When I think about security and any Internet-based software, a couple different thoughts cross my mind. The first is the “will anybody be able to see my stuff?” thought. This usually gives way to “will all my stuff disappear without warning?” thought. You know – because the company goes belly-up, closes their doors, and leaves me stranded. Let’s take a look at both questions and see what we find.
So the first worry: will anybody be able to see my stuff? I don’t want to get too technical here, but know that Evernote uses the same industry standard methods to secure data being transferred from your device to their servers as banks do. In most cases, that should make you feel better.
I often wonder who, in a world of millions of Evernote users, would want to access my notes. Having said that, I do not store critical information about myself (social security number, etc) in Evernote. Some would argue you could – using a security feature we’ll highlight in a future post.
If you want the full, official read from the horse’s mouth, visit Evernote’s security post from March 2011. They use the word “encrypted” – which basically means your data is scrambled into nonsensical strings of characters before being transmitted over the Internet to their servers.
How about the second worry: will they close up shop and leave me stranded without my stuff? Evernote’s goal is to be a 100-year company. (They actually prefer it be called a 100-year startup, but that’s beside the point.) They have secured insane amounts of funding from investors to help make this happen. They meant what they said with wanting to become our external brain.
Okay, so I’ll step out of my perfect little world here and examine the worst case scenario: Evernote closes its doors tomorrow. Thankfully, your data is still safe with you – provided you are using a PC or Mac. Why does this matter? Eh, you better sit back – this could take awhile…
When you have Evernote installed on a PC or Mac, your content physically exists on that machine. At last check, I have 9,500 notes in my account – and every one of them exists on my Mac. They are backed up on Evernote’s servers – “the cloud.” So, if Evernote closes its doors tomorrow, I would still have all my stuff on my Mac. (Believe me though – I’d hurry up and make a new backup at that point!)
Wait – why am I being so specific about a PC or Mac? What if I only have a mobile device, like my iPad? I can see my notes on the iPad app – doesn’t that mean they physically exist on the device too? Actually, no. This is important to remember – your notes do not live on a mobile device. (For you diehard Evernote users – I’ll devote a future post to offline notebooks.)
So if you only have Evernote on a mobile device, then you’ll have to live with the risk that Evernote could close its doors and you’d lose your stuff. Do I think this will happen? Absolutely not.
That wraps up my thoughts on Evernote and security. In the end, I believe Evernote will be here for a long time to come, and I do feel secure with my content moving back and forth between my devices and their servers.
Do you have other concerns with security? Leave a comment and we’ll see what we can figure out.
Up next: we’re finally through the foundational material – it’s time to get registered!