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A common question we hear from clients is whether or not Microsoft Access allows multiple users. The answer: Yes, Access is a multi-user platform by default. Unfortunately, some professionals continue to operate under the assumption that Access doesn’t work properly in a multi-user environment. This can be a costly and inconvenient mistake! 

Of course, Access is a tool that must be used correctly. To ensure data integrity and prevent corruption, you’ll want to split your database between the back end (the tables) and the front end (everything else). With this setup, the back end is stored on a network shared drive, and the front end is stored locally on each user’s PC. 

As users enter data, new records are created and stored in the tables. You can then run reports or charts to display the new data. Let’s learn more about the best practices when using Access as a multi-user platform. 

Record Locking 

Record locking is crucial in a multi-user environment. Its purpose is to prevent two people from editing the same record at the same time. 

When you edit a record, Microsoft Access can lock that record to prevent other users from making changes before you are finished. The RecordLocks property only applies to forms, reports or queries in Access. You can lock all records, or forms and queries only. 

You can also remove record locking – the No Locks setting – if only one person is making changes to the data. 

Splitting the Database

Splitting your database will significantly impact its performance in a multi-user environment. When you split your database, you separate data storage functions from data processing functions. Data storage is managed with tables, while data processing is managed through forms, queries, reports and other processing objects. 

To split your database, you can store the data tables in an Access data file or store it in a SQL file. However you choose to do it, the data tables are stored away from the main application. Not only can splitting your database maintain data integrity, but also it’s helpful when dealing with high volumes of data, high volumes of end-users and network capacity. 

Protecting Your Data 

Data is a critical asset for your business operations. It’s important that you protect your sensitive data in order to maintain your business reputation and meet compliance regulations. Splitting your database will naturally help maintain data integrity, but there are other things you can do:

  • Ensure data can be accessed and modified by appropriate users 
  • Maintain visibility over all actions of users accessing data 
  • Keep all passwords in a centralized location 
  • Use strong passwords and update them accordingly 
  • Give users the minimum amount of privileges needed to perform their jobs
  • Regularly review and remove privileges when they’re not needed 

Microsoft Access can handle multiple users, as it’s naturally a multi-user platform. Contact Arkware if you’re looking for tips on how to make your Access database most efficient for multiple people within your organization.