Category: Tips and Tricks


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:

…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!

We are delighted to announce the completion of our roll out of dedicated sub domains for all our cloud hosted customers!

Following a desire expressed by a few of our existing customers to be able to have their cloud-hosted MIDAS systems accessible via dedicated sub-domains of mid.as, at the start of this year we began providing this to all new customers who chose a cloud hosted edition of MIDAS.

For instance, if you purchased a cloud-hosted edition of MIDAS in 2016 and your company was called “My Organization”, you would have been able to chose the dedicated MIDAS domain https://my-organization.mid.as for your hosted scheduling system.

However, if your company was called “My Organization” and you purchased a cloud-hosted edition of MIDAS prior to 2016 – before dedicated mid.as sub-domains were available – you’d instead have been accessing your MIDAS system via https://mid.as/my-organization

The good news is that from today, we’ve now rolled out dedicated mid.as sub-domains to all our hosted customers who purchased prior to 2016 as well!

So, if you previously accessed your hosted MIDAS system via https://mid.as/my-organization, you’ll now have the dedicated sub-domain https://my-organization.mid.as (Old mid.as/my-organization URL’s will continue to work and redirect to my-organization.mid.as for some time)

If you purchased a cloud-hosted MIDAS system prior to 2016, we’d like to encourage you to update your bookmarks & links to point to your new dedicated mid.as sub-domain going forward!

There are a few things to note when updating your bookmarks/links:

  1. If your hosted MIDAS URL previously contained any underscores (_), you’ll need to change these to hypens () when updating your bookmarks/links, for example:
    https://mid.as/my_organization would now become https://my-organization.mid.as

  2. If your hosted MIDAS URL previously contained a domain name (other than mid.as) (i.e. .co.uk, .com, etc), you’ll need to remove this part when updating your bookmarks/links, for example:
    https://mid.as/myorganization.com would now become https://myorganization.mid.as

  3. If your hosted MIDAS URL previously contained any period characters (.) (other than the initial period in the primary “mid.as” domain), you’ll need to remove these when updating your bookmarks/links, for example:
    https://mid.as/my.organization would now become https://myorganization.mid.as

If you have any questions, or aren’t sure what the new dedicated sub-domain for your particular hosted MIDAS system is, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

MIDAS version 4: Your Questions Answered

Since releasing MIDAS v4 last month, many of our existing customers have already updated their installation to this major new release of our web based room scheduling system.

If you’re an existing customer with a current Annual Support Subscription, you too can update right now via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Update.

As well as regularly updating our blog in recent months outlining new features in v4, We’ve also been updating our Knowledgebase with new articles relating to the new version. We thought we’d take this opportunity to compile a list of common questions we’ve been asked about MIDAS v4 – a sort of mini F.A.Q. if you will!

So if you’ve got questions about updating, or about some of the changes/new features in v4, you may find the following articles helpful:

Updating to MIDAS v4:

Using MIDAS v4:

We’ll keep this post updated each time we add new Knowledgebase articles that relate to MIDAS v4, but if your question isn’t answered here, please contact us