During negotiations with investors, the company seeking funding must ensure that it implements and maintains a systematic and organized approach to communication and information sharing. One of the best ways to achieve this is to establish an online deal room. Of course, any random cloud-based data storage solution will not suffice. After all, when there are millions of dollars at stake, a lot of the information that must be furnished will be of a sensitive and valuable nature.
Thus, it is vital for the data solution selected to offer numerous, advanced security features. In addition to ensuring that confidential data is safely stored in the cloud, many of these features also enable the deal room administrator to maintain stronger control over the uploaded items and keep track of things like who accessed what data and when they did so. Here are the security features that a company must ensure that its selected provider offers:
Permissions-Based User Roles
The best way to protect data is to maintain strict control over it and to monitor it closely when it is shared. This is easily achieved by permitting access, depending on a person's position, role, and need to know. A sophisticated solution will allow the deal room administrator to specifically assign permissions-based roles to individual users. This means that the CFO of an investment firm may be granted full access to all of the items in a data room, whereas that CFO's assistant is only allowed to peruse data of lesser value or significance, such as the formation and organization documents. Basically, any information that is housed in a deal room should not be a free for all. Rather, a company should carefully control what is shared, with whom it is shared, and how it is shared to mitigate the likelihood of unwanted exposure.
Customizable Non-Disclosure Agreement
Obviously, there is no way to truly avoid the dissemination of data. Thus, beyond keeping a tight rein on the information that is shared, another option is mandating the signing of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). These are pretty standard agreements whenever confidential information is to be shared among unrelated parties. Therefore, prior to granting an outside individual access to important company data, the deal room administrator should politely request that the investors' team of analysts agree in writing not to willfully, negligently, or maliciously disclose sensitive information. Fortunately, there are some data solutions that have customizable NDAs built into the program, so they can be quickly created, shared, and signed to allow for quicker and more efficient information sharing.
View Only/Disabled Printing
Once roles have been determined, NDAs have been signed, and access has been granted, a person’s carelessness could still end up compromising important data. For example, if the data room allows users to download and/or print documents, they are far more likely to be saved on an unsecure network or even left laying out on a printer or a desk. For this reason, it is important to utilize a solution that considered these potential security lapses in advance and thus incorporated security functions such as “view only” or “disabled printing.” These sort of measures only allow users to access and view documents while they are signed into the secure system, thereby decreasing the opportunity for inappropriate disclosures.
Perhaps the most unique and significant feature that a data storage provider can offer is the ability to track any and all activity that takes place in the deal room. This is accomplished through audit trail reporting, which records the actions of the data room’s users. The data that is captured includes the name of the user, the date and time of the action, and the specific actions that were taken. This allows the deal room administrator to keep a close eye on all of the data that is stored in the room and may provide clues in the event that something unseemly happens at any point.
Ultimately, a company that invests in data security is investing in its future by protecting its information and intellectual property. Not only will this safeguard valuable data, it will likely signal to potential investors that it is committed to excellence.