Virtual Data Room Providers

In today’s business environment, virtual data rooms have revolutionized the transaction process. The key reasons why businesses prefer VDRs instead of physical data rooms are instant 24/7/365 access from any location and any device with an Internet connection, secure data management, and storing as well as much time and money savings during secret business deals. Plus, the online version of deal rooms takes away all pitfalls and risks, reducing the possibility of a deal not going on as planned.

Today a data room became a secure online meeting place for all parties involved in the agreement. Data rooms provide full control during online due diligence processes. Also, these secure online data repositories simplify the cooperation between all parties. The virtual data room has evolved to become a tool to help the entire deal course, not to perform due diligence. Apart from M&A, companies use virtual data room software for such deals as loan syndication, private equity, and venture. Many industries use virtual data rooms, including the following ones:

Many datarooms offer similar services, such as secure data storage, data management, and sharing. The other functions may vary. The best virtual data rooms provide military-level security, multi-language support, full-text search, in-document linking, and a wide-ranging selection of other advanced functions.

Online data rooms are popular among different business industries because they resolve a stack of issues businesses face when dealing with corporate transactions:

  • structured arrangement and organization of all necessary documents, including texts, images, etc.;
  • high-speed digital sharing of documents instead of traditional mailing or courier delivery — the process takes seconds instead of 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 (if necessary) online instead of time-consuming and sometimes risky in terms of physical health meetings.

The number of potential use cases of using secure virtual data rooms is close to infinity. Namely, firms that run their business in legal, real estate, life science, biotech, and other industries use this software for different purposes. For you to get the hang of how it works, we have collected the most common cases below.

M&A

Every merger and acquisition deal includes a due diligence process.

M&A is always accompanied by a large volume of confidential documents that require to be stored protected with several security layers accessible in VDRs. Such security level is unattainable in customer-centric solutions, e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box or Hightail, etc.

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.

The seller’s side has transparency on user activity, documents, or buyer requests analytics, which grant these users full control over the deal or its bottlenecks.

Selling a business

The process of setting up a virtual data room when getting ready to sell a business is a relatively simple 4-step procedure:

  1. Prepare digital versions of necessary documents.
  2. Organize and group documents as necessary.
  3. Upload all documents to the data room.
  4. Provide buying company (-ies) with access to the data.

In a case when all digital documents are already collected, setting up a virtual data room for selling a business can take 10 minutes or less.

Moreover, virtual data software collaboration options and the capacity to update existing files on the fly cut down negotiation time from several months to days.

1
iDeals
5.0
2
Citrix
4.6
3
Datasite
4.5
4
BOX
4
5
CapLinked
3.9
6
Intralinks
3.9
7
BlackBerry
3.5
8
Brainloop
3.3
9
SmartRoom
3
10
Dropbox
1

Fundraising

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 deal room that lets users share information quickly and safely cannot be done without when a firm of any size (and big businesses in particular) raise money.

What’s more, virtual data rooms’ features like a Q&A section and comments allow all parties of the process to communicate and keep all parties on the same page. To improve the cooperation process, the best virtual data rooms offer a set of 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, such sensitive documents as legal files become entirely safe, 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.

Risk management

When a significant change in the business world or laws occurs, things can get hectic for the business, and its team has to act rapidly:

  1. Virtual data rooms reduce time to adapt to changes and edit documentation.
  2. VDRs for risk management 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.
  3. In a case when admins see unusual activity on the files (unauthorized downloading or attempts to share access), they can restrict access with few clicks or taps, and even delete downloaded documents from the user’s computer remotely.

Real estate transactions

For real estate transactions, the main benefits of virtual data rooms are the ability to work with large files and the anonymity of potential buyers.

The first option 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 option, anonymity, 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. Online data room providers also help the selling side become better prepared for the deal and have a well-planned strategy. The buying side can examine all documents and predict all risks and pitfalls. That is why the significant features to look for in every virtual data room include the following ones:

Secure data management (data encryption, antivirus protection, account theft prevention, etc.)

  • Digital rights management
  • Document filtering tools
  • Advanced search within the whole dataroom
  • Activity tracking and audit log
  • Compatibility
  • Scroll-through viewer
  • Multiple files format support
  • Bulk uploads
  • Drag and drop files
  • Possibility to have numerous projects within one account.

Besides this, the best virtual data rooms offer several advanced security options, in particular, multiple-step login authentication, Print Screen button disabling, (Q&A) functionality, restriction access by time and IP, Microsoft Office integration, and dynamic watermarks. Plus, many virtual data room providers offer personal training if needed.

1. iDeals

  • Vendor: iDeals Solutions Group
  • Headquater: New York
  • Company size: 100-500 employees
  • Founded: 2008
  • Free Trial: 30 Days

iDeals Virtual Data Room is a secure virtual data room solution used by more than 4,000 companies worldwide, including many Fortune 1000 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.

Pros
  • 30 days of free trial
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Multi-platform
  • Multilingual
  • Easy file uploading in any format
  • Solid data integrity/protection toolset
  • Easy user management
  • High data transfer speed
  • Customizable look & feeling
Cons
  • For downloading of encrypted files needs Installation
  • File types cannot be converted

2. Citrix

  • Vendor: Citrix Systems
  • Headquater: Richardson
  • Company size: 5000-10000 employees
  • Founded: 1989
  • Free Trial: 14 Days

ShareFile VDR is a cloud-based data room appropriate for the deals executed by a variety of professional such as financial advisors, brokers, government contractors, biotech and biolicensing companies, real estate firms, private equity firms, etc. ShareFile virtual data room is equipped with multi-level security system: the data is encrypted, the documents contain dynamic watermarks that prevent unauthorized dissemination, the access is allowed only on a basis of two-step verification.

3. Datasite

  • Vendor: Datasite LLC
  • Headquater: Minneapolis
  • Company size: 500-1000 employees
  • Founded: 1968
  • Free Trial: 14 Days

DataSite is a powerful data sharing solution that streamlines the due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, disposals, IPO, or any transaction requiring a due diligence effort. These features from DataSite enable customers to complete faster, smarter, and better transactions. Explore how DataSite dramatically reduces transaction times and deal expense through the presentation of documents in the data room.

4. Box

  • Vendor: Box, Inc.
  • Headquater: Redwood
  • Company size: 1000-5000 employees
  • Founded: 2005
  • Free Trial: 3 Days

Box Virtual Data Room is a secure content management and collaboration platform founded in 2005. Recently Box file introduced a virtual data room service with advanced security features, digital rights management, and 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.

5. CapLinked

  • Vendor: CapLinked
  • Headquater: Manhattan Beach
  • Company size: 10-100 employees
  • Founded: 2009
  • Free Trial: 7 Days

CapLinked offers its customers a simple 4-step scheme of operation. At first, a client uploads large volumes of highly confidential corporate documents to the virtual platform. Then potential and current partners are invited and segregated according to the relevant level of data disclosure: digital rights management enables the room administrator to control the information disclosure in addition to full granular control of the access to the data.

6. Intralinks

  • Vendor: Intralinks Holdings, Inc
  • Headquater: New York
  • Company size: 500-1000 employees
  • Founded: 1996
  • Free Trial: 30 Days

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.

7. BlackBerry Workspaces

  • Vendor: BlackBerry Limited
  • Headquater: Palo Alto
  • Company size: 1000-5000 employees
  • Founded: 2007
  • Free Trial: 7 Days

BlackBerry Workspaces provides secure mobile solutions for data sharing and distribution with its virtual data room that enables users to more easily collaborate as it increases their productivity. Uniting data-centric security with a user-friendly experience Blackberry Workspaces applies security and advanced digital rights management (DRM) to documents going from your preferred enterprise content repositories to multiple destinations within and outside your organization, including web, desktop, and mobile.

8. Brainloop

  • Vendor: Brainloop AG
  • Headquater: Munich
  • Company size: 100-500 employees
  • Founded: 2000
  • Free Trial: 7 Days

Brainloop Secure Dataroom is an advanced virtual workspace with complete security architecture, global 24/7 availability via a web browser, and its own apps for tablets. Brainloop ensures secure collaboration in a transparently secure online workspace while delivering end-to-end protection for confidential documents. Learn why enterprises worldwide use Brainloop for boardroom communications, research and development processes, legal work, and any other area where you need to share confidential documents.

9. SmartRoom

  • Vendor: SmartRoom
  • Headquater: Los Angeles
  • Company size: 100-500 employees
  • Founded: 1998
  • Free Trial: -

SmartRoom provides its 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.

10. Dropbox

  • Vendor: Dropbox, Inc.
  • Headquater: -
  • Company size: 1000-5000 employees
  • Founded: -
  • Free Trial: -

Dropbox is a famous online filesharing 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 quickly log in, and share their data with anyone. It also provides some free storage space, so many individuals prefer Dropbox to other cloud providers. 

How to choose a proper virtual data room?

There are lots of online data repositories available, and it may be tricky for you to determine which one to choose for your project. Below you can find some useful tips which you should help you get the most out of your data room.

  • You will need to 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.
  • Another critical aspect of choosing the proper service for your project is a free trial. Never buy one-year or half-year membership without using the provider’s free trial offer. Usually, VDR providers offer 1–month free membership, a 60-days trial, or a 3-month free trial. The length of the free trial can vary depending on the specific provider.
  • Choose those online data repositories which offer 24/7/365 support, not during working hours, which can be different in various time zones.
  • It is advisable to select a provider that has experience in many complex financial transactions, including M&A and IPOs.
  • You should not 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.
  • Furthermore, the leading providers offer you lots of excellent features, which help you gather, organize, and present your data. They also simplify and fasten the time of deal-making. Here are some of the most useful features that you may find helpful:
    1. Document Security:
      data encryption, automatic backup, Print Screen button disabling, restriction access by time and IP, dynamic watermarks.
    2. Access Security:
      dual login authentication, mobile device management, account theft prevention.
    3. Functionality:
      Questions and Answers, Microsoft Office Integration, activity tracking along with audit log, bulk uploads, etc.
    4. Usability:
      advanced search option, intuitive interface, easy to understand functions. Choose such a platform that is perfect both for beginners and professionals alike.
    5. Real-time reporting capabilities:
      activity tracking, and audit logs.
  • You may find it useful to find a virtual data room provider who can customize it according to your needs.
  • Finally, make sure to inquire what bandwidth the chosen platform is offering.

These are essential issues to consider upon choosing the proper platform for your project. The following comparison will help you to determine the best virtual data room for your business deals. You are welcome to read the reviews, compare functions, capabilities, and rates. We recommend paying close attention to security and functional aspects. And remember that you should have a solid understanding of all specifics of your project and what you will need from a VDR before you get started.

Depending on the pricing model and vendor, the overall cost for virtual data room services varies. Considering your project objectives, each of them may be functional. In general, the price can be charged per page, per user, per storage size, and there can be a fixed monthly fee for a particular set of features. If there are any advanced functions offered, the price may increase.
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 along with reports and tracking entries, etc. In most cases, a preference is given to a cloud solution, so no installation is required.
The term "data room" is used to define an online repository to store sensitive and confidential data for companies. Usually, they are involved in legal due diligence of mergers and acquisitions. Previously, only physical data rooms were spread — these were standard offices with a higher level of protection. Virtual data rooms are the step forward and switched traditional location to an online repository. The functionality has become more divergent: apart from saving the target company’s information, it is 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. In general, that is a so-called 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 mergers and acquisitions, namely, their 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 free and remote access of multiple users to information simultaneously, not allowing their interaction.
Several crucial differences don’t allow Dropbox to be considered a virtual data room. 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 occur when the target company sells its offer to potential bidders to receive predicted revenue. The procedure can’t be held without conducting due diligence checks by an acquiring brand and analyzing sensitive and confidential information. That is where virtual data rooms are necessary. Data rooms are designed to keep all information relevant to the deal in one secure cloud solution and promote its hassle-free sharing and updating.
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 relations. 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.
In simple terms, due diligence is a 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 procedures commence when the parties sign the letter of intent (also known as LOI). The 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. This step allows the buy-side 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, 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, dataroom software guarantees a high-security level and promotes faster decision-making for the sell and buy 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.