Virtual data rooms review

Out of the many providers available on the market, we have chosen the ones we believe are doing groundbreaking work in the secure file storage industry.

We started our investigation by googling each of the providers and looking at their site. After we took a look at what they had to offer, we could compare it with the actual service people were commenting on in a virtual data room review. Combining a big amount of data, we could go even further, in the search for an almost perfect online data room service.

The last step on our discovery path was a look at statistical data. We looked at the length between new updates, the number of people signing up for the solution, and how long the service provider was on the market.

Feeling satisfied with our findings, we came to the conclusion that the listed tools are the best solutions the market has to offer.

1. iDeals
5.0/5

The top feature iDeals presents to its customers is the ability to manage documents without special digital proficiency. Technology is here to help, and not to hinder the ability to safely share important documentation during an M&A deal or a due diligence process.

ease of set up
user- friendly interface
drag-and-drop upload
2-step authentication
2. Dealroom
4.9/5

It is hard to find a better M&A lifecycle management suite than the one proposed by DealRoom. By agglomerating tools that help with workflow management, integration of new company assets, and aiding diligence processes, DealRoom will lead you through each step of an M&A transaction.

ease of use
good conditions on monthly subscription
due diligence folders
bulk downloading feature
3. Intralinks
4.8/5

The Intralinks data room provider capitalizes on the newest technological solutions. AI is actively supporting the activities in their virtual data room solution, and helping both sides of the deal conclude their business more efficiently and cost-effectively.

user-friendly interface
ease of managing internal processes
AI-integrated data room
good customer support
4. Datasite Diligence
4.7/5

Automation is at the core of the Datasite Diligence virtual data rooms. With the aid of an AI, and other automation enhancing tools, this secure online file repository wants to keep the documents safe, but aid internal, as well as the external workflow regarding documentation and dealmaking.

customization feature
search feature for documents
quote-based pricing plan
default “Index view”
5. SecureDocs
4.8/5

The solution put forward by SecureDocs centers around speed. Knowing how important it is to conclude business in a short period of time to both save time and resources, SecureDocs speeds up dealmaking with the use of their virtual data room solution.

ease of use
good customer service
user-friendly interface
ease of set up

Virtual data room providers comparison

There are many virtual data room providers on the market, and all of them have features that are absolutely necessary for them to be up to industry standards. Here are the crucial traits that each virtual data room should be equipped with when you are doing a virtual data room comparison.

Security protocols. Each data room comparison should start with a look at the security features. Virtual data rooms should be compliant with the latest security regulations like GDPR, or encryption protocols like 256-bit encryption. The solution should also allow the administrator to manage permission settings, and add people to different access groups.

Collaboration enhancement. Online file repositories are not only designed to hold documentation but also exchange information with the other party. This is why collaboration-enhancing tools in the form of comments, questions, or even chat functionality are crucial. While doing a data room software comparison, other software solutions might have more specialized communication venues.

Support. The tools themselves might not be difficult to operate, but it is always good to have someone to reach out to if the virtual data room environment proves a little too difficult for the people navigating that space.

Reporting. It is good to know where people spend their time in a virtual data room environment. This can lead to an optimized working environment and a gauge of interest in the documents left in that space.

Backup. The space should have a backup functionality in case any of the files get deleted by accident. It should be easy to restore the documentation to the previous state. A data room provider’s comparison should usually include the backup options they support.

Those are the bare necessities a virtual data room should have to call itself an industry leader. Here are some other features that are nice to have, but they are usually considered an extra functionality useful for doing data room providers comparison.

White labeling capabilities. The ability to custom-fit the virtual data room to different deals is a feature that only some of the virtual data rooms have. A branded experience might make the other side of the deal feel welcome and more open for negotiation.

Unlimited storage. When you are dealing with tons of documentation, and your company needs to store tons of presentations, PDF files, and even videos, a feature like this is a must. A comparison of virtual data room providers should be focused on company-specific features, and this might be one you also should consider.

AI assistance. With the help of the newest technology, AI also made its way into the virtual data room sector. Helping with file management and redaction is a feature that might be useful while doing operations at a scale.

Mobile app. Being able to access your virtual data room from the comfort of your mobile device with a dedicated app is also an optional feature, but one well worth the investment. You won’t have to access the space from the mobile browser, and the support for the solution will be visible across many devices.

To sum up, you should look for the following when conducting your data room software comparison:

Necessary VDR features

Security protocols
Collaboration enhancement (live chat, Q&A)
Support
Reporting
Backup

Good to have virtual data room features

White labeling capabilities (ex. iDeals)
M&A workflow (ex. DealRoom)
Unlimited storage (ex. SecureDocs)
AI assistance (ex. Intralinks)
Mobile app (ex. Datasite Diligence)

5 quick steps to start working with virtual data room software

After going through countless virtual data room reviews, and picking a solution that fits your individual needs, you can finally start setting up your virtual data room services. Like with each new tool, there is also a learning curve associated with the solution put forward by data room providers. Even the best virtual data room providers have a slightly different way of approaching that subject, because some providers feature a training session for you and your team, while others rely on video tutorials. However, there are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself for the use of a virtual data room.

Find all of your documents. See what kinds of documents you already have digitized, and which documents are still awaiting scanning, and indexing in a virtual environment. Gather all of those files in one place, and think about the structure you will put them in. You can ideate on a piece of paper, and later put those ideas into the virtual data room, based on the structure you will go with.

Decide on a document structure. Think about the folders you upload those files into, and what kind of categorization principle will you adhere to. Make sure that this is a structure that will be easy to navigate for your current co-workers and all personnel that will be using the space. Whether you organize documents by file type, or by destination, make sure that this type of order will be understandable. Electronic data room providers will be happy to support your efforts if you encounter any problems.

Upload the files. Best data room providers enable drag and drop the files into the virtual data room, and organize them according to the structure you introduced earlier. Some virtual data rooms allow for email upload, which might increase the speed of the adaptation process, and allow for multi-device upload with access to inboxes.

Allow access. Give appropriate permissions to people inside of the virtual data room, and create groups that focus on a certain aspect of the deal making process. Brief your team before you invite them into the space, as each addition to the workflow comes with its growing pains. Approach them individually, provide them with necessary training information, or ask your online data room providers to guide them through the process.

Ensure constant updates. This is just the beginning of the adventure with the data room. Many new files will be uploaded into that space, as well as the edit of old ones can be managed. Building on the knowledge gained with the setup, you can continuously improve your virtual data room proficiency by exploring all of the capabilities of an online file repository. Even the best virtual data room service providers cannot support your dealmaking if it isn’t updated.

FAQ

How to set up a data room?
How to set up a data room?

Most of the crucial advice on how to start using a data room has already been given in the previous paragraph, but here are some bonus pieces of advice that might help you set up your virtual data room experience.

  1. Make sure that the chosen provider fits all of your needs. Have you done the preliminary research surrounding the virtual data room? Have you asked your partners if this is a solution that they might be interested in using? Compare virtual data rooms and come to a conclusion that will fit all of your business needs. Picking a solution is just as important as setting it up properly for the potential clients to roam around in. Best virtual data rooms are those that serve you, and do not make the deal making process more complicated than it already is.
  2. Redact the sensitive data. If some of the information that is present in the virtual data room isn’t directly related to the deal for which the online file repository is used, it has no purpose being exposed to other people in the digital environment. Most high-tech data rooms have the ability to redact the data inside of the virtual data room space, and it is a strong selling point for many virtual data room vendors.
What to include in a data room?
What to include in a data room?

A data room should include a structure, a table of contents. The amount of paperwork included in an M&A deal is unmanageable if it isn’t properly ordered. After uploading sensitive documents to the virtual data room, the room will suggest you an indexing strategy, which you can later rearrange to fit your specific agenda. 

 

If they are organized in a particular way, they are more easily found, without having to rely on the search engine in the virtual data room services. We can compare this type of order to a public library, where the books are organized by type, author, or some other trait that makes it easier to manage. If your files are set up in a similar way, nobody will have any doubts about where to find a particular file. 

All of the most necessary files need to be included in a data room and put into a structure. Organizing those documents is just as important as putting them in that space in the first place. 

How to organize documents in a data room?
How to organize documents in a data room?

The organization of documents in a virtual data room software is a two-step process. At first, you upload all of the files you need into the space, according to a structure you might think is important for the overall deal making process.

 

After uploading the files into the space, the data room will suggest a certain order your files should be put in, which optimizes access control. There are a couple of organizational principles that you should follow:

  1. Enable different permission settings. Give access to the documents inside of the virtual data room software to the workers that will make the most use out of the files. Don’t assign permission settings to everyone in the company, just the individuals that are essential for the document review or exchange process.

  2. Use tools that help, not hinder. Pick a VDR that helps with setting up a structure is a perfect choice for a company that takes special care of organizational aspects. Better file management results in a more optimized deal making process.

  3. Control the activities. Look at what people are doing in the virtual data room space, and according to their activities, you can establish the organizational needs of the online environment. If they need to access two documents at once, and they are stored somewhere across the online file repository, it might seem counterintuitive for your workers to jump from folder to folder, even though those two files might belong to the same directory. Know what your people are working on.
What is a data room index and its meaning for data room usage?
What is a data room index and its meaning for data room usage?

Treat the data room index as a map, a guiding principle to navigate through the online file repository. It is an outline of what you can expect from going from folder to folder, and where some of the necessary files might be stored. 

 

An index is necessary for both parties involved in the dealmaking process because each party will need to look through files and address comments. An index makes it easier to pinpoint where the comments are, and where possible problems might arise. 

A data room index makes it almost impossible to get lost in the digital space. Just like you would look at the table of contents of a book, the same principle applies to the structure in a virtual data room space. You know what you are looking for, and you search by the easy to grasp naming convention. 

Why are data rooms secure?
Why are data rooms secure?

Data rooms are secure for two main reasons. One is connected to the way they have been designed, while the other deals with personal management of the space. 

Internal security protocols

As ordinary cloud storage solutions focus on the accessibility of space, and later on the security of that space, virtual data rooms are constructed with security in mind. Accessibility is still one of the main concerns, but through bank-grade encryption, and other safeguards, the space is much more secure than a typical cloud storage solution.

Permission setting management 

The other factor that makes a data room secure is the ability of the host to give and revoke permission settings. This makes the control of the space much easier, and thanks to reports that can be generated in the virtual environment, it gives you an hour by hour account of what kinds of files were accessed and when. Not to mention that some data rooms have specific features that add an additional layer of security in the form of remote shred or watermarking. 

Virtual data rooms are spaces where the most sensitive documents are stored. With the joint help of security protocols built in the software solution, and the human factor that allows for revoking and giving access to the space, all the deal making processes will improve in safety, as well as manageability.