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Secure Virtual Data Room - How to Pick Secure VDR in 2023

Kison Patel
Kison Patel

Kison Patel is the Founder and CEO of DealRoom, a Chicago-based diligence management software that uses Agile principles to innovate and modernize the finance industry. As a former M&A advisor with over a decade of experience, Kison developed DealRoom after seeing first hand a number of deep-seated, industry-wide structural issues and inefficiencies.

CEO and Founder of M&A Science and FirmRoom

Virtual data rooms allow for improved collaboration and data sharing of sensitive documentation in a secure, controlled environment. They are used for a variety of industries for the purposes of storing business plans, financial records, customer data, and more sensitive information.

Virtual data rooms are also used for collaborating on these documents with business partners, stakeholders, and those within a company.

As this is sensitive information, the security of the chosen virtual data room is of the utmost importance.

What is a Secure Virtual Data Room?

A virtual data room is a secure, cloud-based storage center that acts as a repository for sensitive documentation. Virtual data rooms allow for the sharing of business information with clients, investors, and company leadership while holding security to the highest standard.

How do Secure Virtual Data Rooms Work?

Virtual data rooms enable data sharing without the need for physical data rooms, and ensure that sensitive information is only shared with those who should have access.

This improves collaboration, and allows all those involved to contribute to the process securely with easy remote access and data sharing on a real-time basis.

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Benefits of using a virtual data room include:

  • View-only access, which allows for viewing but not document downloading
  • Document-view restriction to restrict the portion of an individual document viewable by a particular group or individual to safely facilitate collaboration
  • Customizable document permissions to maintain control over who can access specific information in the data room
  • Intuitive user management to add users and set access permissions with ease
  • Monitoring and reporting to gain insights on user access in real time

FirmRoom, as a top performer in the industry, pilots all of these features, and has been developed to the highest security standard and performance for secure file-sharing and collaboration.

Why You Need to Avoid Free Data Storage

While free data storage may sound appealing, the cost to a company’s security may be higher than any price tag.

1. Free data storage platforms do not have ISO or FINRA compliance, and do not meet enterprise requirements. This is not up to industry standard and does not ensure adequate encryption of data. Plus, if a company does not meet FINRA data compliance, they may be subject to consequences from the SEC.

2. Further, free data storage platforms are not designed to handle sensitive info. They lack the document permissions of virtual data rooms, such as view-only and specific allowance of access. They also do not allow for document indexing, and do not provide audit logs on user activity.

3. Free data storage is also vulnerable to hacks. Without the offer of two-factor authentication or single-sign on, which the majority of free data storage platforms do not have, the likelihood of an outside party accessing any data is increased exponentially. Even the ability to work offline with free data storage platforms raises some security concerns, as this allows more opportunities for improper access of data.

The organizational and collaborative features of virtual data rooms far exceed those offered by free software providers as well. Some of these features include enhanced organization of documents in the form of folder structures or tags; smart analytics to track every step of projects; integrations with Slack and Office; and security level assignments for access.

Virtual Data Room Storage Security Features to Look Out For

As mentioned, security is the most important consideration when choosing a virtual data room. Some security features to look for include:

1. ISO 27081 Compliance

ISO compliance refers to the guidelines set in place to protect personal information in the storage clouds.ISO 27081 is considered to be the top security choice.

2. FINRA Compliance

FINRA ensures transparency in the industry transaction and develops and enforces rules for the securities industry. It also helps to enforce SEC rules and regulations. If you are in theM&A industry or involved in a security firm, this may be an important consideration.

3. File Backups

In the case of an accidental deletion, virtual data rooms provide disaster recovery with repeated fail over capabilities and data center recovery testing, so a file is never completely lost. FirmRoom backs up servers and customer data daily, so that all customer data can be fully recovered in the event of hardware failure.

4. Secure Operation and File Maintenance

When looking for a VDR, it is important to look for one which contains comprehensive document permission and view restriction settings, even within the team, with features such as two-factor authentication and “view only” settings.

5. Strong Encryption Methods

Virtual data rooms allow for the document itself to be encrypted, rather than, as in traditional cloud storage, data is only encrypted moving to and from the server. FirmRoom uses 256-bit AES data encryption.

6. Allows for Digital Watermarking

This is essential to stop the illegal data copying. It can be used on text, video, and audio to track who is downloading and printing information, as well as sharing it. Look for dynamic and static watermarking.

7. IP monitoring

Look for a VDR that allows admin to access the IP address, type of device, and locations of users that log in, with email notifications for detected suspicious activity.

8. Single Sign On Integration

This allows users to enter one set of login credentials and access multiple applications with those credentials.

9. Inclusive Reporting

Comprehensive audit reports and analytics should be available within your VDR.

How to Choose a Secure Virtual Data Room

Security and collaboration efficiency are essential to stay competitive in the digital age. As there are many secure virtual data rooms on the market to choose from, you may be wondering how to pick the best one to meet your company’s needs.

  1. Define your needs and abilities - This includes how much storage needs, what kinds of files and documents will be stored, the budget, who will be using the data room, and what other purposes the VDR may be fulfilling.
  2. Identify desired features - Security, document management features, permission settings, analytics, customer support, and budget are all things to keep in mind.
  3. Research security features and compliance - Each VDR website should have a summary of their security features and compliance ontheir websites.
  4. Read reviews - but with a grain of salt! See what other companies are reporting with regards to interface, ease of use, efficiency, and any security complaints.
  5. Reach out to customer support - Use this as a gauge of response time and knowledge, as you’ll likely be needing them in the future.
  6. Request a free trial - Do hands-on research and see if the product actually works the way that you’d like it to.

How FirmRoom Can Help

FirmRoom was specifically designed with the complexities of M&A security in mind, created by industry experts specifically for that purpose. Not only doesFirmRoom have all of the previously mentioned security features, its enhanced collaboration and focused analytics help to close deals up to 40% faster.

With the inclusion of data encryption, inclusive reporting, accident redemption, compliance with data privacy laws, extension of existing enterprise securities technologies, and worldwide network on the FirmRoom platform, FirmRoom meets every security standard that a company could possibly need.

But as mentioned, always try for yourself: start your 30-day free trial today!

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Try FirmRoom's Secure Virtual Data Room Free for 30 Days

  • All Business Sizes - FirmRoom VDR plans enable secure document sharing for firms of all sizes
  • Ease of Use - Effortlessly apply watermarks, and restrict viewing, downloading, and printing
  • Quick Setup - Open your data room right away. No salesperson required