Aug 22 ‘22 19 min read
Today’s virtual data rooms have surpassed their physical predecessors in every way. While being just as secure, reliable, and cost-effective, they offer more flexibility, the convenience of remote access, and pricing for every budget. Unfortunately, when choosing a VDR provider for your business, you’re looking for a balance of features and price, and it’s easy to be blinded by the latter.
To save you from buyer’s remorse, let’s see what exactly you’re paying for in a virtual data room solution and how to choose the right plan with a predictable cost.
Data room pricing strategies
VDR vendors use several pricing structures and vary widely when billing for their virtual data room solutions. To make an informed decision, it’s best to know your options.
When it comes to virtual data room pricing, paying for the number of VDR users is one of the oldest and simplest options available. If your business transactions involve an intensive exchange of data and you know how many users are expected, this may suit your company best.
Many vendors bill by the number of document pages processed via the data room. This is a great choice for companies with a small to medium document flow. Per-page pricing normally includes a certain number of pages, with the option of buying additional capacity for an extra fee.
Document storage capacity
If your online deals don’t generate high volumes of data like audio or video recordings and other large files, this may be your best option. Otherwise, you’ll have to constantly upgrade your data storage, which might incur substantial additional cost.
Monthly or yearly plans
This is the most popular billing approach in the virtual data room world today. VDR vendors can mix and match various features and limits with competitive pricing to suit the needs of an average business. For instance, a basic plan may allow for one project only and have a 10GB cap but have no restrictions on the number of guest users.
Many VDR providers also offer negotiable custom plans for larger companies. If you’re an enterprise-scale business with multiple extensive projects in the works, you’ll definitely benefit from an option with unlimited storage and data rooms. Most likely, the deal room vendor will also throw in some extra perks in the form of personalized support, a more sophisticated system of roles for access control, and so on.
Data room support features and pricing
Incidentally, support coverage is just as important as the number of gigabytes and users you’re getting.
Say your team is minutes away from closing a deal when a file-sharing feature in your virtual data room solution suddenly stops working, and the other party can’t receive that revised contract. Your clients are in a different time zone, their business day is nearing its end, and the merger needs to take effect tomorrow morning. Whom are you going to call?
Software or hardware can malfunction, and that’s when having 24/7 multilingual support for your virtual data room software pays off. Most data room providers offer premium options with their more expensive packages. The extra features may really come in handy and typically include:
- Around-the-clock support in multiple languages
- Live chat and phone contact on top of the default email option
- Quick response — 15 minutes and below
- A dedicated manager/expert
- Onboarding included in the plan fee
The quality of support is a key factor that can influence virtual data room pricing. The truth is that the increase in cost is negligible compared to the risk of finding yourself one-on-one with unexpected technical issues.
However, there are a few more things to consider when choosing a VDR solution that will suit your needs. Let’s have a quick look.
|VDR Provider||Price||Pricing Plan||Best for|
|iDeals Virtual Data Room||Flexible||Per month||All industries, M&A, Due diligence|
|Intralinks Virtual Data Rooms||$$$||Not provided||M&A, Due diligence, Finance|
|SmartRoom VDR||$$$||Per month||All industries|
|Box Data Room||$||Per month||All industries|
|Citrix Sharefile||$$$||Per month, annually||Due diligence, Finance, Legal|
|Dealroom Virtual Data Room||$$$||Per month||All industries|
|Brainloop||Not provided||Per month||M&A, Finance, Biotech|
|Ansarada Virtual Data Room||$$||Quarter-based||Finance, Technology, Real estate|
|Datasite||$$$||Not provided||Finance, M&A|
|Venue by DFin||$$$||Not provided||Finance, M&A|
|EthosData||$$||Per month||M&A, IPO|
|Dropbox||$$||Per month||Document storage|
|ForData VDR||$$$||Per month||Real estate, IPO|
|OneHub||$$||Per month, per team||All industries|
|BlackBerry Workspaces (Watchdox)||$$||Per user, per month||All industries|
|SecureDocs||$$$||Per project, per month||All industries|
|ShareVault||Not provided||Per month||Accounting, Legal, Finance|
|Firmex||Not provided||Per month||M&A, Due diligence|
|HighQ Dataroom||$$||Quarter-based||Legal, Investment|
|Vault Rooms||$$||Per month||Finance, Life science|
|CapLinked Virtual Data Room||$$||Per month||All industries|
Extra VDR features
Besides learning about the standard virtual data room features included in a plan, keep an eye out for the extra value vendors offer to get ahead of the competition. Сertain additional functionality may be just right for your business and tip the scales in favor of a vendor who took the effort to include it.
Here are some examples of the extra features that can make a virtual data room stand out from the crowd:
- Branding options. If your clients saw your company name and logo every time they entered your shared data room, it would leave a lasting impression. Many big players like iDeals and ShareVault offer this in their top-tier plans.
- Advanced features for availability. This may include an on-demand cloud or in-house hosting solution with a 99.5% uptime guarantee, additional data centers, and compliance with a range of standards like ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and others.
- Enhanced security. Customizing user permissions and roles, two-factor authorization, and accepting connections from preset IP addresses — these extra safety measures are offered by most higher-priced vendors.
With many data room providers, you can choose to pay for specific extra features. However, you should prioritize them according to your needs.
Data room selection help
How many GB do you plan to use?
How many users do you want to invite?
Do you need a free trial?
Analyzing your answers
This provider will suit you the best:
Virtual data room cost determinants
Comparing the following virtual data room options helps understand the solution’s value for money. This way, you can gain confidence in a good investment that benefits your team’s productivity and performance.
Protecting sensitive data is the backbone of the virtual data room solution and its main purpose. Therefore, this is the most important criterion for potential users to compare. And here’s what to look for in the list of security features:
- 256-bit encryption
- advanced two-factor authentication procedure
- dynamic watermarking
- data recovery options
- compliance with international safety certifications
- secure storage of confidential documents
Document management tools
In addition to secure data storage and exchange, you should have convenient tools for data management, namely uploading, downloading, structuring, moving, deleting, editing, etc.
- bulk upload
- drag and drop
- automatic indexing
- extended document search
- support for many document formats
- remote shred
- version control
Besides providing document security and features for managing sensitive documents, data rooms also offer project governance throughout the whole lifecycle. Consequently, teams get integrated capabilities to simplify and streamline workflows and communications within the team and beyond.
For example, they always have access to the company directories in the data room, tasks assigned to participants, all requests from other parties, due diligence data requests, all digital documents included in the checklist, integrations, and milestones.
This feature set is not native to all VDR providers but has a highly positive impact on workflows and collaboration through:
- Task management. The team becomes more organized with the ability to assign tasks and track their progress by the manager. In addition, each team member is aware of assignments and deadlines, knowing their roles and responsibilities in the project.
- Slack integration. This integration makes workflows more team-based, resulting in document sharing and messaging optimizations. However, if the virtual data room software itself includes many features for these processes, the Slack integration changes nothing.
- Built-in Excel viewer. With Excel viewer, you access and view spreadsheets right on the virtual data room platform without any plugins.
- Deep analytics. Detailed information on the session duration, how many times your confidential documents have been downloaded, viewed, or printed, and the number of users who opened a particular file is a source of valuable insights when dealing with investors, potential buyers, etc.
- Smart search. A unique mechanism allows you to search through the entire content, and before opening the document, it shows you a fragment of it.
VDR vendor’s reputation
A modern-looking website, rich features, competitive pricing, and a promise of flawless operation and non-stop support — what more could you ask for? While this may be the VDR provider of your dreams, it’s best to double-check with impartial sources.
To form an unbiased opinion of a vendor, we highly recommend reading reviews and client testimonials on trusted resources like G2, Capterra, or Software Advice. You’re also welcome to check out our in-depth rating of the best virtual data room providers.
Is it worth investing in a virtual data room?
Regardless of the industry, the leader’s priority is ultra-reliable data protection and full control over processes. And virtual data rooms, unlike other programs, were created for this. So, investing in this product is beneficial for all business processes since VDR providers give you:
Many experts rightly believe that storing confidential information on an organization’s servers or conventional file-sharing services like Google Drive cannot be compared with virtual data rooms. After all, modern VDR providers deliver 24/7 protection, regular system updates, and well-coordinated work of anti-virus programs to prevent all risks.
Finally, and most importantly, the platform’s compliance with international standards guarantees a comprehensive approach of the VDR vendor to security aspects.
Convenient and secure document management
Virtual data rooms include state-of-the-art tools that make the due diligence process, M&A, fundraising, IPOs, and other corporate transactions smooth. These operations are known to involve large volumes of sensitive documents, and VDRs provide features to manage and protect them effectively. As a result, partners, investment bankers, and potential buyers are more willing to cooperate, which is also a great advantage.
Complete control over data and users
Unlike other solutions, virtual data rooms offer cutting-edge features for granular permissions and file tracking. So, for example, for each participant, the administrative user configures the functions of viewing, editing, printing, sharing files, etc., and then can easily track user actions in real-time. In addition, if the manager notices suspicious activity on the platform, then the cause can be traced in a few clicks.
The best virtual data room providers have a team of professionals on staff to assist clients 24/7. This way, you and your employees may receive operational training and assistance in installing software, uploading documents, structuring, and solving technical issues in the future. As you can see, the cooperation with the provider after installing data rooms continues in the form of tremendous support throughout the workflows and deal-making.
However confusing at first sight, virtual data room pricing structure becomes quite transparent if we break it down into smaller meaningful components. Comparing various plans comes down to knowing what key features your company needs and finding a package that fits your budget.
Don’t underestimate the value of real-world data room reviews, take your time, and remember: a free trial is worth a thousand words.