How to Pick a Virtual Data Room

Things are getting virtual these days. From remote work teams to crowdsourced marketing tasks, companies have been able to shift a large amount of their workload to decentralized locations.

For companies handling large amounts of confidential or third party information, managing this data is no exception to the virtual revolution. This is where virtual data rooms come in for enterprises, and any companies dealing with sensitive data.

When you meet your workmates by the water cooler or photocopier every day, you know instinctively who you can and cannot trust. In a geographically distributed team, trust is measured almost exclusively in terms of reliability.”
– Erin Meyer

This quote may be talking about virtual teams, but the sentiment remains the same: when working virtually, it becomes all about reliability. This is what quality virtual data room software offers: a reliable and secure solution to your data needs.

According to TrustRadius, a virtual data room “provides a digital location to store and share proprietary information with third parties via strictly controlled digital documents protected by limiting and configurable role-based permissions and rules.” Managers can set different rules for different teams and projects, differentiating access accordingly.

In a phrase, virtual data rooms offer a secure solution to data handling for enterprises. But what is the best way to go about picking the best software? I’ll walk you through the basic 3 steps here.

Define Your Needs and Abilities

Before actually starting your search, it is a good idea to assess your organizational needs and abilities. Doing so will help you know what you’re looking for in a virtual data room and help you avoid jumping into a data solution you may not need or be ready for.

Some questions to ask yourself as you get ready to pick a virtual data room include:

  • What is your realistic budget for a virtual data room?
  • How will you be using the data solution? Will it be for your entire organization or just one team?
  • Do you have technical staff to handle new software, or personnel that will need a simplified virtual data room?
  • What kind of workflow will your teams need? Will it need to be streamlined and integrated? Will you need customization?
  • What data solution are you using now, and how will a new virtual data room change that?

 Consider the Criteria

After determining your needs and abilities as a company, you can start looking at the specific criteria for virtual data room software. There may be a long list of criteria, but every list should include the 3 following:

Security: It almost goes without saying that this should be the most important criteria to consider. A breach in security can compromise a deal that involves proprietary data—this can lead to a breakdown in the deal and a negative reputation. Security certifications (like ISO 27001 and SSAE 16 Type II) on the part of the provider will avoid this kind of security breach.

User Friendliness: In your assessment of needs and abilities, you should have already determined what capability your team has to deal with new software. If the answer to that is “not much,” you may need to look for a more user friendly version of a virtual data room.

Price: This boils down to what you can realistically afford. You should set the budget ahead of time, when you are defining your needs and abilities as an enterprise. Data room services are typically priced either by data usage or as a subscription model. You’ll have to determine which will work best for you. Virtual data rooms do not necessarily come cheap, particularly at the enterprise-level—but if proprietary data is at the core of your business it will certainly be worth it.

Read the Reviews

When it comes to any kind of enterprise software, online customer reviews are a fantastic resource for the potential buyer. Authentic reviews can help business leaders narrow down their options by getting an honest assessment of the pros and cons of each piece of software.

When looking at reviews, you should look for how the software reflects the needs, abilities, and necessary criteria that you determined ahead of time. This will help you wade through the options and find something that looks promising for your setting. From there you can use reviews to gauge price, user friendliness, and overall security.

Not every software solution will be the best solution for every enterprise. Instead, you should take your time research what tools will work best for you and your business needs. Completing your due diligence in the first stages will be sure to pay off in the long run for a VDR. After all, the digital location for storing and sharing proprietary information is critical for company success.

About Brooklin Nash

Brooklin Nash
Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.

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