What are the best Virtual Data Room providers of 2019?

Virtual data rooms are an indispensable tool for both large and small businesses as well as multiple industries and their functions. The offer effective security for storing large amounts of confidential documents and control over this data with intricate settings and features. A VDR is necessary for the safe exchange of information and the efficient collaboration required by industries such as M&A, litigation, General Corporate, etc.With such a broad selection of virtual data room providers, the decision of which one to choose for your company or clients can be tedious and confusing. Every provider has designed their VDR to support certain functions and clientele that may not be appropriate for every business out there. This is an important factor to consider when presented with the option between providers and their pricing structures – some catered towards higher revenue deals than others.

Our review site is here to help you determine the right virtual data room for your and your needs based on carefully acquired information and detailed analysis. With company profiles, necessary comparisons, and helpful reviews you will be able to do your research and feel confident about the decision you make to keep your confidential documents safe and maintain control over who you give access to them.

Firmex

Since 2006 Firmex has proven to be a reliable provider of exemplary virtual data rooms. They offer features that provide their clients with the utmost security and control within the VDR while simultaneously guaranteeing no hidden fees in their subscriptions.

With over 100,000 companies worldwide trusting Firmex with their deals and transactions, it’s no wonder how they’ve gained their notability after a relatively short period of time. J.P Morgan, Good Year, and Time Warner Cable are only a few of the names on Firmex’s repertoire for excellent M&A and litigation assistance. Their extensive data uploading services also extend the Pharmaceutical, energy, and mining sectors.

A few of Firmex’s renowned features include drag & drop uploads, dynamic watermarking, restricting printing and downloading, View As, and Email In – all allowing the client to remain in control of their data when sharing it with third parties. Paired with complex permission settings, top security compliances, such as SOC 2 and HIPAA, and 256-bit AES SSL/TLS data encryption Firmex’s VDR remains practically impenetrable to malware and external threats.

Firmex has created an intuitive platform that allows clients to feel comfortable when distributing large amounts of documents and supported by excellent customer service during arduous and time-consuming transactions.

 

SecureDocs

SecureDocs has made a name for itself in the VDR world by having worked with clients such as Buzzfeed, Asana, and Sonos as a better option than generic data sharing service while still remaining affordable.

Thus far they have served 55 countries and claim to provide security, simplicity, and savings with their virtual data room. They offer various security and control features, such as watermarking, an audit log, and two factor authentication, at a flat monthly fee.

Unlike Ansarada, whose VDR is designed specifically for M&A transactions, SecureDocs also assists in corporate document storage.

While they offer a broader range of services, their features seem to be somewhat lacking compared to other, more notable virtual data room providers.

Their permission settings are only group based and their security features are fairly restricted, not allowing users the utmost control over their data. However, they do support unlimited users and documents, have a unique built-in electronic signature, and the ability to preview a document the way another user will view it.

Ease of use is often praised when it comes to intricate software and SecureDocs can be seen as providing a sufficient option for those in need of a simple VDR for uncomplicated transactions.

 

Ansarada

Since their foundation in 2005 Ansarada has focused primarily on providing a solution to facilitate smooth M&A transactions and fundraising. With common features such as saved document expiry and detailed access security they have assisted a plethora of clients with their document sharing services.

Having worked with companies such as KPMG, SkyBus, Suncorp, and Emcore they have been able to make a name for themselves in the M&A world. A few of their interesting features include document security reports to ensure all the settings on documents is correct before they are shared, the ability to disable deals, and watermark customization.

As one of the most expensive virtual data rooms on the higher end market, it would be assumed that they assist in a broad range of transactions. However, Ansarada’s VDR is limited in its abilities to provide an effective and customizable space for anything other than M&A deals.

This can be seen as a detriment to any companies looking for a general virtual data room while utilizing advanced sharing and security features, but advantageous to advisors with a specific purpose.

Ansarada, like most providers, claims to have exceptional customer support in case of any confusion while navigating the platform and recommend their clients use it whenever in doubt to get the best experience.

 

Intralinks

Intralinks has helped pave the way for other virtual data room companies since their foundation in 1996. In 2002 they created the first VDR, offering a solution for document sharing and storage of a larger volume.

With a history like this it is no wonder why they are one of the more expensive virtual data rooms on the market, focusing their product on larger-scale deals and transactions.

A few of their clients include Whole Foods, Panera Bread, and Ariad – all billion dollar companies in constantly growing industries.

As pioneers of this technology, they claim to offer security, speed and excellence with their features. Some of these being mobile-friendly interfaces, enhanced export functions for large amounts of data, and the ability to withdraw permission settings even after download.

While their feats in this field are impressive, it’s important to recognize that they cannot always prevent print screens of confidential documents and they cannot apply watermarks to dynamically generated graphs and charts.

Seeing as these features are popular amongst administrators wanting to ensure their data remains secure when sharing it with third parties, they are important to consider when selecting Interlinks as your VDR of choice.

 

Merrill Datasite

Merrill Datasite is another provider that targets their virtual data room to large-scale deals, offering assistance for due diligence, investment banking, and litigation.

While their prices are on the higher end, they claim to have over 50 years of deep domain expertise, coupled with innovative features that help make complicated transactions easier to tackle and succeed at.

A few of the interesting features they offer in their VDR include document activity reports to see how long a document and its pages were viewed, a trash bin for deleted documents, and contextual searches so that documents can be searched in real-time.

A few of the difficulties Merrill seems to have, however, are limited permission control, limited Q&A abilities, and no document versioning to change and update documents without completely replacing them.

Regardless, they do offer sufficient 256-bit SSL encryption for data at-rest and in-transit as well as take pride in the simplicity of their software and the efficient 24/7/365 customer service in case of any issues or confusion while working on the platform.

If you are willing to spend a bit more for fast drag-and-drop uploads and integrated tracking tools, then Merrill might be the virtual data room provider for your needs.

 

RR Donnelley

RR Donnelley began as a communications company in 1864 and transitioned to cloud based storage services with their Venue data room. A few of their prominent clients include Deloitte, GE, and IBM – focusing their software on high profile deals and complex transactions.

Being one of the pioneers of cloud-based document sharing services they have utilized their experience in the industry to create a platform with enhanced security, easy-to-use features and interface, and as a means of innovative problem solving during arduous projects.

They also offer their clients in-person consultation and support through project managers to help with any issues or during a crisis.

A few of these features that Venue data room offers are a project expiry date filter, an alert for any changes made within the data room, and bulk printing for certain files.

However, a few problems that seem to arise despite the higher-than-average price of the VDR are a dated interface and slower process times for certain tasks.

There is also a bit of confusion whether drag-and-drop capabilities are available for for all processes, such as moving or reordering documents and if an administrator can expire documents once they are saved.

It is important to take note of these highs and lows before determining whether this provider is right for you and your needs.

Box virtual data room has been active in the industry since 2005, claiming to provide quick and easy solutions for common document sharing problems.

They have assisted more than 41 million users with their platform with locations in various countries around the world – a few of their clients being P&G, GAP, Allergan, and Whirlpool. Like other virtual data room providers, Box promotes secure file sharing and easy collaboration within their VDR through permission settings to help you control who has access to the data and what they can do with that access.

Box also offers the ability to monitor file and folder activity with reporting so that nothing escapes your attention when on their platform.

 

Box VDR Profile

Box virtual data room has been active in the industry since 2005, claiming to provide quick and easy solutions for common document sharing problems. They have assisted more than 41 million users with their platform with locations in various countries around the world – a few of their clients being P&G, GAP, Allergan, and Whirlpool.

Like other virtual data room providers, Box promotes secure file sharing and easy collaboration within their VDR through permission settings to help you control who has access to the data and what they can do with that access.

Box also offers the ability to monitor file and folder activity with reporting so that nothing escapes your attention when on their platform. Box exhibits a “less work” mentality by allowing clients to email documents into their VDR rather than signing onto the platform as well as the ability to preview documents and photos without having to download them.

Box strives to keep things simple by providing the same features as other virtual data rooms, but maintaining a sense of ease amongst their innovation. They’re prices fall on the lower end of the scale for mid to large businesses, depending on the plan and features you choose.

For any demos, issues, or pressing questions,Box offers 24/7 client support in various languages for clients around the world.

 

Brainloop Secure Data Room Profile

Brainloop, a German-founded Company, became a player in the collaborative software industry in 2000 and has since strived to provide a deal room that is effective and easy to use.

Their virtual data room is catered towards M&A, due diligence and outlicensing projects – all of which require excellent security and quick start-uptimes. However, they don’t necessarily seem as use-friendly for general corporate needs and functions.

A few of their notable clientele include Deloitte, Bayer, Adidas Group, and BMW Group. Brainloop prides itself on proving a quick and efficient virtual data room so that deals can be concluded much faster and safer with 256-bit end-to-end data encryption and two factor authentication.

Their features at a glance include Q&A functionality, time-limited access to documents, personalized document watermarks that are automatically  generated, and permissions management capabilities.

Unfortunately, Brainloop does not offer a breakdown of their pricing structure on their website. Furthermore, they do not show an overview of the virtual data room’s interface and layout as reference.

So, if you are interested in this provider, you will have to contact their 24/7 customer support so that any prospective clients can get request a consultation of the subscription fee and a demo of the deal room in action.

 
 

Our Choice for Best VDR

After reviewing the most prominent virtual data room providers on the market and assessing their strengths and weaknesses we remain impressed with the effectiveness of Firmex’s platform. From the intuitive interface to the complex security features that ensure total control on the part of the administrator, Firmex has proven themselves more than capable of assisting in arduous and time-consuming deals. In a relatively short amount of time Firmex has managed to make a name for itself in the industry and continues to grow and improve its features so that no functions are left stagnant and antiquated. As one of the more affordable providers of premium support and security, they have managed to merge efficiency with the understanding of what clients want in their virtual data room. Furthermore, their passion and ability to adapt to the ever-changing climate of cloud-based document sharing is illustrated in their customer testimonials and multiple company awards.

 

A Few Uses For a VDR

When it comes to document sharing within a virtual data room there shouldn’t be any limitations with regards to industry use cases.

Keeping important and confidential data secure is necessary for any individual or business and should not be taken lightly or considered exclusive.

Virtual data rooms offer enhanced key security and control features that work to assist high-revenue deals as well as basic and efficient document storage. A few of the main uses cases for a successful VDR are:

M&A

Virtual data rooms are ideal for simplifying onerous due diligence during mergers and acquisitions deals. Some VDR providers even design their software specifically for M&A transactions because of how prominent these deals are to the VDR industry. The ability to upload and download data in bulk while simultaneously maintaining control over who sees what within the data room is why this platform is necessary during M&A deals. Buyers and sellers need a space to collaborate seamlessly and also ensure that all pertinent documents remain in the VDR under iron-clad security features.  During stressful due diligence, a VDR offers the ease that advisors and their clients need when looking through a company’s financial records to determine if this deal is right for them. In such as fast-paced sector it can be easy to loose track of documents which is why M&A advisors look for the best virtual data rooms to help them along the journey.

Litigation
Handling sensitive client documents means that lawyers need a safe space to store their data during litigation. Virtual data rooms have become necessary for this as they ensure any confidential information is kept safe while being shared on an impenetrable platform, closed off to any unwanted third parties. When a client is looking for a quick and easy process a virtual data room is the best choice as it allows for the utmost control over the customization of the platform to suit client needs. Whatever they want reviewed can be easily shared and whatever they don’t can be set to expire after a certain period of time or inaccessible to certain groups with complex permission settings. Furthermore, any questions can be filtered through a Q&A feature and answered efficiently within the data room and in a timely manner by the necessary participants.
General Corporate
Big corporations and even small businesses require a level of security and efficiency when it comes to storing their important data. From company minutes to more confidential information regarding financials, a virtual data room provides that safe space for employees to communicate and collaborate throughout the company. Many large corporations have branches in various countries – another vital reason to implement a virtual data room to facilitate smooth communication across oceans. Distance makes is ever more important to ensure that the entire company is on the same page and can access the same information whenever, wherever they are and beyond the corporate firewall.
Biotech & Pharma
When it comes to intellectual property, storing your information on the right platform can make a world of difference to its security. For the pharmaceutical industry, that requires a lot of document storage space and involves many interested investors, a virtual data room provides the space and safety for financing, licensing and clinical trials. It offers administrators the peace of mind knowing that anything they upload will remain in their control and any patented discoveries can be reviewed by multiple licensing partners simultaneously. With advanced reporting, a VDR can show you how much interest certain documents are garnering based on how often they are viewed and by who. All the tools necessary for the Biopharma industry to succeed are provided within a virtual data room via multifaceted features and excellent client support for grueling projects
 

Where To Start Your Search For A VDR Provider

The virtual data room market is saturated with various providers, all claiming to offer something unique and incomparable to users, making it intimidating to search through when looking for the right VDR provider for you and your needs.

With so many options there is a lot of room for error and a lot of room for success on the parts of both the software provider and the potential client making the important decision.

A bloated and difficult interface to navigate will leave customers feeling confused and incompetent, while being unable to decipher what makes a good VDR from a bad one can leave worthy providers unnoticed. In these situations, no one wins.

Below are a few steps to take when beginning your search for a virtual data room that is best suited for your industry and business needs.

 

Use A Review Site

Review sites are a useful tool, designed to help you find the right virtual data room.

By using them as an ally you can determine which providers have tailored their software to fit your industry and which will have a positive effect on the way you process your deals.

A good review site will offer you an outline of providers and their histories as well as the impact they have made within the VDR world. If a provider’s virtual data room is effective, secure and easy to use then their name will circulate, building a reputation among the community.

Alongside a provider profile you will find a breakdown of the specific features and services related to each provider, giving you a more detailed overview of what to expect with each company. By taking the time to look through a few detailed review sites and learning about the providers that interest you the most you will build a better picture of what you need and what they can offer you.

 

Do Your Research

The only way to really know what you’re getting with your virtual data room is to do as much research as you can beforehand.

The simplest option that many people tend to encounter first is generic file sharing services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

While these may seem much easier and more affordable to choose on a whim, they are not built to handle the large amounts of data many of the aforementioned industries need to store for various deals and transactions.

Furthermore, the security of generic file sharing services is not as effective as many professional providers’, leaving room for hacking and leaks. This was proven by the Dropbox hack a few years back that left many users and their confidential information vulnerable to attack.

While these services are fine for sharing family vacation photos, they aren’t as sophisticated for large M&A or Biopharma transactions.

Once you’ve found a virtual data room that has sparked your interest, ensure that you have scoured their website and contacted their client support for additional information.

It is important to look through their list of features to determine what is necessary for the deals you will be hosting within the VDR.

A few enticing features include group based permission settings that allow you to control who can access what data and separating them into groups, dynamic watermarking for multiple document types and images, the ability to expire access to files from various devices, and the elusive ‘email-in’ feature that allows on-the-go users upload data into the VDR via their email rather than signing into the platform.

Different industries rely on certain features more than others, so opting for a demo and free trail of the virtual data room you are interested in can be a solidifying factor to your decision.

Seeing the software in action is different than reading about it, so take advantage of what a provider can offer you before you make the commitment to join them.

 

Know Your Options

Finding a provider that you enjoy working with is a great feeling, however, not always a lasting one. Companies, as well as clients, change, sometimes for the worse, so it’s important to know and acknowledge that you have options in the market.

Being flexible with your needs and our choices is key in finding the right provider, not just in the moment, but also in the future. Take the time to research a few that fit your industry and recognize strengths in all of them, allowing yourself to make the switch if necessary.

You shouldn’t have to limit yourself and your desires out of fear of making the wrong choice, but rather allowing yourself to explore the market and experience the intricate features certain providers have to offer.

The best way to recognize your options is by holding providers and their virtual data rooms up against each other in a comprehensive comparison.

By doing this you are better able to see their features and capabilities without the distraction of a fancy website or alluring claims. As mentioned above, many virtual data room review sites offer a breakdown list of features that various providers offer, making it easy to look through and contrast what certain ones are lacking.

For a more hands on approach, contacting each provider and speaking to their client support can help you better understand what they have to offer and build an image of what the process of a deal will look like with them.

No two VDRs are the same, so take the time to notice their distinguishing traits and select one based on your requirements.

What Makes A Virtual Data Room Necessary For Online Document Sharing

At this point you may be wondering if you really do need a virtual data room to store and share your documents. With the generic alternatives mentioned above or simply using external hard drives, investing in a VDR might seem futile. However, online document sharing has made leaps and bounds with their software, trumping the alternatives in their abilities to ensure safety, control and ease of use for their users.

Virtual data rooms began as physical rooms that advisors or lawyers would have to travel to in order to review documents or perform due diligence. This made their processes incredibly difficult and time-consuming as they scoured through physical files and had to schedule time to visit the location of the room for a few days. Not to mention the threat of physical disasters within the data room, such as fires or building damage, that could drastically slow down the process or halt it altogether.

 

The document storage industry has come a long way and has allowed companies to adapt alongside them as they embraced cloud-based storage and remote access.

They have become a vital part of secure file sharing in an era where cyber threats are on the rise and confidential information is constantly at risk. The necessity for a VDR – alongside its convenience – is to protect the data that you do not want accidentally viewed by unwanted third parties and subsequently shared.

Not only can this risk your business, but the businesses of clients you may be working with to facilitate deals. Rather than resigning to the haphazard sharing methods of email chains that can be easily intercepted, take the initiative to prove to yourself and your clients that you pride efficiency and security just as much as any established financial institution that handles confidential information.

Why You Need A VDR

 

Secure Document Storage

The last thing you want to happen to your confidential data is for it to be accessed by the wrong third parties and shared without your consent. This is a common occurrence for companies and individuals who are not careful and safe with the data they put online, opting for generic services with lackluster security. In many cases, your data is your livelihood and you shouldn’t risk it by not doing your proper research to find an effective virtual data room provider that offers the utmost security for data at rest and in transit. Be aware of the security compliances they list on their website and understand the level of storage you need to ensure that they can provide you with it.

 

Control Over Your Data

The security of your documents go hand in hand with the control you have over them once they are uploaded onto a platform. Virtual data rooms make it a point to provide you with the appropriate features so that you can control who sees what and for how long. These features allow you to make the decision to expire user access if necessary, set group-based or user-based permissions, add watermarks to confidential documents and images, use Q&A to facilitate useful dialogue within the VDR, and even generate reports of the activities so that you remain constantly aware. With a virtual data room an administrator is afforded the luxury of deciding what to do with their own information, even after it’s been shared online, making the experience calmer and more gratifying.

Easy of Use

An effective virtual data room is designed to help you facilitate smooth transactions as quickly as possible. In order to do this, the interface is made to be user-friendly, not bloated with unnecessary features, and accessible from various devices so that you aren’t tethered to your desktop computer. This is especially important for deals or projects that require a lot of collaboration and large amounts of data to be stored. A VDR is there to help you stay in communication with other users while also being able to organize the flow of documents coming in and out of the room so that your transactions can be concluded with as little hassle and as much confidence as possible.