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Specific Industries
Some virtual data rooms specialize in specific transactions or deals. However, VDRs may still meet the requirements of industry solutions not listed here.
Document Security
Document security features are all about keeping your confidential files safe in the virtual data room. This ranges from protecting against hackers and viruses to untrustworthy employees.
Access Security
Access security features are all about stopping the wrong people from seeing your protected documents. This may mean stopping unauthorized logins or preventing users from viewing files that they shouldn't.
User Interface
User interface features help make users' lives easier by simplifying processes and speeding up mundane tasks.
Accessibility
Accessibility features help make a virtual data room more accessible to users who speak different languages or use different devices.
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Data Sources

This data was collected from company websites and data sheets.

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What Are Virtual Data Rooms?

Physical data rooms have been used to conduct due diligence when preparing for important deals such as mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, clinical approvals, venture capital, etc. Traditionally these would be tightly controlled rooms under constant surveillance and would require companies who are interested in a potential deal to send teams of people to an offsite location where they can study the mass of documents for a given period of time.

Virtual data rooms solve many of the inefficiencies associated with these old fashioned deal rooms. Virtual data rooms provide a secure and dependable way for parties to access critical and sensitive documents with a minimal investment. Additionally, they can provide document sorting, searching, and granular permission options.

The virtual data room industry is growing rapidly with some analysts estimating it to be worth over $1 trillion by 2017. To give you an idea of the demand, here's a graph of mergers and acquisitions over the last 20 years. M&A deals are the most frequent use of VDRs, but solutions are becoming very diverse in their industries.

Global M&A Deal Value

Historical data was sourced from statista and Bloomberg reports. Forecast data was generated by SoftwareInsider analysts.

Document Security

Document security features are all about keeping your confidential files safe in the virtual data room. This ranges from protecting against hackers and viruses to untrustworthy employees.
The chart above displays the percentage breakdown of document security across all Virtual Data Rooms on SoftwareInsider.
128-Bit SSL Encryption
128 Bit AES SSL encryption is the industry standard for protecting data.
256-Bit SSL Encryption
256 Bit AES SSL encryption is the standard for online banking and e-commerce transactions. While it is stronger than 128 Bit, some deem the extra security irrelevant.
Data Backup
Data backup assures that no documents uploaded to the virtual data room can ever be lost or destroyed, as they will all be saved and backed up.
Document Expiry
Sometimes referred to as "self destruct docs", this features allows access to be removed from a user at any time, even if they've downloaded the document.
Dynamic Watermarks
Dynamic watermarks guarantee that any document downloaded from the room will have a watermark which will designate who downloaded that document.
ISO 27001 Certified
ISO/IEC 27001 is part of a group of standards which deal with security in the information technology sector. Meeting this criteria assures that the virtual data room has few security threats or vulnerabilities.
On Save/On Open Encryption
On open encryption will automatically encrypt secure docs upon opening to prevent 3rd parties from accessing data over an unsecured network. On open encryption will automatically encrypt secure docs upon opening to prevent 3rd parties from accessing data over an unsecured network. On save encryption will ensure that the documents are stored in a way that makes them unreadable to 3rd parties who gain access to the location where the files are stored.More
SOC 2 Certified
SOC 2 is a certification for data centers and tech vendors regarding information security.
SSAE 16 Certified
The Statement of Standards for Attestation Engagements 16 is an attest standard which requires a description of the system used to provide assurance of tampering (an audit of internal controls over financial reporting). The Statement of Standards for Attestation Engagements 16 is an attest standard which requires a description of the system used to provide assurance of tampering (an audit of internal controls over financial reporting). If a data room claims to be SSAE 16 “Certified” they are claiming that the data room is compliant with these attest standards supporting Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). This effectively replaced SAS 70 in 2011.More
Virus Scanning
Virtual data rooms which offer virus scanning will automatically scan all documents uploaded into the data room for viruses.

Access Security

Access security features are all about stopping the wrong people from seeing your protected documents. This may mean stopping unauthorized logins or preventing users from viewing files that they shouldn't.
The chart above displays the percentage breakdown of access security across all Virtual Data Rooms on SoftwareInsider.
Mobile Device Management
Mobile device management gives administrators control over the accessibility of secure documents via mobile devices.
Multiple Factor/Multiple Channel Verification
Having multiple factor/multiple channel security requires users to verify their identity on multiple devices to gain access to secure documents. This prevents documents from being accessed by stolen devices.
Permission Groups
Permission groups are sets of predefined access levels in which users can be placed. This feature saves times when configuring user permissions.
Set User Permissions
Allowing administrators to set levels of access to different users will ensure an easily traceable audit record and increase the data rooms integrity.
Two-Factor Authentications
Two-factor authentication gives a increased level of protection and security when logging in by requiring a randomly generated code sent to the user’s phone, in addition to a password. This adds another layer of protection which makes access to data room much more secure.
User Security Impersonation
Admins can see document access from the perspective of any user. This ensures that other parties can only see the documents they need.

Audits & Reports

Audit & Report features help admins keep track of who is accessing and updating what files.
The chart above displays the percentage breakdown of audit/report across all Virtual Data Rooms on SoftwareInsider.
Audit Logs
An audit log is a chronological record of everything viewed, downloaded, or altered in the virtual data room.
Automatic Audit Reports
Automatic audit reports are audit reports which are automatically sent to a system administrator at the end of a specified period. This assures that everyone who has had access to the data room is logged.
Document Version Control
Version control allows admins to control autosave settings of documents. Depending on the settings, users will be able to open previous versions of a document, even if it wasn't saved under a new document name.
Notifications
Receive notifications when documents are updated in the data room.

User Interface Features

User interface features help make users' lives easier by simplifying processes and speeding up mundane tasks.
The chart above displays the percentage breakdown of user interface across all Virtual Data Rooms on SoftwareInsider.
Branded Website
Certain virtual data rooms allow you to customize the look and feel of your data room in order to make it fit your company's brand.
Bulk Uploads
Bulk uploads and downloads allow you to import or export entire groups of files or folders at once, without having to load them into the system, one at a time. Bulk uploads and downloads allow you to import or export entire groups of files or folders at once, without having to load them into the system, one at a time. Having the ability to conduct bulk uploads will significantly lower the amount of time a user will have to spend in order to integrate all necessary documents into the data room.More
Drag and Drop Files
Drag and Drop functionality gives users the intuitive ability to literally grab files and drop them into the virtual data room to be uploaded.
Full Text Search
A full text search functionality will give you the ability to easily look through all titles, meta-tags, and content for specific keywords related to your search.
In Document Linking
Allows users to embed links from one document to another, whenever necessary (such as looking up information in one document that was referenced in another).
Microsoft Office Integration
Integration with Microsoft Office will let users seamlessly access and store files from Word, Excel, and Powerpoint in the secure virtual data room.
Q&A; Section
Having a section devoted to questions and answers gives your users a platform on which they can quickly and effectively ask questions and receive answers about the documents presented.
Scroll-Through Viewer
Scroll through functionality gives you the ability to simply go to the next document in a folder while already looking at a document. Collectively, this can save you a lot of time when sorting through hundreds of documents.
Windows Explorer Integration
Integration with Windows Explorer allows users to drag and drop files as if the virtual data room were a folder on their PC.

Accessibility

Accessibility features help make a virtual data room more accessible to users who speak different languages or use different devices.
The chart above displays the percentage breakdown of accessibility across all Virtual Data Rooms on SoftwareInsider.
iPad Application
iPad applications will give users the ability to access their secure documents on the go.
Mobile Device Interface
A mobile device interface will let users view the VDR contents through a mobile-optimized interface.
Multi-Language Support
Having a multi-language user interface will allow you to present your respective data room to parties from different countries simultaneously, allowing them to view all documents in their native language.
No Client Software Required
Without a requirement for client-side software, users can perform all of the important saving/access functions without installing any applications on their devices. Usually this will mean that everything can be done from a web browser.

What to Watch for in Virtual Data Rooms


While it is imperative that your data room is compliant with all applicable auditing laws, data rooms which claim to have been "certified" by certain auditing standards do not exempt you from any liability in a potential breach of confidentiality. Do not get sold on any virtual data room simply on these certifications. While important, you will get much higher benefits by focusing on finding a virtual data room which has an easy and effective user interface. You can read more about Virtual Data Rooms on our articles page.

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