An intuitive platform that is easy to get up and running with limited training should also be secure. The best virtual data room is rich in functionality, and many of the features that make a platform easy to use also make it safe.
Features and Functionality Are Also Security
Contracts, merger agreements, and legal documents require signatures to be legally binding. And those contracts, agreements, and documents often undergo revisions, coming into your organization and then leaving several times again.
The best data room will have its own e-Signature program integrated into the platform, saving time by reducing the need for signing hardcopies and increasing security by keeping everything within your platform and under your control.
Make it even more convenient by ensuring it’s available on mobile devices.
Full-featured mobile app
In fact, the mobile app deserves its own place in the sun. Who isn’t accessing everything from their mobile device that once needed an office computer? This isn’t a wish list — if the data room isn’t offering a mobile app, it is now an outlier.
According to TechTimes, Americans spend an average of 2.7 hours on their phone daily — 86% of that on an app rather than in a browser. As an added bonus, industry experts invoke apps as a way to maintain a constant brand presence.
Third-party app integration
You don’t want to download companion software or take a course in Java to use your VDR. Virtual data room software that’s worth its salt will provide seamless integration with existing technology.
Look for embeddable widgets and drag-n-drop features to boot.
You should be able to conduct searches and edit, comment, annotate, and share access across this shared platform. There should be unlimited storage and unlimited file versions.
And while a third-party app provides users with access and lets them share data, you stay in control by storing it on your secure platform.
CEO and Co-Founder of ProdPad Janna Bastow makes another point for the importance of integration: “As you get more into really competitive spaces (like if you’re building a CRM or marketing automation tool), you’ll find that people have the luxury of simply selecting or disqualifying products based on integration options alone,” says Bastow.
All of these features rightfully mean the death knell of non-digitized processes. Enhanced security is not mourning, nor is productivity. The opportunity to keep all of your documents in one secure place with simplified access for everyone focuses business activity, something that the business community has noticed.
According to Grand View Research: “Digitization and a focus on streamlining business processes is accelerating demand for modern workflow automation management systems, a market forecast to increase from $4.8 billion in 2018 to more than $26 billion in 2025.”
For security and ease of use, administrators should be able to grant permissions in different ways (think files or folders) with different access levels (think view-only, download, editing…). The point is fairly obvious but bears repeating all the same.
Monitoring user activity
An effective VDR will tell you down to the page level who accessed what, when, and for how long.
This is handy for auditing and compliance purposes.
It can also help to detect and put a stop to abnormal activity before it causes damage. Someone downloading every file from your database? You’ll probably want to know why…
Besides security, you also gain powerful business intelligence by tracking activity — file views and edits. Understand who’s editing documents and when. Track IP addresses with analytics to better understand your own business. “Knowing thyself is the beginning of wisdom,” says industry leader Aristotle.
World-class data centers, multiple levels of redundancy
World-class data centers have the infrastructure and expertise to ensure highly-sensitive information is safe from bad intentions — human or computer. Multiple levels of redundancy kick in to share traffic, increase capacity, and ensure operation, come what may. A business that relies on cloud services loses money when the system goes down.
Real-time vector watermarking can help prevent theft and unauthorized use of content, databases, and text files. But not all watermarking is created equal. Check that your secure and effective virtual data room software offers the level of security you need.
The best data rooms will be there for you 24/7. You probably want customized training, after all: who likes to be told to sink or swim? Besides that, do you get a dedicated manager? Can you share screens remotely? Realistically, anyone vying for your contract should be ready to support your migration from whatever VDR or file sharing service you’re using, otherwise — do they really expect bells and whistles alone to attract you?
Streamlined content organization and presentation
A feature you might not immediately associate with VDRs but ought to get excited about is tags. Because documents often need to be stored in more than one place and remain visible. Organize by folder, and you will fail to harness the power of tags.
“Analytics are made possible through the use of tags, and the wonderfully rich set of information marketing automation systems provide is also tag-driven,” says John Follet at Demand Metric.
Add to that an ability to detect file types and to scan and convert them into searchable PDFs, and you’re ahead of the game.
File request essentially consists of custom links for third-parties to enter your system and submit files. It is a feature on par with tags for brilliance. However, to be truly convenient, it shouldn’t require them to sign in or create an account. Add a drag and drop feature, and you’ll make some friends along the way — it’s convenient and secure.
In short, functionality and security are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary: they are often two sides of the same coin, and any good data room will have both in spades.