virtual data room comparison

Virtual Data Room Comparison: Key Aspects

Sep 02, 2021

The virtual data room market is overflowing with options. While the plethora of choices improves the chances of finding the perfect fit, sorting through numerous providers can be quite a challenge. Below is a brief guide to an effective virtual data room comparison.

Virtual data room comparison: Key aspects

Virtual data rooms come in many shapes and sizes. Some target small firms in niche segments; others cater to large enterprises. This means that finding a suitable data room largely depends on each user’s particular needs.

However, several fundamental aspects that ultimately define whether the provider is worth considering at all. Using them as a base for virtual data room comparison can significantly streamline the selection process. There are six critical areas to evaluate:

  1. Security certifications and compliances. Data security is a priority in any transaction. The good news is that many modern providers take their client’s confidentiality very seriously and offer proof of multi-levelled protection mechanisms. However, it is still crucial to remain alert and know just what to look for in terms of safety guarantees.
  • The providers that operate in the UK must be certified according to ISO/IEC 27001 standards and be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679.
  1. Hardware and software quality. Technical virtual data room comparison is mainly testing for those who don’t have much expertise in software development. However, there are a few indicators that can point out the platform’s overall performance quality. Such as:
  • 256-bit AES data encryption
  • At least 99.5% data centre uptime
  • Effective mobile device adaptation
  • Intuitive, customisable interface
  1. User management flexibility. There are two things that can help dealmakers feel comfortable and in control during critical transactions: relevant updates and detailed reports on all the user activity inside the data room.

An automatic audit trailing feature can assist with knowing exactly who, when, and for what period of time a file was accessed. This way, the deal drivers can promptly respond to overlooked areas or provide missing data.

  1. Feature versatility. Any virtual data room comparison of features begins with defining every particular firm’s unique characteristics and needs. As already mentioned, many providers work in certain segments and might not fit every cause.

Asking the following questions can help outline the desired feature collection:

  • How many users will need regular access to the data room?
  • What type of documents will be stored in the VDR, and in which formats?
  • How many managerial levels are there within the organisation?
  • Which tools need to be integrated with the data room?
  • What is the confidentiality level of every data piece?
  1. Pricing model and payment options. Although the price shouldn’t come first in the virtual data room comparison process, it is still vital to account for it in the final decision. Understanding how different providers charge for their services and what factors affect the cost can help narrow the options that suit the budget.

It is also a good idea to request custom quotes from several providers. The quote can help estimate the general pricing standards in the segment and prepare the decision-makers to allocate the appropriate funding.

  1. Provider team’s expertise and availability. There are different levels of expert involvement, depending on the arrangement with the VDR provider. But at the same time, it is essential that the data room team offers fast and efficient support and has substantial experience in a similar field.

    When doing a virtual data room comparison of support teams, for the best results, try looking for companies with:
  • 10+ years in the industry
  • 24/7/365 availability, holidays, and weekends included
  • Multiple convenient contact channels
  • Ability to speak several languages

Top 5 UK virtual data room providers for 2021

Based on the above virtual data room comparison characteristics, here are the top 5 data room providers in the UK:

  1. iDeals 

iDeals VDR is an innovative yet experienced provider with a London office that caters to firms of all sizes. The platform offers highly technological, intuitive solutions for remote due diligence, M&A, real estate management, director board communications, and more.

  • Top features: automated reporting, 8-level access rights management, built-in Q&A, full-text search, fence view, remote shred, and apps for iOS and Android
  • Security: ISO/IEC 27001:2013, GDPR, SOC 1 & 2, HIPAA
  • Support: 24/7/365, via live-representative chat, email, and phone, 12+ languages
  1. Intralinks

    Intralinks data room is a sophisticated digital platform with specialisation in firewall technologies. The provider targets primarily large firms and enterprises in mergers and acquisitions, alternative investments, and banking.
  • Top features: AI text editing, deal flow dashboard, Zoom integration, bulk user invitations, iOS and Android apps
  • Security: ISO/IEC 27001, GDPR
  • Support: 24/7/365, via chat, email, and phone, 140+ languages
  1. Dealroom

    Dealroom data room provider offers a highly functional M&A lifecycle platform. The tool is ideal for medium and large organisations in mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, and corporate development. 
  • Top features: 4-level permissions, drag and drop uploading, detailed reporting, simplistic interface
  • Security: ISO 27001, SOC 1 & 2, FISMA, HIPAA
  • Support:  24/7/365, via chat and phone
  1. Drooms
    Drooms is a Frankfurt-based provider with over 20 years of experience with a subsidiary in London. The platform offers solutions for individuals and medium and large firms in legal and real estate segments.
  • Top features: streamlined document processing, AI-driven due diligence, visual customisation, translation.
  • Security: ISO 27001, GDPR
  • Support: 24/7/365, via chat, email, and phone.
  1. Sterling

Sterling is a UK-based VDR provider with a legacy in financial printing. The company targets firms of all sizes at any stage of the M&A cycle. Sterling data room’s focus sectors are investment banking, legal, and pharmaceuticals.

  • Top features: file watermarking, real-time user activity reporting, advanced permissions.
  • Security:  ISO 27001
  • Support: 24/7/365, via live-representative chat.

Virtual data room price comparison — why does it differ?

As mentioned earlier, the price is a crucial decision-making factor in virtual data room comparison. But those who are dealing with VDRs for the first time might get puzzled by the range of costs and pricing models

The very first thing to grasp is that data room pricing is typically proportional to the value the provider is offering. This means that data room companies with more expansive feature collections and in-depth expertise will likely set their fees above average. 

Another essential aspect to consider is the way providers charge. The most common pricing approaches are:

  • Fixed-fee packages
  • Per-GB of data
  • Per-user
  • Per-page or per-document
  • Custom quotes

All of the above might have an option for monthly, annual, or bi-annual payments.

Although every fee system has its own perks, the fixed package approach is considered the most transparent. When the package includes sufficient user and data capacities, the users can operate freely without worrying about any extra charges later.

Once again, performing the virtual data room comparison of the features and prices is a highly tailored process. Every potential data room user has to outline their firm’s expectations and needs clearly to make the best choice.