Recent developments have put the increasing threats from hacking groups and cyber criminals in stark relief. These days, nobody is safe from hacking and other forms of cybercrime, neither private citizens, nor government agencies. But businesses are particularly vulnerable to data leaks, thefts and other types of cybercrime. According to Forbes, the toll to the economy from cyber attacks is expected to cross $2 trillion within the next two years.
In this crime wave, data is the precious commodity that everyone is after. It could be anything from product details, company financials, employee databases, R&D, legal information, or data about clients. Back in the good old days of print and paper, these could be securely locked away by the company, either on office premises, or secure storage locations.
But with the rise of the new digital economy, everyone and everything is migrating to the cloud. While regular cloud storage options may provide enough security for the average citizen, enterprises cannot afford to take that risk, especially when dealing with highly sensitive business data. This is where Virtual Data Rooms (VDR) have shown great promise.
VDR: Designed To Be Secure
A Virtual Data Room is rather similar to a cloud storage service, in that the data is stored in digital format and is accessed via the internet. And it has all the advantages that digital data has over traditional print and paper:
- Faster, instantaneous access from anywhere on the globe.
- Doesn’t require massive storage vaults.
- Does not degrade like paper files and documents.
- Is not as vulnerable to disasters and accidents.
But unlike regular generic cloud storage services, or even generic enterprise level cloud storage, Virtual Data Rooms are designed with security as the core parameter. The data repository is maintained on an extranet, which is a network outside the firm’s own internal network or intranet. The service provider manages the servers that store the data and is responsible for its maintenance and safety.
The nature of this service can be identified from the clues in its name itself. In the past, a “data room” was a business term for an actual physical room where important documents related to companies were stored. Such a room was usually created during times of mergers and acquisitions, where involved parties could sit down and go through important documents in compliance with due diligence.
Desirable Features In A Virtual Data Room
The following are the essential features enterprise customers should expect from a VDR provider:
- Storage capacity to handle large amounts of data, without restrictions
- Advanced encryption, multi-factor authentication, and other advanced security features
- Access control, with the ability to track access to sensitive files
- Fast and intuitive access to authorized parties anywhere
- Advanced database maintenance and oversight features
Applications Of Virtual Data Rooms
Modern Virtual Data Room services offer advantages of speed, convenience, and security over both traditional paper storage as well as generic cloud storage options. In recent years, this sector has shown massive growth, with estimates predicting the value to cross $1 billion by 2017. iDeals VDR, Ansarada, Firmex, Brainloop, and Merril Datasite are just some of the major names in a fast growing industry, with hundreds of service providers already competing for clients. Much of that growth is fueled by increased demand for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), but other sectors are also showing growing interest in this service. Here is a breakdown of some of the primary applications of VDR in business:
- Mergers & Acquisitions: they are the main engine of growth in demand for VDR services at the moment. This service is perfect for handling all the complicated and exhaustive due-diligence processes involved during M&A transactions. And since they often require the most sensitive business data and information, the added security provided by VDR makes a world of difference. VDR also drastically reduces the expenditure and time involved, as it allows parties to connect seamlessly from across the world, without having to travel to a particular location.
- Innovation and Marketing: In an area jealously guarded by many enterprises across industries, the ability to restrict and monitor access to information is instrumental. Innovative products and technologies need to be marketed, but the information has to be closely guarded until launch. Any leaks could benefit the competition. VDR offers an easy way to share information between departments while minimising the chance of accidental or intentional leaks.
- Movies, TV & Other Media: In an age marred by piracy and IP violations, companies need a safe and secure location to keep their content under embargo until the release date. Early release of pirated content can severely dent the studio’s profits. With on-demand storage and secure encryption, VDRs are an ideal solution here.
- Global Brands & Enterprises: Sharing confidential business info and client data between departments across borders can create massive security concerns. With seamless and real-time communication, Virtual Data Rooms is an excellent choice for enterprises in a global economy.