03, May 2021

Tips for Secure File Sharing with Virtual Data Room

Virtual Data Room can save you thousands of dollars just by securing your sensitive data and protecting your deals from any breach. Learn how to find a safe and secure virtual data room from our new article.

You can find the next topics here:

  • Secure file sharing features
  • Traditional data room vs virtual data room
  • Secure file sharing tips for businesses using virtual data room

Secure file sharing features

To find the best data sharing solution, look for the security features in the list we collected below:

Secure file sharing features

Legal-based security

Check if your provider has these security protocols:

  • Compliance with ISO/IES 27000. Most virtual data room providers comply with the ISO/IES 27000 standard. When a virtual data room provider gets this certification, you can be assured that the company will do everything needed to protect your data because it is obliged by the International Organization of Standardization.
  • Compliance with International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles. These rules were formulated to prevent the accidental disclosure or loss of users’ information by private organizations that store these personal data.
  • Compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is the standard for protection of personal data in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area.
  • Compliance with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This compliance is specifically important for businesses in the medical industry, as this regulates and protects patients’ health data. Compliance with the HIPAA means your client’s Protected Health Information (PHI) can’t be shared or used without prior agreement from the patient.
  • Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This ensures your credit card details and transaction data are safe.

In addition to the features mentioned above, secure virtual data room also provides some other legal-based features to ensure that all your deals are secured:

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and
  • Service Organization Control (SOC) report 1 and report 2.

Technical-based security features

The protection of sensitive data is always a race between a cybersecurity specialist’s innovations and a hacker’s latest methods. To ensure a high-level secure data room service, virtual data room providers should use the best practices possible in data security. Check for the following:

  • AWS 256-bit encryption SSL. With this feature, it’ll take millions of years for hackers to crack your 256-bit encrypted data by brute force or even with the MilkyWay-2 supercomputer.
  • Two-step (aka 2-factor or 2FA) authentication system. This is an additional layer of security used to make sure that the person who seeks access to an online account is the person he or she claims to be. In short, this feature secures user identity. The first step of this authentication system involves entering the username and password. The second step involves providing other information, including the following:
  • your personal identification number (PIN)
  • unique password
  • your fingerprint
  • a voiceprint
  • answers to secret questions
  • an iris scan

The information required in the second step helps to protect your accounts even if you don’t remember a password or forget your phone at home.

  • Dynamic password system. This allows for the use of a one-time automatically generated password you don’t have to memorize.
  • 24/7 monitoring. In contrast to traditional physical data rooms, 24/7 monitoring in a secure virtual data room helps you keep updated of the activities in the documents sharing process.
  • Secure browser connection (https://). A secure browser connection indicates that the browser is connected to the web server in a safe way. You can find its lock symbol in the address bar. It means that all data was encrypted.
  • FTPS (FTP over SSL). This is a secure file transfer protocol that allows you to safely connect to your business partners, customers and users. When you transfer files, they are exchanged with FTPS and can be authenticated through FTPS-compatible methods such as passwords, client certificates, and server certificates.

Other key features that should be mentioned are:

  • Watermarking
  • Control of the version
  • Single sign-on (SSO) integration
  • Data residency requirements support
  • Record/log of action performed

Additional security features include:

  • Audit records
  • Safe storage of documents
  • Long-distance collaboration
  • Visibility at all stages of the deal
  • Elimination of duplication
  • Custom permissions to manage access
  • Custom NDA
  • Fenced view
  • Remote wiping and shredding
  • No fingerprints
  • The possibility of checking the IP, device, and location that the user logs in with

You can find our how-to checklist which can help you choose a secure and reliable virtual data room at the end of this article.

Traditional data room vs virtual data room

Traditional physical data rooms have all the cons of a virtual data room, such as: 

Traditional data room vs VDR
  • You don’t have 24/7 access to your documents. The document repository could be destroyed physically. 
  • It is difficult for you to modify and share your data.
  • Monitoring every single data view is impossible if you’re not the only one who has access to the traditional data room. 
  • In some cases, a traditional data room is far away from your current location, requiring expensive business trips.

Traditional data rooms lost their appeal after the entry of secure virtual data rooms in the market. Designed as an easy-to-use tool, virtual data rooms offer all the convenience and security that were lacking in traditional data rooms so users don’t need any special technical pieces of knowledge.

In the infographic below, we compared the main features of the traditional data room and the secure virtual data room for you to determine which solution prevails according to the possibilities it offers:

FeaturesTraditional Data RoomVirtual Data Room
256-bit SSLnoyes
Physical securityyesyes
24/7 accessnoyes
2-step authenticationnoyes
Record/log of action performednoyes
Secure document storageyesyes
Remote collaborationnoyes
Secure spreadsheet viewnoyes
Technical supportnoyes

Secure file sharing tips for business using virtual data room

1. Think about your security needs. Consider the security-based features we described in the beginning of the article and, when it comes to making the decision as to which virtual data room provider to choose, prioritize the following:

  • ISO/IES 27000 compliance
  • AWS 256-bit encryption SSL
  • 2-step (2-factor or 2FA) authentication system
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Secure browser connection (https://)
  • FTPS (FTP over SSL)
  • Single sign-on (SSO) integration
  • Fenced view
  • Remote wiping and shredding

2. Choose the virtual data room provider that offers the best possible security features, depending on the confidentiality of the data you want to share.
3. Assess your information management plans. Create a data management plan and choose a provider with the widest possibility of interacting with docs.

Here is a list of virtual data room’s functions that make the classic data management stages possible:

  • deleting
  • merging
  • renaming
  • creation of folders
  • moving
  • PDF conversion
  • giving access to
  • preview and view
  • sharing
  • restoring
  • export
  • labeling

4. Create a log-in password using a reliable online service. It not only offers to generate random symbols and combinations of letters, but also helps to memorize them using mnemonic techniques. Keep it safe and use a secured password manager.

5. Test all the benefits of the chosen virtual data room. Create a watermark, use folders, or convert data into PDF, etc. The more tools you master, the smoother the file sharing process will be in the future. 

6. Try sharing documents in parts. Share documents or only that part of each of them you want to be shared. Such data rooms as iDeals virtual data room allow you to hide different parts of sent files by fences. 

Let’s sum up

To conclude, the traditional data room was an excellent security solution many years ago, but it can no longer keep up with all the needs of modern businesses. 

We are living in the era of quick deals, agile decisions, and rapid changes, so businesses need to have 24/7access to important data. 

Here’s a summary checklist to help you choose your ideal virtual data room:
1. Figure out your business niche and needs.

2. Ensure compliance with worldwide standards. Check the protocols of the company provider. 

3. Consider the technical side of using the virtual data room. Read additional information about the virtual data room technology.

4. Study real customer feedback. Read comments and testimonials from real customers on providers’ social media pages and dedicated review websites.

5. Use the free trial to test the chosen secure virtual data room.

6. Read the virtual data room providers how-to guides to simplify your task.

7. Send out a trial document. Practice all the steps of using a virtual data room by sending a non-secret document to someone you trust.

8. Play around with access controls and removal functions. Remotely delete all the sent documents or change access to them if your recipient doesn’t need to view them anymore.

9. If you’re not happy with user experience, test the virtual data room provider’s customer support. Feel free to write to support immediately after the problem occurs.