iDeals is the number one Virtual Data Room (VDR) solution for confidential data storage and sharing. With high-level security at the core, iDeals offers over 100 exclusive features for file management and enterprise collaboration at a flexible price.
Intralinks is a financial technology provider that offers a VDR with intuitive user interface (UI), one-click mobile access, and round-the-clock user support. The newest version of Intralinks' data room is 50% faster and even more flexible than before.
Datasite is a top-tier SaaS provider that works across the M&A industry. The company’s core products include virtual data room solutions for deal marketing, deal preparation, due diligence, and buy-side offering.
Brainloop is an all-in-one platform that offers industry-leading collaboration solutions for board communication, confidential transactions, and file sync and share. Brainloop’s flagship solution is BoardSuite – a superior board portal for teams.
CapLinked is a top-notch VDR and file management software that provides full-cycle solutions for M&As and due diligence. One of the platform’s strongest benefits is its user-centric interface, allowing for the quick start and easy document management.
FORDATA is the premier virtual data room solutions provider in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Baltic region. Electronic banking-level security is the fundamental characteristic of FORDATA, along with round-the-clock customer service and flexible user access management system.
Ansarada is an AI-powered VDR company with complete lifecycle solutions for financial deals, portfolio management, board communication, etc. Smooth design, unparalleled security and AI automation are Ansarada’s trademarks.
ShareVault is a cloud-based storage and file sharing platform with comprehensive security and control features such as a remote shredder (ability to revoke user’s access even after the file was downloaded) and activity tracking tools.
Find the best virtual data room provider for your business: Checklist included
With so many virtual data rooms on the market, making the right choice can be challenging. We researched data room providers across different segments and put this guide together to assist you with navigating all the available options and going with the best virtual data room for your case.
Find out the best virtual data room
How many GB do you plan to upload to the virtual data room?
Virtual data room solutions came in to replace the traditional approach not so long ago. Over the past two decades, virtual deal rooms started as secure cloud storage platforms and grew into irreplaceable tools for ensuring corporate document security and streamlining due diligence.
Each data room provider initially brought something unique to the table. Some focused on delivering tools for simplified deal-making to medium and large businesses. Others elevated the ways sensitive data was handled and enabled faster decision-making.
As digitization grew across all sectors, so did the data room provider market. Data room services became synonymous with confidential data processing for small, medium, and large businesses in virtually every sector.
However, with the offer growing at such rates, many users got confused about which tool to use for the most optimal outcome. The answer to this starts with defining the utmost requirements of your project.
This way, virtual data room solutions with sophisticated document organization features will be most beneficial during due diligence, while absolute inviolability is a must-have for financial institutions and law firms.
In the next section, we will take a closer look at the three top priorities of data room software selection:
User access management
How to choose the most secure data room
Data safety is the primary criterion in choosing a virtual data room. Companies of all sizes and specializations choose data room services for storing and exchanging confidential information. This means that the data room security features are something that absolutely cannot be overlooked during comparison.
But many new data room users might not be familiar with the technicalities of digital safekeeping. Therefore, we’ve created a virtual data room software features checklist that helps to ensure file security.
Must-have online data room security features
A data room provider has to guarantee users’ data safety from both the hardware and software perspectives. The hardware side involves the quality, location, and maintenance protocols for the physical servers where the information is stored.
And the software security includes the virtual data room solutions for transferring and displaying documents to authorized users.
This feature creates additional steps required to enter the electronic data room. For example, after you put in the password, you will receive a unique code to your phone number or email address.
The virtual dataroom physical storage has to adhere to strict standards that cover things like the amount of servers’ uptime, data backups, and encryption protocols.
You can evaluate how legitimate any digital data room is by spotting the proof of the following industry-leading security certifications and compliances:
SOC 1, 2, 3
PCI DSS Level 1
Malware attacks are one of the biggest risks associated with online confidential information storage. That’s why virtual data room vendors must facilitate constant virus and vulnerability scans. Virus scanning ensures that all the files added to the VDR data room are free of malicious programs. And the vulnerability scans check for the software’s overall exposure to potential breaches.
This is another aspect of risk prevention strategizing that has virtual data room service providers continuously evaluating and improving the system. Picture it as viewing the data room virtual space from the attacker’s point of view and establishing preventive measures accordingly.
Problem Resolution Protocol, Disaster Recovery Plan
Even the most advanced data room software faces the risks of malfunction. And it isn’t possible to prepare for everything that can go wrong. However, electronic data room providers can create a crisis action plan to quickly return the VDR service back to normal. This process builds off regular encrypted data backups and a well-structured recovery model.
Unauthorized Access Protection
Preventing unwanted visitors from accessing the files inside your secure cloud storage combines multi-factor authentication discussed above, time and location restrictions, complete control over documents disregarding their status, and more.
Nice-to-have data room security features
Customer managed keys
Some enterprise-level IT departments look for the CMK feature in a data room service, as it grants users with partial or complete control over encryption keys.
HSM for key management
A hardware security module secures and manages keys and also encrypts and decrypts data. In the case of virtual data room solutions, such technology can be used for digital signatures or reinforced authentication.
Compare security features of top 10 virtual data room providers
After examining hundreds of virtual data room reviews across multiple platforms, we’ve collected the list of 10 top-rated providers on the market. Below is the evaluation of each data room solution according to the must-have security feature checklist.
How to choose the data room for enhanced document management
At this point, you’ve made sure that the online data room providers you are considering took the necessary measures to guarantee your information’s security. Now, it’s time to explore the next layer of digital data room efficiency – convenient and secure file sharing and management.
There are three main challenges associated with file organization in online data rooms:
The number of documents. Depending on the project, you might be dealing with immense amounts of data. Your VDR provider has to make the file upload and sorting process as fast and simple as possible.
File size and type. Apart from being able to handle large loads of data, the data rooms need to process a variety of documents, including images, heavy videos, and audios.
Document protection. The best data room providers can help you monitor sensitive data files, even after they’ve been viewed or downloaded. In some cases, there are also options to moderate the way your guests view each particular file.
Below is the checklist of features that will assist you with overcoming these challenges. Just as in the case with security, we’ve divided them into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” based on how they will impact your overall virtual dataroom experience.
Must-have online data room document organization features
Protect your ownership of any given document inside the virtual data room. Applying regular or dynamic watermarks makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or leak the document without repercussions.
Drag-n-drop file upload
This feature allows filling your digital data room a lot faster. With some virtual deal room providers, you can also use it to add documents in bulk.
Broad format support
Ensure that the data room software can process different file types, including:
In case you are not sure which formats you will be using, consult with other data room contributors that will work on the project.
You can organize large document volumes faster by letting the data room software sort and label them automatically. Some providers also offer case-specific templates and filters to speed the process further along.
All the authorized users should be able to safely access the necessary data without requiring any add-ons or plugins. The best virtual data rooms also facilitate easy access from different devices and operating systems.
Nice-to-have data room features for managing documents
Track all the changes and edits in each document to better direct the data room virtual deal flow.
Some online data room providers collaborate with electronic-sign services to simplify the signing process for the users.
High maximum upload size
When a virtual data room provider works with large-scale clients, they will typically allow bulkier file uploads.
Virtual data room services are often used for internal collaboration, and a pre-established digital workflow can significantly expedite the process.
Work on documents without the need to download them. Just make sure that the users who can edit specific documents have sufficient access rights.
This data room service helps navigate the required procedures associated with certain documents, especially multiple-party contracts, policies, and strategies.
Automatic translation helps accommodate overseas users during an international project.
Compare document management features of top 10 virtual data rooms
Here’s the overlook of top virtual data rooms based on their document management capabilities. Please note that we are focusing on the same virtual data room solutions throughout this guide to keep the research thorough and detailed and help you make an informed decision.
How to choose the data room for improved user management
After making sure that all the documents are well protected in a secure virtual data room, it is time to address the human factor. Depending on the size and nature of the deal you are in charge of, you will need to grant data room access to different people both inside and outside of your organization.
The most important thing is to realize that not all users should be given equal rights. Even more so, based on their role in the company, some virtual data room visitors will be restricted from viewing certain documents and segments.
The users who don’t have pre-established access conditions can both intentionally and unintentionally misuse the confidential data room space. That’s why the features from the checklist below are essential to consider as you compare virtual data rooms.
Must-have data room user management features
Complex, multiple-step authentication helps you guarantee the identity of the person accessing your secure VDR. In some cases, it’s a unique SMS code; in others – fingerprint access using a special device.
This feature restricts users from making any changes to the document while getting familiar with it. You can also choose to prohibit screenshotting and printing to further solidify the virtual dataroom safety.
The virtual data room provider will give you an option to select pre-built permission models or configure your own. For a truly secure data room, apply the access privileges granularly by considering every user’s and user group’s specific roles.
View as another user
Impersonating another user is a handy tool that allows you to double-check all the settings from the receiving-end perspective. Make sure that everyone inside the data room will have the necessary access to the documents that require their attention and restrict everyone else.
The best data rooms allow multiple layers of privilege that correspond with different company structures and deal flow. For example, the company’s CEO, CFO, and the head of HR will usually have the most authority within the digital data room, while third-party experts, such as property inspectors, the least.
Nice-to-have data room features for managing users
Advanced user permissions
Some online data rooms enable advanced digital rights management through the configuration of viewing, editing, printing, and commenting on the documents. Such an approach can be beneficial for large collaborative projects with users from different areas of expertise.
Sharing with external parties
If you are using virtual data room services for pitching to investors, for instance, make sure that the VDR can be easily accessed from the outside through secure link-sharing or a restricted guest mode.
Compare user activity management and permissions features of top 10 virtual data room providers
Here is the virtual data room comparison of the top 10 providers based on the features they offer for managing users.
Based on our research across all of the above categories, we’ve outlined three leaders in every segment. In addition to checking for certain features, we have also considered the user feedback from independent virtual data room review platforms.
So, how to choose the best data room?
There are several approaches you can take when comparing virtual data rooms and selecting the right one for your case.
For example, some people focus on comparing virtual data room pricing offered by different providers of virtual deal rooms. But while it is important to estimate the budget you need to allocate towards a VDR, the cost alone is not sufficient for making a well-rounded decision.
Others turn to data room reviews for advice and study feedback from various users. In this case, there are two fundamental aspects to keep in mind:
Not every data room review is directly applicable to your case
All reviews only stay relevant for a short period since software providers tend to improve very fast.
In general, attempting to compare virtual data rooms from a single angle is highly ineffective. Since virtual data room solutions carry versatile functionality and have a virtually limitless number of purposes, it makes sense to take an equally comprehensive outlook. The areas to cover are:
The specifics of your industry and project
Particular features you will require in the process
Verified virtual data room reviews
Virtual data room pricing models and additional costs of different providers
The specifics of your industry and project
Begin by outlining the overall purpose of your virtual data room solution. Depending on your case, you will need different features, supporting services, and levels of the provider’s expertise. Additionally, if your company operates in the legal sector, for instance, the software you use has to follow industry-dictated standards.
Example: Law firms and financial institutions will benefit from virtual data room solutions that comply with the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA).
The size of your company is also essential in choosing the best data room. Some providers charge per user, which significantly increases the cost for medium and large businesses. The same applies to the number of potential external visitors you are expecting.
Particular features you will require in the process
Security, ease-of-use, ability to restrict access, and straightforward document and data room activity management are the foundation of every online data room provider comparison. However, based on your preferences and expectations, you might look for certain features to elevate your virtual data room solution experience.
Example: Detailed tool customization is a critical brand-building aspect. Find a provider that will enable you to broadcast your company’s colors, fonts, and general style via the software.
Consider consulting your teammates on the functionality they expect from the data room. The chances are that someone on the team has dealt with virtual data rooms in the past and will have valuable insights.
Verified virtual data room reviews
Navigating virtual data room review platforms can be a challenge. The best thing you can do here is to pay close attention to the posting date and take ultra-positive reviews with a grain of salt. Difficulties are possible with the most experienced and reputable data room solution providers, and reliable reviewers usually don’t hesitate to mention them.
Example: Large review platforms with a high visitor number are good at filtering out the not-so-genuine posting by verifying their user’s job title and location.
Pay particular attention to the reviews from medium and large businesses, especially the ones with recognizable names. It will be easier to verify the testimonial’s legitimacy and potentially even get detailed feedback from the previous user.
Price models and final costs
Virtual data room service providers charge differently. Some account for the cost of storage, others for the number of people accessing the VDR, or for the feature variety. There are also providers who offer a fixed-fee model that correlates with the company size and usually has a pre-determined set of functions and abilities.
Example: A fixed-fee data room will offer a certain amount of storage, allowed users, and features for a monthly, annual, or bi-annual charge.
When it comes to pricing models, you need to follow your company’s budget and expectations to make the decision. This way, a small firm that uses the data room solution as an internal repository will be able to work on a per-GB basis.
At the same time, an international enterprise will need a customized fixed-fee digital data room to avoid cost accumulation due to extensive usage.
Choose the best data room for your case
Based on the above, here is a summary of focus areas and key features for the most common online data room usage cases.
The due diligence involves experts from various areas deep-diving into every aspect of the company’s operation. The main job of the virtual data room is to make the process as fast and as smooth as possible to help the parties reach the decision sooner.
A data leak can destroy an M&A deal. That’s why virtual data room providers have to offer a multi-angle approach to safekeeping every confidential document and taking extra steps to authenticate users who access the VDR service.
Startups have to be extremely conscious about tool costs during the early stages. The trick is to find a comfortable balance between affordability and functionality.
Additionally, the best data room for startups will allow its administrators to approach multiple interested parties simultaneously without necessarily letting them know about each other.
Investment banking plays a crucial role in the corporate development of medium and large businesses. The investment bankers take care in almost every stage of deal-making, from the initial proposal to due diligence and closing.
Therefore, the best virtual data rooms, in this case, are the ones that enable resourceful file sharing and variable collaboration tools.
Whether the digital data room serves as a portfolio managing instrument, a due diligence space, or as a platform for exploring new opportunities, the investors will benefit from straightforward and comprehensive file management.
A bonus feature would be an option to create separate data rooms for various fields and access them via a single sign-on.
How to choose the best data room cheatsheet
Use the following cheatsheet to navigate the virtual data room comparison.
To-do & Look for
Outline your needs and expectations
Virtual data room providers with experience in similar projects
Mentions of free document checklists and templates
List the must-have and nice-to-have features
Complete descriptions of all the features included in the VDR service
A 24/7/365 customer support team to answer your questions
Estimate your budget
Multiple pricing models
Read the reviews
The reviews that were published within the last 6 months
Both pros and cons
The reviewer’s job title and responsibilities
Ask for a free demo
Representative’s professionalism and product knowledge
Clear demonstration of data security mechanisms
Showcase of an effective, user-friendly interface
Request a free trial
At least 14 days of free access
An option to test the data room software without obligations
A virtual data room is an online space used to securely store sensitive data, exchange confidential documents, and utilize various collaboration tools. Due to advanced technology and continuous innovations in the field, online data rooms are becoming an inevitable element of modern deal-making.
Virtual data rooms accommodate all possible projects and transactions. The most common VDR data room use cases include M&A, due diligence, corporate data repository, portfolio management, internal collaboration, and investment banking.
Free file-sharing platforms lack security and functionality compared to virtual data room software solutions. By going with established electronic data room providers, you can ensure the safety of your data and take advantage of streamlined deal processing.
Find a provider who has experience dealing with projects similar to yours. See if they offer pre-set virtual data room templates. Once you’ve got the general outline, configure the settings that are specific to your case for the best data room experience.
The decision to digitize a corporate repository via virtual data room services will typically involve the company’s CEO and CFO. Also, in some cases, the data room software is purchased by the head of the M&A division of either the buy-side or sell-side.