Box as a VDR?

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  • brianyoo

    Hi  , 

    One way to use Box as a VDR is to hide collaborators. You can follow this article to hide collaborators and their activity from non-owners. 


    Box is often used as a virtual deal room among our customers in the following industries, just to name a few: construction, real estate, banking and law firms.


    Setting Up the Folder Structure:

    You can Create a New Folder as a template, so for every deal or opportunity, you can simply copy and paste, and change the name of the folder to use the same structure:

    Folder Name: 00. [Company Name] Deal Room
    Example Sub-Folders
    , but not limited to: 

    • Financials
    • Legal
    • Litigation
    • Tax

    When you need to create a new VDR for your bidders or advisers, you can copy, paste, and change the company name within the folder name. I'd strongly recommend inviting them in to the folders as your collaborators, with Previewer Uploader permissions.


    Setting Security Settings: Here are other important recommendations around Folder Settings:

    1. Collaboration: Only folder owners and co-owners can send collaboration invites (check)
    2. Collaboration: Hide collaborators (aforementioned) (check)
    3. Shared Link Access: Only collaborators can this folder via shared links (check)
      • For: Files and Folders
    4. Watermarking: Enable watermaking for this folder (check)

    ** Commenting:  You can choose to disable comments in a folder. If you enable comments in your VDR folder, their 

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  • dmax

    I am neck deep trying to use BOX as a VDR and feel compelled to share my findings. If you are familiar with other data room platforms, these are big feature shortfalls. 

    1. Users Management:
    • In BOX collaborators outside of your organization are called External Users, and management of External Users is essentially non-existent.
      • You can't group external users. This means if you are used to managing one data room for multiple organizations, you have to manage all collaborators as individual users - yep - INDIVIDUAL USERS. This likely means keeping a separate excel sheet to track the individuals related to an org and stressing about not making a mistake by missing someone when you change the access rights for a would-be group.  
      • You can't run reports on external usersYou want to run a report about the activity of a set of External Users - NOPE. And I say set-of-users because remember, you can't have groups!  You can get email notifications when External Users view or download, but after days of working with BOX techs, you can't get these notifications summarized in a report. The only suggested workaround was to run a report of all activity in BOX for a time period, export that to excel, and do some extensive filtering. Since BOX acts as our Company's network drive, this report takes hours to run. 
  • Reporting:
    • I touched on the challenges of reporting on external users above. To expand on this feature shortfall, listed below are some examples of info I am not able to access (or access quickly) and actions I can’t perform (or perform quickly) with BOX that is readily available in all other VDR's I have used. Almost all are rooted in the limitations of External Users.  
      • Who are the people from Company X that have been invited to the VDR?
      • Who from Company X has accepted their invite?
      • What files have a specific External User accessed?
      • What are the file access rights for the users related to Company X?
      • Expand access rights to X numbers of folders for Company X asap.
      • Cut access right to Company X asap.

    BOX has proposed several workarounds that I am trying out.

    • Create separate Data Rooms for each Company.
      • This means if you are doing diligence with 10 potential companies, you would need to manage document version control for 10 different rooms. Doable, sure. Ideal, no.
    • Invite external collaborators as Managed Users.
      • Ok, so you pay a license fee – big deal. The bigger deal is that if an external collaborator is already using their email address with a BOX account, you can’t add them to your BOX org. In other words, one email address can’t be associated with more than one BOX org.

    Management accepting these challenges because BOX is basically a free VDR platform since we are using it within our organization already. Those familiar with other VDR’s know that free is a whole lot less than “A lot”.


    Final thoughts:

    • If your Org is already using BOX (which in this capacity is awesome BTW), then using it as your VDR makes financial sense. Just make sure everyone knows the limitations.  
    • If you are looking at BOX as a VDR only, I would recommend exploring other options.  
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