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FAQs - Access Hosting

Frequently Asked Questions By Those Considering Switching To Us For Their Access Hosting

 

It is important when considering using a company for access hosting that you feel comfortable with their quality of service. Below are the most commonly asked questions we experience when people are thinking of using us.  Don’t forget you can chat to us at any time by getting in touch, we will gladly help.

 

 

General Questions

How does cloud hosted Access work?

Cloud hosted Access users a technology called Microsoft Remote Desktop Services.  This enables multiple users to connect to one computer across a network to run an application.  The network includes the internet.   The application runs remotely the keyboard and mouse clicks go one way and the screen changes go the other.

Would my cloud hosted Access application work in the same way as it does on a PC?

Yes, exactly the same.   No changes are needed to the application or code to run on a remote desktop.   It may be necessary to use Linked Table Manager if the location of Access back-end files is different.

For users of the application it will appear identical to it running on a PC.

How fast is Access when hosted in the cloud?

The Access application will work as fast or faster than it does on a normal PC or network. 

Does Microsoft Access have a long-term future?

Yes, although Access is considered a “legacy” application in that it runs on a desktop rather than online (unless hosted with us), Microsoft have no plans to end support for Access and have stated their commitment to it long term.   There are millions of businesses and individuals using Access based applications and there isn’t yet a viable cloud-based alternative that provides the same level of flexibility and coding options.

Can I run hosted Access applications in a web browser?

Yes, when you host Access with Your Office Anywhere you can connect using a number of different methods, one of which is running Access in a web browser.

Technical Questions

Do I need fast broadband to run Access in the cloud?

No, Access hosting is very light weight as far as internet usage is concerned.   The only data travelling up the connection is your keyboard and mouse clicks, and then the screen changes the other way.   Access hosting will work with connections as poor as 0.5mbps but something around 2mpbs or higher will give the best experience.

Do I need Microsoft Access licences to host an Access database application?

If you save the front-end of the database application in a format that prevents users from changing the code, forms, queries etc. for example saving as .accde then you can use the Access Runtime licence which is free.

We recommend all customers have a minimum of one full Access licence in order to support and maintain the application, and to do tasks like Compact and Repair.   We can rent Access licences under the Service Provider Licence Agreement (SPLA), or we can use Enterprise plans of Microsoft 365 licences.

Can I use Microsoft 365 aka Office 365 licences for Access?

Yes, although you will need an Enterprise plan which has the Shared Computer Activation feature such as Microsoft Apps for Enterprise, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Office 365 E3 or E5, or non-profit equivalents

What is the maximum number of users for Access hosting?

From a hosting point of view there is theoretically no limit.   Access itself is limited to 256 connections.  Realistically, if you are looking for more than about 50 – 100 users then we would recommend upgrading the back-end of the database to SQL Express or SQL Standard to get better performance and better management of record locking.

Does the Access front-end reside on end user’s PCs or on the remote desktop server?

The front-end and the back-end of the database both reside on the remote desktop server.  Nothing runs on the user’s PC.  This ensures excellent performance and prevents any data corruption or errors if a user’s internet connection drops out temporarily.

Can I have different Access front-end files for each user?

Yes, the best practice method when using remote desktop servers is to give each user their own front-end file, even if these are identical.  They all link to the same back-end file.  So, the user’s front-end files can all be different if required.

Can I upgrade the Access back-end file to SQL Server or SQL Server Express?

Yes, this is quite common and there are well documented processes from Microsoft to do this.   SQL Express will require some additional RAM (Memory) on the server.

If you are upgrading to SQL Standard then there are licence costs but Your Office Anywhere have innovative options to reduce the costs of licences.

Can I run hosted Access apps on a Mac or iOS device?

Yes, the Microsoft remote desktop client app for Mac or iOS enables Apple users to connect to the Windows remote desktop server and run their Access application just as if it was installed locally on the device.

Can I run Access apps on an Android device?

Yes, by downloading the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client app from Google Play you can connect to and run your Access application from your Android tablet or phone.

Commercial Questions

How much does Access hosting cost?

Please see our pricing page for our current prices.  If just hosting Access Runtime then our standard hosted desktop price is all that’s needed, plus minimum of one full Access licence for support/maintenance/development which we can rent, or you can use Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans.

What is the contract term length to host Access in the cloud?

Just rolling monthly.   We have an excellent reputation for our customer service and customers stay with us because they want to, we don’t need to lock them in to a contract.

Can I change the number of users to meet business changes or seasonal demand?

Yes, you can increase or decrease user numbers as needed.  We will invoice based on the maximum number of users in a month.

Why are Your Office Anywhere better priced than other providers for Access Hosting?

We host Access databases (as well as hundreds of other applications) for thousands of individual users and hundreds of companies across the globe.  By using economies of scale we are able to do this very efficiently as well as negotiate the best rates for licences and hardware.

Do you have any options to reduce costs of Access hosting?

Yes, there are a couple of options we can apply to help with costs.  One option is to set a concurrent user limit.  For example, you may have 20 users but only 10 people would ever logon at the same time.  In this scenario we set the server resources and Windows CALs to be based on just 10 users.  We do have to charge for Remote Desktop CALs for all 20 users, the same with Office licences.

We can also do 12 months for the price of 11 if paying for a year in advance.

Registered charities can benefit from reduced prices for Windows CALs and also Office 365/Microsoft 365 licences.

Why is there a setup fee and what does it cover?

Yes, we charge £125 per server which contributes to the cost involved in building each server, installing applications and helping customers migrate across to the platform.  In return for the setup fee we don’t tie customers into long term contracts.

Security & Availability Questions

What is the scope of support for Access with Your Office Anywhere?

We support all our infrastructure, including the remote desktop server that your Access application runs on.

We don’t officially support the application, that’s the job of the developer and/or Microsoft, but we do have developer resources on the team and can often help with Access application issues.  We can provide chargeable developer services for more fundamental issues if the Access developer is no longer available but this may depend on access to the original code, not a compiled file.

How Secure is Access hosting with Your Office Anywhere?

Security is engrained into everything we do.  To ensure this, and to prove our capabilities to our customers we are certified for ISO 27001 for our Information Security Management System and are audited on an annual basis.

Does Your Office Anywhere backup my database?

Yes, we back up databases on a daily basis to a second data centre and retain for 20 days.  We also backup the server operating system and files on a weekly basis, as these don’t change much, and keep 2 previous copies.

Can I take my own offline backups of my database for disaster recovery?

Yes, we partner with one of the UKs leading cloud backup services Redstor.  We can install and configure Redstor to backup your data to their cloud services and give you access to the management console so that you can restore data to the location of your choosing.

What high availability system does Your Office Anywhere have to ensure uptime?

We have a number of high availability and fault tolerant systems in place to reduce the risk of outage which enables us to give a 99.5% uptime guarantee.  These include:

Multiple power feeds from different parts of the grid to reduce risk of power failure

Diesel generators to kick in automatically if there is a power failure, these are tested regularly.

Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS batteries) to keep things powered between the power failing and the generators kicking in.

Multiple internet connections into the data centre.

Disk arrays with multiple redundant disks to keep things working even after a disk failure.

Multiple infrastructure servers including domain controllers, remote desktop gateways and brokers to balance the load and provide fault tolerance.

Multiple physical host servers so that in the event of a hardware failure on a server the customer’s guest server will automatically switch to another host without missing a beat.

Is my Access database encrypted when hosted with Your Office Anywhere?

The data travelling over the internet is encrypted using SSL 2048 bit encryption.  The data at rest isn’t encrypted by default but could be if required.   Typically, customers choose not to encrypt their servers as the risk of data being accessed is negligible compared with the additional effort required on the part of the customer using an encrypted server.

Can I prevent users from accessing the Access database code and stealing my intellectual property?

This is actually quite challenging as user’s need read and edit permissions to your database in order to use it.

We can hide the drive that the database is stored on so that users can’t see it by browsing to it however, this isn’t fool proof as their may be features in your application that can access the folder and make it visible to the user.

We generally recommend developers save the front-end files as .accde files, i.e. compiled executables, as this prevents users seeing the code behind the forms.

From £29.50 per month(Excl. Office Licence) 

No minimum number of users

No contract

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