Design Psychology Is the Reason You & Your Clients Will Love Onehub Client Portals

Business design psychology has a much more significant impact on your customers than you may expect. The subtle design clues clients pick up on when they use your website, cloud software, or product paint a subconscious picture that can positively or negatively influence their future decisions. 

For example, custom branding your Onehub client portal creates a seamless experience between your website and the portal. When using your client portal, customers will subconsciously note that your company is professional and easy to work with, making them much more likely to stay engaged with your business.

We’re going to cover some of the psychological principles that make Onehub’s software design appealing to customers, and how you can make it even more effective with custom branding. 

Design principles that make Onehub simple to use

Human-centered design

Human-centered design is all about giving users thoughtfully designed products that make their lives easier. This is the entire basis of Onehub, which was born from the simple idea that business software shouldn’t be terrible to use. We created Onehub’s workspaces, virtual data rooms, and client portals to help people work together more efficiently and securely. 

We dedicated time to truly understanding the needs of our users, and we designed a platform that’s enjoyable to use, increases productivity, and keeps data secure. 

Mental models 

Good design guides a user to take the correct actions when using a product. Mental models are one of the ways designers are able to do this effectively. A mental model is your thought process about how something is going to work in the real world. You create mental models subconsciously using your past experiences and understanding of the world, and they help you make quick, informed decisions. 

Mental models are one of the psychological reasons Onehub requires little to no training to use. Our Workspaces are designed to be familiar. When your client logs in to your virtual data room, they’re not going to be disoriented. Their mental model will reference years of experience organizing files on their computers, and the user will immediately understand the basics of how to upload a file, download a folder, or share a file. 

Gestalt principles

Have you ever used a website or software that had you clicking around in a panic trying to get back to where you were? That’s a sign of poor design that didn’t account for gestalt theory.

Gestalt principles refer to the way humans perceive visual information. The human brain is always trying to categorize complex elements to make them simpler to understand quickly. It does this by analyzing features such as proximity, symmetry, and similarity. 

Onehub uses gestalt principles to make it simple for users to understand related elements at a glance. For example, the tabs that guide you through the Workspace are grouped closely together and have the same design to indicate that they’re all part of your top-level control. This lets users navigate Workspaces confidently and without any hassle. 

Hick’s law and Miller’s law

Some business software providers have a “more is better” approach, but this requires users to be trained on the software, leading to frustrating user experiences. Onehub embraces simplicity instead and follows both Hick’s law and Miller’s law.  

Hick’s law explains that the more options a person is presented with, the longer it will take them to make a decision. Miller’s law asserts that our immediate memory can only hold five to seven pieces of meaningful information. With these laws in mind, Onehub presents users with no more than seven menu options at a time. While we have a robust platform with many powerful features, they are presented in a streamlined design that’s easy to understand.

How you can use design psychology to improve your customer experience

While Onehub has done the heavy lifting in the design area, there are still steps you can take to further improve the user experience for your clients. Custom branding your cloud storage, client portals, digital Workspaces, and virtual data rooms is a great way to increase customer trust and engagement. 

Logo and brand colors

You can add your logo and brand colors to all of your Onehub Workspaces. Not only does this present a more professional look, it also has a big psychological impact on clients. Custom branding is one of those things that people don’t notice when you’ve done it, but they always notice when it’s missing. When customers sign in and see a branded digital workspace, they will instantly feel more confident in your business.

Workspace themes

Workspace themes allow you to set a default mode that you want to appear on every new Workspace. Themes include your logo, brand colors, and the pages that you want to be used. This means you only have to customize your design once, and then you can easily apply that look across all of your Onehub Workspaces. 

Custom domain and email

Creating a custom domain and email is a great way to maintain consistency and establish familiarity with clients. When your customers log in to your Workspace, they’ll see a domain name that they recognize. This creates a seamless experience between your website and your Onehub Workspace and ensures your customers are never confused about whether they’re in the right place.

Similarly, custom email addresses provide a comforting familiarity. When your clients receive an email notification from your Workspace, they’ll instantly recognize your custom email address. Without a custom email, your clients will receive a message from an address that looks like “,” rather than “”. At first glance, an uncustomized email may not register as being from your company and could be ignored. 

White label

The white label option takes all of the benefits of custom branding to the next level. It removes all Onehub branding, so the Workspace, client portal, or virtual data room looks like it comes directly from your company rather than a third party. It’s the most professional option and provides the greatest user experience for your clients.

Psychology plays a huge part in good business design and user experience. Are you ready to give your employees and clients easy-to-use business software that makes their lives easier? Sign up today for Onehub’s free 14-day trial to see how much more productive your business can be. 

How A Client Portal Can Support Your Business

In today’s competitive marketplace, your business needs every advantage it can get to attract and retain customers. Client portals are an excellent way to provide the personalization, convenience, and customer service clients expect. They also keep you and your team organized and save time and money by streamlining workflows. 

What is a client portal?

A client portal, sometimes called a customer portal, is a secure login area on your website. When a client logs into the portal, they’re taken to a digital workspace that houses information specific to them. It’s an area where your customers can interact directly with your team, view files and tasks related to their projects, and see important documents related to your business such as FAQs. You can custom brand your client portal to make the transition from your website to the workspace seamless.

Why does your business need a client portal?

Client portal software offers many advantages for your business. They’re flexible tools that can adapt to any number of use cases. Below are some of the benefits you can expect from a customer portal. 

Improve customer satisfaction and retain clients

Clients have come to expect a certain level of personalization in their interactions with a company. When they log into Netflix, they expect to see movie recommendations that fit their interests. When they buy clothes online, they want to see customized outfit suggestions. And when they work with your company, they want easy access to the files and information that pertain to them. 

With client portals, you can dedicate digital workspaces to each of your customers. Within their personalized workspace, they’ll find files, tasks, messages, and updates that allow them to easily see invoices, project progress, or any other relevant information you want to make available. 

Your clients will love having a personalized digital workspace, and they will also appreciate the convenience of 24/7 access to their client portal. With a cloud-based portal such as Onehub, your customers can view their workspace at any time and from any device. 

Customers value personalization and convenience, and providing these through a client portal makes it clear that your company values their business and is responsive to their needs. 

Increase customer engagement

Many projects and deals require collaborative efforts between your customers and your team. For example, a Realtor needs their clients to upload important documents such as loan applications in a timely manner. If you don’t have a convenient way for clients to upload their documents securely, they are more likely to procrastinate on these tasks. 

With an organized and easy-to-use client portal, your clients can upload files, review and approve document updates, and respond to questions without any hassle. The easier you make the process, the more engagement you’ll get from your customers. And more engagement directly benefits your company’s bottom line. Engaged customers bring in 23% more revenue than less involved counterparts.

Share confidential information securely

Digital security is a top concern among businesses and customers. Data breaches are common occurrences these days, and customers are understandably concerned about the security of their personal information. 

You can ease those worries by providing your clients with a secure portal where they can upload files and share other types of information without fear of a data leak. Security varies across different client portal software, but with Onehub, you get security measures such as bank-level encryption, targeted roles and permissions, secure links, strong password enforcement, two-factor authorization, and much more.  

Easier to manage clients and collaborators

As your business grows, you need more advanced methods to manage your customers and their projects, deals, or orders. With a client portal, you can see all of your customers in one place, along with their respective contact information, files, workspace activities, and other details. A portal is much more organized and convenient than keeping track of everything in a spreadsheet or digital folders. 

A client portal allows you to invite new users; change permission levels; add, edit, delete, or hide files, send messages, assign tasks to employees or clients, view workspace activity, and so much more. It’s also a creative tool for managing contractors or freelancers that you’ve hired to work on specific projects for your clients. You can give these workers targeted access so they can only view the files and folders relevant to their tasks.

Saves time and reduces support costs

Client portals can save you and your team an enormous amount of time. Customers can use the portal to self-serve by accessing their files at any time. If they want to know when an invoice is due, if their loan application has been approved, or your company’s refund policy, they can find this information for themselves easily. This cuts down on the number of phone calls and emails your employees receive, so they’ll spend less time on customer service and more time on the work that makes your business profitable. 

Client portals also save time by providing a central location for customer information. Your employees won’t have to search through endless email threads looking for a specific file or constantly switch browsers and apps to create new files or send a message. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything related to your customers, providing your employees with a streamlined work process that supports productivity.

Create a seamless, branded experience

A custom-branded or white-labeled client portal provides a consistent experience for your customers. When they log into the portal from your site, they won’t see confusing third-party branding. It will look like an extension of your website, with your company logo, brand colors, and custom domain. 

This type of seamless user experience has a powerful impact on a customer’s subconsciousness. They may not be able to verbalize why, but they will feel confident that your business operates professionally and can be trusted. 

How do you create a client portal?

There are two main ways you can create a client portal: code one from scratch or use customer portal software. Coding a customer portal from scratch provides the most customization and flexibility, but it’s also time-intensive and requires a highly skilled (read: expensive) developer.

It’s much more common for companies to choose a third-party provider such as Onehub to meet their client portal needs. Onehub makes it fast and simple to create a custom-branded portal that will delight your clients.  

Onehub client portal features 

Below are just some of the useful features that come with Onehub’s client portal software. You can also watch our client portal in action with this demo video.  

  • User-friendly interface that doesn’t require training to use
  • Drag-and-drop file uploads
  • Full-text search
  • Version control
  • File synchronization
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Bank-level encryption
  • Secure file links
  • Role-based permissions
  • Audit trails to monitor activity
  • High-quality previews
  • Integrations with Google Drive, Microsoft Office Online, and DocuSign
  • File and folder comments
  • Tasks and messages
  • Custom branding

In addition to these helpful features, we also provide new users with a free 14-day trial. We want you to have ample time to explore our client portals to see if they’re right for your business. Sign up for your free trial today. 

Onehub Makes Collaborating With Freelancers Easy and Secure

Nearly 40% of the U.S. workforce is freelance now, so it’s likely that your business deals with freelancers and contract workers on a regular basis. It can be tricky to figure out the best way to protect your business data while outsourcing to freelancers. Many times they will need shared access to your files to complete their assignments. Onehub enables you to give safe access to your systems through direct file links and role-based permissions. 

Secure access for freelancers 

It’s important to consider how you’re going to share files with freelancers. While contractors need access to certain data to complete their work, you don’t want to give them employee-level authorization to all of your files. The more people who have access, the more your risk of a data breach increases. With Onehub, you can keep your digital security risk low and still work effectively with freelancers by setting roles and permissions or using secure direct links.

You can decide what files contract workers can see in your workspace and how they can interact with them. If a freelancer needs access to files containing confidential information, you can set the file to be view-only. This means the freelancer can’t download or print the file and risk compromising your company’s security or strategic edge in a competitive market.

The best way to keep your business safe is by limiting access. Before giving a freelancer credentials to any accounts or files, consider whether they actually need this to complete their work. Do they need to access your full workspace, or do they only need files within a specific folder? Do they need an account, or can they work successfully with a link to a single file? Limit access wherever possible. 

It’s also a good idea to give your contractors a brief rundown of basic cybersecurity protocols your business follows such as creating strong passwords, using a VPN with public Wi-Fi, and never sharing files via email. The latter is especially important, as spear phishing attacks are one of the top ways hackers infiltrate company networks. Also, be sure to let them know what information you consider confidential so they know to handle it with extra care.

Pricing plans that support your needs

Many cloud storage providers require you to have an account to access documents, and you have to pay per user. Onehub makes things simple by allowing you to invite as many users as you want at the file, folder, or workspace level. As long as they aren’t a Collaborator, Moderator, or Administrator and have access to fewer than three workspaces, they don’t count against your paid user total. You can work as seamlessly with your contractors as you would with your in-house colleagues.

If your work with freelancers is more in-depth than simple file sharing and content creation (e.g., a freelance project manager), our Unlimited Edition allows you to make them full users at no additional cost. This gives them access to a wider range of features such as inviting users, creating or deleting folders, and generating secure links.

Easy file storage and sharing

Many companies still default to email for file sharing, but it has serious faults when it comes to digital security. Files sent over email are easy for hackers to intercept, so it’s a huge security risk. Email clients also have file-size limits between 10 and 25MB which essentially renders them useless for industries such as graphic design, engineering, and architecture where huge files are the standard. 

The design team at University of Washington Athletics regularly works with freelancers and contractors. They use Onehub to generate, share, and approve freelance content quickly. Onehub gives UW Athletics a secure, no-hassle way to share files with independent workers all over the world.

We also have an Unlimited Edition plan that gives you unlimited storage, users, and workspaces. If you’ve ever maxed out your storage and had to ask users to delete old files, you know how time-consuming that can be. With Unlimited, you never have to derail your team’s productivity with file maintenance issues. 

Seamless collaboration

It’s easy to get caught up in multiple projects and lose track of who’s doing what and what’s left to be done. You can keep track of this in your Onehub workspace by assigning tasks to contractor workers. Invite free users to the platform with Downloader or Creator roles, and they can approve, reject, or comment on the tasks you assign them. Onehub users (both free and paid) can also preview, create, or edit files directly from the platform. 

It’s much easier to oversee your projects and work efficiently with people outside your organization when you have a central location for storage, file sharing, and project management. Your workspace is available 24/7, so even if your freelancer is eight time zones ahead of you, they can still access the information they need at any time. 

File and folder-level comments are another feature that supports collaborative work. Contractors can create comments with project questions or updates directly on the relevant file or folder. This eliminates any confusion about what they might be referring to, and keeping the communication with Onehub means you never have to search your overflowing inbox to find the comment.

Outsourcing work to freelancers and contractors is a great way to get the skills your company needs without adding another salary to the budget. Armed with cybersecurity basics and the right tools, you can make freelancers an effective part of your team without compromising your digital security. To see how easy external collaborations can be, sign up for our free 14-day trial today. 

Use a Onehub Virtual Data Room to Maintain Bidder Anonymity

Onehub’s virtual data rooms make it simple to securely share sensitive information with multiple parties without them being aware of each other. Anonymity management allows you to solicit bids or investments in a controlled environment that’s optimized to support a profitable transaction for your business.

When is user anonymity important?

There are several instances where anonymity is key to successfully closing a deal. Below, we’ve highlighted just a few of the common use cases for virtual data rooms.

M&A auctions

An M&A auction allows a seller to probe the market for as many potential bidders as possible. This increases the chances that a company will find the perfect candidate for its merger or acquisition. The drawback is that the seller must share all of the company’s financial and proprietary information with each bidder. 

Onehub’s virtual data rooms enable a seller to collect all of the necessary information in one secure location and share it without revealing the identities of the other parties. This protects each bidder’s privacy while providing the access everyone needs to make decisions about their bids. 

Due Diligence

There’s no way to overstate the importance of due diligence, whether it’s for a simple property purchase or a complex business merger. Due diligence requires a massive amount of data to be collected and securely displayed for multiple interested parties. 

Until a few years ago, the due diligence process was paper-based and conducted in physical rooms. Thousands of pages of information had to be organized in a way that would make it simple for prospective buyers to review it. Data room access had to be carefully controlled and scheduled out so that the various interested parties retained their anonymity. 

With Onehub’s virtual data room, you can dramatically speed up the due diligence process without sacrificing the anonymity of potential buyers. The interested parties can access the data room from anywhere and at any time. Multiple people can be logged into the VDR simultaneously and never know anyone else is viewing the data. 

Property sales

Real estate firms and property owners often need to share property photos, building plans, contracts, tax documents, and many other files. Firms can use a virtual data room to house their data for multiple properties and customize access so potential buyers only see information for the properties they’re interested in. 

While in the data room, no user will be able to see the identities of anyone else or view what documents are being shared. Sellers are able to review the bids of several buyers and pick the best option, all without compromising any bidder’s anonymity. 

What happens if you don’t have bidder anonymity?

  • Potential for lower bid or sale price. If multiple bidders are aware of each other’s identities, they can organize against your company’s interests to control the sale price. 
  • Negatively impact the bidder’s financial interests. For example, if word gets out that Company A is bidding to merge with Company B, it could negatively impact Company A’s stock prices and investor interest. Potential buyers need to stay anonymous to protect their business interests. 

It’s important to keep identities confidential in a VDR to ensure you get the best price for your M&A, property sale, or other transaction. You will also attract more bidders and investors if you can protect their interests by guaranteeing anonymity. 

Onehub’s anonymity management enables you to keep virtual data room users anonymous and hidden from each other. This allows you to conduct due diligence, M&As, real estate sales, and many other transactions with complete privacy. 

Additional VDR features for Onehub users

Anonymity management is an important part of conducting sensitive transactions successfully. Onehub also offers many other essential features to ensure your data room has the highest level of security while still being simple to use. 

User-based roles and permissions

Onehub gives you strict control over what people can see and do in your data room, ensuring that your sensitive data is used only in the ways you approve. To keep your confidential information from being shared, you can prevent document details from being copied and pasted, or you can keep files from being printed or downloaded. 

This means your information can only be viewed while logged into the data room. It keeps unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information from printed files left on someone’s desk or hackers stealing files downloaded onto a vulnerable network. 


With Onehub’s virtual data rooms, you can require all users to accept a customized nondisclosure agreement before accessing anything in the data room. This ensures that there’s a legally binding NDA for everyone who views your financial, proprietary, or other sensitive information.


If you allow users to print or download data room content, document watermarks can help keep that information safe. A watermarked file will have “CONFIDENTIAL” diagonally across the entire document along with the IP or email address of the person who printed or downloaded it. Associating the user with the specific file copy means you can trace the source of any leaked information.

Audit trails

Audit trails allow you to view every action by every user in the data room. This provides another level of security and also gives VDR administrators valuable insight into what data is most important to each user. 

With this insight, you can improve your pitch to a bidder or investor. Suppose you see a potential investor has repeatedly viewed a less-than-stellar quarterly financial report. You know the report is an area of concern and can proactively address it. 

Automatic indexing

It’s not uncommon for VDRs to house thousands of files and folders that users need to easily sift through. To help with this, Onehub provides automatic indexing of files and folders so they can be quickly and easily referenced. Organized information is essential to successfully closing deals, so this deceptively simple feature has a big impact. It can speed up the due diligence process and keep bidders from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated and withdrawing their bids. 

Are you looking for a secure, easy-to-use data room solution for an upcoming deal? Sign up today for a free 14-day trial to find out how Onehub can make the process seamless.

Everything You Need to Know to Find a Great Client Portal Provider

What is a client portal?

Client portals, or customer portals, are secure digital workspaces that companies use to share information, communicate, and collaborate with clients. Clients access this area by logging into the portal from your business website. 

Once they’ve logged in, your customers will be able to access the documents you’ve made available to them. They can see invoices, project updates, tasks, and so much more. The possibilities are endless and will depend on how your company prefers to work with clients.

What can client portal software do for your business?

Your customers want to have easy access to your team and the information they need. Client portals can function purely as a self-service area where your customers can view how-to guides and business policies, or it can be an interactive space where clients create tasks for your team, review and approve updates, and upload important assets. 

Improve the customer experience

Today’s customers have high expectations for the companies they work with. They want to feel like your business is accessible 24/7. You can give them that by using a client portal, and it won’t require any additional work for your employees. In fact, it will make their jobs easier by keeping client comments, requests, and project tasks all in one central location. 

There are countless other ways for clients to benefit from using a portal. If it’s 1 a.m. on a Tuesday, and your client wants to see the latest changes to a website mockup, they can do that without any direct interaction with your team. If they’re suddenly hit with inspiration about a project after hours, they can log in and leave a comment on the document it pertains to. This level of service creates happy clients, and happy clients are great for business. 

Remote access for your clients and your team

Client portals enable your employees and your customers to access the information they need from anywhere and at any time. This gives your team the ability to work remotely when needed without compromising their effectiveness, and it gives customers the 24/7 access they need in order to feel supported by your company. 

Secure file sharing

Many projects involve sensitive data such as financial details, company innovations, or medical information. This is the kind of data hackers would love to get their hands on. Many companies still share these types of files by email, but email is inherently vulnerable to attacks. When you share documents through your secure client portal, you and your clients know that the data is protected. It gives peace of mind to both parties and avoids costly data breaches or ransomware attacks.   

How do you find the best customer portal software?

Your company’s needs will determine the types of “extra” features you need in a client portal. However, there are some universally important aspects of client portals. 

Strong digital security 

Hackers love to target businesses because companies store an incredible amount of sensitive data. Ransomware attacks rose 158% in North America between 2019 and 2020, and this trend isn’t stopping. Strong security protocols are essential for any software you use, including client portals. 

Below, we cover some of the most important security measures to look for as you evaluate customer portal providers. 

256-bit encryption

Encrypting data such as files and communications makes them unreadable to hackers. The “256-bit” refers to the length of the key needed to decrypt a file. For 256-bit encryption, a hacker would have to try 2256 combinations to access the file through a brute force attack. There isn’t a computer on earth that’s fast enough to break this level of encryption. It would take billions of years, and we’re confident you would not be concerned about your business data by that time. 

Some client portal providers offer 128- or 192-bit encryption. These are also good options, but they don’t offer quite as much protection. Think about it in terms of a home safe compared to a bank vault. Consider the value of the data you’ll be storing and sharing through the portal, and choose the level of protection that will give you peace of mind.

Strong passwords and two-factor authentication

A weak password is a hacker’s best friend. If you feel confident that your employees will automatically create secure passwords for your company’s software, we urge you to reevaluate. Weak employee passwords are responsible for 80% of company data breaches. Instead of relying on your team to come up with passwords more secure than “abc123,” choose client portal software that can enforce strong password requirements. 

You can take your data security a step further and choose a provider that also offers two-factor authentication. As the name implies, this is a method of account authentication that requires two factors — traditional login credentials and an alternate verification method. The second factor is often a security code sent to a mobile device or email address; however, there are many other options such as a thumbprint, voice confirmation, or a security token. 

Two-factor authentication ramps up your account security by ensuring stolen passwords are useless. Without the second verification method, which is extremely difficult to get, a hacker won’t be able to access the account.

Advanced options for roles and permissions

Some files and features in your client portal might not be appropriate for all users to access. For example, if you upload a confidential report for your client’s accountant, you don’t want every user with client portal access to see it. 

To control this, you need to be able to set roles and permissions for your users. Look for providers that allow you to customize which users can access certain files, as well as features such as who can assign tasks, leave comments on files, or print documents.

Collaborative tools

To make the most of your client portal investment, find a provider that’s offering more than a simple online file repository. Look for features that will support collaboration and communication between your staff and your clients. 

File syncing and version control

File syncing allows users to work within the same file simultaneously. Changes made to the document are updated in real-time, so everyone is working with the same information. This is an essential feature to ensure you and your client are literally on the same page. 

File version control solves the problem of having multiple versions of the same file. We’ve all experienced the struggle of trying to find the most up-to-date version of a file or identifying that one small change that differentiates two file versions. File versioning keeps a history of the changes made to a document and makes it simple to revert to an older version if needed. This feature is a lifesaver for client collaborations.

Comments on files and folders

File storage is one of the main functions of a client portal, so the ability to leave comments on files and folders is a valuable feature. Without this context, it can be difficult to know which file a client’s question or comment is about. Commenting directly on the file or folder eliminates the need for time-consuming back-and-forth with the client to determine which file they meant.


Businesses often choose to use client portals to simplify project collaborations with clients. Tasks support this collaboration by making it simple to manage project details. A client or employee can assign a task to a specific user and then track its progress to ensure it’s completed. This feature is especially helpful for complex projects with many moving parts. When you can assign tasks, there’s no need to worry about who is doing what or what’s left to be done. 

Custom branding and white labeling

Client portal software that has custom branding or white labeling options allows you to present customers with a secure digital workspace that looks professional and seamlessly integrates with your website. 

Taking the time to brand your client portal makes for a better customer experience that aligns with your company. It can be a jarring experience to land on a sign-in page or receive notifications that, at first glance, don’t appear to be from your company. Custom branding allows you to remove that potential confusion that could make clients hesitant to use this valuable software. 

The best custom branding options will include adding a logo and brand colors, branded emails and sign-in pages, and custom domains. A white label option will provide all of that functionality and will also remove any third-party branding from the portal. 

Intuitive interface

It’s important to choose a client portal with a user-friendly interface to get the greatest level of opt-in from your clients. Customers don’t want to spend hours training to use new software. If the design is overwhelming, they’re not going to use the portal and won’t be able to reap the many benefits it provides. 

When you’re evaluating client portal solutions, look for designs that are formatted in a familiar way. During your free trial (which should definitely be on your list of “must haves”), pay attention to how well you can intuitively use different features. Is it immediately obvious how to upload a file? Did you spend five minutes searching for a way to assign a task? Did you click around so much you couldn’t find your way back to the main dashboard? Let your initial experience within the portal determine whether it’s a good option for your staff and customers. 

Free trial

The best way to get a feel for how a client portal will work for your business is to take it for a test drive. Screenshots and demo videos are great, but they don’t compare to working directly with the software. A provider that is confident in the quality of their client portal will offer potential clients a free trial. Be wary of any client portal solution you have to pay to try out, or even worse, sign an up-front contract for. 

At Onehub, we firmly believe that a free trial is the only way to understand how well new software will work for your company’s unique needs. We offer a generous 14-day free trial and no long-term contract lockups because we’re confident that our client portal’s security, custom branding, user-friendly interface, and collaborative features will meet your needs. Sign up for your free trial today!

6 Tips to Set Up a Successful Virtual Data Room

What is a virtual data room?

A virtual data room is an extremely secure digital space for storing and sharing high-value business files. Data rooms work much like a traditional Onehub Workspace but with even stronger security protocols and more advanced features such as document watermarking, stealth users, automatic indexing, and NDAs.

These features make data rooms the perfect solution for transactions that require top-level confidentiality. VDRs are commonly used for M&A due diligence, series funding, and legal proceedings. Using Onehub’s virtual data room keeps all users anonymous and hidden from each other to maintain privacy and security during these sensitive transactions. 

Setting your VDR up for success

  1. Add your company branding

Branding your virtual data room makes your business look more professional. You can simply add your company logo and colors, or you can choose a white-label VDR. Our white label option allows you to remove all Onehub branding and create a custom domain. 

  1. Customize your settings

Virtual data rooms come with many advanced settings that you can customize to fit your specific use case. Below are a few features and their benefits to consider as you customize your VDR. 


Automatic watermarking helps protect proprietary data or other sensitive information by linking the file with the person who accessed it. When activated, all previewed, printed, or downloaded files will have the user’s email or IP address and the word “CONFIDENTIAL” watermarked diagonally across the page. The watermark can’t be removed or edited. Administrators will still be able to print the original version of the file without a watermark. 

Non-disclosure agreements

You can require all users to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to access the data room. The NDA is entirely customizable to provide maximum flexibility.  The agreement will appear the first time a user enters the workspace. If they accept the NDA, it will be recorded in the activity log. If they reject the agreement, they will not be able to use the virtual data room. 

Two-factor authentication

You have the option to add an additional layer of protection to your data room by enforcing two-factor authentication. To access the data room when 2FA is enforced, users enter their login credentials and are then prompted for a second authentication factor such as a security code sent to their phones. This means if a hacker steals a user’s credentials, they still won’t be able to access your data room.

Stealth mode

Some transactions benefit from anonymity. With stealth mode, you can keep users’ identities private and their activity hidden from each other while still having access to everything they need in the data room. 

Session timeouts

Create customizable session timeouts to help further secure your data room. You can automatically log users out after a set period of inactivity. This ensures that no unauthorized person can take advantage of a user’s account because they forgot to log out. 

  1. Make a list of all the documents that need to be uploaded to the VDR

Virtual data rooms are most often used for sensitive transactions such as series funding or M&As. It’s important to present your company in a professional manner to ensure you’re able to land the deal successfully. You can put your company’s best foot forward by ensuring all necessary files are available in the data room as soon as it’s live. 

Your list will vary depending on the type of transaction you’re working on. As an example, a due diligence list would include documentation such as business licenses, shareholder information, tax documents, and a list of suppliers. For each item on the list, you’ll need to locate all the corresponding files from your current storage location so you can upload them to the VDR.  

Organizing this information beforehand means you can account for everything easily. You don’t want to risk leaving out a key piece of information that may compromise your deal. 

  1. Pick your file upload method

Onehub offers two main ways to transfer your files to your data room. The first method is a drag-and-drop feature that’s easy to use and allows you to move over multiple files or entire folders at a time. The second option is to upload your files using FTP. This is the best route if your files are extremely large or you want to move entire directories at once. 

  1. Determine the access level of your files and folders

With Onehub’s detailed options for roles and permission, you can customize access to every file and folder. You have complete control over which users are able to view, print, download, or copy certain files. Permission levels can be granted or revoked at any time with a single click.

  1. Double check everything before going live

Do a final review of your data room’s content and settings before you begin inviting users. Here is a checklist to help you make sure you’ve reviewed all the important aspects of your data room:

  • Data room custom branded
  • All documentation uploaded
  • Watermarking enabled
  • Session time-outs enabled
  • Two-factor authentication enforced
  • NDA customized and activated
  • Stealth mode enabled
  • Permission levels set

Once you’ve completed your VDR review, you’re all set! You can start inviting users to join the data room and kick off the next phase of your project.

You can try out Onehub’s virtual data rooms for free for 14 days. No strings attached. See our advanced features and security protocols in action, so you can decide if Onehub is right for your business.

Break Down Information Silos With Cloud Storage and File Sharing

What are workplace silos, and how are they hurting your business?

You may not have heard the terms “workplace silo” or “information silo,” but you’ve likely experienced them. A workplace silo separates different types of employees, often by department or management level, that prevents workers from sharing information and collaborating freely. 

Simply having departments within your organization doesn’t constitute a silo. It’s normal to group people by specialty for efficiency’s sake, but a silo forms when those departments become cliquish. Their loyalty is to their department colleagues. All others are seen as outsiders despite everyone working for the same company, and presumably, the same goals.

This mindset has significant negative effects on a company. It inhibits creativity, collaboration, innovation, and camaraderie. Departments compete for resources and become resentful of each other. It creates an unhealthy work environment where ideas and information are hoarded instead of being freely shared so they can be explored, improved, and implemented. 

How can you break down silos?

Address the problem directly and promote common goals

The first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem. Address this head-on with your staff. Educate them on the issues that information silos are causing within your organization, and lay out the steps you plan to take to heal these divisions by increasing communication and cooperation. 

Take time to outline common company goals with your team. Identify where each department fits into the picture and ways they can support each other to achieve their objectives. Hold

regular staff meetings to keep employees updated on their progress toward these goals and highlight positive examples of teams working together to make this happen.

Another important step in breaking down silos is to have your leadership team exemplify the behaviors you want to see throughout your organization. It should become commonplace for managers to engage with all employees, no matter their level or department. Employees model their attitudes and actions on the example set by upper management, and seeing this new behavioral standard will make workers feel more comfortable reaching outside their departments. 

Provide collaborative tools and resources

Major culture shifts are always accompanied by a period of growing pains. It’s difficult for employees to change the way they work, so it’s important to support this growth with smart tools and resources. 

Online storage and file sharing

If your company isn’t already using online file storage, now is the perfect time to start. Online storage platforms provide secure cloud servers that keep your data safe while making it more accessible to employees. Your staff can access files on-site or remotely using any device. 

Switching to online file storage will greatly improve your employees’ general access to files, but it’s important to keep in mind that information silos often extend to a company’s file organization. If your teams have been divergent for a long time, they’ve likely developed their own file organization systems. This makes it difficult to share information across company boundaries.

Renaming all these files under a cohesive system may not be practical, but you can have each department create a brief guide to explain their systems. A helpful guide will include:

  • The department’s folder hierarchy
  • A brief description of the type of content stored in each folder
  • An explanation of their file naming conventions

Share this across the organization so all users understand where to look for the information they need. 

While the goal here is to knock down silos, there is still a need for digital security protocols within any organization. Security measures will vary across cloud storage providers. With Onehub, for example, you can choose to keep files with sensitive information hidden, password protected, or accessible only to certain user types. Granular control over roles and permissions allows you to tailor access to your company’s unique needs.

Collaborative tools

Many online file storage platforms come with a variety of tools that will help your teams work more cooperatively. Look for features such as messaging, tasks, file syncing, and file versioning. 

  • In-app messaging enables colleagues to reach out to each other without leaving their digital workspace, allowing them to find the answers they need without interrupting their productivity. 
  • Task assignment is an important feature that will keep teams from questioning the progress of other departments or worrying that important details are falling through the cracks. In addition to staying updated on specific projects, tasks can also be used to track employees’ own to-do lists.
  • File syncing is essential for effective collaboration. It ensures everyone is working from the same up-to-date information. With file syncing, you can have multiple people working in a document and see changes in real time.
  • File versioning is the sanity-saving feature your staff needs to avoid the confusion of multiple file versions. If you’ve ever had to read through multiple files labeled “final” to find out which one is actually the final final, you know what a help this feature is. File versioning also ensures you can restore older versions easily if needed.

Collaborative spaces

Your company should function as one unit, so it’s important to set up your office space accordingly. Try creating a communal area within the office that provides ample space for multiple departments to meet for brainstorming sessions, project updates, or team-building exercises. 

Instead of holding cross-departmental meetings within any departments’ “home base,” move these meetings to neutral ground with tables and chairs that can be reconfigured easily. Removing the home team advantage puts every department on equal ground and allows employees to share ideas more confidently. 

Are you ready to break down information silos and encourage collaboration within your team? Onehub can support your company’s culture change with organized online file storage, secure file sharing, and a suite of collaboration tools. Try our free 14-day trial today!

The Pros and Cons of FTP for Secure Business File Sharing

File transfer protocol (FTP) turned 50 this year. In the fast-moving world of technology, that’s an eternity. File sharing looks much different now than it did half a century ago, but some companies are still using FTP to share their business files.

Is it time to say goodbye to file transfer protocol, or is it an oldie but goodie? That depends on a few factors. Before reading the pros and cons of FTP, answer these questions to help you get a better understanding of your file-sharing needs:   

  1. Does your business routinely share very large files or entire directories?
  2. Do you share files that contain sensitive information such as financial details, customer data, or intellectual property?
  3. Are you, your team, and your clients tech savvy?
  4. Do you have an in-house IT team?
  5. Does your business involve collaboration within your team or with clients?

The pros of FTP for file sharing

Move many large files at once 

If your business requires you to share huge amounts of data (think gigabytes, not megabytes) at once, FTP is a great option. Companies specializing in design such as engineers, architects, and graphic designers often have extremely large files that are impossible to transfer via email and slow to share via HTTPS. Using FTP is a big advantage in these situations because it can transfer large files more quickly. 

Transfer multiple file directories at once 

File transfer protocol doesn’t usually have the file size restrictions you see with email and other file-sharing programs. This means you can transfer multiple file directories at once, saving you from the time-consuming process of sharing these files or folders individually. FTP also facilitates a faster transfer speed while doing this than many FTP alternatives.

Never lose file transfer progress 

With FTP, you never have to worry about losing your transfer progress if you get disconnected from the network. FTP will automatically reconnect when the network is available and pick up right where it left off.

The cons of FTP for sharing business files

Not secure

With cybercrimes steadily on the rise, protecting your business data is more important than ever before. Unfortunately, FTP falls short in this area. Considering it was invented in the 1970s, before cybersecurity was a real concern, that’s not surprising.

FTP security concerns:

  • Your username, password, and files are all sent in plaintext. This means they’re not encrypted, and anyone listening in on your connection can easily steal your credentials and your business files.
  • Many security-conscious businesses use firewalls as a foundational layer of protection from digital security threats. Because of the multiple TCP/IP connections FTP uses, it doesn’t work well with firewalls. 
  • FTP is vulnerable to brute force attacks, and any weak or reused passwords will be cracked quickly. Most FTP clients don’t offer strong password enforcement, so you just have to trust that your employees are following password best practices. 

Difficult to use 

To say FTP isn’t user friendly is an understatement. The interface is overwhelming and intimidating. At first glance (and many subsequent glances), it looks like something only an IT person could understand. This is a serious drawback because it requires training — for your employees and your clients — to use correctly. 

Employees who are used to using cloud file-sharing and storage will not be easily persuaded to use FTP, and the same is true of your clients. Most clients won’t be happy having to use a clunky file-sharing solution when competitors are offering easier alternatives. 

No roles and permissions to customize access

FTP clients don’t usually offer the option to set customized levels of access for different users. Any user with the FTP credentials will have access to everything on the FTP server. This goes against modern cybersecurity protocols which recommend assigning employees the lowest level of access possible based on their job duties. Creating varying permission levels allows you to customize what every user can access. This is a proven digital security  method that lowers your risk of a data breach. 

No audit trails to track leaks

It’s a huge security advantage to be able to see who has viewed, edited, or downloaded a file and when they did it. Audit trails also provide important information for project collaboration such as a history of approvals and edits. Audit trails aren’t an option with FTP, making it difficult to track down the source of a leak or monitor project progress. 

Doesn’t support collaboration

Collaboration is essential for most businesses, whether exclusively between colleagues or between employees and clients. FTP makes it difficult to collaborate on a document with others as there’s no file syncing or version control available. Projects quickly devolve into chaos when people are working on a file in parallel rather than simultaneously or when no one can identify which file is the most updated version. 

Onehub offers the best of both worlds

You can weigh the pros and cons to decide whether you want to use FTP or a browser-based alternative. Or, you can choose Onehub and have modern, web-based file-sharing as well as a secure FTP gateway. 

Onehub user David Winters-McDonald, general manager of MPC Studios Inc., shares his experience with this hybrid file-transfer solution:  

“We decided to use Onehub rather than a traditional FTP server because of the easy-to-use interface and because it was very simple to set up. It was not unusual for us to have to train our clients to use FTP, whereas with Onehub it was all very intuitive… My favorite feature is that file sharing can be accessed through an easy-to-use web interface or through a traditional FTP client. This suits both the tech savvy and the tech novices.”

A secure FTP option

Unlike traditional options, Onehub’s FTP gateway is protected with bank-level encryption. Your username, password, and files are encrypted and transferred over a secure connection, providing your business with enterprise-level digital security protection. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of file transfer protocol without any of the security disadvantages. 

Browser-based file sharing 

Using the cloud for file sharing is a modern solution that supports the way businesses operate today. Remote working and collaborative efforts are the norm now, so teams need a file-sharing option that provides file version control, real-time file syncing, easy remote access from any device, and effective communication tools. 

Try our free 14-day trial to experience Onehub’s cloud-based file sharing and secure FTP option.