Introducing Encrypted File Storage with Automated Backups

Standard Notes 3.20 is the culmination of a thousand pieces coming together. To us, and hopefully to you, the result feels magical: the seemingly sudden emergence of features we’ve always wanted; of a software product we look at and say—we built this? I’ve always found it fascinating that even as an engineer who is fully engrossed in how software is produced, I still feel a sense of awe and spectacle when companies ship pivotal new software. How did they do that?

I want to, prematurely and probably entirely unnecessarily, remove all pretense and charade and insist that in our case, there was no magic involved. Organizing a group of people from around the world to come together and write cohesive software is arguably more complex than the software composition itself. But companies, like people, get better at things they do often. The progress and achievements in this latest release apply as much to our software and design as it does to our team and vision.

What’s new

The Standard Notes 3.20 release introduces two key features: encrypted file storage (100gb), and encrypted file backups.

With encrypted files, you can seamlessly drag and drop images, documents, videos, zips, or any kind of file, directly into Standard Notes. It will be encrypted chunk-by-chunk and uploaded to your private cloud. There is no virtual individual file size limit, although there may be practical limits based on your device.

Files are encrypted using the same audited mechanism used to encrypt your other sensitive data. Namely, the encryption algorithm XChaCha20+ Poly1305 authentication is used, alongside Argon2 for securely transforming your account password into an encryption key.

Is your data safe with us?

End-to-end encrypted files have been a great hit during our multi-month beta period, and we’re confident you’ll find yourself storing files in Standard Notes you wouldn’t feel comfortable storing anywhere else. But why should you trust another private company with the safekeeping of your data? In the event of the unexpected, should your only recourse be to furiously lament your decision to have trusted us with your most sensitive files in the first place?

Backups sound mundane, but this feature is arguably more central to our release than that of cloud storage and cross-device availability.

When you enable file backups in Standard Notes 3.20, files uploaded on any device are automatically backed up in encrypted form to a local folder on your computer(s).

To enable file backups, you first choose a folder on your machine where you’d like the backups delivered and stored in real-time. This can be an ordinary folder on your computer like Desktop, or it can be a synced folder like Dropbox or Drive.

With Encrypted File Backups, any time you upload a file from any device—your tablet, your phone, your work computer, your personal computer—that file will be pulled in automatically by the computer with backups enabled and saved to your designated folder. The process is fully seamless, automatic, and hassle-free.

Power to the user

A power user like yourself might have this setup using files and file backups in Standard Notes:

  • Standard Notes on your mobile device, where you use the in-app camera option to snap photos and videos and have them encrypted and uploaded to your private account.
  • Standard Notes web signed in on your work computer’s browser. Here you upload and access documents that need to cross the work-life chasm.
  • Standard Notes on your family desktop computer, where you’ve enabled file backups to store on a local directory in your Documents folders.
  • Standard Notes on your personal and primary use laptop, where you have file backups enabled and set to a folder inside your Dropbox.

A private video you captured with Standard Notes is now backed up and encrypted in four locations: Your Dropbox, your laptop’s hard disk, your desktop’s hard disk, and our secure cloud.

You can also self-host your own Standard Notes infrastructure. Our files server is fully open-source. Note that this new feature is pending addition to our standalone self-hosting script.

Pricing and availability

Encrypted files and file backups with 100gb of encrypted storage are available as part of the Standard Notes Pro Plan. If files is less important to you than the rest of our advanced feature offering, the Plus Plan offers the full feature set of Standard Notes, as well as a 100mb file storage “sample” tier for you to use lightly and determine if upgrading fits your use case.

For a full listing of all the changes in Standard Notes 3.20, covering new features like pseudonymous private workspaces, head over to our release notes.

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