Latest News: MIDAS v4.25 Now Available | COVID-19 Support

Category: Tips and Tricks

In these unprecedented times, many organizations were forced to suspend their operations for the past several months. However, some are now beginning to take the first tentative steps towards reopening.

For most businesses who manage and hire out their facilities, this means making some fundamental adjustments to the way they operate.

So we wanted to share some tips on how to get the most out of your MIDAS booking system as your business navigates the road ahead…

1. Allow more staff to work from home

One of the benefits of cloud-based software like MIDAS, is that it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Access your hosted MIDAS system from home
Access your hosted MIDAS system from home

This means that your administrative staff can log into your organization’s hosted MIDAS system remotely from home, just as if they were in their office at work.

“Remote Working” or “WFH” (Work From Home) is fast becoming the new norm, with many businesses encouraging their staff to do so for at least the rest of 2020.

A cloud-hosted MIDAS system helps make this possible by allowing your staff to securely access your booking system from wherever they are.

If you currently run a self-hosted MIDAS system behind a proxy/firewall, please contact your IT admins. They should be able to arrange remote access to your MIDAS system.

2. Limit venue (room) capacities

Maintaining adequate social/physical distancing prevents arguably one of the biggest challenges when it comes to hiring out rooms and facilities.

When first setting up your “venues” (rooms/bookable spaces) in MIDAS, your administrator will have defined a maximum occupancy level (capacity) for each. This is the maximum number of people that each space can safely accommodate at any give time. These limits are enforced by MIDAS whenever new bookings are added and when a number of attendees are specified.

Limit the number of persons allowed in each space
Limit the number of persons allowed in each space

In this new age of social/physical distancing, it’s likely you’ll need to review the number of people allowed in each space at any one time.

MIDAS makes it easy really to adjust the maximum capacity of each of your venues. You’ll find this setting via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage Venues → [select venue(s)] → Capacity:

Setting a maximum occupancy (capacity) for each venue
Setting a maximum occupancy (capacity) for each venue

For more information, please refer to the help documentation.

You may also wish to consider enforcing the entering of the number of attendees for every booking. By default, the “Attendees” field on the Add Bookings screen is optional (i.e. it can be left blank). To make this a required field, go to MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Fields → Booking Fields, and tick the “Required” box for the Attendees field:

Make the "Attendees" field mandatory
Make the “Attendees” field mandatory

For more information, please refer to the help documentation.

3. Limit overall site occupancy

In addition to being able to set maximum occupancy levels for each room/space, MIDAS also allows setting a “global” (site-wide) occupancy limit too.

MIDAS can warn you if the total number of people across all your facilities at any one time would exceed a threshold. It can also prevent further bookings if the total number of people on site exceeds a set threshold.

Keep track of the total number of people on your premises at any given time
Keep track of the total number of people on your premises at any given time

You’ll find these settings via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Safety.

For more information, please refer to the help documentation.

4. Allow bookings (or booking requests) to be made online

Did you customers used to make bookings in person with your receptionist or office staff?

Did you know that MIDAS includes as standard both “Public Booking Request” and “Public Web Booking” features?

These public-facing features can help reduce face to face contact between your staff and customers.

Allow customers to check room availability and book/request online
Allow customers to check room availability and book/request online

The Public Booking Request feature allows your customers to check availability of your rooms and submit booking “requests” online from the comfort of their own homes. Received booking requests can then be quickly approved/rejected by an administrator with just a few clicks.

For more information, please see our “How to make public web requests” video tutorial.

The Public Web Bookings feature is similar to the Public Booking Request feature, but allows your customers to make direct bookings online (rather than just booking “requests”). They can also pay for their bookings directly at time of booking.

For more information, please see our “How to make public web bookings” video tutorial.

The Public Booking/Request features may be enabled via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Public.

5. Allow clients to pay their invoices online

If you use the extensive Invoicing capabilities of MIDAS, how do you clients normally pay you? If it’s by physical cash, did you know that MIDAS supports online invoice payments?

Allow customers to pay their invoices online
Allow customers to pay their invoices online

This feature may be enabled via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Invoicing → Online Payments.

For more information, please see our “How to pay an invoice online” video tutorial, or the help documentation.

6. Keep your clients and users informed

MIDAS allows you to edit and customize a wide variety of “templates”.

These templates may be customized via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Templates.

Customizable Templates in MIDAS
Customizable Templates in MIDAS

Here’s a few useful templates to highlight:

The “Welcome Note” template can be used to provide information or a custom message to users on their MIDAS login screens. This is a great way to let your staff know of any important changes.

The “Public: Web Requests” and “Public: Web Booking” templates can be used to provide information or updates to your customers on Public Booking/Request screens.

The “Email: Booking Reminder” template can be used to include important information for your customers in advance of their next visit. For instance, if they are required to wear a face covering/mask on your premises, you could let them know via email before their bookings take place.

You can enable and configure how far in advance Booking Reminder email notifications are sent to customers via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Scheduled Tasks.

For more information on customizing templates in MIDAS, please see our “How to customize templates” video tutorial, or the help documentation.


We hope the above tips are useful in helping your organization to adapt and adjust going forward.

Remember, that if your business operations are still adversely affected by the current situation, we’re here to help!

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at SPF and why its important in ensuring email from your MIDAS room booking system is reliably delivered.

SPF stands for “Sender Policy Framework” and its purpose is to prevent unauthorized people from forging your e-mail address and pretending to be you. SPF has been around for a number of years now, but in recent times has been growing in popularity as more and more websites and email providers start enforcing it.

As our MIDAS web based room booking systems are capable of sending email on your behalf, it’s important to understand how SPF works and how it can help solve email delivery issues in MIDAS.

Take for instance the following example Scenario:

  • Your MIDAS system is running on domain “A” (i.e. your-organization.mid.as)
  • Your MIDAS system is configured to send emails to appear as though they are sent from an email address belonging to domain “B” (i.e. your-organization.com)
  • An email is sent from your MIDAS system to a recipient with an email address on domain C

In the above example, the receiving mail server for domain C queries the SPF record on domain B to check whether domain A is authorized to send mail on behalf of domain B. If it isn’t the email is rejected.

An SPF record is simply a TXT record in a given domain’s DNS, and a simple example may look similar to this:

v=spf1 +a +mx ~all

The format of an SPF record begins with a version number; the current SPF version is “v = spf1”.
Following the version string, any number of expressions may be included which are evaluated in the order they appear. These consist of an optional “qualifier” (+, -, ~, or ?) and a “mechanism” (all, a, mx, ip4, or include). The first mechanism that is matched in the SPF record determines the result of the entire valuation of the SPF record.

Qualifiers:

QualifierResultDescription
+PassDefines an authorized sender
(If no qualifier is specified, + is assumed)
FailDefines an unauthorized sender
~SoftFailDefines an unauthorized sender
(however it may not notify the sender that their email failed)
?NeutralDefines a sender whose legitimacy isn’t determined
(In such instances, sending is allowed)

Mechanisms:

MechanismApplies if…
allalways
aAn A (or AAAA) record of the polled (or explicitly specified) domain contains the IP address of the sender
mxAn A (or AAAA) record of the polled (or explicitly specified) domain contains the IP address of the sender
ip4The specified IPv4 address is the IP address of the sender or of the specified IPv4 subnet which contains it
includeAn additional SPF request for the domain specified in the include statement contains the IP address of the sender

SPF records cannot be over 255 characters in length and cannot include more than ten “include” statements.

Example SPF record:

v=spf1 +a +ip4:1.2.3.4 -ip4:5.6.7.8 +include:somedomain.com ~all

In the above example:

  1. Email delivery will be allowed if it originated from the same domain it was sent (+a).
  2. Email delivery will also be allowed if it originated from the specific IP address 1.2.3.4
  3. Email delivery will be rejected if it originated from the IP address 5.6.7.8.
  4. Email delivery will be allowed if it matches the rules defined in the SPF record on “somedomain.com”
  5. All other email sources will be softly rejected (~all)

Bringing it back to MIDAS…

If you run a cloud-hosted MIDAS system at the domain “your-organization.mid.as”, your organization’s own website is “your-organization.com”, and you wish to allow your MIDAS system to send email on behalf of addresses @your-organization.com, then you should setup/modify an SPF record on your-organization.com.

This SPF record would authorize your hosted MIDAS system to send email on behalf of your organization. Failing to correctly set an SPF record for your domain may mean that emails sent from your MIDAS system may not reach recipients.

For our hosted customers, you can simply include “include:_spf.midas.network” in your-organization.com’s SPF record. Your new/modified SPF record may then look similar to this:

v=spf1 +a +mx include:_spf.midas.network ~all

In the above example:

  1. Email delivery will be allowed if it originated from the same domain it was sent (+a).
  2. Email delivery will be allowed if it originated from the same mail server as it was sent (+mx)
  3. Email delivery will be allowed if it matches the rules defined in the SPF record on “_spf.midas.network”. This will allow your hosted MIDAS system to become an authorized sender of email for your domain.
  4. All other email sources will be softly rejected (~all)

Remember, SPF records are simply TXT records within your domain’s DNS. If you’re not sure how to set/modify DNS records for your own domain, you’ll need to defer to the domain’s administrator, registrar, or hosting provider who should be able to assist in making the necessary adjustments to your domain’s DNS record

Further reading from our Knowledgebase:.

Over the past weekend, we’ve published nearly 80 brand new, concise, and easy to follow video tutorials… and best of all, they’re all FREE!

The original dozen or so tutorial videos we produced a number of years ago now regularly receive great praise from our customers, so we though it was about time to overhaul and update these great resources for MIDAS users! (Along of course with complete help documentation that’s available both online and offline, an extensive Knowledgebase, and responsive support!)

These short new “How To” videos guide you step-by-step through all areas of MIDAS, and because they’re on-demand, you can watch them again and again to learn your way around MIDAS at your own pace.

We’ve broken these exciting new tutorials down into key topic areas, covering Getting Started; Bookings; Clients; Users; Venues; Printing; Email; Invoicing; Resources; Searching; Messages, Notifications, Watches, and Reminders; Public Features; Settings; Import/Export; and Security.

You’ll find a complete list of all these video tutorials and be able to watch them online at https://mid.as/tutorials

If you’re brand new to MIDAS, here’s just one of our new “How To” tutorial videos on finding your way around the user interface:

How to find your way around MIDAS

…and speaking of finding your way around the MIDAS interface, there’s a built in “Quick Tour” coming with our next update to MIDAS too! Read More…

In the meantime, we hope that you’ll find our new “How To” video tutorials really useful!

As well as finding our video tutorials on our main website, you’ll also find them on YouTube and DailyMotion too!

World Backup Day 2017Today marks the annual World Backup Day, an event designed to raise awareness of the importance of keeping your critical files and data regularly backed-up.

We strongly believe in the importance of regularly backing-up data you can’t afford to loose, and to that end we built a number of backup features into to our world class web-based room booking and resource scheduling software, MIDAS to do just that!

In the background, MIDAS makes a complete and automated backup of its own database and settings upon the first successful login each and every day day. These database backups are then compressed (typical backups are less than 1MB each in size) and stored on the server where your MIDAS resides for a period of time you specify, typically up to 30 days.

To further protect your data, these automated daily backups can optionally also be emailed to a specified email address each day, allowing you to retain your own “off-site” copy of your database too!

In addition to the automated backups that MIDAS makes, our scheduling software also provides the ability to manually generate instant backups at any time via a one-click “Backup” button (accessed via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Database → Backup Now)

Database backups (whether generated manually or automatically) can be easily and readily restored – either partially or in full – at any time via a simple user interface accessible through MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Database → Restore. So, should you ever wish to “roll back” your MIDAS system to an earlier point in time, or if you suffer a massive server failure and loose data, you can have your MIDAS system back up and running in next to no time!

Backup and Restore in MIDAS

For more information on the powerful backup/restore features of MIDAS, please see https://mid.as/help/manage-database-settings

For our cloud hosted customers (those customers who don’t run MIDAS on their own infrastructure, but instead choose to have their MIDAS “hosted” by us in the “cloud”), we also take complete database backups daily, which are then stored off-site at two separate locations for a period of six months.

What’s more, we also offer an optional “Emergency Access” addon to our hosted customers. This optional addon allows cloud-hosted customers to access a “real-time” backup of their hosted MIDAS system in event that they are ever unable to access their primary cloud-hosted MIDAS system. These backups run on different servers, in different data centers, via different ISPs to our Primary Servers.

So, as you can see from all the above features and procedures we’ve built into our software, that we take data backups very seriously! And we make it really easy to ensure that your important MIDAS booking data can easily and readily be backed up and restored with the minimum of fuss!

But on World Backup Day today, whilst your MIDAS data is taken care of, why not take a moment to backup your own important personal files – your family photos, home videos, documents and emails too!? Yes, it may seem a little boring and time consuming, but you’ll be glad you did should anything ever happen to the originals!