Virtual data room pricing has evolved and is now more akin to ‘buffet-style’ flat rates than full ‘à la carte’ menu charges. But just as buffets vary by venue – the meal you get at The Sizzler will be a very different experience than at the Waldorf-Astoria — vendors don’t always unify virtual data room features. Since pricing reflects features, making direct comparisons is challenging.
So the short answer to the question, “How much should a virtual data room cost?” is, “It depends.” Characteristics such as project size, scope and duration will affect the price. Preventing any overspending on a virtual data room is a big concern, especially for startups looking to save. Since understanding fundamental cost drivers and pricing structures of virtual data room providers can inform and accelerate your decision process, we’ve compiled this summary to help.
Virtual Data Room Cost Drivers
The cost components of virtual data rooms focus on nine features. As you begin comparing VDR providers, examine the depth of services available on these dimensions:
- Security. Virtual data rooms reason-for-being, security is crucial to assess when comparing virtual data rooms. Look for the level of encryption, the presence of two-factor authentication, audit, watermarks, and document recovery processes.
- Document Management. Likely the second-most important feature of VDRs, document management centers around the ease of uploading and downloading documents, the presence of version controls, document editing capabilities, and search tools.
- User Management. This involves how users interact with information in the virtual data room, including permission roles and password protections.
- Collaborating. These features allow users to ask and answer questions, insert comments and issue alerts or instant messages to groups.
- Accessibility. Accessibility and ease-of-use work hand-in-hand; look for vendors who enable secure access to the VDR from multiple browsers without needing additional software or hardware. Mobile access is now available from some providers.
- Report Tracking. At a minimum, a VDR should provide a trail of activity showing who accessed documents and when.
- Client Management. This isn’t available from all providers but can include services such as multiple project permission, ‘blinding’ users from seeing each other, and providing investor or deal summaries.
- Customizing. Another feature not available from all vendors, this allows users to brand login pages, watermarks and alerts.
- Integration. Some vendors allow the use of the VDR with other software such as Microsoft Office, SalesForce, and Google Drive.
Virtual Data Room Pricing Structures
Most vendors offer tiered pricing for virtual data room services with upper tiers inclusive of more features. Fees are charged monthly, with some providers offering discounts for an annual payment.
The list below shows variables that differ between the tiers. Use this list to begin mapping the scope of services you need from a virtual data room. Don’t be concerned if you can’t ‘fill in the blanks’ on all of these services. Most vendors will help you determine the solution that meets your needs.
Also, if you see a feature you like from one vendor, but don’t see it on another vendor’s list, be sure to ask – the function may be available but is described differently:
- Amount of storage needed
- Number of workspaces
- Number of administrators (can upload documents, give permissions, and track activity)
- Number of users
- Document management tools (including collaboration)
- Level of document security
- Level of customization
- Level of client support (including training)
Virtual Data Room Pricing Illustrated
With CapLinked, for example, the Standard tier of virtual data room service is priced at $29 per month. This price covers:
- one TB of storage (for perspective, this is more than 76 million pages of text documents or more than 9 million emails with one-third of them having attachments)
- one workspace
- three administrators
- unlimited users
Security, support, and document management tools for the standard VDR tier includes:
- Enterprise-Grade File Encryption
- SOC2/SSAE 16 Type II Security
- Custom Permissions / Access Control Lists
- Standard Help Center and Email Support
- File Versioning / Version History
- Q&A Process Management
- Updates & Notifications Feed
- Audit Trail & Report Building
“Basic” plans from other providers may start at $79 per month up to $150 per month. Assessing your needs and comparing features is key to making sure you aren’t paying for services you don’t need.
Moving up to CapLinked’s Professional tier priced at $99 per month provides the standard features but for unlimited workspaces, unlimited storage and five administrators. Security enhancements and additional document management tools include the following:
- Securely send files via email custom URL
- FileProtect (Digital Rights Management)
- Enforceable 2-Factor Authentication
- Custom Branding / Invitations / Login Page
- Custom Dynamic Watermarking
- Full-Text Advanced Search
The Business tier for CapLinked’s VDR service expands on the Professional features with premium administrative controls, customizable workflow solutions, single sign-on, and API integration access. Pricing is discussed with clients directly.
Support includes a dedicated customer success manager and prioritized 24/7 email and phone response. Enhanced document management tools cover:
- Collaborative Document Editor
- Real-Time Virus Scanning
- Desktop Bulk Uploader (FTP Support)
After you define your project scope and the capabilities you’ll need from a virtual data room, give our team a call to discuss CapLinked’s options, or simply head to our pricing page. Our VDR solution has been named ‘one of the highest quality data rooms on the market,’ and ‘one of the most fairly priced data rooms.’