The technological process never stands still. For example, we went from gramophones with vinyl records to MP3 files in a very short period of time. We have compressed the files, moved them to one place, and expanded the range of possibilities for interacting with them. This analogy with the music perfectly explains what is happening with data now, via the virtual data room. Let’s go deeper into that.
A virtual data room (or simply VDR) is a storage facility located in a private cloud or inside an organization’s secure perimeter. Its main task is to provide authorized users with access to documents via a web interface or special applications. Traffic between the client and the storage is necessarily encrypted, and in some cases, the functions of DRM – digital rights management – can also be implemented. Then the documents themselves are also encrypted.
The room is usually used for carrying out large corporate transactions, providing access to the company’s reports during the audit process, transferring information to investors, and in other situations where it is necessary to give business-crucial data to the third party.
To send files, the user uploads them to the repository, sets up access, and sends the recipient a link. The process can be automated since many developers implement integration with file managers, email programs, messengers, and other popular software in client applications. In this case, the process of uploading and sending looks not much more complicated than attaching a file attachment to an email.
If the documents are protected with the help of DRM technology, the recipient will need to install special agent software on their computer which controls the correctness of their use. In this case, the control possibilities are greater, but not all types of data can be protected with the help of DRM, usually only Microsoft Office documents.
There are many VDR software providers. Each and every one of them has its own pros & cons. If you want to know more, you can visit Datarooms.org for more information on the perfect data room software.
Who needs VDRs?
The range of potential customers should not be limited to certain industries, primarily online data rooms are needed by financial services companies, construction, and design organizations, law firms, as well as communications providers, and retailers.
They often work with mission-critical information and need a means to securely send documents to external contractors or remote branch offices. These customers require flexible document access rights, document lifecycle management, and even DRM protection.
In the telecom and financial services sector, the means of user data protection and document labeling used must comply with regulatory requirements. And this is another reason for choosing a specialized solution. In retail, you have to give merchandisers and sales agents access to sensitive documents. And viewing documents on mobile devices and deleting them if an employee is fired must also be controlled.
What’s wrong with public clouds?
Many use Dropbox or Google Docs and Google Drive as part of G Suite services to share data. For non-critical documents, this option is good, but for transferring sensitive information to the side, it’s of little use. An electronic data room is deployed in the customer’s IT infrastructure (on-premises) and is fully controlled by the customer, or is run in a private cloud (hosted), in which case a provider specializing in secure document exchange is responsible for it.
Public cloud services do not support digital rights management technology and do not have advanced control of rights to work with documents, especially on remote machines – at best, they allow a ban on downloading and printing. One of the key features of the virtual data room is a detailed event log. It allows you to understand in detail who accessed the documents, when, and from where; such details are not usually stored in the logs of public services.
How reliable is the technology?
A virtual data room provides an increased level of security for documents in the repository based on centrally managed policies. They can only be accessed after authentication (most often with two-factor authentication), and permissions are much more flexibly configured than in public cloud services. The extent to which this technology is more reliable than various public counterparts is determined only by the dataroom software itself.
Using VDR you can allow viewing a document (or, in some cases, a part of it) in a browser but without downloading it. VDR has protection against man-in-the-middle attacks, and access permission can be revoked or granted for a limited time. The client software controls the removal of documents on the user side and blocks downloads from the repository.
How to select the best solution?
There are quite a few specialized products with different features and in different price categories. In general, to organize an online data room, you should focus on comprehensive solutions that allow you to manage documents from the moment they are uploaded to the storage until they are deleted by the counterparty. This requires DRM technology support, as well as agent software for desktop and mobile operating systems.
However, the customer’s tasks may not require such capabilities. Therefore, in order not to overpay at the start, it is better to contact a technology partner working in this field to select and implement the product.
To summarize, everyone can see why technology is gaining popularity. All that is necessary for the quality and fast work of modern companies is here. Control of access to data, the ability to quickly interact with data, and much more, help businesses grow.
At the core of the technology is the most important thing, which is process optimization. And with the development of technology, we will be able to open up new horizons that will definitely surprise everyone and provide everyone with incredible opportunities.