In a digitally dependent world, VDRs (Virtual Data Rooms) provide businesses with the privacy and security they need to manage their business information in a cloud-based environment. But VDRs are much more than just another cloud computing solution. Virtual data rooms give companies the tools they need to manage contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and business fundraising rounds throughout a secure and transparent interface.
There are many VDR providers to choose from, however, each of which presenting their own advantages and disadvantages when compared against each other. So how does a business choose? Picking a provider that fits your specific needs is vital, but there are universal standards to look out for when ensuring you maximize the value of your investment.
Here are four factors to keep in mind when vetting a VDR provider.
When choosing what type of VDR service you'll be using, it's important to note that VDR platforms come in all shapes and sizes. You'll want to ensure that the user interface you use is not only easy to navigate but provides you with the tools you need when managing your processes. Some key features to look out for are:
Searchable Text - When managing contracts and other forms of business documentation, being able to navigate through easily is important. Find a VDR provider that has OCR capabilities and easy document search features.
Easy File Uploads - Manually uploading files can be cumbersome for both business and their clients. Ensure that the VDR platform you choose allows batch uploading or easy drag-and-drop features.
Restricted Access - Security is one of the defining features of a VDR environment. But not all platforms allow you to customize your access restrictions. You'll want to be selective on the access you allow when viewing, printing, and downloading information, so choosing a platform that makes it easy to customize these permission settings across multiple users is important.
Commenting - Being able to collaborate with team members and external partners should be another feature you look for in your VDR solution. Find a platform that enables you to comment on document files so you can leave and review recent feedback on any of the documents you manage.
There are variable cost structures when working with a VDR partner. This can sometimes be confusing when choosing the best solution for your needs as many providers can have slightly "hidden" rates built into the structure of the service. For example, some VDRs don't offer a flat-rate cost structure. Instead, they charge you "smaller" fees per-page of documentation and use tiered pricing formats based on how many users you need. While these costs may seem marginal, they will add up quickly.
Likewise, there are other services available that offer a flat-rate cost structure with unlimited document uploads, unlimited users, and no hidden fees. Some of these services may have slightly higher upfront costs, but your ROI is much more significant than using other alternatives. Regardless of what cost structure you choose, working with a partner transparent about their cost structure should be something you look for.
Valuable Insight and Reporting
VDRs are much more useful than standard cloud storage solutions as they can provide valuable insight and reporting based on the usage of the platform. For example, some platforms will give you transparency into where and when files are being accessed, activity alerts, email notifications, audit logs, and other useful reporting functions. Decide on how much customizability and analytics capabilities you need from your virtual data room and make sure your VDR provider can support your business objectives.
One factor that shouldn't be forgotten is the level of support your VDR provider can offer you. While you can find platforms that are user-friendly and relatively self-service, it's important to have to confidence that your questions will be answered if and when the need arises. Some partners don't offer 24/7 support or require you to submit tickets with longer lead-times for solutions. Most companies can't afford for their VDR platforms to fail and need to have immediate support any time of the day or night. Take this into consideration when choosing a VDR provider and ensure you have a clear SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place with your support expectations.
Choosing a VDR partner can take time, but it's worth the effort to take these four factors into consideration when sourcing a solution. Still unsure if a virtual data room is right for you? Click here to get more information on how your business can benefit from a VDR solution.