Top virtual data room providers: find a perfect data room

A virtual data room is a secure online meeting place 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, confidential information sharing, venture capital funding, etc.

Virtual data rooms (VDRs) have revolutionized the transaction process in today’s business environment. Businesses prefer virtual data rooms instead of physical data rooms (or traditional 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.

Virtual data room solutions are also used wide-range of industries, including:

While most data rooms offer similar services, such as data storage security, document 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.

Online data rooms are popular among different business industries because they provide the following solutions to corporate transactions:

  • structured arrangement and organization of all necessary documents
  • high-speed digital sharing of documents, which takes seconds instead of traditional mailing or courier delivery
  • 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

The number of potential uses of an online data room 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. 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, so a data room for M&A is a must. Businesses cannot get this level of security from customer-centric solutions, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, or physical data rooms.
The bidders in the M&A deal have access to the information stored in the online 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.

Data rooms for selling a business

The process of setting up a virtual data room when getting ready to sell a business is a four-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 room.

After all digital documents are collected, setting up a data room for selling a business can take less than an hour. Virtual data room software collaboration options and the capacity to update existing files on the fly also cut down negotiation time from several months to days.

1
iDeals
4.9
2
Citrix
4.6
3
Datasite
4.5
4
BOX
4.0
5
Intralinks
3.9
6
Dealroom
3.8
7
Brainloop
3.3
8
Ansarada
3.7
9
SmartRoom
3.0
10
Venue
3.0

Data rooms for 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 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 in 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.

Data rooms for legal documents management

Safety is crucial for legal businesses. This is why law firms, corporate legal departments, federal, state, and local governments, courts, and banks use virtual data rooms daily. Once uploaded to the data room, sensitive documents become entirely safe, with the data rooms 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.

Data rooms for risk management

Significant changes in the business environment or in legislation pose such significant risks that companies need to act fast to manage them. Data rooms help businesses mitigate risks through the following:

  1. Virtual data rooms reduce the time businesses need to adapt to the changes and edit documentation to incorporate these changes
  2. A risk management data room gives 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. 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

Data rooms for real estate transactions

Data rooms 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 of a data room 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 in the data room, and then pick the best option.

data room use cases

Which functions do virtual data rooms offer?

The primary purpose of any virtual data room software is to keep, manage, and share confidential documents during the deal-making process. Online data room providers help 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.

data room features

To maximize the purpose of a data room, look for virtual data room solutions that offer the following functions:

  • Secure data management
  • Data encryption
  • Antivirus protection
  • Account theft prevention
  • Digital rights management
  • Document filtering tools
  • Advanced search
  • Activity tracking and audit log
  • Compatibility
  • Scroll-through viewer
  • Multiple files format support
  • Bulk uploads
  • 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
  • Q&A functionality
  • Restriction access by time and IP
  • Microsoft Office integration
  • Dynamic watermarks

Also, look for a data room provider that offers 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 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.

Pros
  • 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
  • Downloading 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 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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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

3. Datasite

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

DataSite is a powerful data room solution that streamlines the due diligence in M&As, disposals, IPO, or any transaction requiring due diligence process. These features from DataSite enable customers to complete faster, smarter, and better transactions. DataSite’s data room dramatically reduces transaction times and deal expenses through the presentation of documents in the data room.

Pros
  • 14 days of free trial
  • Can be integrated with the different software
  • Support for MS Office files, PDF, and some graphic formats
Cons
  • No training options, no online help center
  • No Android and iOS application
  • Only cloud deployment

4. Box

  • Vendor: Box, Inc.
  • Headquater: Redwood
  • Company size: 1000-5000 employees
  • Founded: 2005
  • Free Trial: 14 Days

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 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.

Pros
  • 14 days of free trial
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Custom branding
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Integrates with more than 1400 apps
Cons
  • Provided only in English
  • Mac/Linux are not supported

5. 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 data room 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.

Pros
  • 30 days of free trial
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Ease to manage Q&A and users
  • Easy to navigate
  • High level of data security
  • Works swiftly with big volumes of information
Cons
  • High price
  • Only cloud deployment

6. Dealroom

  • Vendor: Dealroom
  • Headquater: Chicago
  • Company size: 51-200 employees
  • Founded: 2012
  • Free Trial: 14 days

This Chicago-based data room provider offers secure data room solutions for M&A, due diligence, project management, and other kinds of complex business transactions. Dealroom provides a wide range of security features, as well as integrations with Microsoft Office, Slack, and Google Apps. Also, their Agile framework may be effective for corporations working with massive amounts of data.

Pros
  • Free Trial available
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Integration with a variety of platforms
Cons
  • High price
  • Slow support response

7. Brainloop

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

Brainloop Secure Dataroom is an advanced virtual data room with complete security architecture, global 24/7 availability via a web browser, and its own tablet apps. Brainloop data room 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.

Pros
  • Free Trial available
  • 24/7 customer support
  • High level of data security
  • Personalized watermarks are generated automatically
  • Q&A module with graphical reports
  • Multi-platform
Cons
  • The number of supported languages is very limited
  • Product is slow to change
  • More focus on Germany than in other markets

8. Ansarada

  • Vendor: Ansarada
  • Headquater: Sydney
  • Company size: 100-200 employees
  • Founded: 2005
  • Free Trial: 14 days

Ansarada’s virtual data room solution has proved to be helpful in a wide selection of deals and issues, from M&A due diligence to board communications. While offering a quite standard document management functionality, their use of AI and a custom Deal workflow is a feature that makes Ansarada a great provider, along with collaboration and time-management tools

Pros
  • Strong audit capabilities
  • Broad spectrum of security options
  • Online help pages
  • Q&A tool
  • Automatic indexing
Cons
  • Not intuitive
  • Expensive

9. SmartRoom

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

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 and intellectual property, 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 data room available.

Pros
  • Free Trial available
  • 24/7 customer support
  • A lot of additional features provided
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Some users are dissatisfied with the quality of support
  • Only cloud deployment

10. Venue by DFin

  • Vendor: Donnelley Financial Solutions™
  • Headquater: Chicago
  • Company size: -
  • Founded: 1983
  • Free Trial: 10 days
Donnelley Financial Solutions is a great workspace disregarding the type of the deal, project, or industry requiring a virtual data room service. Data rooms by Donnelley Financial Solutions are equally suitable for due diligence processes, fundraising, intellectual property management, communication with investors, for developing and managing document repositories.
Pros
  • Demo provided
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Intuitive calendar-view report tracking
  • Multilingual
  • Integrates Google Search
Cons
  • Free trial not provided
  • No mobile app
  • Only cloud deployment

How to choose a proper virtual data room?

There are lots of online data rooms 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 data room solution in your particular industry or project.
  • Choose a data room that offers 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 data room provider that has experience in complex financial transactions, such as M&A, due diligence process, and IPO.
  • Find a virtual data room provider who can customize the data room space according to your needs.
  • Inquire what bandwidth the chosen data room platform offers.
  • 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. The most useful features in data rooms are:
    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, and account theft prevention.
    3. Functionality:
      Q&A, Microsoft Office Integration, activity tracking, audit log, bulk uploads, etc.
    4. Usability:
      advanced search option, intuitive interface, and easy-to-understand functions; perfect both for beginners and professionals alike.
    5. 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 an online data room. With these tips, you can now understand what is a virtual data room, compare the VDR providers to determine the best virtual data room solutions for your business. Read the reviews and compare virtual data room 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 online data room. 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 data room provider offers other advanced functions. Anyways, the price of a virtual data room is many times lower compared to traditional data rooms.
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.
A virtual data room is an online repository to store sensitive and confidential documents for companies. A data room is usually used for legal, due diligence of mergers and acquisitions. Before virtual data rooms, businesses used only physical data rooms (traditional data rooms), which were standard offices with a higher level of protection. Virtual data rooms are the step forward and shifted the physical data rooms 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. Compared to physical data rooms, virtual data room solutions now only offer advantages.
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 data room, 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. M&A cannot be concluded without the acquiring brand conducting due diligence checks and analyzing confidential documents. M&A virtual data rooms are necessary as they are designed to keep all information relevant to the deal in one secure cloud solution and promote hassle-free document sharing.
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. The due diligence process 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 process. 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 data room 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.
Data rooms make it possible to safely share confidential documents 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, especially when compared to physical data rooms.