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Virtual Data Rooms vs. Online Collaboration Tools

virtual data room

Cloud storage is quickly becoming one of the biggest trends among businesses of all sizes, but the variety of options may leave decision makers confused about which choice is the best fit for their company. In particular, many startups and smaller companies have fallen into a false sense of security, utilizing storage solutions that were designed as collaboration tools to store key documents that need to be kept secure.

While at first glance a virtual data room service such as SecureDocs and a collaboration tool such as Dropbox appear to have many similarities, the two were designed with very different purposes in mind. Specifically, collaboration tools were designed for sharing; virtual data rooms were designed for keeping confidential documents safe—a very important distinction.

Collaboration Tools

Online collaboration tools (e.g., Dropbox, Box, Google Drive) can help provide quick answers to employee questions, expedite decision-making and improve communication throughout an organization. They often include features such as automatic syncing of files and one-click sharing. Typically users can easily access documents uploaded to the cloud from multiple devices, all of which are kept automatically synced. They may even offer a link-generating feature that allows non-users to view or download files with ease.

These are all good features for collaboration—they make it easy to share information and stay updated on the go. And they are a great solution for creating and sharing marketing materials, non-confidential schedules, presentations, large design files, photos or student projects.

However, these types of online collaboration tools are risky for files that contain sensitive company information, such as financial due diligence and other financial documents, intellectual property, mission critical documents, customer lists and contact information.

After all, what happens if a competitor gets ahold of a link to that kind of data?

Virtual Data Rooms

Virtual data rooms, unlike collaboration tools, were built around safety, although many of them offer collaboration friendly features as well, such as drag and drop uploading and options that make it easy to share documents with others requiring access. However, because the focus is on the security of the documents they store, virtual data rooms pair these features with security-focused features that help prevent access to those who shouldn’t be able to view, print or download sensitive files.

For example, SecureDocs makes it easy to share files with multiple users—but the account administrator can set permission levels for each individual user. Therefore, users can be allowed to see documents but not download or print them, can download them but not upload any files, or can be given full permission based on their role within the company.

Other noteworthy features include:
-A “Read Only” Option
-Watermarking capabilities
-Comprehensive Audit Logs

Virtual Data Rooms Vs. Collaboration Tools

While both collaboration tools and virtual data rooms offer cloud storage and easy access to files, the way businesses use these services is—and should be—very different. Those uses ultimately come down to the primary purpose around which each service was designed.

So, when it comes to deciding which tool to use for a particular set of documents, there is one question companies can ask themselves that should make the choice clear:

How important is it to keep this documentation secure?