Virtual Data Room Blog

I need to set up a virtual data room: should I use Dropbox?

11-May-2017 09:00:00 / by Maria Rubio

If you are looking for ways to share files, you probably have asked yourself the following question:

'Why should one pay for a Virtual Data Room when file-sharing platforms such as Dropbox,, or Google Docs are free?'

So, let's find out...

virtual data room - online due diligence

When it comes to sharing confidential documents, it’s important to be able to distinguish among these different online services. The short answer is that they were built for different purposes. VDR’s have advance capabilities tailored for secure transactional work, while consumer-type services cater to the common user.

If you are managing an enterprise, you would be unlikely to want to leave the information on something that is designed for individuals.

Here, we examine the factors you should consider when choosing between using Dropbox and a virtual data room:

1. Security

The reason why virtual data rooms are used by banks, advisors, and corporations is because they are built with a high level of security keeping in mind the standards and sophistication of an enterprise.  While consumer-based services are based on ease of use and mass adoption with security many times as an afterthought. As a matter of fact, there have been significant high-profile security breaches in most of the consumer-focused companies. 

2. Service

From document care to site updates, virtual data rooms offer around-the-clock, personalized service that the mass market service does not offer. Each client of the data room is assigned a professional and experienced project management coordinator, available 24/7 for any and all services they might require. These service coordinators can be local and are easily reachable for all users at all times. The idea is to save clients' time by doing all the data room related tasks for them and let them focus on things that matter more.

3. Advanced Functionalities

A virtual data room offers advanced functionalities that make communications simpler and more efficient than a consumer-based file sharing service. 

  • Unlike Dropbox and similar services, Virtual Data Rooms provide an effective offer - an intuitive way to manage document permissions. With a VDR you can easily decide who sees what and with what level of permissions. At a click of a button, you can enable/revoke access to a user for a single document/folder or for the entire data room.
    With some of the more sophisticated providers you can control whether users can copy, print, forward or alter a document, and can even block the use of the “print screen” key, and add a personalized watermark. These rules remain enforced even after the document is taken offline, for e.g., saved to a user’s PC. If a deal ends or a user is removed from the project, any files that they might have on their desktop can be remotely locked down. Try doing that with a consumer file sharing service!
  • Ideally, a data room will have a Q&A feature where buyers and sellers can post questions and comments to specific documents in a supervised manner to optimize time and relevance. Furthermore, this feature allows you to reply to more than one question at a time, create hyperlinks to other documents in your reply, and when you’re all finished, export the entire Q&A forum to Microsoft Excel for your records.
  • Virtual data rooms provide real-time notifications that alert all participants about specific document alterations, comments posted, or new documents uploaded. All parties will also receive a weekly update to keep them informed about each document as it develops.
  • Comprehensive reporting is what virtual data rooms are best known for, with the Q&A of all business interactions recorded in a user-friendly format that can be easily exported to Excel.

4. Reporting and Audits

As mentioned earlier, virtual data rooms offer an unparalleled high quality of communication. Reports are very detailed, containing information sorted by user about documents viewed, questions asked, and even how many times they have logged in. Meanwhile, all actions performed by users are recorded extensively, including the date and time these actions were carried out so that your enterprise is covered in the event of legal action.

In conclusion, services like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive can be a great tool for personal use or for sharing some public documents with business associates. However, when it comes to the security of running your enterprise online, the virtual data room has the highest quality of communication and service that you can trust.

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Topics: Data Room, virtual data room, VDR