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Virtual data rooms (VDRs) have revolutionized the transaction process in today’s business environment. Businesses prefer virtual data rooms instead of physical data rooms for a variety of reasons, including instant 24/7/365 access from any location and any device with an internet connection, secure data management, and storage, as well as time and money savings for secret business deals. Plus, online deal rooms take away all the pitfalls and risks, reducing the possibility of a deal not going on as planned.
Data rooms are secure online meeting places for all parties involved in the negotiation of an agreement. Data rooms give users full control while performing online due diligence processes. These secure online data repositories also simplify the cooperation among all parties. VDRs have also evolved into a tool that helps users throughout the course of the entire deal process, and not just during the due diligence stage. Companies use virtual data rooms not only for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) but also for other deals such as loan syndication, private equity, and venture capital funding.
Data rooms are also used wide-range of industries, including:
IT and Telecommunications
While VDRs offer similar services, such as data storage security, data management, and data sharing, their functions may vary. The best online data rooms provide military-level security, multi-language support, full-text search, in-document linking, and a wide range of other advanced functions.
What are the most popular uses of virtual data rooms?
Online data rooms are popular among different business industries because they provide the following solutions to issues relating to corporate transactions:
structured arrangement and organization of all necessary documents, including texts or images
high-speed digital sharing of documents, which takes seconds instead of traditional mailing or courier delivery, which takes hours or even days
secure, granular access to the documents and files from any device, be it a desktop computer or a tablet
quick, safe, and efficient discussion of every single character in the documents online instead of time-consuming and, nowadays, risky face-to-face meetings
The number of potential uses of secure data rooms is close to infinity. Firms that are in the legal, real estate, life science, biotech, and other industries use this data room software for different purposes. For you to get the hang of how businesses use the software, we collected the most popular uses of virtual data rooms:
Data rooms for M&A
Every M&A deal includes a due diligence process. This transaction is always accompanied by a large volume of confidential documents that require to be stored and protected with several security layers, which are available only in VDRs. Businesses cannot get this level of security from customer-centric solutions, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, or Hightail.
The bidders in the M&A deal have access to the information stored in the data room 24/7/365 with no limits as long as the seller’s side grants this access. On the seller’s side, it has transparency on user activity, documents, or buyer requests analytics, which allows the seller to grant users full control over the deal or its bottlenecks.
The process of setting up a virtual data room when getting ready to sell a business is a relatively simple four-step procedure:
Prepare digital versions of necessary documents.
Organize and group documents as necessary.
Upload all documents to the data room.
Provide buying company (-ies) with access to the data.
After all digital documents are already collected, setting up a virtual data room for selling a business can take only 10 minutes or less. Virtual data software collaboration options and the capacity to update existing files on the fly also cut down negotiation time from several months to days.
Fundraising can last for weeks, months, and even years and engage many teams and individual professionals to review, comment, or update financial documents. That’s why an online data room that lets users share information quickly and safely cannot be done without a firm of any size, and big businesses especially raise money.
In addition, virtual data rooms features like a Q&A section and comments section allow all parties of the fundraising process to communicate and stay on the same page. To improve the cooperation process, the best fundraising virtual data rooms offer features like direct messaging, task manager, and other additional functions that facilitate teamwork.
Legal documents management
Safety is crucial for legal businesses. This is why law firms, corporate legal departments, federal, state, and local governments, criminal and civil courts, and banks use virtual data rooms daily. Once uploaded to the data room, sensitive documents become entirely safe, with the VDR still boasting lightning-speed access even in the most stressful and time-sensitive situations.
When several lawyers are involved in the same process, they get granular access to documents, files, and all the required information. In the meantime, unauthorized individuals or companies will not corrupt, copy, or share sensitive data.
Significant changes in the business environment or in legislation pose such significant risks that companies need to act fast to manage them. VDRs help businesses mitigate risks through the following:
Virtual data rooms reduce the time businesses need to adapt to the changes and edit documentation to incorporate these changes
Risk management VDRs give users full control over the process of every deal. Built-in tools allow admins to track every transaction’s progress and get an overview of where every person responsible for the process is
When admins see unusual activity on the files, they can restrict access with a few clicks or taps and even delete downloaded documents from the user’s computer remotely
Real estate transactions
VDRs provide two main benefits in real estate transactions: (1) the ability to work with large files and (2) the anonymity of potential buyers.
The first main benefit allows real estate agents to share as much data as they need from the beginning of the deal (share property videos, photos, or house plans/drawings) to its closing (convenient documents negotiation and signing).
The second main benefit allows real estate agents and property owners to hide the fact that several potential buyers study the property and pick the best option.
Which functions do virtual data rooms offer?
The primary purpose of any virtual data room software is to keep, manage, and share the most valuable data during the deal-making process. Online data room providers help, on the one hand, the seller become better prepared for the deal and create a well-planned strategy, and on the other hand, the buyer to examine all documents and foresee accompanying risks and pitfalls.
To maximize the purpose of the VDR, look for VDRs that offer the following functions:
Secure data management
Account theft prevention
Digital rights management
Document filtering tools
Activity tracking and audit log
Multiple files format support
Drag and drop files
Multiple projects in one account.
In addition to these, look for the best virtual data rooms that offer other advanced security options such as:
multiple-step login authentication
Print Screen button disabling
restriction access by time and IP
Microsoft Office integration
Also, look for the virtual data room providers that offer personal training, if needed.
iDeals Virtual Data Room is a secure virtual data room solution used by more than 4,000 companies worldwide, including many Fortune 1,000 companies since 2008. The virtual data room solutions from iDeals are based on a continuous innovation approach, including constant R&D efforts, powerful cloud infrastructure, and instantly available customer services. With iDeals’ advanced document sharing technology and shatterproof security, dealmakers worldwide can fully comply with due diligence requirements.
ShareFile VDR is a cloud-based data room appropriate for the deals executed by various professionals such as financial advisors, brokers, government contractors, biotech and bio-licensing companies, real estate firms, private equity firms, etc. ShareFile virtual data room is equipped with a multi-level security system: the data is encrypted, the documents contain dynamic watermarks that prevent unauthorized dissemination, and the access is allowed only based on two-step verification.
30 days of free trial
24/7 customer support with live chat and online training
Office 365 integration
Instructions are clear and concise
A lot of different formats supported
Simple tools to make it easy to send big files up to 100 GB
Not as intuitive to use as other similar products
Screen sharing is not possible
The mobile application isn’t convenient enough
The interface is available in English language only
DataSite is a powerful data sharing solution that streamlines the due diligence in M&As, disposals, IPO, or any transaction requiring due diligence. These features from DataSite enable customers to complete faster, smarter, and better transactions. DataSite dramatically reduces transaction times and deal expense through the presentation of documents in the data room.
14 days of free trial
Can be integrated with the different software
Support for MS Office files, PDF, and some graphic formats
Box Virtual Data Room is a secure content management and collaboration platform founded in 2005. Recently, Box introduced a virtual data room service with advanced security features, digital rights management, and a convenient file storage system to upload contracts, financial statements, and other due diligence files. Multiple layers of protection keep business-critical information safe and secure while helping teams and enterprises across industries easily share, manage, and collaborate on their most important information from anywhere, on any device.
Intralinks is a global technology provider of secure content management and collaboration solutions. Founded in 1996, Intralinks enables the exchange, control, and management of information between organizations through their virtual data room and deal space solutions, suitable for data sharing inside and outside of the corporate firewall. The company’s key product, Intralinks VIA, supports strategic collaboration solutions for a range of industries, including financial services, life sciences, technology, and manufacturing.
BlackBerry Workspaces provides secure mobile solutions for data sharing and distribution with its virtual data room, enabling users to collaborate more easily as it increases their productivity. Uniting data-centric security with a user-friendly experience Blackberry Workspaces applies security and advanced digital rights management to documents from your preferred enterprise content repositories to multiple destinations within and outside your organization, including web, desktop, and mobile.
Free Trial available
Unlimited data storage
24/7 customer support
Some users are dissatisfied with the quality of Android app working
Brainloop Secure Dataroom is an advanced virtual workspace with complete security architecture, global 24/7 availability via a web browser, and its own tablet apps. Brainloop ensures secure collaboration in a transparently secure online workspace while delivering end-to-end protection for confidential documents. Enterprises worldwide use Brainloop for boardroom communications, research and development processes, legal work, and any other area where you need to share confidential documents.
Free Trial available
24/7 customer support
High level of data security
Personalized watermarks are generated automatically
SmartRoom provides virtual data room services for numerous business areas, such as capital markets, legal solutions, corporate exchange. Secure document hosting and sharing among partners, convenient management of sensitive corporate information, confidential discussion of the data directly within the platform – all these features attract deal-makers (investment bankers, private equity managers, etc.) and make them look for the most protected, efficient, functional and convenient VDR available.
Free Trial available
24/7 customer support
A lot of additional features provided
Easy to use
Some users are dissatisfied with the quality of support
Dropbox is a famous online file-sharing center where users can store, share, and download data and documents. In some ways, Dropbox has reorganized the ways people manage their files. Features that make Dropbox a popular solution are the ease of use, the possibility to log in and share their data with anyone quickly. It also provides some free storage space, so many individuals prefer Dropbox to other cloud providers.
Donnelley Financial Solutions is a perfect workspace disregarding the type of the deal, project or industry requiring a virtual data room service. VDRs by Donnelley Financial Solutions are equally suitable for due diligence, for fundraising, for communication with investors, for developing and managing document repositories.
24/7 customer support
Intuitive calendar-view report tracking
Integrates Google Search
Free trial not provided
No mobile app
Only cloud deployment
How to choose a proper virtual data room?
There are lots of online data repositories available, and it may be tricky for you to choose the best for your project. Here are some useful tips to help you get the most out of your data room:
Read the best virtual data room reviews and find out more about how you can use a reliable VDR in your particular industry or project.
Avail of a VDR provider’s free trial. Never buy one-year or half-year membership without using the provider’s free trial offer first. Usually, VDR providers offer a 1-month free membership, 60-day trial, or 3-month free trial. The length of the free trial can vary depending on the specific provider.
Choose online data repositories that offer 24/7/365 support rather than those that offer support during working hours, which can be in a time zone different from yours.
Select a provider that has experience in complex ﬁnancial transactions, such as M&A and IPOs.
Don’t ignore in-house hosting and management. We recommend choosing providers who do not outsource any part of the data hosting or management process to third parties, as this can put your data at risk.
Find a virtual data room provider who can customize the data room according to your needs.
Inquire what bandwidth the chosen platform is offering.
Look for leading providers that offer lots of excellent features, which help you gather, organize, and present your data. Also, look for providers that simplify and fasten the time of deal-making. These are some of the most useful features:
Document Security: data encryption, automatic backup, Print Screen button disabling, restriction access by time and IP, dynamic watermarks.
Functionality: Q&A, Microsoft Office Integration, activity tracking, audit log, bulk uploads, etc.
Usability: advanced search option, intuitive interface, easy-to-understand functions; perfect both for beginners and professionals alike.
Real-time reporting capabilities: activity tracking, and audit logs.
Pay close attention to security and functionality, and get a solid grasp of your project’s specifics so you know what you need from a VDR. With these tips, you can now compare the VDR providers to determine the best virtual data room for your business deals. Read the reviews and compare VDR functions, capabilities, and rates.
The cost for virtual data room services varies depending on the pricing model and the vendor. The things to consider are your project objectives because each of them may be converted into a function within the VDR. In general, providers may charge per page, per user, or per storage size. There can also be a fixed monthly fee for a particular set of features. The price may further increase if the VDR provider offers other advanced functions.
A virtual data room is a secure online repository for storing and sharing data between interested parties. It is commonly used during M&A negotiations. The standard functionality includes such features as advanced permissions, a Q&A tool, multi-factor authentication, reports and tracking entries, and others. In most cases, a preference is given to a cloud solution so that no installation is required.
“Data room” is an online repository to store sensitive and confidential data for companies. A data room is usually used for legal, due diligence of mergers and acquisitions. Before virtual data rooms, businesses use only physical data rooms, which were standard offices with a higher level of protection. Virtual data rooms are the step forward and shifted the traditional office location to the online repository. The VDR’s functionality has become more divergent: apart from saving the target company’s information, it is also now possible to track entries and flow of data, conduct financial transactions, edit/delete/update files added, etc.
The purpose and functionality of data rooms in investment banking don’t significantly differ from their use in other fields. An investment banking data room is an online warehouse that allows accessing files downloaded by any authorized users from various world regions. Virtual data rooms simplify due diligence for both parties of the deal, enabling them to manage M&A transactions more efficiently. In turn, investment bankers can check users who enter the VDR, tracking the duration of sessions and documentation they worked on.
The typical use of virtual data rooms is M&A, primarily its due diligence process, which requires storing and sharing tons of files about the target company’s offer. These online repositories can come in handy for businesses with a similar volume of data to store or need to arrange remote access of multiple users to information simultaneously, guaranteeing documents' confidentiality.
Several crucial differences don’t allow Dropbox to be considered a virtual data room. One of these is, despite its development and revolutionary updates, Dropbox is designed to simplify data sharing between Internet users without contributing to its security. The software structure differs as well. While Dropbox is based on one main folder containing all the data, data rooms include separate projects with authorized access to each. Besides, support team assistance helps conduct a successful M&A transaction through a virtual data room, and Dropbox is not secure and professional enough to run a serious business deal.
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) occur when the target company sells its offer to potential bidders to receive predicted revenue. This transaction cannot be concluded without the acquiring brand conducting due diligence checks and analyzing sensitive and confidential information. M&A virtual data rooms are necessary because they are designed to keep all information relevant to the deal in one secure cloud solution and promote hassle-free sharing and updating of documents.
Data room software is a unique digital solution to store and share sensitive and proprietary data with interested parties of M&A transactions or other forms of business transactions. Downloaded documents are protected by encryption technologies, multi-factor authentication, and configurable role-based permissions. Considering several users can access files stored simultaneously, it is possible to control their performance with separate sets of rules.
Due diligence is the process of checking the trustworthiness and benefits of the target company’s offer, choosing the most appropriate strategy for M&A transactions, and verifying the suitable fit of the deal. The process commences when the parties sign the letter of intent (LOI) and is required in almost all M&As. Due diligence involves investigation and audit of any data relations to the acquired organization’s activities, including their corporate records, financial statements, contracts with customers, lists of intellectual property, real estate, and any other assets, and so on, which can be stored in a VDR designed for M&A due diligence. This step allows the buyer to define whether the provided facts make the deal worth investing in.
Apart from preparing data to store and share via data room, interested parties select a reliable and reputable VDR provider. Once the task is completed, to create a data room, all you have to do is open the repository, create document groups, invite new users by adding their e-mails, and customize the functionality to arrange limited access to added documents and files.
Data rooms simplify the storing and sharing of sensitive and commercial data of any business. This is especially helpful during mergers and acquisitions agreements. Simultaneously, data room software guarantees a high-security level and promotes faster decision-making for the seller and buyer sides. The reason for that is the ability to analyze data from any part of the world without the need to travel to the target company’s location and have limited opportunities per one-time checking. Virtual data rooms tend to be more cost-efficient and intuitive in operation and adjustment in the long run.
An agile VDR service that can satisfy any needs of various sized companies in any industry