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Managing teams in multiple locations can be a real challenge - one that needs to be addressed more and more these days. So many organizations have offices in disparate locations and they all need to communicate properly with each other in order to allow business to run smoothly. So how can you manage your virtual teams more effectively? This article focuses on sharing information securely and collaborating on documents efficiently via the internet. Recent advances in virtual data room software make this easier than ever. Let's take a look!
What is a virtual data room?
Software that allows your virtual teams to share information and collaborate online is considered a "virtual data room." Think of it as a "document portal" where employees can upload and access files when they need; share that information securely with other employees or external parties like vendors and clients; and collaborate on documents online.
How does a virtual data room work?
Since your teams are dispersed, using a paper-based filing system just doesn't make much sense anymore. Information is hard to get to those who need it and the process is just far too slow. For this reason, businesses with virtual teams often opt to use an online filing system to store and manage their documents. An online filing system is a cloud solution that allows your teams to access information securely from anywhere using a standard web browser. Virtual data room software either ties in to your company's online filing system or is included as part of it.
How does a virtual data room benefit your teams?
The benefits of virtual data room software revolve around two main topics: Document Control and Cloud Collaboration. Take a closer look at each:
An online filing system is a great way to centralize information and make it available to employees in distinct locations. However, you need to be able to control who is able to view and change that information. Virtual data room software allows you to do this to a very granular degree.
For example, you can create a virtual data room for Recruiters in the HR department where they are only allowed to access documents involved in the hiring process (like applications, background checks, etc). When recruiters log in to their virtual data room, they will not be able to see the rest of the documents in your company's online filing cabinet, only those that are classified as "recruiting" documents.
The same idea can be applied for external users. For example, Auditors may have access to a virtual data room where they are only allowed to view I-9 forms for a specific date range. Or you may have another data room for Clients to access their Invoices, Payment History, etc.
A virtual data room also allows your teams to collaborate on documents more efficiently from different locations. Features vary between different virtual data room software solutions, but some collaboration features include things like:
Secure Document Links
Sharing documents securely via the virtual data room is simple. Document Links are used instead of email attachments. These document links provide a more secure form of information transmission than emailing attachments. You can specify an expiration date for time-sensitive information or require the recipient to sign in with their username and password before viewing the document. Best of all, the document remains securely encrypted in the data room the entire time.
Electronic signatures are now the quickest, easiest way to get documents signed. Whether its for an internal approval process or for getting client contracts signed, esignatures allow you to get forms completed and legally signed in minutes instead of days.
Especially useful for departments and industries dealing with compliance regulations, Version Tracking keeps a record of all versions of a document in the system.
Annotations can be added to pages of documents during Review and Approval processes. They allow you to leave notes that "float" over the document so that you are not actually changing the content of the document. Again, very useful for maintaining compliance.
In addition to annotation, some virtual data rooms allow teams to add page-level markup to documents. This includes things like highlighting text, adding symbols or stamps. Also useful for Review and Approval workflows, page-level markup "floats" just like annotations to help maintain compliance.
Managing virtual teams can be tough, but with virtual data room software it doesn't have to be. If your company has offices and departments set up in multiple locations and you're having a tough time keeping information organized and accessible, contact us today for a free consultation. We've been in the cloud document management industry for over a decade and can help your business get up to speed quickly and easily.