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M&A and Data Rooms

What is a traditional data room?

Data rooms are secure spaces for reviewing corporate documentation. In the past, these were physical locations, housing reams and reams of paper. M&A deal teams use them to safely share sensitive information.

What is a virtual data room (VDR)?

Virtual data rooms serve the same purpose as traditional ones. But rather than filling buildings with paper, everything is now securely housed online. M&A deal teams use them to power due diligence. But now they can provide so much more than simple storage space. Now they automate time-consuming processes. They allow global collaboration. And they give valuable insights that help close deals, faster.

What is due diligence?

This is the phase of a deal where the buyer gets to review every aspect of the seller’s business. Only then can they decide how much they’re prepared to pay. This means giving them access to all the records and contracts of the business.

How can I accelerate due diligence?

Use a virtual data room (VDR). Better yet, go beyond a data room with Datasite. Secure content and automate tasks. Simplify processes and streamline workflows. Get due diligence done.

What happens during Q&A?

During due diligence, buyers will have many questions about the assets they’re reviewing. There could easily be up to 500 questions on any given project. Sellers need to give accurate and complete answers to these questions. Only then can the deal move forward.

What’s the best way to manage Q&A?

In the past, sell teams answered questions using email and spreadsheets. But that takes an incredible amount of time and brings a lot of unnecessary risk to any deal. We introduced integrated Q&A to our virtual data rooms in 2006. Now you can manage all Q&A in one place, securely and efficiently.

What are the risks in using a consumer-grade file sharing system vs. a purpose-built virtual data room?

You might think that consumer-grade file sharing systems, such as Box, Dropbox™ and Google Drive™, could do the job. After all, they do market themselves as “low-cost solutions for the high-stakes challenges of M&A due diligence”. Sound good? Repeated high-profile security incidents say otherwise. And good luck getting hold of a file-sharer when you’re not paying for the service but trying to participate in the bidding. The challenges of complex M&A due diligence demand a more secure, purpose-built VDR application.

Why use a data room, such as Datasite, designed exclusively for the M&A industry?

The needs of M&A deals are very different from the needs of the general public. We designed Datasite on insights from more than 2,000 dealmakers. Its tools and features power more than 9,000 deals a year. All protected by ironclad security. It’s backed by world-class support, all day, every day, anywhere in the world. And you can rest safe in the knowledge that there’s an audit trail tested by the industry’s leading regulators.

What should I look out for when choosing a data room for M&A?

You have plenty of options to choose from. But Datasite is the only data room provider that meets all four criteria to make your deal a success.

  • Unparalleled expertise: Trust the industry’s top experts. We’ve been an integral part of the M&A industry for decades. That’s expertise we can share, to help you close deals, faster.
  • Powerful technology: Make Datasite your own. From automated redaction to streamlined Q&A. From eye-opening analytics to branded reporting. These are the tools to keep your deal moving.
  • Ironclad security: Protect your data with the best security in the business. Whether it’s user access, data at rest, or data in transit, we’ve got you covered.
  • Unmatched service: Enjoy first-class support, anywhere in the world. All day, every day. Whatever you need, you can be sure we’ll never leave you hanging. In 18 languages.

Working with Datasite

What happened to Merrill Corp?

We made a deal. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, we’ve been doing it since 1968. But deals have changed, so we have too – Merrill Corp is now Datasite. The only thing that hasn’t changed is our focus on you and your deals. It’s just that now you’ll make them in Datasite.

Why partner with Datasite?

Close deals, faster, with our decades of experience at your service. Our deep global expertise is ready to support your needs around the world. It took the insights of more than 2,000 of you to build Datasite. So, you can be sure it covers every aspect of your deal. Power due diligence with pioneering technology. Create seamless connections across stakeholders. And bank on ironclad security. From secure content sharing and disclosure, to regulated communications and compliance services, let Datasite provide the solutions. So, you can focus on closing the deal. Learn more about Datasite.

Where does Datasite do business?

As a global provider, Datasite works with thousands of clients, based all around the world. We’re headquartered in the United States, but you’ll find us throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. View all our locations here.

What activities does Datasite support?

Designed to support financial transactions and reporting, Datasite covers every aspect of the M&A deal process. Take collaboration up a notch. Discover a better approach to marketing. And simplify communications in regulated industries. More specifically, Datasite serves Investment Banking, Corporate Development, Private Equity and Law Firms.

What use cases does Datasite support?

Datasite is the market leader when it comes to executing corporate and company actions. Whether you’re dealing with acquisitions, bankruptcy or divestitures; exchange offers, mergers or privatizations; reorganizations, spin-offs or tender offers. The solution of choice is Datasite.

How many servers does Datasite use? And what are the storage limits?

Hosted in both North America and Europe, Datasite runs on around 1,000 servers. And being based on Microsoft Azure, it is completely scalable. So, there are no storage limits. No matter how big your deal, we’ve got you covered.

How does Datasite price its technologies and services?

No one wants a nasty surprise when it comes to billing. Our prices are completely transparent and all-inclusive. There are no surprise add-ons and zero hidden costs. Contact us and request a quote for any of our products and services.

Where can I find your Service Level Agreements (SLAs)?

Access our SLAs here.

Getting Set Up

What do I need to access Datasite?

Make deals wherever you like. Datasite is device and browser agnostic. It’s a secure web-based app that works on Windows machines or on a Mac. You can keep your deal moving using Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, or Microsoft Edge.

Is Datasite compatible with my company’s IT network?

Yes, Datasite doesn’t need any IT infrastructure. No downloads. No add-ons. No plug-ins. Everything you need is there in the SaaS app.

Can I use Datasite offline?

No, you’ll need an internet connection to access the app.

Can I use Datasite on my phone?

Yes, look for the Datasite mobile app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Keep all your deals (and the people behind them) in reach. And you can be sure your files won’t fall into the wrong hands, thanks to facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. For more information about new features for the mobile app, read more here.

How much space does my team get?

There’s no limit to what you can store. Hundreds of thousands of pages? Hundreds of gigabytes? Knock yourself out.

Is there a size limit on document upload?

Upload files of up to 2GB, or zip files of up to 50GB. Use bulk uploading and you’ll be processing documents five times faster than any other solution on the market.

How was the Datasite user experience developed?

We listened to you. More than 2,000 of you. Industry experts – actual users – who told us exactly what was needed to make closing deals easier and faster than ever before. Build your virtual data room quickly and easily. From logging on for the first time, to closing your project when the deal’s done. Discover unparalleled ease of use, faster response times and more powerful tools.

Under the Hood

How can Datasite release new features without the need for downtime?

You don’t want updates to get in the way of your deal. But new features mean more power and insights to make that deal. That’s why we built Datasite in a way that allows continuous innovation and continuous delivery (CI/CD). Microservices and APIs make updates quickly and easily, without taking the system offline. No more quarterly releases. No more blackout periods. Just seamless updates so you always have the latest version.

What are microservices and APIs?

Rather than being one big program, microservices break an app up into smaller, modular services. Developers update these smaller services independently. That means they can make updates without having to shut down the whole system. Writing software is much easier using best practices and a unified set of tools. An application program interface (API) is just that. Using APIs, developers build structured software that’s easier to maintain and update.

How is Microsoft technology used in Datasite?

Scalable. Powerful. Secure. What’s not to love? Datasite is a secure SaaS application, built on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Services. Not only does this give you all the power of cloud computing, letting you scale Datasite to suit your needs. It also combines $1 billion of Microsoft’s market-leading security with our own protocols and access controls. Your deal has never been in safer hands.

How is Datasite’s search function so fast and precise?

When housing hundreds of thousands of files, you need the most powerful search there is. That’s why we use Elasticsearch. Built to meet the needs of modern search, it handles large file repositories at incredible speeds. Get the answers you need without the wait.

Ironclad Security

My IT department has questions about Datasite – what should I tell them?

Download our Datasite Security Overview PDF. There you’ll find information on data, systems, network and infrastructure security. As well as a discussion on global regulatory compliance.

Does Datasite provide information rights management (IRM) controls?

Yes. Just like you, we take security seriously. And that includes integrated IRM. Set revoke access to downloaded documents by role. That includes all Microsoft Office and PDF files. Enable watermarking and all other files will download as branded PDFs.

How does Datasite secure all my confidential documents?

As a multi-tenant cloud application, Datasite uses the latest cloud security best practices. It:

  • Stores and maintains user information, application data and logs separately.
  • Treats passwords with cryptographic hash algorithms.
  • Encrypts at-rest files with AES 256-bit encryption and regularly creates backups.
  • Protects in-transit data via Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 protocol.
  • Captures, analyzes and actions events in real time.
  • Accesses files only upon request, supported by document access review and change management processes.
  • Purges all project files 30 days after completion of the project.
How does Datasite mitigate risk under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Datasite is completely GDPR compliant. What’s more, our working group regularly reviews, maintains and improves our data protection policy.

  • We are ISO/IEC 27001, 27017 and 27018 certified. Our processes are audited against global standards required for maintaining confidentiality, security and integrity for all data that we hold.
  • You are always in control of your data with Datasite. You upload and manage your data, choosing the levels of user access. We can facilitate, but ultimately, it’s your data.
  • We store data in the US and Europe. This allows us to maintain localization of data in the EU.
  • We regularly conduct privacy impact assessments and provide training on data privacy obligations. In this way, we ensure best practices are met and industry-leading solutions are implemented where personal information is concerned.
How does Datasite protect project data?

We have a dedicated security organization focused entirely on protecting your data. It ensures deep risk management and strong governance throughout Datasite.

  • Our products are ISO 27001, 27017 and 27018 certified.
  • Datasite maintains a SOC 2 Type II attestation.
  • Datasite is GDPR compliant.
  • Our infrastructure provider is ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type II compliant.
  • Where legally possible, Datasite employees are subject to background checks, including screening for drugs, qualifications and previous employment.
  • All our staff attend mandatory annual security training, including acknowledgement of security and conduct codes and non-disclosure agreements.
  • Our security incident response plan is tested every year. This includes external and internal notification, escalation procedures and communication criteria.
  • Our disaster-recovery plan is tested regularly, ensuring compliance with self-imposed timeframes and quality objectives.
  • The mobile app follows the data minimization principle and stores only the data required for its functionality. Mobile app doesn’t store any documents locally on the device – each time documents are downloaded from the Datasite platform.
  • Authentication-related data like user email address and access token is stored in platform-native encrypted credentials storage (Keychain and Keystore). API tokens and app IDs are stored encrypted using AES-256-GCM with long random key derived using PBKDF2.
What does Datasite do to make the mobile app secure?

Datasite mobile team follows Secure SDLC (Secure Software Development Lifecycle) best practices, shifting security left, and addressing security at each development phase. It includes threat modeling, secure design, secure coding and secure code review, security verification and testing of new features, and mobile security workshops for the development team.

Datasite development team works closely with security engineering team, follows internal security processes, such as reviewing and verifying third-party libraries, dependencies management, vulnerabilities management, and CI/CD pipeline automation.

Is it safe to use Datasite mobile app on a personal device?

Yes, it’s safe use Datasite mobile app on personal devices. It has a set of security controls to ensure the platform's safety. The app notifies the user that the device-level passcode is mandatory. It also detects an unsafe environment (jailbroken or rooted devices), malware and application source code modifications.

To mitigate vulnerabilities of the operating system, the app supports only several latest OS versions, prohibiting versions with known high risks threats. Compared to the web app, the mobile app has limited functionality, which narrows the threat surface of the product.

What data does the mobile app collect?

You can find the list of collected data types on the Datasite app's Apple App Store and Google Play Market pages. The mobile app doesn’t collect any data for tracking the users or advertising. Some data is shared with third-party vendors for analytics purposes to enhance the apps further. You can find additional information in the Datasite Privacy Notice.

Is the communication between the Datasite mobile app and backend secure?

The communication between the mobile app and its backend is encrypted using TLS 1.2+. The app will use TLS 1.3 if the device supports it.

The app can use customer-provided SSO services, including those with MFA, for advanced security of the authentication flow. Only registered users can have access to projects and their documents. Both application and backend ensure strict access control rules that prevent non-authorized users to see documents that don’t belong to them.

Does Datasite have a Vulnerability Disclosure Program?

Datasite encourages security researchers to review the Vulnerability Disclosure Policy prior to taking any action. Findings should be submitted solely through the channels prescribed by Datasite.  Datasite is committed to keeping the communication open as submissions are reviewed, evaluated, and resolved. Datasite does not operate a public bug bounty program.

Using the App

What is Datasite Diligence?

Datasite Diligence is where due diligence happens. Capitalize on the latest technology to make the best deals possible. With machine-learning models, trained on more than three million documents, you’re already ahead of the game. Close more transactions, faster. And complete deals with confidence. Due diligence doesn’t get in the way with Datasite Diligence. Learn more about Datasite Diligence.

How do I start a new project?

Sign a statement of work and we’ll assign a Datasite project manager to your project right away. In a matter of minutes, you’ll be ready for initial document upload. Set permissions, invite users, and you’re away.

How do I set up permissions?

Setting roles and permissions is a sensitive process and mistakes could cost your deal. Get it right first time. Easily cascade permissions and set multiple roles using the powerful security grid. Then compare project, folder and file settings with the intuitive graphic user interface.

Who can load files to my Datasite project?

Anyone with a Project Administrator role can add files to a project. Anyone with a Limited Site Administrator role can also upload, rename, move and delete files.

What is content staging?

You can’t afford to put the wrong files up for review. Avoid costly mistakes using Datasite’s flexible publish and unpublish settings. This content staging lets project admins check content in an unpublished state. When they’re happy with everything, they can share it with buyers for review.

Can I manage the frequency of alerts and notifications from Datasite?

Yes, you can control this from inside the app. Choose to receive alerts hourly, daily or weekly.

Can I add a project disclaimer?

Yes, with the choice to display it on first login or every time users open the app. Use either a standard disclaimer or create a custom option to suit your project.

Can I use Datasite in different languages?

Business is global – and so are we. Datasite is localized into 14 languages: English (US or UK), Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

Do I need training to use Datasite?

Not at all. Treat yourself to a seamless user experience, and an intuitive interface. You’ll be uploading and organizing files in no time – even if you’re a first-time user. Should you hit any problems, reach out to our expert project managers. They’ll get you back on track straight away.

Where can I find an online tutorial?

Get up and running in no time. We spend a lot of time making the Datasite user interface as intuitive as possible. But there are always tricks and tips that let you get more from your software. Join our online help community for advice, support and insights.

How do I get support or contact my Datasite project manager?

Reach us using email, online chat or via our online Datasite Help Community. You can also pick up the phone any time of the day or night, any day of the week and speak with a real person – in 20 languages. Guaranteed to pick up in three rings. You’ll find our contact details here.

Ready to Get Started?