Like all software applications, Microsoft Access has its flaws. Access is a relational database management system (as opposed to a hierarchal model, a network model or an object model) and is a powerful programme to create and manage your database requirements but, like any software application available, it has its weaknesses and its shortcomings.

While MS Access is a DBMS that will be available and well-supported for many years to come, and though it has improved over the years and is considered the most widely used desktop database system in the world, there are security holes in MS Access that can cause problems, and if it is running without SQL Server it can only hold a certain amount of data - 2 gigabytes - before it has to be expunged. However, because your database can include linked tables in other files, its total size is limited only by available storage capacity.

In earlier versions of MS Access the security functions were viewed as too difficult for anyone to understand and use. To employ the security functions there was a sequence that had to be navigated, but if a step was forgotten or the sequence was not followed then disaster, in terms of the database security, could follow.

In more recent versions of MS Access (MS Access 2000 and newer) there is the advantage of the Security Wizard that has simplified the process and thereby made the implementation of security much easier. However, even with the simplification of the security functionality it is of utmost importance that all options are understood and that the process used to protect the data and objects in the database is comprehended. The reason for this is that failure to do so could, at the very least, result in data being left unsecured, and at the extreme end, lock you out of the database completely.

Probably the easiest (though least secure) method of protecting an Access database is by encrypting it. On the downside: while encryption compacts the database file and makes it indecipherable by programmes such as word processors it can still be opened by anybody with a desire to gain access to it. Encryption is used to prevent a casual user from accessing the data when the database is being transferred electronically or when it is being stored on a storage device or CD but is by no means the ideal solution to database security.

Another, more secure, method of securing information in an Access database is known as Share-Level Security. This method requires users to enter a password to be able to access the data and database objects, but with this option you can't assign permission to users or groups so anyone with the password has unrestricted access to the Access database.

To find out more about Access security flaws and ways of circumventing them in order to effectively secure your database then an Access database training course will be of enormous import to your staff and/or yourself.