When it’s time to decide on your data room setup, take a few minutes to plan ahead so you don’t find yourself making changes and reorganizing your workspaces later. Setting up a data room only takes ten minutes, and Caplinked’s Quick Start tour will show you everything you need to know. However, here are ten tips to keep in mind before you get started. 

12 Tips for Virtual Data Room Setup

1. Creating Folders and Uploading Sensitive Files

The first thing to do when you create a virtual data room workspace is to create a main folder. This is the folder that will store all of your other folders and your sensitive files. How you organize your folders is up to you. However, you should take some time to plan it out before you start uploading.

A few minutes spent organizing will save you, your employees, your partners and clients countless hours searching for things they need over the next year. If you could use a hand understanding what file organization system will work best for you, you can check out our guide to implementing file structure and naming conventions across your organization’s data.

As soon as you create an account in Caplinked, you will be taken directly to the “Files” page, where you’re invited to create a main folder. There are several ways to organize your files, depending on your organization’s needs and the number of files you will be securing in your VDR.

2. Upload Files Quickly without Plug-ins or Hassles

If you already have your files well organized on your own server, you can simply drag them into a main folder in your VDR workspace. How long it takes to upload will depend on the amount of data you’re uploading and your organization’s internet speed. If you have a particularly large download, there’s no need to wait around. Caplinked will notify you when the uploads are complete.

If you’re going to be adding additional files over time, you can continue to drag and drop using your web browser, or use SafeLink, Caplinked’s desktop uploader.

3. Use Standardized Naming Conventions

One of the most important parts of any data room setup is using consistent rules for naming files and folders. Standardized naming conventions ensure that anyone with access to a folder can determine immediately what each file contains by looking at the names. Additionally, standardized names make searching for files much easier. 

If all audit logs use the same convention, for example, with the name and date written the same, such as “audit-log-01272021,” you can quickly search by the name “audit-log” to find all of them, or use the date to find a specific file. If different conventions were used for similar files, you would have to do multiple searches to sort through them all. A search for “audit-log” wouldn’t give you any results for files named “audits” or “audit_log.” 

4. Use Multiple Workspaces in Your Data Room Setup

A trial plan includes one workspace and is intended to give you a sense of how easy it is to manage your files with confidential information in a Caplinked VDR. When you upgrade to a Caplinked Professional Plan, you can create multiple workspaces. You can even create workspaces for different departments. Your accounting department could have its own workspace, for example, for financial and confidential documents, while your marketing department could have another for collaborating on upcoming projects. 

5. Adding Users and Setting Permissions

Since a VDR is designed for secure file sharing and storing sensitive documents, setting appropriate guardrails is critical. Now that your files are uploading, it’s time to select the people who should have access to them. Just as your business network and your personal computer should be protected, so should access to your VDR.

When you create an account with Caplinked, you’re automatically the first admin for your organization’s VDR. While it’s a good idea to add at least one more admin as a backup, in case you get sick or go on vacation, admin access should be limited. A company owner may insist on having admin access, as may your senior network administrator or your database engineer.  

Using permission groups will allow you to easily assign permissions to different people based on which group they belong to. If you own a startup, for example, some user permission groups could include the following:

  • Admin: Those with full control over the VDR, files with sensitive information, groups, access permissions and security settings
  • Management: Those who require access but won’t be performing administrative roles
  • Staff: Those in your organization who require access to upload, download and edit documents in specific folders
  • Finance: For accountants who need access to financial & confidential documents
  • Clients: Allowed access to files within their client folders
  • Prospective investors: Those who require access to a business plan summary and some financial documents in order to make an investment decision
  • Established investors: Serious investors may require access to additional files with confidential information, like your full business plan, detailed cash flow statements, audits, M&A transaction and so forth 

6. Use NDAs as a Matter of Policy

Have each person digitally sign a non-disclosure agreement before granting them access to your VDR.  If you have a Professional Plan with Caplinked, you can customize disclaimer and NDA templates within your VDR and track when they have been signed.

7. Security Settings & User Permissions in Your VDR Workspace

To create your first non-admin permission group in a Caplinked VDR, just open the workspace and click the “Permissions” button at the top of the page. Click the “New Group” button in the left menu and give it a name. Once it has been created, click on the icons to grant or deny them the ability to View, Download or Upload documents in all files, or in specific files. Once the group has been set up, you can click the “Invite Members” button to add them to the group. 

8. Setting Up VDR Notifications

Setting up notifications in your VDR enhances document management processes. Consider the following when setting up VDR notifications:

  • Define triggers: Determine the events or actions that should trigger notifications, such as document uploads, downloads, edits, comments, or user activity.
  • Customize preferences: Allow users to customize notification preferences based on their needs and roles within the data room.
  • Choose channels: Decide on the delivery channels for notifications, such as email, mobile push notifications, or in-platform notifications.
  • Enable real-time notifications: Provide instant updates to users, ensuring timely awareness of changes or activities within the VDR.
  • Include relevant information: Ensure notifications contain clear and concise details, such as document names, timestamps, and a summary of the action or event.
  • Test functionality: Thoroughly test the notification system to ensure its reliability and effectiveness.
  • Provide user documentation: Create guidelines explaining how to manage VDR notification settings.

9. Setting Up VDR Notifications

Many firms prefer using their own data room software for accessing sensitive documents in a VDR, in addition to using the web interface provided by Caplinked. If you use Microsoft Office, for example, you can integrate this with your Caplinked workspace to quickly edit documents as needed on the fly, without jeopardizing the tracking and security measures provided by the VDR by having staff repeatedly download and then re-upload files to the workspace. 

Caplinked’s Developer portal makes it easy for your IT staff to create APIs (application programming interfaces) that securely connect your software to your VDR. APIs can automate a wide variety of daily tasks, like automatically uploading sensitive files to your VDR workspace as soon as they are created and saved to your office server.

APIs can also be used to manage user permissions, teams, watermarks and many other functions. All you need is an API key to enter your requirements and then download the snippet of API code.

10. Customize Your Workspace

Before bringing clients, partners or potential investors into your workspace, take a few minutes to customize it so that it reflects your firm’s brand. In Caplinked’s “Settings” menu, you can customize the color schemes, upload your logo and customize the appearance of watermarks on documents. Users will always know they’re in your organization’s workspace, rather than in some generic cloud storage portal, just by the look and feel you’ve created.

11. Test and Retest Your Workspace Before Going Live

When you create a new workspace in a Caplinked VDR, it always defaults to “Draft Mode” until you’re ready to publish it. This gives you the opportunity to ensure that all of your files with sensitive information are correctly organized and that your access permissions are configured properly. Even if you send invites to non-admin users while the workspace is in Draft Mode, they won’t be sent out until your workspace goes live. 

12. Regularly Audit Your VDR Setup

Regular auditing of your data room setup maintains efficiency, security, and compliance. Follow these steps for regular VDR audits:

  1. Review and organize documents: Ensure existing documents are up to date, properly labeled, and well-organized. Remove redundant or obsolete files.
  2. Review user access and permissions: Assess user roles, access permissions, and user lists to align with project requirements. Remove inactive users or adjust permissions as needed.
  3. Assess security measures: Evaluate encryption protocols, access controls, user authentication mechanisms, and data backup processes to meet industry-standard security requirements.
  4. Test functionalities: Verify document search, file upload/download, collaboration features, and user management capabilities for any issues or areas for improvement.
  5. Ensure compliance: Ensure the VDR setup complies with relevant legal and regulatory requirements, updating and communicating compliance policies to VDR users.
  6. Provide user training: Offer refresher training sessions or resources on best practices, security protocols, and efficient usage of the VDR to promote data security and compliance.
  7. Review incident response plan: Ensure the incident response plan aligns with the organization’s overall incident management procedures and test its effectiveness.

Regular auditing of your VDR setup identifies and addresses issues promptly, ensuring maximum efficiency while maintaining data security and compliance.

Ready to get started? Take a test drive of Caplinked’s powerful VDR by starting your 14-day free trial today!

David Weedmark is a published author and e-commerce consultant. He is an experienced JavaScript developer and a former network security consultant.