11 Replies Latest reply on May 19, 2017 11:48 PM by CarstenLevin

    Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?

    jdevans

      If I have my file hosted on FM Server, and my container field is set to be stored externally, secured (default setting), what is the correct procedure for setting it for non-encrypted (Open Storage)?

       

      Do I need to unhost it first? Can I do it from the client instance of FM Pro Advanced? I just want to make sure I don't goof it up and lose any of the documents currently stored in this file because they are very important.

       

      Thanks

        • 1. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
          mikebeargie

          If the documents are very important, why are you not securing them?

           

          You really should not be messing with the files in the container store with any program other than filemaker.

          • 2. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
            jdevans

            I'm not messing with the files in the container store with any program other than Filemaker. Sorry if my question implies that I am, but I'm not. They're important but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be encrypted.

            • 3. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
              CarstenLevin

              Hi jdevans,

               

              First the correct answer to your question:

              You can change from secure to open storage while the file is hosted, and that's probably what I will advice you to do.

              Of course depending on the number of documents, it might take a long time with 100.000 documents.

              When changing and closing the Define database you will get this dialog:

              Skærmbillede 2017-05-19 kl. 15.55.42.png

              You should of course press "Transfer".

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                CarstenLevin

                Hi Mike,

                 

                I definitely agree with you: Do not mess with the files in external storage. The directory should not be available to the user.

                 

                But I do not agree with you on choosing secure storage over open storage. If anything goes wrong with a solution based on secure storage you will - of course - be lost. You will not be able to reverse the encryption. And that's good.

                 

                So our conclusion is:

                • Use Open Storage if there is no reason to use secure storage.
                • It does not matter if you are using open or secure storage: Do never let anybody touch the files/folder structure.

                 

                But OK, I can find good use-cases for secure storage and I can also find good use-cases for letting other solutions access the open storage as read only to take copies from the directory. But extreme care must be taken!

                 

                Best regards


                Carsten

                • 5. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                  mikebeargie

                  Sorry, it’s second nature to question anyone that has a security implementation in place and they want to make said implementation less secure.

                   

                  To answer your question, FileMaker takes care of “migrating” the data for you.

                  • 6. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                    LSNOVER

                    I have a question along these lines.

                     

                    Is there any issue moving a secure externally stored data folder to a new server if all of the paths and such are exactly the same as the current server, or is it safer to decrypt the  data first.  Logically it seems that it should be safe to move the directories to a new server, but encrypted files always make me a bit nervous.

                    • 7. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                      jdevans

                      Thanks to you all for the comments, answers and concerns. I only have about 25 records in the table which stores the container, so right now, this part of the solution is very small/manageable.

                       

                      The reason behind this change has to do with being able to identify the pdfs by name. Nobody among out regular users has any access to the location where the directory will exist. A few in our development group do have access, but they understand the necessity to keep it un-altered, outside of what is happening as a result of Filemaker-created changes, like the one I'm wanting to do.

                       

                      There is no need to have scrambled names to these files, but there is need to have them stored externally. I prevent tampering by using a "locked" field in the same record that stores the container field. Once it's set to a 1 (by populating the container field with a file). The Priv set rules for the user is no edits to the record when "locked" is 1. They can export field contents, but that's it.

                      • 8. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                        CarstenLevin

                        I am moving entire setups of files from server to server. Moving the folder containing both the FileMaker fmp12 file and the document foldes = no problem.

                        If you are using the option to store the external storage documents at another path (perhaps on a larger disk) you can also move. Then what you have to do is to change the path at the server setup to be correct.

                         

                        If you are nervous I would not change to secure. Instead I would change to internal storage .... have the documents moved into the filemaker database and then move. After that change to external again. This is of course not practical with very large amounts of documents ... here it is better to move with care:-) and test before you delete to old set.

                        • 9. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                          jdevans

                          Thanks. This was a crystal clear answer. Just to make myself feel comfortable with what was going to happen, I created a test file from scratch, and put a container field in it as it's only field. I added a pdf file to the container. Then I uploaded the file to the server. Once it was there, I set it to store externally (secure). Then I went to the database directory to see the files. As expected, the one record was there with some randomly named directory inside Containers/Secure.

                          Then I opened the hosted file, and went to Manage>Database, and switched the Secure setting to Open. Accepted the default file location. And allowed it to Transfer as your post instructed. Went back into the database directory on the server, and there were the folders with full English filenames.
                          Bravo!


                          CarstenLevin One last question. Since this method stores the files with the filenames that were given as they were placed into the container, is there a danger of worrying about duplicated file names? Or does Filemaker sort that out based on UUID in some way?

                          • 10. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                            CarstenLevin

                            Hi Evans,

                            Since this method stores the files with the filenames that were given as they were placed into the container, is there a danger of worrying about duplicated file names? Or does Filemaker sort that out based on UUID in some way?

                             

                            No problem, FileMaker will handle this in two ways

                             

                            Two records with the exact bit by bit same file (here MyFile.png).

                            Even though I made two records and imported the file into the container field of each record only one copy of the file is stored. Saving space & avoiding duplicates.

                            Skærmbillede 2017-05-20 kl. 00.12.56.png

                             

                            Now adding a third record - same name but different content

                            FileMaker analyse the file and find it to be different from the two first examples and then it stores this different file wit a _1 as suffix to the name.

                            Skærmbillede 2017-05-20 kl. 00.14.42.png

                             

                            Now added a different record no 4 with a new file

                            Since the file is unique it is stored ad MyFile_2.png

                             

                            Now I manipulate this file directly from the folder

                            Now look how FileMaker will show this file

                            Skærmbillede 2017-05-20 kl. 00.19.35.png

                            That is also a reason not iver to let anyone manipulate the stored files directly.

                             

                            Suggestion

                            You should consider using the calculation for the path of the storage setup for external storage to create and use subfolders for the documents.

                            If it is from a project system you could let the solution create a folder for each project.

                            Choose any logic for the folders that make sense to you. You could use the date as folder names etc. etc.

                            • 11. Re: Externally (secure) stored container field on FM_Server, switching to Open Storage?
                              CarstenLevin

                              Hi Mike,

                               

                              I understand your concern

                              Sorry, it’s second nature to question anyone that has a security implementation in place and they want to make said implementation less secure.

                              But let's try consider ... security has two sides ...

                               

                              When to use secure storage ... and what else to do in those cases

                              If your goal is to make it absolutely secure against access from anyone getting access to the server, physically or via Remote Desktop etc. Then Secure Storage is the logical choice.

                              If you choose this you should also use encryption at rest EAR on the database files and you should probably not store the EAR password in the keychain for server startup?

                              Does this sound logical?

                               

                              Open storage

                              If it is OK that the IT management/IT people could potentially open the document folder and see the documents, and if you believe that the server location and the protection of the server is handled correct ... or if you are not using EAR on the FileMaker file, then secure storage is not needed. And since secure storage does manipulate the files and make them absolutely inaccessible if something bad happen ... then it should maybe be avoided when there is not a specific use case for it.

                               

                              Not more secure, just another kind of secure

                              Going from secure storage to open storage is not "mak(ing) said implementation less secure" it is trading one kind of security for another ... and the business case and business rules and legislation is what we have to look at before deciding?

                               

                               

                              Case

                              I can find many situations where Secure Storage is the correct choice. If you are handling personal data under the European (and in our case Danish) jurisdiction you must protect a lot of information like personal security numbers with the outmost care ... and in this case I would use EAR for the FM files and use the FileMaker security model to it's full potential. And when storing documents for that solution I would of course have to use Secure Storage.

                              This just to give one example.

                              But only because it is needed, not because it is there!

                               

                              Best regards

                               

                              Carsten