If you’re launching the due diligence process for your firm’s next (or first) acquisition you may be thinking to yourself- is using Dropbox for due diligence okay? Have you been tasked with managing your company’s capital-raising initiative and need a way to share sensitive information? If so, then your ‘to-do’ list probably includes finding a solution for managing all the documents involved in these activities.
Dropbox – Easy Sharing, Simple Back-Ups. Secure? Not so much.
Dropbox is one of the oldest and most popular file sharing and storage solutions. Its most basic plan, which includes 2G of storage and access from phone, computer, or tablet, is free. For small deals, the ‘free’ price can be compelling, especially when you’re charged with frugally managing company funds.
If you need additional space, you can purchase a subscription starting at $12.50 monthly per user to get 2T of storage. The advanced plan with monthly charges of $20 per user has unlimited storage with additional security features for sign-on and file management. The enterprise plan, which requires a call to get pricing, puts a few more restrictions in place and provides round-the-clock technical support.
“$20 per user sounds great,” says the money-managing bot on your shoulder, “sign up for that one.”
“But wait, says the security-driven bot on your other shoulder, “Are you sure our data will be fully secure with Dropbox? Will we really have the controls we need to reassure our leadership team about the integrity of the process? And we have a fairly large team. Is Dropbox the best value? I think CapLinked offers a better price for multiple users. And remember, we’re in an acquisition negotiation. Our legal team needs streamlined communication with the bank and Company Zed. Is using Dropbox for due diligence the most efficient and secure solution?”
We recommend you listen to the security guy.
Virtual Data Rooms (VDR’s) – Built for Business, Prioritizing Security
Unlike Dropbox, which was developed for consumers to easily share and store files and retrofitted to appeal to business customers, VDRs originated as business storage solutions for activities like capital raising and due diligence. Physical security and document integrity features are also built into the framework of VDRs.
This business-first perspective takes into account the likelihood of multiple users in the virtual data room. Professional vendors like CapLinked offer a basic VDR that is less expensive than the per-user rate charged by Dropbox, Google Drive or other file sharing sites.
What do we mean by physical security? Top-notch secure VDR suppliers, like CapLinked, use data centers protected by skilled personnel, surveillance, backup generators, and backup servers to ensure data protection and continuous access. Digital security measures are also robust, with multiple firewalls and the latest encryption software available. Smaller ‘cloud’ solutions aren’t currently providing these safeguards.
And what about document integrity? Well, maintaining document integrity in a paper world was straightforward. The original document was typed, altered with easy to see ‘white-out,’ filed, then sent to storage and eventually destroyed. In the digital world, a simple file storage solution can’t deliver the document integrity of a VDR. The process of document sharing and due diligence is now more complicated since it must address the following issues:
- recording who created a document
- capturing all changes
- encrypting the document before sending
- tracking access
- keeping an easy-to-use archive
- controlling printing and destruction
This information must also be accurate, unchanged, and reliable throughout the life cycle of a document. CapLinked VDR features let administrators restrict document roles from viewer-only to authoring. Copying, downloading and printing authority can also be controlled. Watermarks can be used to protect against unauthorized screenshots. There’s no better solution for secure document sharing and collaboration.
Get Organized and Rest Easy with a VDR
Virtual data rooms were designed to support the vast amounts of data handled in corporate environments. Features VDRs offer to make data management more efficient include:
- numbering and indexing of documents when uploaded, helping you navigate through files
- advanced search functions for documents and files
- bulk uploads, drag/drop functionality, and compatibility with more than 25 file formats
This means you and your team can find needed documents much more quickly, giving you more time to focus on making decisions to move the deal forward.
A VDR also provides more protections for information sharing. As an administrator, you determine the following:
- who enters the virtual data room
- the files and documents individuals can access
- how long information can be viewed
- whether information can be printed or downloaded
The exposure of sensitive material is controlled (and limited). And the communication power of VDRs is unparalleled thanks to the detailed reports of VDR access, document alterations, new uploads, comments and questions that are available. These reports are also useful for any audits of your deals.
Moving Forward with VDR – and CapLinked
Your security-driven bot is nodding and smiling about your decision to use a virtual data room instead of Dropbox. The money-manager is also on board. Why? Because for a $99 monthly fee for multiple users, CapLinked’s Virtual Data Room provides strong document management, 1TB of storage, and state-of-the-art security to manage access and encryption. You might be able to make it work, but using Dropbox for due diligence doesn’t make much sense with such a compelling alternative available.
Start your free trial with CapLinked today. Have additional questions? Our team is ready to talk with you about your specific project needs- whether you need a VDR for due diligence, capital raising, or anything your team can dream up.