A virtual data room is a cloud-based platform designed to organize and share data. And more modern VDRs help make the due diligence process smoother and more efficient. With the market and demand for VDRs being so congested with different options, it’s important to stop and look at the features that each one offers.
Not every VDR is created equal. Each one is made with different features, industries, and business deals in mind. To find the one that’s best for you and your company, you need to consider your specific deal needs.
While not every VDR is created the same, good VDRs should contain the same document management features
These can include security features such as:
- Document watermarks- custom watermarks that give the date and name of the person who downloaded the document to avoid information leaks.
- Self-destructing documents- allowing you to revoke access to documents on a moment's notice.
- 256-bit AES SSL encryption -the highest standard data encryption to protect data being transmitted to and from the virtual data room. It also helps while the data is stored within the VDR.
- Document Access Restrictions- allows you to choose which documents are allowed to be downloaded, printed, edited or shared. You can even custom choose the different levels of document protection.
- Data backup- another layer of document security allowing you to know that in case something happens, you have a backup. Meaning nothing can be completely lost or destroyed.
- Virus Scanning- With so many documents being uploaded to your VDR, it’s important to have them checked for viruses. A quality VDR won’t allow any defective files to be uploaded .
- On Save/On Open Encryption- On open encryption automatically encrypts your documents when you open them to prevent unauthorized access. On save encryption will guarantee that your documents are protected during storage and remain unreadable to unauthorized parties.
Data center security features like:
- SOC 2 Certification- Gives a description of the best internal methods to verify security, availability, and privacy of your VDR.
- ISO 27001 Certification- Guarantees proper controls to help prevent security threats or vulnerabilities.
- SSAE 16 Certification- Most often needed for M&A data rooms, SSAE 16 certification means that the VDR is compliant with the standards supporting the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. This is one of the strictest standards and requires an audit of internal controls over financial reporting.
- Data Center Security- employing physical security to the data center sites.
- Mobile device access- gives you the option to work with your secured documents from anywhere.
- Multiple step verification- when users log in from a new device, a multiple step verification process will help to make sure that the VDR isn’t being hacked.
- Granular access- controls who can view a document based on their job or role in the company.
- Two-Factor Authentication- provides another level of protection by having users log in using a password and a unique code sent directly to their cell phones.
Analytics and reports such as:
- Audit Logs- keeps a chronological record of everything that happens in the VDR, including downloads, views, and printing.
- Detailed Data Room Reports- Time stamps every activity going on inside your data room and keeps an accurate record. At the end of a specified period of time, this report is sent to the VDR admin.
- Document Version Control- allows you to view and track changes and savings of documents.
- Notifications- admins can choose to get notifications when users make updates or upload new files.
User management features like:
- Restricted viewing- don’t share documents with anyone you don’t want or need to.
- Multiple levels of user permissions- allows you an easier way of controlling who can view, edit and download documents by simply assigning levels to users and restricting documents as needed.
- Group permissions- the virtual data room owner can control different permission levels and manage users within those security fields.
- Branded website- some providers allow you to customize the look and feel of your VDR to help showcase your company's brand.
- Bulk uploads- speeds up the time spent importing and exporting files by allowing you to do multiple documents and folders at once.
- Drag and drop function- grab files from your computer or device and drop them into the VDR so that they upload automatically.
- Advanced text search- gives you the ability to search through all of the documents, files and folders in the VDR with just a few specific keywords. This is great when you can’t remember the specific name of a document or file.
- Document linking- link documents together and share contents with other authorized users.
- Microsoft Office integration- lets users access and store files from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in the secure VDR.
- Q&A section- gives the VDR users a spot where they can ask and answer questions.
- Scroll-through document viewer- scroll through documents in a folder while keeping one open, which saves time when examining multiple documents.
- iPad, iPhones, smartphones, tablets- A VDR should work on popular devices.
- Multi-device support- access the VDR with iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows.
- Mobile device interface- mobile and device optimized content.
- Multi-language support- allows users from all over the world seamlessly communicate in their native tongue. Documents are indexed appropriately no matter the language.
- No plugins needed- A good VDR should be a complete one-stop-shop and not need extra downloaded plugins to accomplish tasks.
Advanced features that you should look for in a modern virtual data room
- Task management system- being able to assign tasks to users while still inside your data room helps teams stay organized and make sure that everyone knows their role and responsibilities.
- Smart search- allows you to search through multiple documents and shows you a small snippet of the document before you open it.
- Image thumbnails on documents overview- see the images on a document before opening them.
- Integrations with slack- software used for streamlining communication in messages, files, and tools. This prevents work silos and allows for the work to be more team-oriented.
- Built-in Excel viewer- gives you permission to view and access excel files without ever leaving the VDR platform.
- Advanced analytics- track the amount of time spent on documents and how many users are viewing it using heat maps.
- Built-in notifications- eliminate back and forth emails and keeps more information and communication within the VDR.
- Task prioritization- make sure that the most important or time-sensitive tasks are seen by users first.
How to compare features of different virtual data rooms
When you are first beginning your search for a virtual data room provider, write down a list of everything your company currently needs and (if you’re small) think of things that will be helpful in the future as you grow.
After compiling a list of everything you need to look for in a VDR, you can look up multiple vendor sites and contact them for a quote. You can also check out this comparison chart that list the main VDR features from the top data room vendors.
If you need assistance with selecting a virtual data room, or are unsure about your needs, contact a DealRoom customer success manager today.