- Virtual Data Room Pricing
Virtual Data Room Pricing
What determines VDR prices?
If you are on this page, it’s probably because you are looking for secure cloud storage solutions, which will allow you to share confidential files with certainty that they will stay confidential. But when you look at the prices for various virtual data rooms, you may be surprised at how much they vary.
And you may ask yourself, what is it that determines virtual data room pricing?
There are three factors that influence the price you pay for a virtual data room:
- first (of course) is the volume of services you use
- second, there’s the pricing structure of your virtual data room provider
- and third, there’s the quality of the data room service you need
Let’s look at the volume of services first.
Volume of services
If yours is a small company that works with a few contracts every year, it’s probable that you will need to store and share significantly fewer documents online than a huge company that works with many clients and dozens of large contracts.
Also, if you have few projects, you will need few data rooms. Besides, a small company usually needs to exchange confidential documents among fewer people than a large company. It may need only internal file sharing, or it may share sensitive data with just a few external collaborators or partners. In any case, as a rule a small company needs fewer user licenses than a large one.
Of course this is not an iron-clad rule — if yours is a small medical accounting company, your storage volume will certainly be larger than that of companies of the same size but whose business does not revolve around document management.
But generally, one can say that small- and mid-sized companies should be able to pay much less than large companies for virtual data room services.
Virtual data room providers work with four kinds of pricing structures:
- per storage volume
- fixed periodical fee
With a per-page pricing plan, a data room provider charges you for the amount of document pages you upload. Prices range from $0.40 to $0.85 per page. Per-page pricing is advantageous only if you are sure you have just a small amount of pages to share or store online, so you have a predictable cost. Otherwise, the virtual data room cost can be disproportionately high.
As a matter of fact, per-page pricing is a relic of the time when providers of data rooms would send an employee over to the client’s base to scan every single document page in order to upload it to the secure data room. This meant that each extra page cost extra time and effort.
Nowadays, when most documents are already digital to start with, and scanning processes are automated, per-page pricing for file-sharing services does not make much sense anymore. The tendency is that it will stop existing altogether.
Per-user pricing is based on how many users need access to your virtual data rooms. Now, providers of data rooms can understand two different things by the word “user”.
Some VDR providers say “user” when they mean an administrative user — that is, an user accredited to create multiple data rooms, carry out document management tasks, attribute and revoke user permissions etc. All other people accessing the VDR will be called something else — for instance, “external collaborators”.
Other providers apply the word “user” to any person having access to the confidential information stored in virtual data rooms — whether they are admins or are simply invited to view confidential documents. So when you are comparing the prices of different virtual data room solutions, make sure you take these two different usages of the word “user” into account.
Per-user pricing plans are obviously advantageous for you if you have large volumes of sensitive documents to share and store, but need few user licenses.
For instance, if you need a virtual data room to securely store and share board documents, and your board is made up of only four people, it would make sense for you to hire a virtual data room solution that offers you unlimited storage and charges you per user.
If however you are managing an M&A process, and need to share confidential files with dozens of different partners, per-user pricing may not be your best option — unless your plan charges per admin, but allows you to grant access to unlimited external collaborators.
It’s all in the details, so you need to pay attention to them.
Volume of data storage
At first sight, this pricing model may look similar to the per-page system. But it’s not, really, because documents with the same number of pages can have very different sizes depending on their format (doc, pdf etc.) and content (for instance, pages with images are heavier than text-only pages).
Also, if you need to upload files that are not text — let’s say, construction blueprints, financial spreadsheets, photographs or video tours of real estate, etc. — you don’t need to worry about calculating how many text pages each file is equivalent to.
When virtual data room providers charge per storage volume, clients can upload any file types and any amount of pages they want, provided they do not exceed the allocated storage limit.
Pricing per storage volume is good for small projects in which you know exactly how much storage space you will need. If however you are working on extensive projects, where you need to share lots of confidential documents, paying per storage volume is probably not your best option.
Fixed-fee pricing means VDR providers charge a flat monthly fee — or an annual fee — and give clients a certain number of user licenses, a data storage limit, and a number of virtual data rooms they can create. This pricing model is cost-effective if you want to know in advance exactly how much you will spend on virtual data room software.
Most virtual data rooms providers will offer you a discount if you commit to an annual plan instead of a monthly one. If you have long-term projects that warrant hiring a virtual data room solution for a whole year, you should definitely do so, since it may save you up to 25%.
Besides the four pricing systems above, there’s also custom pricing. Many data room providers offer this option, which means they will create a pricing system tailored for you. You may get unlimited users, a customized flat-rate pricing or monthly fee, customized cloud storage limits etc.
If yours is a large company with specific needs not conveniently covered by any other pricing systems, it’s clear you should look into VDR providers that offer custom pricing.
Virtual data room features
So much for the different kinds of pricing structure of virtual data room software. Now let’s have a look at how data room features can influence the cost of your VDR.
Once more, it’s a matter of logic more than anything else. If all you need is to store sensitive documents in a secure data room, you can get a basic data room with no extra features — and pay a basic price for it.
If however your file sharing needs go beyond mere document storage and into more complex document management and access control, you should definitely pay a higher price and get a virtual data room with a few key features. Do this and you will find your work is easier and quicker.
Specific virtual data room needs vary widely according to company size and industry, but here are a few examples of advanced features that can make a positive difference in your work:
- If it’s important for you to know who viewed, edited, downloaded, or printed your files, make sure your virtual data room solution includes file tracking and user activity analytics features.
- If your team usually works with a specific software family, such as Microsoft Office, choose a virtual data room that has Microsoft Office integrations.
- If you need to share your confidential files with several external users, it probably pays to get a data room solution that works on mobile devices, as most people want to be able to work from their smartphones and tablets.
- If many VDR users will be editing your files, make sure your data room has a tool for version control, so you are able to revert to an older version in case someone makes a mistake.
How much should a VDR cost in 2022?
The answer to this question is so broad as to be nearly meaningless. In 2022, the price of virtual data room software ranges from as little as $15/month to over $1,000/month for annual plans. Monthly plan prices can be anything from $60 to $1,250.
So, what does this mean to you? It simply means that you are the only person who can draw up a meaningful comparison of VDR prices for your company. Because only you know what your specific needs are.
VDR prices comparison table
As you’ve seen, there are dozens of virtual data room solutions on the market. Some are basic, some offer advanced features; some have general features, while others offer tools tailored to specific industries or processes.
It would not make sense to compare dozens of virtual data rooms in the same table — which virtual data rooms should be included in the comparison would depend on your industry, company size, and specific needs.
When you draw your own comparison table, you can start with something like the table below, including the five or ten VDR providers that are most relevant to your industry and company size.
Then, add one row for each data room feature you need. You will end up with a customized comparison table that will help you see at a glance what providers offer the best value-for-money to your company.
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