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Is Notion end-to-end encrypted?

Is Notion end-to-end encrypted? Are your notes, wikis, and documents safe and secure?
Notion logo with red security warning badge in the corner.
To answer the question: No, Notion is not end-to-end encrypted. Almost all productivity apps that consumers use today were not built with security in mind, including Notion, Evernote, Roam, Bear Notes, Google Workspace, and other note-taking apps. Although they have invested in better security practices, data is generally stored with the most basic levels of symmetric encryption, which can leave sensitive information open to exploitation from employees, service providers, or other hackers and malicious actors.This has led to some catastrophic data breaches, such as Evernote’s data breach that exposed millions of user accounts, including consumers’ most sensitive information stored inside their notes. For some people, this could be years of personal notes, memories, interviews, work information, health tracking, or financial information that could lead to fraud or identity theft exposed (not to mention significant personal or professional consequences). With a variety of options for writing, collaborating, and sharing online, consumers have prioritized the security and encryption of their cloud products.Notion has become an all-in-one workspace for numerous different consumer needs, from writing wikis and todo lists to personal notes and project management. However, given this level of critical data stored inside the product, end-to-end encryption has emerged as a clear need for any product entrusted with our life’s notes and thoughts. Read on to learn more about Notion’s security practices and some excellent, consumer friendly end-to-end encrypted products.

What is end-to-end encryption?

End-to-end encryption is a type of encryption where only the communicating parties can decrypt and read messages, files, or notes. It works by each party generating a secret key (private key) that only they know as well as a set of public keys that can be shared with other individuals. Users’ public keys are then used to encrypt messages, while private keys are used to decrypt messages, files, or data once encrypted. In an end-to-end encrypted product, only users, and not service providers or anyone else, have access to their private key, ensuring that any encrypted data can only be decrypted on a user’s device. This has led to the emergence of the terms “client side encryption” and “zero knowledge encryption” to describe this security model.End-to-end encryption is a different paradigm for building products, wherein users maintain all control over their data. As a result, companies have had to redesign the way products work to respect privacy out of the box. This includes writing new search algorithms that work with client-side encryption but can still perform fast, free full text search over all of a user’s data.

What is the difference between encryption and end-to-end encryption?

End-to-end encryptionis a type of encryption where only the sender and receiver can see the contents of a message, or of files and notes uploaded to the cloud. This is in contrast to “encryption” as a broader term, where the contents of the message can be seen by anyone who has the encryption key - generally including a service provider. In this case, because Notion advertises “encryption” and “soc2 compliance” but not “end-to-end encryption,” this means that every Notion user is trusting Notion employees and policies to not access, improperly use, or arbitrarily remove their content.Most productivity apps, including Notion, market security controls and encryption - generally specifying that data is secured using AES-256 bit encryption. However, this type of encryption is considered standard across the industry and does not add any technical guarantees that another party - Notion employees, hackers in the event of a data breach, or law enforcement - could access your notes and information.As a result, end-to-end encryption is considered more secure because it prevents all third-parties from being able to access the contents of everything you write. Given its prevalence in messaging (see more on this below, or in our blog), end-to-end encryption has become a required privacy standard for all consumer communication and productivity apps.Without end-to-end encryption, it’s critical to closely read a company’s terms of service and privacy policy. For example, Notion’s privacy policy has an extremely long section detailing different ways your personal information might be used, or how it could be shared with third parties. This could be deeply concerning, as a company’s security policies will dictate how your life’s work stored in your Notion workspace could be shared. Even if it isn’t monetized, the risks to your sensitive information remain high without end-to-end encryption.

The benefits of end-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption has become a standard in all messaging products today, including Signal, Session, iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram Secret Chats, and Android Messenger. This ensures that only senders and recipients can see the content of their messages, and not cloud providers or device makers.End-to-end encryption is also a common security need for cloud storage providers, where the costs of exposing customer data, credit card information, or other sensitive information could be extremely high. Popular end-to-end encrypted cloud storage providers include Skiff and Tresorit, whereas Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive are not end-to-end encrypted.In some of the most alarming cases of non end-to-end encrypted providers hurting users, individuals of some productivity apps have been de-platformed and kicked out of their accounts, such as when the creator of popular TV show Rick and Morty was unexpectedly and involuntarily banned from Dropbox, or a well known journalist was removed from their Google Account. As a result, end-to-end encryption empowers individuals to work more creatively, freely, and effectively knowing that their personal information is kept completely private.

Using the full encrypted Skiff product suite

Skiff's fully encrypted product suite offers privacy-first file storage, real-time collaboration, notes, wikis, calendar, and email.Every Skiff user has access to the following products:
  1. Skiff Mail (end-to-end encrypted, private email)
  2. Skiff Drive (all data end-to-end encrypted, unlike Notion)
  3. Skiff Pages (for wikis, notes, documents, and real-time collaboration - end-to-end encrypted, unlike Notion)
  4. Skiff Calendar (integrates natively with Skiff Mail)
Skiff's paid tiers include additional storage, email aliases, custom domains, and so much more, such as full version history on Pages and Skiff Domains:
Drive storage10 GB200 GB1 TB
Folders and labels5UnlimitedUnlimited
Custom signatures
Auto reply
Schedule or undo send
Email + doc text search
E2EE link sharing
Document limitUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited aliases41015
Custom domains0215
Workspace collaborators66Unlimited
Doc version history24 hoursUnlimitedUnlimited
Source: @haroovka

End-to-end encrypted Notion alternatives

If you’re looking for an alternative to Notion that is more private and uses end-to-encryption, or client-side encryption, consider these products below.Standard Notes: Standard Notes is a multi-device product for writing notes. Generally perceived as a replacement to products like Apple Notes, Standard Notes maintains highly rated native applications (iOS, Android, and more), and the company has had good transparency on their product and security features.Joplin: Joplin is an open-source note-taking app that has become increasingly popular for consumers. Beyond simply writing, Joplin focuses on sharing features for collaborating on notes with others. Unlike Standard Notes and Skiff, however, Joplin is not end-to-end encrypted by default; this can be configured from inside the app. As a result, consumers looking for a simpler experience may select one of the other options.Skiff: Skiff is a privacy-first, end-to-end encrypted workspace with products for notes, file sharing, cloud storage, and email. Skiff offers a macOS app and mobile apps on iOS and Android for both their Pages product (notes, wikis, file storage and sharing) as well as for Skiff Mail. Skiff offers 10 GB of storage on their free plan, as well as an integrated workspace product for writing, collaboration, and sharing privately.


End-to-end encryption (E2EE) provides much-needed privacy and security benefits to consumers without any significant downsides. E2EE keeps your information private to you alone, preventing the risks from data breaches or service provider employees accessing your account information. Given how much personal information is stored in a Notion workspace, Evernote account, or note-taking app, it is critical to choose a trustworthy, end-to-end encrypted provider and join millions of consumers making this critical shift.

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