Storing notes and other important information in an organized fashion is very convenient and can enhance your productivity. While there are many popular note taking applications, the two best known are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Both of these services have a free version and a paid version with more storage and features. They also have phone apps to help you store and retrieve from your mobile device. The data you store in these services resides both on your local PC (or phone) and in the cloud on the provider’s servers. So the question is how safe and secure is your data? Microsoft and Evernote claim to use encryption it is possible that there could be a breach at some point in the future. More likely, someone could get access to your account via one of the methods described in the previous chapters. 

If you are going to rely on one of these note taking tools, then following the suggestions below should help you and your data stay safer. If you are really concerned about whether Evernote or Microsoft are scanning your data or that are reselling it (there is no evidence for that at the time of this writing) then you can use the suggestion for a more secure solution below. 

Cloud Note Security Practices

The advice here is similar to storing data on any cloud service. First and foremost, don’t store any data that would be possibly devastating if it were to get into the wrong hands. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Social security numbers
  • Picture of your passport or driver license
  • Medical information
  • Usernames and passwords 
  • Bank account or credit card account numbers or related information
  • Detailed information about your children
  • Any information that could compromise your safety
  • Any information that could harm your personal life or business

A Secure Alternative to Evernote and OneNote

In lieu of the big data companies above storing your data and then encrypting it on their servers after the fact, there is another option where you completely control all access to your notes – but still retain the convenience of the cloud features. Standard Notes is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iPhone, Android, and via web browser. The software is open source and does not perform any tracking or show any ads. Standard Notes is free to use on all platforms, for unlimited devices, and this includes cross-platform synchronization and no data limits. 

Your notes get encrypted on your device, i.e. before they are stored on the cloud, and only you can see them. The connection between your device and the server is always provided via a secure connection. The only limitation is that it is for text only, no images.

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