How smarter redaction is transforming due diligence. For the better.
By: Donnelley Financial Solutions
Date: 5 June 2020
Dealmakers can agree that due diligence is one of the most imperative yet cumbersome steps involved in preparing for a sale. From detailed contracts to employee information to essential financial statements, sellers need to disclose a host of confidential information to prospective buyers, ensuring adequate and legal assessment of the value and potential risks of a given sale.
And while exposing buyers to the workings of your company facilitates negotiations and can help expedite a sale, the need to shield buyers from your sensitive information can’t be overlooked.
That’s where data redaction comes in. When sharing thousands of confidential documents, redacting highly sensitive information is a necessary measure that sellers needs to take seriously. But traditionally, it’s been a manual, low-value and time-consuming task, one that reduces the energy a seller can allocate to the more human facets of the deal, those dependent on critical thinking. Those central to its success.
Recently, a surge in AI-powered virtual data rooms (VDRs) have proved helpful in optimizing due diligence tasks like redaction. Data redaction tools have emerged to remove key terms quickly and relatively easily, saving sellers time and energy. Where these tools fall short, however, is in their ability to eliminate much of the manual effort still needed to structure and guide how information is redacted.
At DFIN, we’re excited to introduce an integrated auto-redaction software tool to our award-winning virtual data room, Venue, that’s doing more to transform the due diligence process. Powered by industry-leading AI and machine learning, Venue’s auto-redaction software is just that—truly automated, a game changer for those embarking on a merger or acquisition. Here’s how it works:
More data redaction tools.
Where other redaction tools allow you to input key terms to be redacted from a document, Venue goes beyond simple terms to bring you PII Analysis. pattern libraries.
Say your document contains several different employees’ social security numbers. Instead of manually scanning the document to identify and input each SSN as term, Venue lets you identify social security numbers as a whole — as a pattern. Then, with the click of a button, you can auto-redact all instances of any SSN within your document.
The same goes for emails, phone numbers, driver’s licenses and more; Venue offers hundreds of pattern options relevant to users worldwide. And, if you prefer, you can still enter terms or phrases — with no limit to how many.
Save a file. Retrieve a file.
When it comes to versioning documents, flexibility is critical. Maybe your organization needs to send a unique version to one company, but a lesser or more heavily redacted file to another. Business transactions aside, perhaps you need to share an employee file internally, with both your HR and finance departments, and with unique content redacted depending on the recipient.
Regrettably, today’s data redaction tools don’t provide this flexibility: when you save a redacted file, you replace the original. With Venue, though, you can save as many versions as you’d like — and as uniquely redacted as you need — and still retain the original for reference.
File type freedom.
Most redaction tools on the market today limit users to working exclusively with a Word document or a PDF file. But what about the many other file formats, like an Excel spreadsheet, that sellers rely heavily upon when preparing for a sale? With Venue, you’re not forced to transfer content to a Word document or a PDF file to redact information. Venue’s auto-redaction functionality is truly integrated, freeing you to redact content within seven different file types, including Excel, all while retaining a document’s native format.
Venue’s auto-redaction is just that – truly automated, a game changer for those embarking on a merger or acquisition.
In addition to the above-listed benefits, Venue’s Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) engine recognizes 26 official languages, more than double the number of any other tool available. And beyond redaction, Venue’s smart AI integration, eBrevia, also pairs brilliantly with your intelligence to reduce contract review by up to 67 percent.
The bottom line is that due diligence can be a burdensome process, especially when it comes to redacting sensitive information. Sellers need to protect themselves, and they need to do it quickly and effectively — and in compliance with applicable privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA.
In addition to air-tight security and seamless collaboration features, Venue’s virtual data room offers innovative Data Privacy Analysis and auto-redaction software to help you close the deal properly. Redact and un-redact documents at the click of a button. Save as many versions as you need using the file type you prefer. Avoid third parties and get the job done in-house, saving time and money. It’s a win for your business, so you can win the deal.
This article is by Donnelley Financial Solutions. You can view the original article here.