Virtual Data Room Reviews – Best Comparison of Deal Rooms for Legal and M&A
Firmex Data Room
An In-depth Review of Virtual Data Rooms
What is a Virtual Data Room?
Information is an important detail in every economic sphere. The use of information varies greatly with the parties involved. Many firms especially those with an online presence are known to make a profit off the information provided by subscribers. Others possess information which if in the wrong hands can cause the company and perhaps its clientele considerable damage. A typical case study is the mobile phone manufacturer Apple. What would happen if all the information stored in Apple’s icloud storage is exposed? Well, the psychological trauma associated with such a malady can only be imagined. Another case study which indicates the power of information is the trending Ransomware – Petya which has affected banks, hospitals, government agencies and a host of others. This malware encrypts files on the computer of victims with the persons responsible demanding the victims pay to have such documents decrypted. If the victims had backed up their documents on a reliable cloud storage service, they wouldn’t have to face such trauma. There are several other situations which could put your information in jeopardy if such falls into the wrong hands. The data room began as a physical storage location where companies store their essential information. However, that has changed with the introduction of the virtual data room. A virtual data room is a web-based platform where documents are uploaded with several security features against unauthorized access to such documents. VDRs are similar to the free cloud storage offered by Apple, though they are more intricate, and yes, they are not free. What’s the connection between a virtual data room and information? The conventional practice of storing information on a hard disk puts such information at risk. It’s worse if the information stored is highly sensitive and when hackers breakdown the security of the computer on which such information is stored, the outcome is the information is leaked to a rival firm for a fee or perhaps exposed. Wikileaks which has exposed sensitive information is a classical case of the actions of cyber theft. The use of virtual data rooms isn’t limited to storing information but also sharing such with only privileged individuals. This explains why it’s becoming a common feature among different establishments. Institutions like banks and law firms engage their clients through such virtual data rooms. A virtual data room can be used for transactions which involve the sharing sensitive information. One of the common uses of the virtual data room is mergers and acquisitions. Mergers and acquisition come to mind due to the different phases in a merger which involve sharing highly sensitive information. This increases the outlay of the entire process. However, the use of a virtual data room eliminates the cost of assembling experts in a physical deal room a common occurrence in the past. It also reduces the stress common with such deals which are important for any business transaction in the 21st century. The use of a virtual data room isn’t limited to transactions of the merger and acquisition variety, other industries like the health sector and law firms would find the virtual data room of immense benefits.
Who Uses Virtual Data Rooms?
Virtual data room providers enjoy patronage from a diverse selection of industries. Frankly, every firm is bound to engage the services of a virtual data room provider, it’s inevitable! It could be for an initial public offer opportunity, mergers, and acquisitions as well as loan demands. A popular phase in many of these procedures is called due diligence process. It’s a phase where all documents of the company under review are provided. All of the services highlighted earlier are routes through which firms generate resources for their operations. However, the use of a virtual data room is not limited to funds generation. Companies can interact with clients through data rooms. Most industries utilize a virtual data room for this purpose. However, an industry where this is relatively commonplace is law. Legal firms interact with their clients through virtual data rooms since it ensures highly sensitive information is not compromised through unauthorized access to such information. It also enables the lawyers to build their case without the continuous presence of their client. Besides information sharing with clients, corporate bodies can share sensitive information with their employees in far away locations. This saves companies the resources they would otherwise spend on transporting a messenger to the location of the branch in question. This is exclusive of the increased risk of compromise of such information. Also, virtual data room providers cater for the storage needs of users. Companies can store information in a virtual data room for futuristic purposes. The storage option provided by virtual data rooms is perhaps one of the safest, and it’s convenient. This can be explained by the numerous security and several other features typical of renowned VDR providers.
Top Virtual Room Providers
A search on the internet should confirm a simple fact – there are countless of virtual data room providers. This shouldn’t be a surprise since our world strives on competition. However, finding data room providers which can be regarded as gems in the virtual data room industry could be a challenging task. Also, no one wants to take a chance with a virtual data room due to the sensitivity of the information involved. This isn't just been over meticulous; it’s the wise thing to do. To ensure companies are adequately equipped with sufficient information on virtual data rooms, we have decided to conduct a review of several VDR vendors to pinpoint their strengths and possible weaknesses.
First on the list of reputable virtual data room vendors is Firmex. This virtual data room provider began operation in 2006 perhaps as an entry firm. Firmex represents what it means to persevere in the face of stiff competition. They pride themselves on having clients from different sectors of the economy including mining, law, health and several others.
Firmex offers all data room services from storage to information sharing. Their data rooms possess ultra modern security features which should prevent individuals without the necessary permissions from accessing your data room. You can apply watermarks which identify your documents regardless of location. Their password authentication protocol forestalls the unauthorized use of your data room. Firmex is duly registered with the relevant regulatory bodies. It also allows you decide who can see the content of your documents. A Firmex virtual data room also comes with tools that allow you configure your specific virtual data room to your satisfaction. The versioning feature comes to mind. Uploading documents onto your virtual data room should be convenient with the variety of options you can use to carry out tasks of this nature such as Email In, ‘drag and drop’ and several others. With the Firmex app on Android and iOS, authorized users can comfortably access your virtual data room from anywhere in the world. You can also log in through the specific URL provided making the platform remarkable. Let’s not forget the innovative ‘View As’ feature which acts as a preview of the security features applied in your data room. It should come in handy before you begin inviting users. Participants of a data room also get notifications whenever a document has been uploaded while administrators get notified when documents are downloaded.
Pricing remains one of the determinants of the use of the data room, and Firmex considers that factor in their pricing model. Use of their data room comes with no hidden charges; it’s limitless regarding the number of users and uses the virtual data room can serve. Also using the virtual data room comes with adequately outlined fees, so you know what you are paying for.
Next on the list of virtual data room vendors considered in this review is Intralinks. A firm which prides itself as the most trusted provider in the industry. No doubt Intralink is one of the more experienced virtual data room providers with an experience level spanning decades! This is even more highlighted with the huge overall sum of the transactions done over their platform. Intralink comes highly recommended by large corporate bodies which perhaps account for their above average fees. Intralink prioritizes high stake transactions from mergers and acquisitions to business collaborations.
Using the Intralink virtual data room is easy. You can organize and add users to your designated platform from anywhere in the world. This is made possible through the use of a URL. The Intralinks designer allows you upload documents to the virtual space without any problems. This virtual data room provider has mobile apps for different platforms which ensure participants can conveniently log in to a virtual data room from any device.
Intralinks has dominated lists of secure virtual data room vendors by independent auditors which is commendable. The platform is perhaps one of the popular virtual data room providers today. It has a question and answers section where you can update users with the information they need through Q&A. You can upload documents through the usual drag and drop feature. Intralink claims the speed of uploading a lot of documents is faster than most rival virtual data room providers. To make your virtual data room more organized, you can automatically index documents uploaded saving you the time you would naturally spend carrying out such a task. The auto indexing feature isn’t limited to documents alone as you can apply this feature to folders in your data room.
Security features are a must for virtual rooms and Intralinks has taken that into consideration. Their virtual data room gimmicks prevent users from printing their display which could comprise your sensitive information. Documents are also watermarked to prevent unauthorized duplication of documents downloaded through the virtual data room. You can also block IP addresses as an enhanced security check. Other multi factor authentication also limits access to your data room to only users with the right security codes.
Intralinks has an efficient customer support service which caters for individuals of different regions. The interface of their virtual data room is available in multiple languages so people of different languages can effectively utilize their virtual space. You can also monitor the activities of users through the dynamic reports provided by the virtual data room.
iDeals is a virtual data room provider which is becoming popular among corporate firms looking to cut costs. iDeals pricing model is perhaps its standout feature. iDeals is a new virtual data room vendor. This virtual data room provider like many others is all about secure collaboration between users. It has an interface which can be considered faster than many others, especially in view documents. iDeals virtual data room setup is also relatively easy, especially when compared to rival vendors. You can add users just by copying and pasting their email addresses into the designated columns. The graphic report feature enables you to track user behavior without notifying users. You can see who viewed what document, what segment of the document and for how long. Like many data room providers, iDeals virtual space comes with sufficient security features to guarantee a hitch free usage of their platform. Features like watermarks, IP address restriction, 256-encryption, and the conventional multi-dimensional verification procedure which prevents unauthorized access to their virtual space. In addition to these popular features, the iDeals virtual data room also has the Fence feature which prevents users from taking pictures of sensitive information available in your data room. With a round the clock customer support team you can ask questions and get responses without delay. Language barrier should be limited to an extent since iDeals prides itself in having managers who can speak several languages. For a convenient use of their data room, iDeals have several features which users can utilize without any problems. The search option ensures users can find information saving them time. Bulk download and printing is another feature which should be vital to transactions carried out in this virtual data space. You can predefine most of the features in this data room, so they are applied throughout the transaction process. Your documents are automatically indexed once uploaded saving you the time of doing such manually. This should come in handy when you have a lot of documents uploaded such as in the due diligence process a phase common in merger and acquisitions deals. You can also utilize the upload index format you are accustomed to. Also, the entire indexes are converted to the language which the user is familiar with.
Another renowned name in the industry which makes this list is Merrill. With about 50 years experience and a clientele that spans different sectors, you can understand why. Merrill might come across as expensive to those on a budget, but its popularity hasn’t waned. This virtual data room vendor has several features which account for its immense popularity and perhaps astronomical fees. Security features like the 256-bit encryption and the two-factor authentication ensure your virtual space is adequately secure against unauthorized access. Personalized watermarks also take tracking of your sensitive information to a whole new level. Merrill virtual data rooms come with the virus scanning feature to keep malicious malware away. The document expiry feature invalidates documents downloaded from your virtual space once they get to the set expiry date. This adds to the security gimmick which ensures your highly sensitive information doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Besides the security features, the Merrill virtual data rooms have several other features which give participants an unrivaled experience. Their quick search feature not only ensures users can search documents effortlessly, but it also means the exercise takes less time. You can observe the activity of participants with its enhanced tracking option. As an administrator of the platform, you can decide the actions which users can carry out on in the data room. Activities like downloading, viewing documents and printing can be inimical to the safety of your sensitive documents, but with the control provided by Merrill’s datasite, you shouldn’t have to worry. This virtual data room is uncomplicated, so users don’t need to undergo any form of IT training to utilize the platform. Their customer support service has been complimented as one of the best in the industry, and that shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider the fees associated with this virtual data room. Also, with a maximum setup time of about two hours, Merrill’s data room apparently takes more time when compared to several other virtual data rooms. However, what this virtual data room lacks in setup time, it makes up for a sophisticated virtual environment.
RR Donnelley (Venue)
Another firm which makes this list is RR Donnelley or perhaps Venue which is headquartered in the United States. While RR Donnelley might be regarded the oldest company in the virtual data room industry, it’s not the most experienced since it commenced operations far later in mid-2008. RR Donnelley is perhaps a company with so many things going for it. Venue which is the RR Donnelley’s virtual data room arm has recorded sensational patronage for an entry firm. This is perhaps due to the influence of its parent firm – RR Donnelley. Their clients have included Microsoft, PayPal, Barclays, JP Morgan, and Deloitte. The simplicity of Venue is worth commending. Their data room can be utilized without much input from their customer support. Their security parameters consist of the usual gimmicks. The watermarking feature aims to identify the source of any compromise since they are applied with personalized attributes to documents downloaded from the data room. Its innovative software prevents the printing of sensitive information displayed on the screen of users. One of Venue’s key features is the control it gives you over documents uploaded to its platform regarded of the state of the document downloaded or not. With the customary 256-bit encryption, interception of your sensitive information by unauthorized individuals is avoided. You also get to set which user can utilize documents uploaded to the VDR. Thanks to the immense coverage provided by its parent company (RR Donnelley), Venue can provide clients with a customer support which is closer to its clients. They have representatives from different parts of the world to cater for your need regardless of your location. This means language shouldn’t be a problem for your business transaction. Venue claims its professionals are well trained to handle all your requests as it concerns your business. How true is this claim? It’s difficult to ‘shot down’ such a claim when you have a firm as big as RR Donnelly as a parent firm.
Sharefile Citrix System
This is a virtual data room vendor with a humble beginning. Sharefile is every entrepreneur’s dream. Jesse Lipson took the bull by the horn with the incorporation of his cloud based storage service just beyond a decade ago. The virtual data room went through an acquisition process in 2011 with Jesse retained in the running of the process. Their clientele includes investment banks, pharmaceutical companies, and several other business enterprises. Sharefile like other virtual data room vendors considered in this list has a truckload of features which should guarantee the safety of your sensitive information and ensure a hitch-free collaboration. You can manage user access without having to tinker excessively with the interface of the data room. One of the strengths of this data room vendor is the bulk management feature which allows you carry out all the permission management settings in the group allowing you devote more time to your business transaction. Bulk activity seems a popular occurrence in Sharefile as it can be applied to downloads and uploads as well. This can be achieved using the drag and drop option which is a common feature, especially in copy pasting. To ensure users can share attachments through their emails without an interception, Sharefile has its plugin which guarantees the security of the information transmitted. However, this is restricted to individuals who use the Microsoft traditional email provider, Mircosoft Outlook. Also, you get notified of user activities such as who downloads a document in your data room and who views documents uploaded. Users can be notified when you upload documents if you the activate email alerts for such. Like most virtual data room providers, Sharefile has a round the clock customer support service which should provide assistance when you encounter any problems with the use of their platform. Perhaps the most innovative tool of this virtual data room provider is the Sharefile Sync which allows you for easy exchange of documents between your computer and your data room. This tool can be used on both Windows and Linux operating systems so regardless of the computer you are using this remarkable tool should prove quite helpful in making your collaboration seamless. Security parameters remain one of the most important tools in a virtual data room, and the Sharefile data room comes equipped with the basic gimmicks for a secure collaboration. Some of the security parameters include the reputable personalized watermarking for increased security of your documents, permission settings to curtail user access to highly sensitive information and the click trail which provides a breakdown of the activity of each user in your data room. Sharefile has a pricing module which would be convenient for most business enterprises. Its flat rate pricing which consists of an unlimited number of participants and no hidden charges should endear it to most virtual data room users. However, large businesses with sensitive information might find the security protocols of Sharefile inadequate.
Box Virtual Data Room
Another virtual data room provider which is worth considering is Box. This famous cloud storage firm which commenced operation as a virtual data room vendor in 2005 has physical locations in three countries: United States, United Kingdom, and France. Some of their clients have included: Coca-cola, Dunn construction, Schneider Electric, Gatwick Airport, Symantec, Honda and several others. Box started out by offering free cloud storage for users before venturing into the VDR industry. Its virtual data room has features which could provide the environment suitable for business transactions. You can share information by providing users with links to a document in your Box virtual data room. Users can avoid downloading documents and yet scrutinize their content within the VDR. You can synchronize your computer with your Box virtual data through the Box Sync feature. This allows you share documents between your computer or mobile device with the VDR. You can apply your company logo to your data room which should give users some measure of confidence. All links to your critical documents can be password protected so unauthorized persons can’t access your virtual data room. Also, you can set links to become invalid after a predefined number of days. Box still applies one of its renowned services storage in the virtual data room sector. You can utilize their VDR to store information and since it’s organized scanning through documents stored within the virtual space could be in a relatively short time. You can also collaborate with users through their platform without any problems. Box also allows you decide who sees what document through user permission settings. This virtual data room provider allows you observe the activity of users through reports provided on documents uploaded to the platform. Their encryption provides sufficient protection for information sent through channels considered unsafe. Personalized watermarking can be applied to your uploaded documents to avoid data loss. Box has multiple data centers to handle volumes of information without any users entertaining fears of a system failure. You can also enjoy a free trial, an offer which is a popular feature among VDR vendors. Regardless of the immense benefits of the Box platform, it still falls short of the security and features required to handle mega deals typical of mergers and acquisitions.
This virtual data room vendor commenced operation in 2000. It has a clientele which cuts across different sectors such as health, investment banking, real estate and many others. Brainloop has the rudiments typical of a professional virtual data room provider. It’s easy to setup with the promise of an active virtual data room in minutes. No need to change tools, Brainloop is compatible with Microsoft office and its email counterpart Outlook. Users can be invited easily with their email. Participants of a data room can access the virtual space through the URL. Brainloop has an uncomplicated interface, and it’s simple to operate. The question and answer section eliminate time wastage associated with response repetition. With Brainloop’s permission management, you can decide who has access to documents utilization. You can upload documents through the drag and drop option regardless of the size of such documents. The full-text search feature allows users find information in documents without rummaging through the entire document. You can have documents arranged series without going through the stress of doing it yourself with the automatic indexing feature. Should you want the interaction scrutinized outside the data room, Brainloop allows you export the entire archive to your computer. Security is always a concern when using a virtual data room, and Brainloop seems well equipped for the task. The two-factor authentication ensures only users with the necessary security clearance are permitted entry into your virtual data room. With the dynamic watermarking you can identify your documents regardless of its location and retrieve such accordingly. Also, you can set document permission to view only or whatever you decide including edit. The recognized 256-bit encryption ensures the risk of information compromise is eliminated. Should you lose your device to theft the remote wipe can be applied to avoid unauthorized access. Brainloop like most other virtual data room vendors operates a customer support which is always available regardless of the time of the day. However, the use of the platform is limited to just about three languages: English, French, and German. This could act as a hindrance if some of your participants don’t understand any of these languages.
The final virtual data room vendor on this list is SecureDocs. This VDR provider was incorporated in 2005 and has come a long way since then. Their clients are from several sectors such as Investment banking, legal firms, business establishments, science, and technology. Some of their clients include Inogen, Appscale System, Sonos, Immunomic Therapeutics, and Lastline. Securedocs is easy to setup. This VDR vendor offers virtual space which doesn’t require the knowledge of any technical jargon to operate. It saves you as well as other participants in the platform valuable time. Uploading documents to the virtual data room can be done through the conventional means such as drag and drop or direct import. Users can scan uploaded documents for certain vital information through the quick search feature. This is another feature which shows the value Securedocs attach to time. Users can also go through information without downloading especially if they don’t have the adequate permissions to download such documents. You have absolute control over your virtual space with the permission management feature. This prevents just about anyone from viewing or downloading a document without your permission. To make your data room appear like a part of your organization, you can customize the virtual space with the logo of your company. This gives users the confidence the share vital information without entertaining any fears. You can also use the virtual data room as a storage facility for your valuable documents so they can be accessed easily and securely at any time. You can observe the activity of participants in the data room through the audit trail feature. You can set email notifications for such reports, so you never miss out regardless of your schedule. Securedocs uses ISO 27001 certified data centers which protect your sensitive information. With an hour of inactivity on the platform, a user will be required to provide the necessary security input preventing authorized access to the data room. Watermarking provides another layer of security which is important. The two-factor authentication also limits access to the virtual data room to only genuine participants. Securedocs uses a flat rate pricing with an unlimited number of participants and no cap on data use. The platform also gives you the opportunity to try out different their virtual data room for free though with a limited range of functionality. Securedocs is a remarkable virtual data room vendor with a professional touch and a top-rated customer support service.
Editors Pick for Best Virtual Data Room Providers
Healthy rivalries exist in every industry, and the virtual data room sector is no exception. However, only well equipped VDR providers with pricing models which represent immense value for money enjoy patronage from businesses especially start-ups which are seeking ways to generate funds and minimize expenses. All the firms outlined in the list above are great virtual data room vendors. However, only one VDR provider combines excellent features capable of catering for all your sensitive information with a decent pricing model which shouldn't exceed your budget. Firmex is that virtual data room vendor. It has sufficient security features for any business transaction. From personalized watermarks which identify points of information breach when such occurs to encryptions which prevent the interception of information shared in their virtual data room, Firmex has all of it. With administrative rights in a Firmex virtual data room you enjoy the permission management feature which can also serve as a security protocol since you control which user sees what, who downloads what and who prints what. All participants in a Firmex virtual data room do not need any training in IT to utilize the data room which most businesses will find comforting since it saves them and to channel their to resources to the transaction which should be a priority. Pricing is a section which could tip the balance on decisions about utilizing a service. Firmex understands this simple fact since they provide a pricing module which keeps all charge on the table, so clients are well informed of the reasons for every charge. Also, their pricing module has no limits to the number of participants which could deter the progress of your business transaction. Firmex also has innovative features such as the View As which adds to its value as a virtual data room vendor. All these provide some insight on why Firmex is our number one in a list of outstanding virtual data room providers.
How to find the Best Virtual Data Room Provider
We live in a time where information is probably one of the biggest assets a company can have. Some companies go as far as paying for some sensitive information which could be instrumental towards an increase in profit. However, with the value attached to information come problems which could affect the operations of a company regardless of its size. One of the main issue companies face in this era of informatics is information theft. A lot of unscrupulous people are aware of the value of information, and many steal such information and sell same to the highest bidder. Others blackmail the management of the company with a request for money else they could lose their sensitive information which could leave their company in ruins. While physical storage of information comes with the risk of fire outbreak and similar incidents which could render the information useless, storing information in devices such as a computer or mobile phone comes with its fair share of risk. Cloud storage is meant to tackle the risk associated with information storage. Typical cloud storage options such as Dropbox, Google, iCloud, and Samsung have their inherent flaws in the lack of sufficient security which is needed for the sensitive information companies aim to protect against unauthorized persons. This leaves virtual data room providers with no rivals in this aspect as they come with the necessary security and other gimmicks to ensure clients store their previous data without any form of discomfort whatever.
Virtual data room providers are not only important for the storage facility they provide firms; they also serve as platforms through which business transactions and collaborations take place without fears of interception or the expenses associated with such interactions. The issue a lot of companies face in engaging the services of a virtual data room vendor is the features which many of these VDR providers have incorporated into their virtual space. Some Virtual data room vendors prioritize mergers and acquisitions; a few are centered on ensuring their storage facility and collaborations propelling efforts is seem as standard around the globe. This means a company will have to scrutinize the virtual data room provider and find out its strengths regarding the services it renders and if it matches with the needs of the company. Should you intend to engage the services of a VDR provider, below are some factors you would want to take into consideration:
For businesses on a budget, this would take precedence over other factors while more established firms with adequate resources, pricing takes a back seat. Some virtual data room providers have a fixed rate pricing module with zero limitations regarding the number of users and the amount of data transferred using their platform. Others have caps on the number of users and quantity of data transferred with fees attached if you want such caps removed. Also, like every other industry, the virtual data room sector exhibits discrepancies in price since entry firms can’t possibly operate a similar price module to a well established VDR vendor. A typical instance of such a situation is the huge gap in price offered Intralink and Box virtual data room provider. So, if you’re a company with limited funds with a need for a virtual data room provider, you might want to pay special attention to pricing.
Virtual data room providers always ensure their VDRs are secured against unauthorized access. There are a handful of VDR vendors which have the latest technology to prevent an organized attack against their virtual space. One of the security protocols you might want to consider in a virtual data room is the popular 256-bit encryption which should provide protection against interception of sensitive information you send across to a user in a VDR. Another is ensuring the VDR provider is ISO 27001 compliant and has is in possession of data centers. Virtual data rooms with permission management are also worth considering since it gives you control over user access which could become important in the long run. Personalized watermarks also add some layer of security to a data room, so it’s another noteworthy security feature.
Customer Support and Language
A virtual data room provider which operates beyond the traditional 9 – 5 working hours typical of a lot of organizations is one of the factors businesses consider in engaging VDR providers. It gets better when the usual cliché week days only aren’t applicable. Some virtual data room vendors operate a round the clock customer support while some others only provide such service during business hours which excludes weekends. You might want to consider this factor before using a virtual data room provider.
Language is another factor which you would need to consider before engaging a virtual data room provider. Some virtual data room only caters for a few languages others support much more languages which would come in handy if your collaborators are from a different region.
Data Room Use Cases
If you’re unsure of when to use a data room then perhaps a little recap of what has been said earlier should provide some insight. Virtual data rooms provide avenues where representatives of companies can thinker for either collaborative purposes or mergers and acquisitions. Virtual data room eliminates the cost associated with physical deal rooms and still provides sufficient security for the information shared on the platform. Though there are no restrictions on the kind of industries which can use a virtual data room, some industries have become more accustomed to it. Examples of such industries include Legal firms, Investment banks, Pharmaceutical companies and several others.