to have Access repair software installed on your server. DataNumen Access Repair is an application that works seamlessly with Access to identify, repair, and restore Access files that have been damaged.

Alan Chen is President and Chairman of DataNumen, Inc., whose data recovery technologies include Access repair and SQL recovery software products. For more information visit

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