Virtual Data Room pricing is a major decision-making factor in virtual data room solution selection for investment bankers, law firms, or any other business. But for first-time users, current data room prices may seem unreasonable. That’s why it is essential to explore the various aspects that contribute to virtual data room cost calculation.

Going through the prices of virtual data room solutions, you might notice that they can significantly differ from other file-sharing services like Google Drive even though the features seem similar. Not all providers of virtual data rooms publish their prices and software tariff plans. Typically, this is because the price is formed individually for each client, depending on his needs. In the article below you can find how the VDR price is formed.

  • Please note that detailed pricing information for virtual data room services can be found in the provider profiles. Browse virtual data room companies.

What affects virtual data room pricing?

  1. Data storage
  2. Provider security certifications
  3. Functionality
  4. Technical support
  5. Integrations
  6. Customization features
  7. Provider brand name

The virtual data room software market is rich in offers. However, most of these offers can be put in two different categories. The first one is a category where customers come to the vendor, get a quote on their needs, and proceed to the purchase. The second category provides predefined plans, one of which may be chosen by the customer. Just like any other product or service, the virtual data room has its price.
Data room services are not cheap because the technology behind this software is sophisticated and resource-demanding. However, virtual data room pricing model usually consists of a list of different components, which includes but doesn’t limit to:

Data storage

Virtual data rooms replaced physical deal rooms that used to be popular up until the last decade. The most significant technical challenge for most VDR providers is facilitating fast and secure data exchange by maintaining complex servers.
The data center’s physical location, encryption technology, certifications, guaranteed uptime, and many others factors contribute to the maintenance costs and, consequently, virtual data room pricing.

Reliable virtual data rooms perform regular audits to ensure their document storage solutions are up to par with the industry standards. ISO 27001, SOC 1 or 2, GDPR, HIPAA, and other certificates and compliance regulations serve as confirmation of top-level practices.

The more gigabytes of document storage the customer needs, the more money should be spent. In this case, one has to consider the online data room, just like any other online data-sharing service. For instance, online data rooms provide 15 GBs for free, and if the user requires more, specific fees apply.

Provider security certifications

Superior hardware quality creates a platform for sophisticated security software solutions. However, the practical approach to data safekeeping still varies among providers. For example, some VDRs offer IP-based access restrictions and multi-level user rights, while others don’t.
The number and quality of these security features will play a significant role in virtual data room cost calculation. Mainly because it takes great resources and effort to ensure each technical component is operating effectively.

From the user’s perspective, not all security features are equally crucial. The final requirement will depend on the company’s size and the particular project. This way, large enterprises will look for things like single sign-on, remote shred, and dynamic watermarking, while smaller firms may not.

You should be aware that different virtual data room software providers offer varying levels of deal room security, with a variety of advanced features to ensure your sensitive documents are kept under your full control.
Here are some of the main document security features you should look out for when evaluating the cost of a secure data room to handle your business files.

  • File tracking and user activity 

An audit trail that demonstrates user behaviors throughout your data rooms, is a crucial component of managing confidential information and users. Professionals working in investment banking or private equity rank the audit trail as one of the most crucial features of a data room. 

This feature is also good for data loss prevention due to the precise tracking of confidential information and secure document management. You also have version control to be able to see all changes made in the document.

  • Data encryption 

All digital files are encrypted within the data room solution, which is necessary to guarantee that only users with access to your digital documents can read or edit them. Although not all encryptions are created equal, every virtual data room solution offers a certain amount of protection for cloud storage and secure document sharing. 

  • User permissions and access control 

The ability to easily access any file is important, but it’s good to be able to also regulate access rights (who can view, edit, or download what). It’s an additional user control for confidential files that goes a long way to creating a secure data environment. Permission-based user roles for confidential documents are a must for large corporate transactions that require many user licenses for a project.

  • Two-factor authentication 

How do you know who really is sharing files within your virtual data room? Leading virtual data room solutions offer two-factor authentication, which is a vital step toward preventing unwanted access.

  • Dynamic watermarking 

This extra layer of security for virtual data room solutions is the best way to create a safe space to exchange confidential documents. You can share confidential files with watermarking to prevent possible copying or downloading of the file.

Functionality

Virtual data room tariff plans often vary based on the set of included characteristics and features. Similar to the security controls, the users can choose between versatile functionality and straightforward, limited-capacity options.

Logically, the virtual data room pricing will vary depending on the VDR’s features and capability. While the rule of thumb is often, “the more that is included, the higher is the price”, many providers consider certain feature groups as basic and don’t charge extra for them.

VDR templates and checklists are typically free and can serve as a great asset in the data room setup.

The virtual data rooms are rich in document storage, and features, some of which may be unnecessary for the potential user. In this case, to keep a reasonable price, online data room vendors provide their potential customers with a right of choice on which features to include and which to revoke.

Technical support

A decent virtual data room solution will include the customer support service in the overall price. However, there are instances where a customer can extend the list of services with such features as:

  • 24/7 support
  • Multi-Language Support
  • Live Chat
  • Email&Phone
  • Personal Assistance
  • Online Help Center

This is just a simple list of what may be included in the customer service pack. The more online support services the client chooses to have, the more resources they have to spend on it.
Helpful customer support adds tremendous value to modern VDR technological advances. The support agents guide users from the beginning, assisting with setting up the data room, training all participants, and solving any potential technical issues throughout the process.

Although the support team’s active contribution may drive up the virtual data room cost, access to live assistance is invaluable.

Integrations

Device adaptations and software integrations may also contribute to the answer to, “How much does a virtual data room cost?” When a VDR is available through most operating systems and gadgets and works well with separate tools, such as Zoom or Salesforce, its service plans will likely be pricier.

Having the option to access a VDR from any location or device increases user convenience and significantly speeds up the deal-making. Data rooms also integrate with Microsoft Office Suite and Google Drive, which makes it easier to start using software with the tools you’re already using.

Customization features

There are instances where a client wants to add additional branding to their online data room interface or other cosmetic features. In these cases, for an additional fee, online data room provider supplies their clientele with the following list of services:

  • Customize look and feel
  • Customize watermarks
  • Apply language settings
  • Define terms of access
  • Customize header and footer
  • Custom login page

Provider brand name

A virtual data room market is full of vendors, some of which provide their service for quite an extended period. Such companies as Merrill Datasite and Intralinks possess the reputation of the creditable service providers. However, they will charge a way higher price than such modern vendors as iDeals, Ansarada, Firmex, Drooms, and others. It is essential to understand that the quality of the final product is the same.

The origins of the provider impact its pricing as well. Those vendors who exist for decades tend to have higher fees than younger ones. The fact that the provider is old doesn’t necessarily mean that it can deliver a suitable service for you. So study the features before sticking to the old-fashioned data room service.

Modern providers are usually cheaper. Or they at least offer a flexible range of prices so that the customers can choose the option that will suit their requirements. It is very convenient since you can pick the plan that will cover your needs while not paying too much for the functions you don’t need.

It is always better to look at the company’s achievements within the field and its user reviews than consider the brand as one of the primary virtual data room selection factors.

Finally, some virtual data room providers have been on the market longer than others, having created a recognizable brand, developed a customer base, and earned well-deserved brand loyalty. For instance, Intralinks, Datasite, and Citrix have decades of service and a certain sense of status that comes with their products. Such high standing often influences the virtual data room pricing.

At the same time, being in the game the longest isn’t always a guarantee of a well-rounded offer. Many users prefer younger companies like iDeals, Ansarada, or Onehub, as they provide a more contemporary outlook on deal digitization and data handling.

Why aren’t virtual data rooms free?

Every virtual data room cost structure comprises multiple vital elements. The presence and quality of these counterparts essentially translate to the success of the deal or project processed through the VDR. 

This means that it’s impractical — not to mention unprofitable — for a virtual data room to be free. Although it is possible to compromise certain features and look for a less expensive solution, benefiting from the advantages that a data room provides will incur usage fees.
It’s also important to mention that established virtual data room providers offer free trial periods to familiarize users with the platform.
Such demo versions usually last from between 14 to 30 days and often include many of the premium plan features to entice a potential new client.

Requesting a trial from the VDR provider is helpful when:

  • It is the user’s first time using a virtual data room
  • There is a need to compare virtual data room tariff plans and their value from several providers
  • The user needs a substantial amount of time to get ready for upcoming work, such as during mergers and acquisitions

Virtual data room pricing models

VDR providers’ pricing structures vary, and they also adhere to different virtual data room pricing models. Not understanding the fee model may lead to significant discrepancies between the initial budget and the final invoice.

Here are the most common types of virtual data room premium pricing structure:

Per-user 

The user-based virtual data room cost approach is very common and suits most projects with a clearly outlined number of expected participants, meaning the pricing depends on how many users are engaged in different transactions for example diligence processes. For example, the per-user model is a comfortable solution for a corporate repository for a small to medium-sized organization. You can use the bulk user feature to add many users at once and save time.
Some VDR vendors only offer clients a limited number of users, while many other data room services offer the opportunity to add unlimited users to the deal room. 

Storage volume 

Compared to per-page or per-user virtual data room pricing, the storage-based fee model is much more flexible. The user can store any number and type of files, as long as the amount of data doesn’t exceed the volume limit.

Usage duration 

The virtual data room cost will vary depending on how long the VDR will be active. Long-term projects tend to be more budget-friendly, as many providers offer special rates to permanent and semi-permanent users.

Flat rate 

With fixed virtual data room tariff plans, the administrator selects the most applicable arrangement based on the number of users, storage capacity, number of projects, and the feature set. In some cases, it is possible to add extra services for an additional fee and switch between different tariff plans.
The flat-rate pricing is the most popular with many users, as it offers a predictable cost without unwanted additional fees. 

Choose the right VDR for your project

When narrowing down potential VDR providers, it is essential not to put virtual data room pricing first. It is better to readjust the budget and go for a pricier option than compromising a project’s outcome.
Instead of focusing on the cost, the users should consider:

How long will the project take?

In some cases, it is challenging to foresee the exact timeframe for a project. The best practice is to allow at least one extra month on top of the initial expectation to go through the deal with comfort.

How big is the organization?

A large multinational company requires much more support and processing power than a small local firm. Although many VDR providers have options for all company sizes, some cater exclusively to a particular category.

Which features are a must-have?

Digital data rooms can automate numerous processes and make the deals flow faster. With that said, not all features will provide the same value to a project. The best practice is to outline the company’s technical requirements and capabilities, as well as data room expectations, before selecting a VDR.

What is the provider’s field of expertise?

A virtual data room provider’s client portfolio can offer a good insight into the VDR’s competence in certain segments. This way, a real estate company is better off going for a data room that accommodates other real estate firms.

How user-friendly is the VDR?

Easy access to the needed documents at the right time is key. The user will not appreciate elaborate hardware and software solutions, helpful support, and a wide-range feature set if the end product is difficult to use. The virtual data rooms have to have a user-friendly, intuitive interface, and work on mobile devices or any platform.

Is it possible to switch plans?

It is wise to consider virtual data room providers that allow upgrading and downgrading between virtual data room tariff plans. Changing plans comes in handy in many scenarios, for example, when mergers and acquisitions enter the integration stage or when a company breaks off to form several smaller firms.

How much does a virtual data room cost? 

When it comes to virtual data room pricing, it is essential to go for a practical and straightforward option. Taking advantage of free trial periods and selecting the data room provider beforehand can significantly benefit the deal.

VDR free trial and demo

No matter what the price formatting process is, decent virtual data rooms have to supply his customers with a free trial period. A demo period will help one to understand what the service is, without any marketing confetti.
The demo period of data rooms will make a customer familiar with how good the online data room software is, how soon will the customer department eliminate any issues with the software if there are any, and how useful the features of the software are, and so on.

Guidelines updated on June 23, 2022 by Data Room Rating Group