MS Access: Accessing the backend remotely

I have developed a database using MS Access 2013. The back end resides on a local network drive (NAS), and the front end is installed on everyone's PCs (the number of users is small, only 4 people). It works fine and is really useful. However, it would be even more useful if it could be accessed remotely. I can access files on the NAS via the internet using a browser. So in effect, a (password-protected) URL for the folder in which the backend resides is available. It would be great if from a remote location I could get the frontend on the PC to link up with the backend in the office via the URL. I have tried playing around with various external data settings but no luck.

1) Is what I am attempting even possible ? If yes, any advice on the necessary settings would be greatly appreciated.
2) If the answer to 1) is "No", are there any solutions for remote access that involve leaving the backend in the office ? Call me old-fashioned, but if possible I would prefer to avoid putting sensitive data on an external server. Not my #1 choice, but if necessary I am willing to invest the time to learn how to set up and manage a server.
Paul McCabeAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
in order to make it accessible externally then you have to punch a hole through the firewall or use a vpn to connect to the local network.  the browser method provided by the NAS is simply a web server in which you can upload/download files
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
In order to use an Access application, you must be able to browse to that location using a standard Windows Explorer window - and you can't do that remotely unless you've established a VPN, as David said.

Many people use a Remote Desktop setup, which allows you to control the machine as if you're sitting in front of it, and it also allows you to keep your data internal (although you're punching holes through your firewall to all the RDS service, of course). Microsoft has an RDA server, or you can go with Citrix - or you can enable the Remote Desktop on a Windows 7/8/10 machine, and setup your network to allow external access (ref those firewall holes), and use that. Only caveat there is that you must use a machine that no one else will be using at the time.

Or you can move your data to SQL Server and setup that SQL Server to allow remote connections. From there, you could access it from anywhere you wanted (assuming you could connect, of course). This can be a daunting task, depending on how you've created the application. If you're a drag-n-drop programmer, you've got a lot of work ahead of you :)

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Paul McCabeAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your helpful comments and suggestions. The VPN connection and remote desktop scenarios would seem to be the simplest and most direct solution, so I will go for one or other of these. That has really helped, thank you again !
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Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
Note that running Access across a VPN tend to have quote a bit of trouble doing so. I've never really been able to do so without enduring extremely long waits, and near constant corruption. You would be much, much, much better off using the Remote Desktop scenario to handle your situation.
Dale FyeOwner, Developing Solutions LLCCommented:
I agree with Scott (no points please) regarding an Access FE to Access BE over a VPN; generally slow and susceptible to corruption.  But I frequently use Access FE to SQL Server BE over a VPN, and that works well.

I do a lot of my client development on their systems via Remote Desktop.
Paul McCabeAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the follow-up comments. The clear conclusion seems to be that if an SQL server is not involved, Remote Desktop is the way to go !
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
Thank you for the follow-up comments. The clear conclusion seems to be that if an SQL server is not involved, Remote Desktop is the way to go !

Absolutely.   JET/ACE as a database engine fundamentally is not designed to run over any type of WAN.  You need at least 50mb/sec and latency <10ms for it to work.

Jim.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
The clear conclusion seems to be that if an SQL server is not involved, Remote Desktop is the way to go !
Yes.
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