Businesses today generate a tremendous volume of data on a daily basis. Storing documents and data in an easily accessible, secure location is a key challenge for organizations. With several breaches recorded in the last few years alone, setting up a virtual data room (VDR) for storing key documents should be an essential component of any data security strategy.
Virtual data rooms were originally developed as virtual alternatives to physical data rooms for deal-making processes. Their use has expanded today to act as highly secure corporate repositories of important data.
Integrating a virtual data room into your company can be remarkably easy as we will find out below:
Choosing the Right VDR
Look for the following features when choose the right virtual data room for your business:
1. Ease of Use
Setting up a virtual data room should not be any more difficult than walking into a physical data room. Users should be able to upload and access documents with minimal setup required. Choose a VDR that is easy to use- avoid those with clunky, hard to use interfaces that require extensive training.
2. Advanced Organization and Indexing Capabilities
Readability, organization and indexing are three important considerations when choosing up a VDR. All users should be able to read, browse and search for specific documents easily. The VDR should also allow you to rename and organize documents. In this regard, a dynamic document index is crucial. VDRs such as SecureDocs even allow you to toggle automatic indexing of all uploaded documents.
3. Enhanced Security
In the days before virtual data rooms, it wasn't uncommon for organizations/law firms to maintain physical data rooms with their own security detail and 24x7 monitoring. With the perennial threat of cybercrime and data leakage, virtual data rooms should offer similar, or better levels of security. For this, your VDR provider must offer the following features:
-Advanced Permission Settings: Changing user permissions to view, edit, and download files should be just a click away. Being able to assign separate roles to different users based on their permissions is a recommended feature as well.
-Audit Logs: Given the sensitive nature of data at hand, the VDR should maintain logs of every action in the data room.
-Two-Factor Authentication: As recent security breaches at Sony, Citigroup and Coca-Cola show, password-based authentication can be extremely insecure and susceptible to breaches caused by malware. This is why your VDR must offer two-factor authentication standard. This two-factor authentication makes the VDR virtually impregnable.
Transferring Your Documents to a Virtual Data Room
Digitizing your existing documents should be the first step in transferring documents to a virtual data room. Going paperless has several benefits for organizations, including, but not limited to:
- Save Physical Space: Filing cabinets and boxes of documents can take up valuable office space that can be better utilized towards more productive activities. Eliminating paper can also enable you to move to smaller offices, saving money in the process.
- Save Time: Digitizing all physical documents can save your employees countless hours that would otherwise be wasted in finding, moving and indexing documents.
- Save Money: Time, as Benjamin Franklin said, is money. According to IDC, an organization that employs 1,000 information workers can expect to save $5m annually in salary costs by going completely paperless.
- Better for the Environment: A paperless office is an environment-friendly office. According to CNN, American businesses printed, copied and faxed more than 1.019 trillion pages in 2007, which equates to hundreds of thousands of felled trees.
In the context of this article, transferring data to a VDR is far smoother when you already have digital copies of your documents. Instead of physically scanning each document, you can simply drag and drop your documents and folders and save all your data instantly online. The actual digitization process is quite simple and requires a one-off investment that can yield huge returns. As Kevin McNeil, CEO of Gore Mutual Insurance puts it: “For every dollar that we spent on it, we saved that dollar plus another 85 cents.” (Source: CNN)
Adopting the following paperless office standards will cut down drastically on the amount of time it takes to set up a virtual data room:
- Take All Communication Online: Digitizing your communication will help when you need to set up a VDR and need quick access to important emails and messages. Cutting down on paper-based communication will also save paper costs, besides being better for the environment.
- Invest in High-Performance Digitization Solutions: Depending on the volume of documents that need to be digitized, you might want to invest in a sheet-fed scanner and professional OCR software. Use at least 200 dpi resolution to ensure clarity of scanned documents. If the volume is low, the trusty office scanner and a web OCR service might be adequate. For very large projects, consider getting outside help.
Following these simple practices can make integrating a VDR into your company easy and painless. The long-term savings in terms of time, money, and enhanced security makes the initial investment well worth the effort.