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Saving Report as Image in Access Table

P: 10
I am building lock shop software to accept an electronic signature when university personnel are given keys. Currently a paper report is generated that the person signs. The signed paper is then filed for when the keys are returned. The problem is that over time the paperwork gets lost, destroyed, or misplaced so we have nothing to prove that the employee was given a key they must return.

Although I have not done it yet, I am confident that I can generate a table with the key(s) given and the digital signature information. The problem is that this method is not good since the data in a table could be modified outside the application so I can not use the data to prove that the key(s) were signed for.

What I would like to do is generate the base report I have, capture the digital signature, recreate the report with the digital signature imbedded and then allow the report to be printed and also saved as an image I can put in a file, with some other data so I can look up the image.

Any ideas on how to do this?
Jan 26 '07 #1
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18 Replies


MMcCarthy
Expert Mod 10K+
P: 14,534
Saving images or files in Access is usually done via an OLE Object datatype. This would require the full path to the object if it is a linked file. If the file is embedded the database would eventually get very big.

If there a numerical encryption value for this signature that could be used instead of an image.

Although I have not done it yet, I am confident that I can generate a table with the key(s) given and the digital signature information. The problem is that this method is not good since the data in a table could be modified outside the application so I can not use the data to prove that the key(s) were signed for.
Not sure what you mean by this. How would the data be altered outside the application?


Mary
Jan 27 '07 #2

P: 10
If there a numerical encryption value for this signature that could be used instead of an image.

Yes there is a numerical encryption value that I will be using in the record. From what you posted and what I have read, I should save the image of the report outside of Access and just include the file location. I still have the problem of setting up an automated way of generating the report image and saving the file and the Access record pointing to it.


Not sure what you mean by this. How would the data be altered outside the application?

Mary
The lawyers are worried that someone can gain access to the file and change or remove key numbers in the database so they don't have to return, or are not "known" to have some keys. They fell that if we save the image of the report it will be much harder to tamper with.
Jan 29 '07 #3

MMcCarthy
Expert Mod 10K+
P: 14,534
Yes there is a numerical encryption value that I will be using in the record. From what you posted and what I have read, I should save the image of the report outside of Access and just include the file location. I still have the problem of setting up an automated way of generating the report image and saving the file and the Access record pointing to it.

The lawyers are worried that someone can gain access to the file and change or remove key numbers in the database so they don't have to return, or are not "known" to have some keys. They fell that if we save the image of the report it will be much harder to tamper with.
But if the images are saved as files on an accessible network wouldn't this make them easier to tamper with. I'm going to drag the attention of some other experts to this thread who may have some other ideas.

Mary
Jan 29 '07 #4

100+
P: 1,646
See what happens when lawyers get involved :)

I would issue each user with an id and password. Get them to sign a waver making them responsible for the security of their id and password and we are done.
Jan 30 '07 #5

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,426
But if the images are saved as files on an accessible network wouldn't this make them easier to tamper with. I'm going to drag the attention of some other experts to this thread who may have some other ideas.

Mary
While there may be technical issues associated with the implementation of this, the question seems to be a sensible one. The implementation may involve outside factors like images being stored on a locked-down network share, but this all sounds feasible to me.
I'm afraid I can't help much with the automation of capturing the image though.

I do know that software exists for printing to an image file. Even setting up a printer to direct its output to the FILE: device could work, so I'm sure there are solutions. Not an area I have much experince in personally though :(
Jan 30 '07 #6

Expert 5K+
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...I do know that software exists for printing to an image file. Even setting up a printer to direct its output to the FILE: device could work, so I'm sure there are solutions. Not an area I have much experince in personally though :(
Perhaps one of those print-to-PDF utilities would be good for this.
Jan 30 '07 #7

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See what happens when lawyers get involved :)

I would issue each user with an id and password. Get them to sign a waver making them responsible for the security of their id and password and we are done.
Unless, of course, you lose (or destroy) the waiver. :)
Jan 30 '07 #8

missinglinq
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The problem is that over time the paperwork gets lost, destroyed, or misplaced so we have nothing to prove that the employee was given a key
I have a real problem with this statement. To me this says that security is not really a priority, when even the paperwork can't be secured! I don't want to sound like a Luddite here, but receipts kept in a safe with only one or two people having access is always going to be more secure than electronic documents kept on any kind of network! Add to that the fact that this is taking place in a university setting and you're just asking for trouble. And if you just have to go this route, a home grown solution is really not the way to go; you really need to contract the services of a top notch company that does this type of security work.


I don't mean to sound like a flamming Luddite
Jan 30 '07 #9

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Actually, simply securing the database and preventing use outside of the application should be standard stuff that lots of people here have already done before. At least I would have thought so.

At the same time, I have to agree with linq that simply taking better care of the paperwork would be an improvement. Although a database can still be very useful to store a copy of the info for things like searches, statistics etc.

I often get change requests as notes scrawled on something like a screen-dump. These days I run it through a scanner and paste the image into my doco about the change, so I've always got an electronic record of what I received.
Jan 30 '07 #10

ADezii
Expert 5K+
P: 8,627
Saving images or files in Access is usually done via an OLE Object datatype. This would require the full path to the object if it is a linked file. If the file is embedded the database would eventually get very big.

If there a numerical encryption value for this signature that could be used instead of an image.



Not sure what you mean by this. How would the data be altered outside the application?


Mary
Mary:
How about saving the Reports in Report Snapshot (*.snp) format, embedding them in an appropriate Field, then restricting access to this Field to specific Users. I've already tested this strategy - the Snapshots can be embedded in a Field of OLE Object Type. Restricting access to the Table containing this Field should not be complicated, and the process of Exporting Reports to Snapshot format can be automated. Just another approach to possibly consider.

A report snapshot is a file (.snp extension) that contains a high-fidelity copy of each page of a Microsoft Access report and that preserves the two-dimensional layout, graphics, and other embedded objects of the report.
Jan 30 '07 #11

MMcCarthy
Expert Mod 10K+
P: 14,534
Mary:
How about saving the Reports in Report Snapshot (*.snp) format, embedding them in an appropriate Field, then restricting access to this Field to specific Users. I've already tested this strategy - the Snapshots can be embedded in a Field of OLE Object Type. Restricting access to the Table containing this Field should not be complicated, and the process of Exporting Reports to Snapshot format can be automated. Just another approach to possibly consider.

A report snapshot is a file (.snp extension) that contains a high-fidelity copy of each page of a Microsoft Access report and that preserves the two-dimensional layout, graphics, and other embedded objects of the report.
The only problem I would have with this approach is the increase in the size of the database when you use embedded objects. I guess the volume of records over time is the key here.
Jan 30 '07 #12

MMcCarthy
Expert Mod 10K+
P: 14,534
Actually, simply securing the database and preventing use outside of the application should be standard stuff that lots of people here have already done before. At least I would have thought so.

At the same time, I have to agree with linq that simply taking better care of the paperwork would be an improvement. Although a database can still be very useful to store a copy of the info for things like searches, statistics etc.

I often get change requests as notes scrawled on something like a screen-dump. These days I run it through a scanner and paste the image into my doco about the change, so I've always got an electronic record of what I received.
Issues of security on Access databases to a great extent depends on the network access, number of users, user permissions, structure of the application and a number of other factors.

One of the best sources of information on security in access can be found on this link.

http://www.jmwild.com/Accesssecurity.htm
Jan 30 '07 #13

MMcCarthy
Expert Mod 10K+
P: 14,534
I don't mean to sound like a flamming Luddite
But you are linq! :D

Really though I agree with the core statement. A database of this type should not be a security measure but simply a record of a security system that already works. Relying on a database to provide security is fallible. It should be only one of a number of records kept.

The ideal approach is to use a database in conjunction with an electronic format and a hardcopy record. Although the OP says that this is the case using the database to shore up weaknesses in the other two approaches is probably not the ideal way to deal with it. Fixing the weaknesses in those systems is probably a better approach to take.

Mary

P.S. You're a bad influence linq. Now I'm turning into a raving ludite.
Jan 30 '07 #14

MMcCarthy
Expert Mod 10K+
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Perhaps one of those print-to-PDF utilities would be good for this.
pdf's would be a good visual record but they would take a lot of space up in a database as embedded objects and if they were linked and stored elsewhere then you have the issue of security on the folder in which they are stored.

Mary
Jan 30 '07 #15

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,426
I don't see that as a difficult problem to overcome though.
This is not to argue with the subsequent, and valid, comments about fundamental security in the organisation. Security is only ever as strong as it's weakest link (Linq?).
Jan 30 '07 #16

P: 10
Thank you everyone for your input to my issue. The resolution is that I now have agreement that an image of the document is no longer needed. We will produce a hard copy of the document as per our current procedure.
Feb 1 '07 #17

NeoPa
Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,426
So, we even help out in non-technical issues - yay :)
Feb 1 '07 #18

Expert 5K+
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...We will produce a hard copy of the document as per our current procedure.
But take better care of them, I hope? :)
Feb 1 '07 #19

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