Ask Dux: Do I Need a Virtual Data Room?

Post Date: 03/09/2022
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We’ve covered the modern workplace and how you can best adapt to it to benefit your organization. In today’s episode, we’ll talk about the need for a virtual data room and how it can boost secure collaboration (especially now that there’s a spike in M&A deals).

Ready to get into what a VDR is and why secure workstations are important?

Let’s go and Ask Dux!

In this episode:

Virtual Data Rooms vs. Typical Collaboration Platforms

A lot of organizations need to collaborate with other organizations. Now, you might be wondering—what’s the big deal with virtual data rooms? Why can’t we use email or good old Box or SharePoint or Teams?

The difference with a virtual data room is the nature of that collaboration. Typically, when you think about virtual data rooms, the type of collaboration and communications that take place are highly sensitive and confidential.

For example, these days, there’s lots of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) that are happening. If you look at that picture, there are multiple parties involved: the two companies that’s part of the mergers and acquisitions, plus your lawyers, bankers, auditors.

So, there’s a lot of different groups of people, and as you may imagine, there’s a lot of paperwork involved. Now, how do they work together? I have the great fortune of being involved in some of these activities. We used to send email back and forth, which we all know what the challenges are other than not being efficient—it’s not secure as well.

In short, virtual data room is a virtual platform where multi-organizations can engage and collaborate and work on highly sensitive and confidential projects.

For our friends in public sector, I can say this is similar to what we call a skiff. There’s no connectivity outside. Only certain people, the right key card, the right password, and the right eye scan would allow them to go in.

Today’s M&A Landscape

Today, we’re seeing more and more M&A deals happening. There were 4.3 trillion dollars of global M&A deals last year, just in the first three quarters of the year. And that’s higher than a full year on record ever.

And then you’re seeing almost a hundred percent of M&A deals—about 87%—being done virtually now. We’re not doing paperwork with a briefcase in a secure room. It’s just inherently important to have things done securely, cause it’s all online due to the fact that we can’t get together because of COVID or distance or whatnot.

And then you’re seeing a lot of organization—about one-half—citing cybersecurity challenges. And what’s scary is the fact that if you leak a document or if there’s something that gets into the wrong hands, you could kill a deal or you could affect a stock price.

So, this is why the VDR conversation is so important right now.

The Key to Adoption: Usability

There’s tons of great technology and solutions out there that organizations use, but in the end, no matter how sophisticated, powerful, or feature-rich the capabilities are, it all comes down to usability.

I’ve had experiences with VDRs that are great and fancy. And as a technical person, I can figure it out, but some of my colleagues aren’t as technical, and they just want to get the work done. That’s why in the end, we had to resort back to email.

So, I think one of the biggest challenges is not that VDR is a new thing but that a lot of the solutions out there are quite cumbersome, not user-friendly, and complicated. And that’s why adoption is not so high.

Oftentimes, what I’ve seen organizations or teams do is communicate on email, send a document via a file sharing tool, then track the progress of the M&A with another tool. Not only is there an inherent risk because information’s all over the place, but at the same time, it’s not efficient. Beyond security and beyond centralizing information is also the question of efficiency. We don’t want to have a hodge podge of tools just to get this project done.

Introducing Confide: AvePoint’s New VDR Solution

AvePoint launched our new technology—a solution called Confide. This is the only VDR fully integrated with Microsoft 365. It’s hosted locally, providing optimal security and easy setup. Meaning, it’s hosted in your tenant and you can also, in a secure way, have other stakeholders be a part of that VDR.

Now, why did we do this? This really came out of our experience as we went through the most recent exercise of becoming a public company. We’ve had a lot of great colleagues that we work with across different organizations, but it was challenging, frankly, to collaborate efficiently in a secure way.

We know that a lot of organizations are leveraging Microsoft 365 already, so we’re just enabling these organizations to do new with less. Since you have already invested in Microsoft 365, you layer in Confide, you can maximize your investment further.

And the beauty of this is how people who’s leading this charter can create and enable their own virtual data room without IT’s help. And in fact, IT won’t even have access to it, which is very important. So, we’re very excited about Confide and we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and support thus far.

Confide Changes the Game for M&A Deals

Confide offers a lot of great functionality, like managing granular, project specific permissions, so you really have a real close handle on things. And you also get an analytics dashboard.

Why is this important? Let’s come up with a scenario. Let’s say you want to buy a company, now you have an M&A project. You have different stakeholders. But even though you all are a part of that virtual data room, there may be information that should only be available to the lawyers or the bankers.

You could tweak it into those granularity so the right information will be accessed by only the right stakeholder. And again, this capability doesn’t require IT handholding. The business team themselves can take care of it.

The other part is about reporting. Confide lets you see the status of who’s accessing it and who’s worked on what. Plus, you can also see the status of tasks. In the end, this is a project. To do an M&A deal, we’re working towards some deadline. There are some deliverables. So apart from using Confide to edit files and work on documents, you can use it to track tasks as well. And you can see full reports and visibility of who’s done what.

Confide for the Public Sector

Think about government agencies collaborating across agencies. Or the military, if they’re working together with other military agencies where information’s highly sensitive and confidential. Confide will be a perfect solution for that as well, especially now that the US government has accelerated their adoption of the cloud and Microsoft 365 is one of their top cloud solutions.

Episode resources

Confide: Confide Virtual Data Room | Secure VDR Workspace | AvePoint

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With over 20 years of business and technology experience, Dux has driven organizational transformations worldwide with his ability to simplify complex ideas and deliver relevant solutions. He serves as the Chief Brand Officer of AvePoint who has authored the LinkedIn Learning course How to Build Your Personal Brand, the book SharePoint for Project Management, as well as numerous whitepapers and articles. As a public speaker, Dux has delivered engaging, interactive presentations to more than 25,000 people at leading industry events around the world. He also hosts the modern workplace podcast #shifthappens that focuses on how leading organizations navigated their business transformation journey. Dux advocates tirelessly for inclusion, using technology for good, and philanthropic initiatives. Connect with him:

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