Nov 14

Portland Access User Group Conference 2019

FMS President Luke Chung attended the 2019 Portland Access User Group Conference in Silver Falls, Oregon. While there, Luke explored the beautiful Silver Falls State Park with fellow Microsoft Access Developers. Here are some of the breath taking photos. For more information on the PAUG 2019 conference, visit the Portland Access User Group site.

Nov 14

2019 Netherlands Access Developer Day

Here are some photos from the 2019 Netherlands Access Developer Day Conference. FMS President Luke Chung gave a presentation on the Microsoft Access Database Evolution from the Desktop to the Cloud. For more information on the NADD 2019 conference, visit Netherlands Access Developer Day.

Oct 21

Email Aliases and Forwarding Microsoft Office 365 Messages to Another Mailbox

Email Aliases

Microsoft Office 365 makes it easy to create mailboxes. For no additional cost, email aliases can be created and assigned to a mailbox. For instance, sales@domain.com and support@domain.com could be aliases assigned to specific people’s accounts. That makes it easy to maintain a general address that’s assigned to whomever is currently responsible for it.

How to set up Aliases

Before adding an email alias to a user, you must have admin permission to do so.

  1. In the admin center, choose Users > Active users
  2. Select the user > Manage email aliases
    • You won’t be able to see this option if the user does not have a license assigned.
  3. Select [+ Add an Alias] and enter a new alias for the user.
  4. Click [Save changes].
  5. It may take up to 24 hours for the new alias to populate throughout Office 365.

When the email appears in the user’s Inbox and they reply, the FROM address is their email address. The alias is not the FROM address.

This makes it useful to have dedicated mailboxes rather than aliases. Someone can monitor the mailbox and respond from it. With Office 365, it’s easy to have an internet browser with Outlook opened to that account.

Unfortunately, it’s inconvenient to log in to the mailbox, and if it rarely receives emails, it’s easy to forget. It’d be much better to be notified at your regular email address when an email arrives.

Forwarding Email Messages

Microsoft allows you to easily forward your emails from your Office 365 account to another email account on Office 365 or external accounts such as Gmail or Yahoo. It’s very helpful for monitoring mailbox that are rarely used (e.g. webmaster, info, etc).

  1. Sign in to your Office 365 email account.
  2. At the top of the page, choose Settings > Mail.
  3. Choose Forwarding and enter in the email you would like your Office 365 emails to be sent to. There is an option that allows you to keep a copy of your forwarded messages so you can still log into that account and respond to them.

Hope this helps!

For more information on how to use Microsoft Outlook better as a user or developer, visit our Microsoft Outlook Tips and Techniques page.

Feb 13

Use Microsoft SQL Server Database Users Rather than Server Logins

FMS President Luke Chung wrote a new paper on improving Microsoft SQL Server security by using database users rather than server logins:

Microsoft SQL Server Database Users and Permissions Instead of Server Logins.

Here’s an overview:

Microsoft SQL Server Security Logins Introduction

To connect to a Microsoft SQL Server database, it requires a login which includes a user name and password. Each database server has a login with administrator permissions that allows the creation and deletion of databases.

Often, this login is distributed which creates a security problem. Developers and end-users shouldn’t have administrator permissions to perform their tasks. Their permissions should be managed for each database.

Database User Permissions

Microsoft SQL Server makes it easy to create and manage database permissions. The permissions you grant are called roles and users are able to have multiple roles. Here are some examples of the permissions you are able to assign to users.

Full Database Permissions (Owner)

This allows the database developer full rights to make modifications to the database objects.

Editing Permissions (Writer)

End-users who need to add, delete and change data in user tables.

Read Only Permissions (Reader)

Only allows the end-user to view data in the user tables.

Read our Microsoft SQL Server Users and Permissions paper for more information on how to do this and some pitfalls to avoid. It applies to SQL Server whether it’s installed on premise or in the Azure cloud.

Dec 29

Microsoft Azure Security Holes with SQL Server Databases

FMS President Luke Chung wrote a new paper to deal with Microsoft Azure Security Holes with SQL Server Databases

Here’s an overview:

Microsoft SQL Azure Security Introduction

Having Microsoft Azure host SQL Server databases on their servers is very cost-effective and efficient. Within minutes, one can have a SQL Server database hosted in the cloud and available to applications on the cloud or on premise.

As with all cloud resources, and especially databases, security is a huge concern. Fortunately, SQL Azure includes features to restrict what can connect to your database server but you need to know how to use them and realize that the default settings do not protect you best.

Setting Firewalls and Virtual Networks

This is an important feature for cloud solutions so that only permitted sources are allowed to get data from your server and databases. You can set the IP Addresses you allow at the database level and server level. The database settings take precedence over the server settings.

Cannot Open Server Error

If you try to connect to the database from an unauthorized IP address, it triggers an error like this:

Cannot open server ‘ServerName’ requested by the login. Client with IP address ‘111.222.33.44’. is not allowed to access the server. To enable access, use the Windows Azure Management Portal or run sp_set_firewall_rule on the master database to create a firewall rule for this IP address or address range. It may take up to five minutes for this change to take effect.

By Default, All Azure Resources can Connect to Your Database

By default, all Azure resources can connect to your server and databases hosted on Azure:

Allowing All Azure Services to Connect to Your Server is a Huge Security Hole!

If you “Allow access to Azure Services” set to On, you create a huge security hole for your server and every database in it. Not only can all your resources connect to your databases, Any Azure resource from any organization can connect to your database.

This setting is NOT restricted to the Azure resources in your subscription. It’d be nice to restrict permissions to the current subscription or list of subscriptions but that’s not possible. It’s everything on all of Microsoft Azure or you need to specify each IP address.

Turn Off Permissions to All Azure Services

Set the permissions to OFF to disallow all Azure services to connect to your SQL server:

Explicitly Specify the IP Addresses Allowed

To avoid the ability of rogue Azure resources from breaching your database security, you need to manually specify the IP Address of every resource that may connect to your server and databases. This can be a real pain.

For more details and how to set your IP Addresses and SQL Azure security correctly, read our new paper: Microsoft Azure Security Holes with SQL Server Databases

May 19

Total Access Detective Update for Microsoft Access 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007

Total Access Detective finds differences between Microsoft Access databases and objects. Updates for Total Access Detective are available for Microsoft Access 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007.

Enhancements:

  • Improved SQL string comparisons for saved queries and properties like RecordSource and RowSource.
  • Trailing blank spaces and extra blank lines are removed before comparing them, this avoids flagging SQL string differences that do not affect functionality.
  • Query comparison. Under Data Options, if the query option is set to First Field Unique, it was always treating them sequentially and stopped on the first difference. This is fixed and works correctly.
  • Table macro comparison supports table names with apostrophe (‘) in the them.
  • Text comparison. If the VBA option is not selected, the results do not show the the Procedure tabs.
  • Database comparison results: The database name goes across the entire top of the form rather than being truncated.
  • All other reported issues.

For more information, visit:

Existing Total Access Detective owners were notified to download the update.

Total Access Detective Updates