Software Advice has helped many companies choose the right virtual data room software to securely share information with the outside world. How does it work?

Virtual Data Room


 
Onehub logo
 
Onehub is a cloud-based collaboration tool and virtual data room that helps users securely store and share their business files. It can be customized to meet users' specific requirements and custom branding needs. Onehub offers a... Read More
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Onehub is a cloud-based collaboration tool and virtual data room that helps users securely store and share their business files. It can be customized to meet users' specific requirements and custom branding needs. Onehub offers a... Read More
 
ShareFile Virtual Data Rooms logo
 
ShareFile Virtual Data Rooms is an on-premise and cloud-based virtual data room solution that serves businesses of all sizes. It caters to investment banks, private equity, venture capital, biotech, pharmaceuticals, real estate and... Read More
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ShareFile Virtual Data Rooms is an on-premise and cloud-based virtual data room solution that serves businesses of all sizes. It caters to investment banks, private equity, venture capital, biotech, pharmaceuticals, real estate and... Read More
 
Huddle logo
 
Huddle is a cloud-based project management solution. Key features include integration with Microsoft Word and a dashboard where users can see all aspects of a project. This solution is geared toward large businesses and government... Read More
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Huddle is a cloud-based project management solution. Key features include integration with Microsoft Word and a dashboard where users can see all aspects of a project. This solution is geared toward large businesses and government... Read More
 
Firmex Virtual Data Rooms logo
 
Firmex Virtual Data Rooms is a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based virtual data room solution for small, midsize and large enterprises. It caters to mergers and acquisitions advisory, corporations, funds and private equity, pharmaceutical,... Read More
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Firmex Virtual Data Rooms is a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based virtual data room solution for small, midsize and large enterprises. It caters to mergers and acquisitions advisory, corporations, funds and private equity, pharmaceutical,... Read More
 
dotloop logo
 
dotloop is a cloud-based platform for real estate professionals that helps complete deals. The software is suited for brokers, teams, agents and service providers. It provides a collaborative platform with a consistent interface. dotloop... Read More
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dotloop is a cloud-based platform for real estate professionals that helps complete deals. The software is suited for brokers, teams, agents and service providers. It provides a collaborative platform with a consistent interface. dotloop... Read More

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iDeals Virtual Data Room logo
 
iDeals Virtual Data Room is an on-premise and cloud-based virtual data rooms solution. It caters to investment banks, legal firms, life sciences, real estate and other large corporations. Primary features include document management,... Read More
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iDeals Virtual Data Room is an on-premise and cloud-based virtual data rooms solution. It caters to investment banks, legal firms, life sciences, real estate and other large corporations. Primary features include document management,... Read More
 
SecureDocs Virtual Data Room logo
 
SecureDocs is a virtual data room tool used for storing and sharing confidential documents both internally and externally. It is suitable for businesses of any size and a range of industries including used during due diligence, mergers... Read More
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SecureDocs is a virtual data room tool used for storing and sharing confidential documents both internally and externally. It is suitable for businesses of any size and a range of industries including used during due diligence, mergers... Read More
 
Digify logo
 
Digify is cloud-based secure file-sharing solution featuring file tracking, built-in encryption, and virtual data room capabilities. It is suitable for any size and industry including finance, legal services, medical research, human... Read More
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Digify is cloud-based secure file-sharing solution featuring file tracking, built-in encryption, and virtual data room capabilities. It is suitable for any size and industry including finance, legal services, medical research, human... Read More
 
ShareVault logo
 
ShareVault is a virtual data room solution that facilitates the sharing of confidential documents with third parties during due diligence and other vital business processes. It suitable for businesses of any size and serves a broad... Read More
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ShareVault is a virtual data room solution that facilitates the sharing of confidential documents with third parties during due diligence and other vital business processes. It suitable for businesses of any size and serves a broad... Read More
 
CapLinked logo
 
CapLinked is a cloud-based integrated file sharing and document management solution that helps business seeking to exchange confidential documents with third parties. The most common uses of the application include mergers and acquisitions... Read More
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CapLinked is a cloud-based integrated file sharing and document management solution that helps business seeking to exchange confidential documents with third parties. The most common uses of the application include mergers and acquisitions... Read More

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Drooms logo
 
Drooms is a cloud-based virtual data room solution designed for small and midsize businesses. It enables users to securely access and share confidential files and documents with both in-house teams as well as external customers. The... Read More
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Drooms is a cloud-based virtual data room solution designed for small and midsize businesses. It enables users to securely access and share confidential files and documents with both in-house teams as well as external customers. The... Read More
 
Google Drive logo
 
Google Drive helps users store company data in one place. Users can access files from desktop and mobile devices and control how team members share these files. The platform provides a central admin panel, data-loss prevention and... Read More
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Google Drive helps users store company data in one place. Users can access files from desktop and mobile devices and control how team members share these files. The platform provides a central admin panel, data-loss prevention and... Read More

 

Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: October 16, 2017


The best thing about the internet is how easily it lets people share information. That can be the worst thing about it, too.

A virtual data room (VDR) is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that lets companies share sensitive information via the internet, while preserving full control and exclusive ownership of it. VDRs play an important role in supporting external-facing workflows in many fields, including finance—mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs) are two common use cases— law and scientific research.

In this buyer's guide, we answer and explain:

What Is Virtual Data Room Software?
Common Features of Virtual Data Room Software
What Type of Buyer Are you?

What Is Virtual Data Room Software?

A VDR's main function is to store and serve documents in a secure manner. You can think of a VDR as a highly secure alternative to using email to share documents.

Screenshot showing drag-and-drop file upload in Firmex's VDR

 

Screenshot showing drag-and-drop file upload in Firmex's VDR

 

To understand why a VDR is more secure, first consider the many insecurities introduced when relying on email attachments. For example, let's say your company emails a contract as a .PDF or .DOC file to a customer for a signature. In theory, that customer could:

  • Claim they never received it, couldn't open it or view it
  • Print out or copy the contract and use it to solicit better bids from competitors
  • Download the contract to an insecure workstation where it gets leaked
  • Use software to surreptitiously change parts of the contract and claim it as the original

Now imagine that instead of a contract, you need to share confidential information that has regulatory or legal protections, like a client's investment or health records. Sharing sensitive documents via email opens up a host of legal liabilities.

It's important to remember that other file sharing tools, such as Dropbox and Sharepoint, can also introduce the same vulnerabilities as sharing files via email. While convenient, file sharing services like these are not a viable alternative to a VDR.

Keep in mind that a company can be on the right side of the law, but still lose money proving it in court. VDRs are designed to prevent these scenarios from happening in the first place. They do this by adding a variety of features and protections that email services lack.

Common Features of Virtual Data Room Software

Because of the unique role they play, VDRs can seem like an amalgam of several different genres of software. They typically provide applications in four main areas: Security, Document Management, Communication and Collaboration and Integrations. These are discussed individually below.

Stronger Security is the primary motivation for purchasing VDR software. VDR software helps a company securely share information by means of the following applications:

Access control Limit who can view, edit and share stored documents, including internal and external access
Encryption Encrypt data (either at rest, in transit or both) to prevent unauthorized access
Digital Rights management Prevent unauthorized downloading, copying and printing of stored documents
Secure browsing Allow users to view and browse documents while online, but prevents saving or printing them

Document Management applications help control and monitor who can access and edit documents stored in the VDR with applications such as:

Check-in/Check-out Control the chain of custody for digital documents, preventing version and ownership conflicts
Version control Add versioning functionality to individual documents, providing reversion options and maintaining a record of changes

Communication and Collaboration tools help communicate with clients about documents and information stored within the VDR. They handle:

Alerts and notifications Send alerts to clients (via standard email) to notify them when actions are required (to, for example, view and sign a document)
Q & A Add simple communication functionality so clients can ask questions within the VDR environment
Collaboration Tools for working collaboratively (adding comments and making suggestions to documents) within the VDR environment

Integrations applications help connect the VDR to existing content management systems. They assist with:

Integration with CMS Link VDR to an existing content management system for more seamless sharing and publishing workflows
Branding and customization Add design layout options to help match the VDR interface to your company brand

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Many VDR vendors tailor the applications and functionality of their products to use cases within specific industry verticals. Others offer more general purpose VDRs that can be customized to various use cases by means of workflow templates.

VDRs commonly support workflows in three general areas:

Financial: Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are the most common scenario requiring use of a VDR. With M&As, the number of parties needing to access the information changes over time as a deal is considered, analyzed, discussed and agreed to or rejected. VDRs also provide records of access, which can be very useful for settling disputes and proving that the necessary disclosures were made. Initial public offerings (IPOs) are another common activity for which VDRs are employed.

Scientific: VDRs play an important role in scientific industries, allowing for the secure sharing of data between research institutions, manufacturers, trial partners, healthcare providers and regulatory agencies. VDR collaboration tools are particularly important for many scientific processes and workflows.

Legal: Some VDR vendors specialize in tools designed to support legal litigation. Lawsuits can involve massive quantities of documentation which needs to be shared, selectively, with one or more outside parties. VDRs play an important role in not only making certain information available, but also in preventing accidental disclosure.

If you require a VDR for a use case not listed above, you're not out of luck. VDR vendors offer a fairly wide range of both industry specific and general purpose functionality. As with any software purchase, your job as the buyer is to find the product that will best support your company's existing workflows and overall strategy.

 

 

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