After years of humbly conceding that the security features in Access were more about permissions than protection, developers can finally claim that Access can preserve and protect the data. With the ACCDB file format, Access 2007 uses the Windows System Cryptographic APIs to encrypt data. And like other security measures, 2007 encryption uses a stronger algorithm to scramble the data than prior versions. If you use data encryption, be careful to store the password in a safe location because it cannot be retrieved by Access, Windows, or even Microsoft. Take this seriously because there is no bypass key to magically provide an alternative method for opening the file or extracting the data. However, as with most password requirements, users who can set passwords can also change or remove them.
Being able to encrypt data is a tremendous benefit to many businesses. But as mentioned, one trade-off of switching to the ACCDB file format is having to forego use of the work group administrator to set user and group permissions. True to form, developers have created their own ways to establish and enforce permissions, as you'll see in Chapter 18.
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