Physical data rooms are used by companies to conduct due diligence when preparing for important deals, such as mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, clinical approvals and more. In the past, these rooms would be strictly controlled and under constant surveillance. And any companies interested in a deal would have to send teams of people to an offsite location to view mass amounts of confidential documents.
Today, physical data rooms are being replaced by virtual data rooms (VDRs) to solve many of the problems associated with the former. As cloud file storage and sharing becomes more popular, so do virtual data rooms, as they provide a secure and dependable way for users to access sensitive data and documents without having to meet in a physical location. VDRs can also provide document sorting, searching, and other security options that physical rooms cannot.
"The virtual data room (VDR) from Citrix ShareFile is a place where information receives VIP treatment in regards to safety and control. Traditional cloud storage is fine for sharing photos, public information or other non-sensitive material. But when it comes to things such as legal transactions, pharmaceutical data or clinical study results, your documents need a VDR."
VDRs are typically used by banks, real estate agents, financial advisors, healthcare companies, and they could be right for your business too.
ShareFile VDR is a great solution for businesses that need secure, customizable data rooms. Our VDR is a cost-effective, web-based solution that integrates with the traditional ShareFile secure file transfer service for a streamlined workflow. Enjoy seamless integration into existing workflows and an immediate enhancement of the data sharing process.
"By providing easy, anytime access to all company data directly from a web-based portal, ShareFile VDR eases the task of managing your confidential data and setting up virtual data rooms."
What is a secure virtual data room (VDR)?
According to Techopedia:
"A virtual data room (VDR) is a secure, online repository for data and documents pertinent to business, legal transactions or proceedings. The VDR uses a central server and extranet connection, which is an Internet connection with very controlled access. This Internet connection uses a secure log-on supplied by the appropriate overseeing vendor or authority responsible for disabling or enabling, the secure log-on at any time."
VDRs were originally intended to be used by lawyers for client meetings. Today, they are used in a variety of business settings, from law firms to accounting firms as VDRs are a cost-effective and more efficient way to view documents securely and without needing a physical meeting place.
"The virtual data room contains strictly confidential data and documents with restrictions and controlled access on viewing, copying or printing. Set times are scheduled for log-on and viewing the documents and data. A VDR allows documents to be accessed by regulators and investors in a timely manner during the allowed time period. With current document retrieval speed and efficiency, a VDR can pay for itself in a single M&A (merger and acquisition) transaction."
The Difference Between File Sharing and Virtual Data Rooms
If your company needs to securely share data and documents with colleagues and clients you may have looked into a file sharing service. File sharing services are great for companies that need to securely send files, but for corporate accounts, VDRs offer higher security options.
While share filing services offer security features such as encryption, SSL and datacenters, VDRs offer more protection from stolen passwords, devices and confidential documents.
According to Bryant Chan of Software Insider:
"With virtual data rooms, you can close these gaps with multi-factor authentication, dynamic watermarks, and expiry (self-destructing) documents. At the heart of the matter, file sharing services are just that—tools to help share files. In contrast, VDRs are all about having one centralized location of controlled documents."
Along with top security benefits, virtual data rooms are designed to streamline business transactions. Features like, in-document linking, a Q&A section and full text search save your team and your clients time, which can speed up deals and positively affect their outcome.
What to look for in a VDR
You know you need a virtual data room, but you aren't sure what features to look for when choosing one. According to SoftwareInsider, the most common considerations when purchasing a VDR are encryption and certifications. Let's break down these considerations and what they mean for you when purchasing a VDR.
Encryption is the process of encoding information to prevent unauthorized users from reading it. Some virtual data rooms offer 128-bit AES encryption while others offer 256-bit. Both types of encryption are extremely secure, and it typically doesn't matter which you choose. You should, however, be concerned with the security features that protect your documents from more typical security threats, such as stolen devices or easily-guessed passwords.
You should also make sure the VDR you are purchasing has a good user interface and workflow. According to SoftwareInsider:
"A positive user experience can obviously provide convenience benefits, but more importantly, can add to security as well. The more intuitive a VDR is, the less potential there is for users to accidentally open security holes. For example, permission settings and their impacts should be easy to understand and clear to all parties. The best way to find this information is by inquiring about a demo and testing out the product firsthand."
It is also important to check that your VDR offers dynamically-generated watermarks. Dynamically-generated watermarks provide protection against unwanted document forwarding by placing a watermark on the document that identifies who opened it.
If you see that your top choice for a VDR has certification badges, it means that the VDR meets certain standards as defined by an auditing authority. The most common VDR certifications include:
- SSAE 16 (SOC 1) — a certification specifically for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance that covers an audit of internal controls over financial reporting, providing checks against tampering or foul play. With SOC 1, the objectives of the audit are defined by the organization being audited, which means the certification for one company could mean something different than for another.
- SOC 2 — a certification specifically designed for datacenters and tech vendors that can provide object information about at-risk areas.
- ISO 27001 — an international standard around information technology security techniques that evaluate the performance of a company's information security management systems.
Because SOC 1 certifications mean different things for different companies, it is best to look for VDR vendors with either SOC 2 or ISO 27001 certifications.
Citrix ShareFile Virtual Data Room
ShareFile VDR provides customizable, unlimited virtual data rooms at a reasonable price. Our VDRs are completely web-based, simple to set up and can instantly improve your current workflow.
"A Citrix ShareFile virtual data room is specifically designed to facilitate fast and effective collaboration for highly confidential processes. ShareFile VDR offers exclusive features that make it easy for everyone involved in the deal to access, review, edit and approve sensitive documents."
Features of the ShareFile VDR include:
- Easy set up and use — Because ShareFile VDR runs in the cloud, your users won't have to download or install anything in order to have access. ShareFile VDR is also extremely simple to use. In fact, there is no user manual or training required. And should you need help, our customer support team is available 24/7 to provide you with support.
- View-only access — View-only access allows the VDR administrator to prevent users from downloading and distributing documents by limiting their access to "view only."
- Secure Q&A section — The Q&A section allows participants to securely ask questions about the folders they have access to and administrators to securely answer them. Administrators can also choose to keep the Q&A private or allow everyone with access to the folder to view it. Each Q&A can be exported in order to save an audit trail of all questions and answers for a transaction.
- Dynamic watermarking — Dynamic watermarking places a stamp on each document after a person has viewed or downloaded it. The stamp or watermark cannot be removed, which discourages users from taking illegal screenshots or pictures of sensitive documents.
- Click trails — Click trails enable the ShareFile VDR administrator to see a timeline of every user's session. You can track when and where each user viewed the account and how much time they spent viewing a specific document.
- Full text search — With full text search you can search for words within documents, not just a document folder or name.
- Terms and conditions — The ShareFile VDR login page allows you to require all users to agree to specified terms and conditions before logging in, eliminating the need to transfer NDAs, privacy statements or other terms among your team.
- Transaction archives — Once you've completed a deal, we can provide a DVD or hard drive archive of your entire data room so you can keep a physical record of the transaction.
- Additional features — ShareFile VDR includes a few additional features that most other VDRs do not. Upload files in bulk, then share and request files right from your inbox with the ShareFile Plugin for Microsoft Outlook. You can even use our sync and desktop tools to automatically back up files and revisions. Check out our ShareFile Plugin for Microsoft Outlook in use:
ShareFile VDR pricing
Most other companies price their virtual data rooms per page or per megabyte, which can run up the cost if you underestimate how many pages you'll need. ShareFile charges a flat fee, which eliminates hidden costs and surprise charges, meaning you can budget for your VDR better than you could with any other vendor.
The flat fee varies depending on the VDR account you choose, but with prices starting at $295*/month, the Citrix ShareFile Virtual Data Room provides a complete due diligence solution at an affordable price.
Features included in the starting price:
- Unlimited 24/7 support
- Individual and group permissions
- Custom portal design
- Access from any browser
- Detailed tracking and audit logs
How many users have access?
Many VDR pricing structures only include one user allowed on the account and adding extra users could cost you more. The VDR pricing structure from ShareFile allows for unlimited rooms and client users.
Is the pricing flexible?
The pricing plan offered by ShareFile has options for annual or quarterly billing and you can pay using any major credit card. Customers can also choose invoice billing if they do not want to use a credit card.
Enjoy even more flexibility by signing up for our no-obligation virtual data room trial or calling us at 1-888-260-6550 to set up a demo.