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Virtual Data Room Providers: Everything You Need to Know

Data security is the biggest concern for businesses worldwide. Adobe, LinkedIn, eBay — even the world’s largest organizations face data breaches. 

Let’s take Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo! as one of the most famous examples in the field: a data breach that was revealed during the due diligence process forced the company to pay $115 million of fines and compensations, not to mention the purchase price decreased by nearly 8%. 

Ensuring data safety, particularly during the most vulnerable times, is a top priority, and this is when virtual data rooms become invaluable.

Let us give you an overview of what virtual data rooms are and why companies of all levels adopt them for secure document management. We’ll walk you through the typical use cases, compare leading data room service providers, and give you tips on choosing the best one.  

Virtual data room overview

A virtual data room has a few names: electronic data room, online data room, or VDR. 

Regardless of what you call it, a data room basically means the same thing — a secure cloud-based space where you can store, organize, and share confidential information. It’s up to you to decide how to use a VDR: as a permanent document repository to manage your company’s documentation, or only during business operations such as contract negotiations and due diligence when you need to share documents with other parties securely.

The global data room market size is expected between 2020 and 2025 and reach $2.7 billion. And it’s no surprise — due to the benefits digital data rooms offer companies, their adoption across industries is rapidly growing. 

Here are few examples of how industries use virtual deal rooms:

  • Biotech & pharma. Data rooms help medical companies comply with HIPAA requirements and securely share clinical trial data.
  • IT and telecommunications. Company acquisitions happen in the dynamic IT sector often. Besides, IT heavily relies on fundraising. Data rooms help protect intellectual property, streamline capital raising, M&A, IPOs, and help with audits and compliance. 
  • Litigation. With a secure VDR, law firms can reduce paperwork and increase the security and efficiency of legal data collection, management, and transfer.
  • Investment banking. Companies use data rooms to streamline M&A, capital raising, IPOs, rights issues, and strategic partnerships.
  • Accounting and auditing. Agencies in this industry usually analyze several companies at once, so online data rooms are a natural choice to reduce the mess and establish a secure pipeline of information with partners.
  • Mining and energy. This sector uses data rooms to simplify financing, environmental audits, and bid management.

The best virtual data rooms use the latest technologies and machine learning to protect your data from breaches, reduce paperwork, and stay away from data mess. Let’s explore these and other benefits in more detail.

Why do you need a virtual data room?

Secure virtual data rooms are feature-rich solutions that can improve your workflow and help close deals faster. Equipped with advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), some data rooms can go far beyond a mere online repository. All thanks to enhancing the decision-making process with tools for advanced analytics and prediction analysis. 

Here are the benefits companies can unlock with virtual data room software.

Maximum security of confidential data

Complex data encryption algorithms in VDRs are on par with those used in electronic banking and fully comply with regulatory requirements like GDPR. On top of that, VDR data rooms allow you to check files for malicious software and use watermarks.

Complete control of data access

By granting different access levels to parties, you decide who and to which extent can use your files. For example, you can limit access to only viewing or allow specific users to save and print documents.  

24/7 access to data from any location online

As a cloud software solution, data rooms allow you to access data from any device or location safely. 

Seamless management of large data volumes

Online data rooms allow the bulk upload of dozens of file formats and automate the file journey afterward. Think of a traditional spreadsheet program with several thousand rows — it crushes the system before you notice! With deal room software, you can be sure that it will work like a charm, no matter how much data you upload. 

Intuitive data organization and enhanced navigation

Most data rooms automatically number and index documents, as well as enable advanced search functionality to help navigate through files easier.

More effective collaboration

Unlike traditional meetings and document dispatch, a high-speed digital file transfer takes seconds and allows users to simultaneously work with the same documents. Besides, data rooms offer Q&A and comment sections to make teamwork more convenient and focused.

Transparency of user activity

Data rooms allow you to monitor user activity and better understand what another party is most focused on. Take fundraising as an example: by checking activity history, you’ll be able to evaluate whether potential investors are interested in your project.

Lower costs as compared to physical data rooms

VDRs help you reduce expenses by eliminating the need for editing, filing, printing, copying, and other activities associated with paper files. 

Data room software can be a magic wand for your business for many reasons. Let’s see which business operations data rooms are commonly used for.

Where are virtual data rooms used?

The adoption of secure data rooms for various business operations is growing across companies of all levels. High-quality VDRs can help you solve business challenges, enhance relationships with third parties, and help your company grow.

Here are just a few examples of the most typical data room use cases.


An electronic data room allows companies to organize a safe virtual depository and set different access rights for every party or user in minutes once the data is uploaded. Collaboration and automation tools, remote file access, and easy-to-use navigation help companies reduce negotiation time. 

Due diligence

Due diligence is among the most common use cases of data room services. Large volumes of company documents should be securely distributed across various parties, including third-party organizations such as banks, other financial organizations, or consultants. Due diligence involves much research, so along with secure data transfer, companies need to organize their documents clearly if they want to avoid a mess of data and lengthy audits. 

Data room software helps solve all these woes.


Convincing potential investors to fund your business is strenuous. This process may last for months and even years while parties collect, review, and update documents. Using data rooms ensures secure file transfers and improves collaboration. Additionally, data rooms allow you to monitor user activity and determine investor interest by checking how much time investors spend on your documents and how often.

Banking and finance

Most banking and finance operations are carried out in a virtual space, so the adoption of virtual data room solutions makes much sense for arranging secure pipelines of information between involved parties. Whether it’s commercial or investment banking, VDRs can help financial organizations provide higher value to their clients and partners by eliminating paperwork, making the data accessible, and improving collaboration. 

IPO for startups 

Going public forces companies to share their confidential information for further audits — VDRs help make this process safer and more organized. What’s more, going public means adhering to stricter compliance regulations and additional rules. VDRs allow companies to improve compliance in many ways, for example, by setting a more transparent document workflow.

You can opt for data rooms during critical business operations such as due diligence or IPO when your confidential data are at stake, or consider using a data room as your permanent document repository. Depending on your needs, you may require different functionality, so let’s explore data room features in more detail.

Online data room features

Modern virtual data room providers offer various functions you can choose from. Along with essential document management and data access features, you may opt for more advanced tools for analytics, reporting, and customization. 

Here’s a list of features you can expect in the best data room:

  • Complete control of data access: gradual access control of who and how they can access your files, two-factor verification, access restrictions by session duration or IP address.
  • Document management: drag-and-drop file upload, bulk upload of files of different formats, automatic file indexing, and text search.
  • Ease of use: user-friendly and intuitive interface, does not require plugins and Java, scroll-through viewing.
  • Deployment: support of Linux and Windows, web and mobile applications for iOS and Android platforms.
  • Customization: customizable watermarks, multi-language support, and branded interface.
  • Analytics: user activity tracking and monitoring, tools for reporting.
  • Technical support: website online support, personal managers, 24/7 support by phone, email, and live chats. 

Some of the features on this list are basic and common for all online data room providers, while others are more advanced and can lack certain features or they’re provided at an additional cost. To achieve the best results, you need to be demanding when selecting a provider to partner with, so opt for those who can offer you most of the features listed above. 

To help you compare virtual data rooms, we’ve compiled the lowdown on ten of them. 

virtual data rooms

Comparison of the best virtual data room providers

Secure data room services can reshape document management if you choose a reliable provider that offers rich functionality and is ready to support you all the way through. 

Choosing the best partner may be challenging and time-consuming, so take a look at the virtual data room comparison of ten market leaders we’ve compiled.

iDeals secure data room

Project sizeSmall to large projects
PricingThree pricing plans 
Free trialA 30-day free trial
Custom softwareAvailable

iDeals data room is currently one of the best virtual data rooms, with over 90,000 companies and half a million users worldwide. Thanks to an intuitive interface, it only takes 15 minutes to set up the data room that guarantees the industry-leading 99.95% uptime. Along with basic functionality, iDeals offers companies advanced features such as fence view, access restrictions by session duration or IP address, and their unique page-by-page user activity analytics.

  • On the downside, though iDeals is highly rated at Capterra (4.8 based on 237 reviews), some users point out certain difficulties to get used to the rich functionality the data room offers. 

Merrill Datasite

Project sizeMedium to large projects
PricingContact the company for a personalized quote
Free trialOn request
Custom softwareAvailable

Operating in 170 countries, Merrill Datasite is one of the best data room providers globally and the winner of dozens of awards in fintech and innovations. They offer solutions for investment banking, law firms, private equity, and corporate software development. 

Along with basic features such as drag-and-drop, bulk upload, watermarks, and others, Datasite offers cross-project analytics, AI tools for more detailed reporting, and activity tracking. 

  • On the downside, the platform is expensive, doesn’t have mobile apps, and can work slower under a heavier workload. 


Project sizeMedium to large projects
PricingContact the company for a personalized quote
Free trialOn request
Custom softwareAvailable

Trusted by DuPont, Starbucks, L’Oréal, and other famous companies, Intralinks is one of the most commonly used data room software, with over 4 million users. Along with common VDR features, the platform enables video upload and Zoom integrations, as well as AI tools for more efficient automation and analytics.

  • On the downside, users point out that the data room isn’t customizable enough, has limited functionality, and offers inefficient reporting tools. 

Citrix Sharefile

Project sizeMedium to large projects
PricingFour pricing plans
Free trialA 7-day free trial for virtual data room plan and a 30-day trial for other plans
Custom softwareAvailable

Sharefile is used by 65,000 companies worldwide. It provides a secure way of sharing and organizing data and allows integrations with dozens of third-party services, including Google, Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive, Zapier, and others. The VDR offers typical functionality such as granular user access, activity tracking, dynamic watermarks, and tools for analytics and reporting. 

  • On the downside, users tend to complain about reliability because the system crashes when used together with other applications.


Project sizeSmall to large projects
PricingDepends on the data plan and project duration
Free trialA 14-day free trial
Custom softwareNo

Ansarada has been a market leader for 12 years, with nearly half a million successful projects. The platform has all basic data room features, integrations with cloud solutions, as well as role-based Q&A workflows, and nearly 30 advanced Q&A features for automation and collaboration. Ansarada’s AI tools allow companies to predict deal outcomes with 97% probability.

  • On the downside, pricing is often too high, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. 


Project sizeSmall to large projects
PricingFour pricing plans
Free trialA 14-day free trial
Custom softwareNo

Onehub is a simple, secure virtual data room with over 1 million users. Though the platform includes basic data room functionality, it also offers broad capabilities for branding customization, including logo, colors, and themes. Onehub also supports mobile apps and third-party integrations (for example, companies can edit documents in Microsoft 365 or Google).

  • On the downside, Onehub offers basic functionality and doesn’t have any built-in text or image editor. It also doesn’t allow for directly managing electronic signatures or automated email campaigns.


Project sizeSmall to large projects
PricingContact the company for a personalized quote
Free trialA 14-day free trial
Custom softwareNo

Firmex has over 4,000 customers in 110 countries and partners with such giants as J.P. Morgan, ArcelorMittal, and PWC. Firmex allows viewing documents as another user to check permissions and upload files from the phone, along with standard features. Clients also point out that the product is extremely user-friendly.

  • On the downside, Firmex has limited functionality when it comes to granular access. For example, it doesn’t allow you to assign different permissions to users in the same group. Users also complain about lengthy upload times. 


Project sizeMedium to large projects
PricingContact the company for a personalized quote
Free trialOn request
Custom softwareNo

BMW, Burger King, Sanofi are just a few examples of the companies working with DiliTrust. The data room is suited for a one-off project or a permanent secure document base. Despite the relatively basic data room functionality, the company is considered a highly trusted and reliable partner by over 500 clients.

  • On the downside, there is a lack of virtual data room reviews online to evaluate its performance. Among the most frequently mentioned drawbacks are the survey tools.


Project sizeSmall to large projects
PricingThree pricing plans
Free trialA 14-day free trial for plans of 3 and 12 months
Custom softwareNo

SecureDocs claims to be the simplest data room on the market: it takes companies only 10 minutes to set it up. Instant setup and basic features such as drag-and-drop bulk uploads, Q&A functionality, customizable NDAs, and granular access make this data room one of the most used solutions by companies of all sizes.   

  • On the downside, according to user reviews, the interface is not as intuitive as claimed, and the prices are higher compared to other virtual data room service providers (particularly when handling multiple data rooms). Users also note that access management needs improvement.

Box data room

Project sizeSmall to large projects
PricingFour pricing plans for enterprises Two plans for individuals (one of which is free)
Free trialA 14-day free trial for plans of 3 and 12 months
Custom softwareNo 

Box Data Room is chosen by over 95,000 companies, with 68% listed in Fortune 500. It meets the needs of both individuals and enterprises by offering features for secure data sharing, collaboration, and workflow automation. The data room is accessible from desktop computers and mobile devices and has over 1,500 pre-built integrations. 

  • On the downside, Box offers only the most basic features and suits daily or small transactions. It doesn’t offer complex functionality and may be insufficient to address the challenges of large enterprises. 

Each VDR provider has its pros and cons, so you need to choose wisely when deciding with which company to partner. Now that you know what top market providers offer, let’s explore in detail what criteria you should consider.

What to consider when choosing a virtual data room provider? 

Your choice of electronic data room provider will depend on your business process and deal type. Most providers offer similar functionality, so choosing the best one may be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Here are key factors to consider.


The first thing to check is what companies work with the virtual data room provider. Assess the provider’s global reach, the industries it works with, its experience, and user reviews. 

Compliance with security certifications

The data room provider will work with your most sensitive data, so make sure it has all the necessary cloud software security certifications, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013, and complies with GDPR.

Expertise in your industry

Some virtual data room vendors offer industry-specific functionality; others have only general features. What’s more, industries like pharmaceuticals require data rooms to comply with additional regulatory standards. Make sure that your provider has broad experience in your sector and complies with the industry-specific requirements. 

Sufficient functionality

The data room should simplify business operations, so opt for solutions with enough features to streamline deals and improve the workflow. Make sure your provider offers basic data room functionality and supports the file formats your company uses. Look for additional features like fence view, remote wipe, and customizable watermarks for better results.

Pricing strategy

Depending on the project size and duration, you may opt for different pricing models. For example, price per feature, user, or storage size can be a good choice for short-term projects and small businesses. Choose the provider with a convenient pricing model that works for you.


With the rapid digitalization and growing use of mobile devices, you need to choose solutions accessible on different platforms and devices (Linux, Windows, web, iOS, Android).

These points will help you get a better understanding of the provider’s pros and cons. Yet, this is not an exhaustive list of what may affect your choice. If your top priority is data security, you need a deeper analysis of how the provider ensures it in the data room.

How to ensure the highest data security: Checklist

Data safety is often the main reason companies adopt secure virtual data rooms. Once confidential data leaves the firewall during business operations like M&A or fundraising, it becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks and breaches. 

If you want to be sure that your provider offers the highest level of data security, analyze its compliance with security standards and data room security functionality. Here’s a short checklist to help.

Compliance with international security standards

  • ISO 9001 / ISO 27001
  • GDPR
  • AICPA – SOC 1 and SOC 2
  • Privacy Shield Compliance

Data security functionality

  • Access restrictions for groups or individual user
  • Control over who can view and access each file
  • Elimination of multiple passwords with a single sign-in
  • Two-factor verification (password and single-used code which is sent to the user’s mobile device)
  • Control over session duration and access restriction for specific IP addresses
  • Users activity analytics and reporting
  • Ability to view the document from another user’s perspective to control access settings
  • Customizable dynamic watermarks with user’s name and IP address, access date and time
  • Fence view with barred screen area for preventing screen capture or printing
  • Secure online view of MS Excel spreadsheets with restricted access (viewing with or without formulas)
  • Remote lock and deleting encrypted data from stolen or lost devices

Opt for secure virtual data room providers that comply with all the listed standards and can offer you as many features as you need. In the best case, you can find providers that offer the whole package of security features.