In 5 steps to the virtual data room

The rapid exchange of information and the joint processing of documents are among the most important achievements of digitization.

This makes it possible to access data in the cloud from anywhere and with your own Internet-enabled device, share and synchronize it, and collaborate on files. For many companies, especially in highly regulated industries, information security is a top priority at all times. This is exactly what can be ensured with a virtual data room.

A virtual data room is a cloud-based environment with a particularly high level of security. In this context, both the protected exchange of digital documents and their secure and shared processing are possible. All accesses are logged and time limited. File-level permission-based encryption prevents unauthorized people from accessing data. In addition, a virtual data room based on the confidential computing approach ensures that data is not only protected during storage, but also during transmission and processing in the cloud.

Creating such a virtual data room is extremely easy. With the checklist below, you can do it in just five steps:

Step 1: Find the right data room solution with a list of requirements.

To find a technology solution that fits their company’s needs, companies should ask themselves what the virtual data room should do:

  • There are basic requirements such as access permission and control. Access logs, downloads, edits and deletes as well as simple and intuitive usability are also essential.
  • In addition, there are usually precise requirements for the most productive possible use of the virtual data room. This includes, for example, that it is quickly ready to use and easily available via the browser, that users can be easily added or removed, and that rights management can be customized independently of IT.
  • Depending on the industry, there are also compliance requirements such as configurable terms of use, defined access times, watermarks for documents in view-only mode, and features that protect against unauthorized disclosure, copying, or bulk downloading.

First and foremost, therefore, it is important to define what the virtual data room will be used for and whether there are specific challenges in your own processes, target groups or industries that need to be considered. Only then can a specific list of requirements be created, with which it is appropriate to review the solutions and providers in the market.

Step 2: Put your data room provider through their paces.

In addition to the functional requirements for the data room solution, it is also important to take a close look at the provider. In this way, it can be determined whether this meets your own conditions and legal requirements – for example with regard to data protection and data security. The questions to be answered are:

  • Where is the provider based?
  • Where are the servers running?
  • Who has the key to the data: customer or provider?
  • Does the provider have access to the data in the data room?
  • Is data still protected during processing?
  • Can the provider prove its security?
  • Is support easily accessible?

From a legal point of view, only a cloud provider with headquarters and data centers within the EU can be considered. But even then, the proven concept of data protection and security and other protective measures – keywords privacy by design and privacy by default – decide if it is suitable as a solution provider for your own virtual data room.

Step 3: Open the virtual data room and set usage rules.

Before a virtual data room is put into operation, all relevant aspects in the affected processes must be checked. To do this, the following points must be determined:

  • Is there detailed role and rights management that regulates who is allowed to do what?
  • Do individual documents need to be marked (view only, watermarks, etc.) to prevent distribution or copying?
  • Do you need data room logs to record all data room activity without an audit, in order to understand who viewed, edited, downloaded or deleted what and when?
  • Do all users have a user agreement for the virtual data room and is it explicitly approved?

In addition to answering these and other specific questions, it is recommended to appoint a room assistant. This has all the necessary permissions to create and configure a data room. He can invite members, but he can’t see data himself. In addition, before starting digital collaboration in the virtual data room, an erasure concept is required for all shared and edited data. Data protection regulations, such as the handling of personal data, financial data and health data, also play a role here.

Step 4: Start sharing files and collaborating.

You can now start uploading data and documents (eg PDFs, image files, voice messages, notes, etc.) to the data room. To this end, logical folder structures are recommended, which allow easy navigation within the data room. In addition, it should be determined to what extent data sharing and digital collaboration differ externally from internally. This is where predefined permissions and role concepts can help. Once everything is set up, members can be invited to the data room and assigned the required roles and permissions. This ensures that everyone can view, edit, and download the files they need—no more, no less. PDF watermarks, limited read access (view only) or digital meeting folders are just as important for data sharing as voting and chat functions for productive collaboration in the virtual space.

Step 5: Optimize the use of the virtual data room for everyone.

When going live, it is important to regularly check that all members have been assigned the necessary roles and permissions and that they are up to date. If an employee leaves the company or a customer terminates the partnership, their access options must be adjusted immediately. Files and documents in the virtual data room must also be checked for up-to-dateness and availability. Regular backup of important documents in the data room is essential. To ensure that all users enjoy using the virtual data room, the available communication options are suitable for mentoring new members and sharing existing resources and work aids within the team or with external partners.

Bottom line: In no time at all to your own virtual data room

A virtual data room creates the ideal basis for the best possible protection of files, not only during their exchange, but also during processing, while complying with legal requirements and the highest security standards. This is where conventional file sharing services, which allow encrypted transmission but not data processing, quickly reach their limits. Not so virtual data room: Because it is quickly ready for use and can be adapted at any time. This ensures smooth and secure digital collaboration at all times.

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