Have you ever asked yourself “is my data in Evernote secure?” If not, you are not alone. Most Evernote users don’t. However, the price of ignorance can be high.
If you, like me, are using Evernote to store all kinds of bits of information you grow very dependent on this service over time. You store everything from meeting minutes to newspaper articles and clothing sizes. All this amounts to valuable information, both measured in invested time and practical usefulness. Here is how you can protect that investment.
What are cloud services
Let’s start with a look at what cloud services really are. Services like Evernote, Todoist, and Google Drive are popularly referred to as the cloud. The technical term is SaaS, short for Software as a Service. Basically, this means that you are paying a monthly fee for a company to access their software on their servers.
Most cloud service companies rent their servers from a 3rd-party company like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform. AWS had a 47% market share in 2017. Google, the giant in so many other markets, had only 4% of this market. Evernote started using the Google Cloud Platform in 2016. For you as an end user, using a third-party service like this means three things:
- Your data is more secure in terms of protection from hacking and viruses since companies like this have a more professional attitude when it comes to keeping their servers and infrastructure updated, compared to a small software company with a server in the basement.
- For the same reason as above, servers owned by these companies tend to have a much higher uptime. This means that you, for all practical purposes, have access to your data 24/7.
- The only downside is that your data are stored at a third party, meaning that you have less control over your data.
The first thing to know is that your data is safe only as long as the SaaS company pay their bills. At the moment they don’t, your data is probably lost forever. Like in any other market, a number of SaaS companies has ceased to exist. I have only experienced this once. In this case, I saw the signs early and stopped using their services before they closed down.
If you want to learn about my experience with Iqtell, read the below blog post.
About Evernote cooperation
Evernote cooperation was founded in 2007. 10 years later, they passed 220 million users. More than five billion notes have been created during those ten years. See more about Evernote in numbers. Evernote has a substantial financial backing. Even after a 40% price hike in 2016, the number of users is growing steadily.
I would like to point out that I think Evernote is a trustworthy company that does a good job of protecting their customer’s data and keeping Evernote secure. You can read more about Evernote security here.
Things that you should not store in Evernote
Before getting into details about how to make Evernote secure, here are some common sense about what you should not store in Evernote or any kind of cloud service.
- Social security numbers
- Picture of your passport
- Medical information
- Usernames and passwords (should be stored only in dedicated, secured password managers)
What you can do to make Evernote secure
Start by paying for Evernote
The most important factor in keeping a cloud service secure is to pay for it. Security is a constant battle. To keep up with the latest threats, all companies need to use a portion of their revenue constantly updating their software.
Add two-step verification
Two-step verification adds an extra layer of protection to your account. Whenever you sign in to Evernote you have to enter both your password and a verification code. This verification code will be sent to your mobile device via text message or an authenticator app.
Keep your devices up to date and synchronized
Make sure that your computer and mobile devices run the latest version of the Evernote software. Also, make sure that they are synchronized. This is especially important to remember on your computer since you have to start the Evernote application in order to synchronize.
Store your data locally
The main reason I tell people to install Evernote on their Mac or PC is that this enables them to make a personal backup of their data completely outside of Evernote.
Read more about how to back up your Evernote data:
Manage the access to your Evernote account
I really like how Evernote integrates with other applications. However, you should be aware that this can be a potential security issue. An important step in keeping Evernote secure is to know which devices, applications, and services that have access to your data.
To see what applications and devices have access to your Evernote Account, go to Settings / Security / Applications. Revoke access to anything you do not strictly need. Remember to revoke all access for devices that you no longer use!
The same goes for services like Google etc. To see what services have access to your Evernote Account, go to Settings / Security / Services. Revoke access to anything you do not strictly need.
Log in with your email address and a unique password
If you log in to Evernote using your Google account service (see above), anyone with access to that account will automatically have access to your Evernote data.
Encrypt text in a note
Evernote does not let you encrypt an entire note or notebook. The only option you have is to encrypt text in a note. Encryption can only be done in Evernote for Windows and Evernote for Mac. To encrypt text, do the following:
- Open a note and highlight the text you want to encrypt.
- Right-click or control-click the highlighted text and select “Encrypt Selected Text.”
- Enter a password and click OK.
To decrypt the text, click on the encrypted text and select ‘Show encrypted text’. You will be prompted for your password.
Create a local notebook
Local notebooks are a great alternative if you do not want your information to be stored on Evernote’s servers. When using a local notebook, please be aware of the following:
- The notes in your local notebook will NOT be synchronized between your devices.
- Your local notebook will only be as secure as your hard drive or mobile device.
- Unless you make regular backups, this is data waiting to be lost.
Use common sense
No matter how much you do to make Evernote secure, no service will ever be 100% failsafe or secure. The following advice is applicable for everything on the internet, not only Evernote:
- Do not store anything online that might harm you or your business if it gets into the wrong hands.
- Do not store any data anywhere without a backup.
- Password protect any device with access to Evernote or other cloud services.
Disclosure: Links marked with * are affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product using this link, I may get a small commission. I would never recommend a product without trying it and liking it myself.