Need PII redaction? Use the sharpest AI eye

December 13, 2022 | Blog

Where there’s a sell-side deal, there’s usually the need for redaction. Whether you need to redact personally identifiable information (PII), commercially sensitive data, or any other confidential content, you face two huge challenges: i) getting it done on time, and ii) getting it done right.

One obvious answer is automation. An AI can identify PII content across huge volumes of documents, much faster than a human, and often more accurately. Problem solved?

Not quite.

You can now find many redaction tools on the market. However, not all are built for the specific demands of M&A. Although they’re faster than manually redacting documents line-by-line, most will fail to catch all the terms you want to hide – and may even redact information that you don’t want hidden. In short: they’re blunt instruments.

And what about when it’s  time to un-redact? That’s a whole different can of worms. Fortunately, you can find a sharper redacting tool – at Datasite.

Why redact with Datasite?

Because reasons. No, really. The reasons why you make each redaction are crucial to the whole process. Many tools ignore this. Datasite’s redaction tool makes it central.

You may need to hide sensitive content for a range of different reasons: commercial, strategic, compliance with data protection laws, and so forth. Up front, the reason may not matter so much. But when the time comes to un-redact, how do you know which content to reveal and which to keep invisible? If the reason for each redaction isn’t flagged, your admins will have to work line by line and file by file – wasting much of the time you saved earlier. This is also when mistakes happen.

With Datasite, it’s both accurate and instant. You can tag each redaction with a reason. When you reach a deal stage at which certain data must be shared, then in one click you can reveal it. For example, if it’s time to share the commercially sensitive data, you simply un-check the button for the ‘commercial’ reason, and all that content is un-redacted. But all your redactions for other reasons (such as PII) stay safely hidden.

Can your redaction find custom content?

Most AI redaction tools have another key weakness. Sure, AI may be ‘intelligent’, but it’s also ‘artificial’. When it comes to M&A deals, it’s no substitute for a human brain. Every deal will include terms that are unique to that particular transaction. A standard AI redaction tool won’t catch those terms – forcing your team to go through line-by-line anyway. So how much time have you really saved?

Datasite’s redaction engine combines the best of AI with the irreplaceable human touch. You can add a custom list of up to 20 terms per file room, so the tool will find and redact these words or phrases too. Now you can redact with human flexibility, at machine speed.

Can you redact scans? Or in 20+ languages?

Some redaction tools seem to perform well in optimal conditions, but fail spectacularly in the much muddier terrain of M&A. Their performance criteria tends to assume that all documents are, firstly, in a recognized format and high quality, and secondly that they are in a language the AI knows.

However, M&A due diligence often involves documents for which no digital versions exist, so redactors must work from scans – sometimes poor quality copies. What’s more, cross-border deals may involve a far greater range of languages than most redaction tools can cope with.

By contrast, Datasite’s redaction tool is specifically built for the rigors of international M&A. The AI uses optical character recognition (OCR) so it can perform effectively on low-quality scans, and even recognise and redact terms in hand-written annotations. As for multi-lingual redaction, the tool automatically checks the language of each document, and can handle more than 20 languages.

Is your redaction really precise?

Some redaction tools boast of their ‘recall’ – without making it clear what this means. You may see claims such as ‘over 90% recall’, which implies a tool will find at least nine out of 10 terms that need redacting.

This may well be true. But how much else are these tools finding? If you blow your dog whistle and your dog comes running – along with every other dog in the park – then the whistle has ‘worked’, but not in the way you hoped.

In the same way, you want your redaction tool to find and mark only the content you want – not reams of unrelated material. What matters is not recall alone, but precision. And it’s precision that Datasite’s redaction tool is focused on. This ensures faster, more efficient redaction across all file rooms.

Do you use the best redacting tool for M&A?

When it comes to redaction, beware of poor imitations. M&A deals face the highest level of scrutiny, so need the highest quality tools. It is this quality that makes Datasite the industry leader, enabling 15k users a year to redact around 8k projects, involving some 3.5k companies. Our AI redaction tool is trusted by the world’s top dealmakers as the fastest and most reliable. Datasite’s redaction hides exactly what you need to hide. Other tools? They just hide their limitations.

Find out more – contact Datasite for a free demo.

Learn more about redaction in Datasite Diligence

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