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10 criteria to help you select a virtual data room

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If you’re looking for a virtual data room, you’re most likely struggling to choose between the hundreds of options available. They all seem to do the same thing, but some cost more than others, some look flashy, and some promise functions that you have no idea if you need or not.

So where do you begin? This quick guide gives you a list of ten criteria that you should look for when selecting a virtual data room.

1. Security

Security is the number one priority for your data room. Security breaches can compromise the deal and involved parties will likely lose confidence in you. Look for a data room provider that is information security certified; look out for ISO 27001 certification to rest assured that the provider will look after your data. Check that the provider uses data centres that are certified too. SSAE 16 Type II certification will guarantee that your data won’t be compromised.

2. 24 hour access

A key benefit of using a virtual data room over a physical data room is the ability to access the data room outside of business hours, reducing the time of a deal significantly. Some virtual data rooms still apply access times restrictions, so make sure you look for one that offers 24 hour unlimited access for all parties.

3. Support and project management

There will be times that you have questions about your virtual data room, so it’s essential that there’s someone on hand to help you. Look for a provider that offers 24 hour helpdesk support so you can be rest assured that nothing will hold up the deal. Some data room providers offer dedicated project management support as standard, so you’ll have your own dedicated project manager on call to help at any time. They can even help with setting up the data room.

4. Ease of use

Deals move fast, so you don’t have time to train anyone to use a complicated virtual data room. Look for a data room platform that has been designed for a pleasant user experience so it is intuitive to use and doesn’t require training to get to grips with. The easier and more enjoyable the platform is to use, the more smoothly the deal will run.

5. Quick set-up with bulk upload

Without the right platform, setting up the data room can be very time consuming, particularly when dealing with a very large and complex deal. Look for a virtual data room that allows you to bulk upload zip files to enable you to get your documents into the data room as quickly as possible. Certain platforms offer additional upload methods, such as drag and drop for individual files, or emailing files directly into the data room.

6. Compatibility

Your virtual data room will be accessed by multiple parties from different devices, so it’s vital that you choose a data room platform that works on all devices and operating systems. Look for a platform that supports all major operating systems, and is accessible on tablet and mobile devices. Look for a platform that requires no plug-ins to use – web-based platforms are typically the most compatible.

7. Languages

Consider if any parties involved the deal have any language requirements. Certain virtual data rooms offer the platform in different languages, which is very helpful when it comes to working on international deals. Remember to look for a data room provider that offers helpdesk support in different languages too.

8. Reporting and auditing

You need the ability to track activity that happens in your virtual data room, to be able to report on the deal and associated bids. Look for a virtual data room platform that enables comprehensive audits and page-level reporting, so you can track bidder activity down to each page they looked at.

9. Functionality

Virtual data rooms come with various functionalities and tools which you may or may not need. At minimum, choose a platform that allows you to permission and protect files with rights management down to document level for added security. Ensure you have an advanced Q&A module (one that can be managed with Excel will make things easier). You can choose platforms with added social networking tools too, such as an activity feed and blogging too.

10. Cost

The cost of a virtual data room varies greatly from vendor to vendor and deal to deal. Some are priced by data usage, whereas others are priced as a flat fee, or even subscription. Decide which suits your needs the best. If you’re running a one-off deal it may work out cheaper to choose a virtual data room priced based on data use. If you plan on doing a few large deals in a year you’ll be better off selecting an enterprise virtual data room platform priced on a subscription model.

If you consider these ten criteria, you should have enough information to be able to create a shortlist of virtual data room platforms for your deal. If you want to find out more about HighQ Dataroom, contact us or request a demo today.
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