Looking for an easy way to encrypt and protect data stored in OneNote? Fortunately, OneNote provides encryption when you password protect a section:

Source:

Passwords can be applied only to notebook sections, not to entire notebooks. Passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure that the Caps Lock key is off before you create or enter a password. OneNote uses encryption to secure password-protected sections. (Source)

OneNote’s Password protected section offers a few benefits:

  • AES 128 bit encryption protects any pages you’ve created inside of the passworded section.
  • Microsoft is reported to use the local cryptography built-into Windows operating system.
  • Passworded sections placed on the web (shared online via OneNote Online) require the end-user to enter a password to get access.
  • OneNote uses encryption to secure password-protected sections. If you forget your password, no one will be able to unlock your notes for you (not even Microsoft Technical Support). So take care when assigning passwords to your notebook sections and when changing them.
Here’s what OneNote looks like when you’re Password Protecting a section:
Note that you can modify the Password Options in OneNote settings:
But AES 128 encryption may not be enough.
More Encryption Needed?
Of course, as nice as AES 128bit may be, it doesn’t meet the standard for super confidential information (e.g. everything that is personal identifiable information or health info). If you forget your password to a passworded section in OneNote, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get access to it again. I don’t know if DocRecryptor exists for OneNote, but I know I wouldn’t want to trust it with data that must be confidential. For that reason, among others, it is important to take a hard look at other encryption options that go above and beyond OneNote’s built-in passworded section. 
Source

Here are some additional solutions I would encourage you to add if you’re going to use any Microsoft product:

  • Encrypt your Onenote page content with Secure Space Encryptor (SSE)
    • Encrypt files with the File/Folder Encryption Tool
    • Encrypt text with the Text Encryptor
  • Use Keepass for Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux to store confidential information. The database file itself is encrypted with AES-256 so you can add it as a file attachment.
If you want to keep the source formatting for a document (e.g. font choices, colors, headings, etc.) then you will probably be better off exporting data as a Word document, encrypting it with SSE, then adding it as a file attachment.
While encryption can be an obstacle for some, it is important to find a way to secure your data, no matter what notes tool you decide to use. You can find my resources for Safeguarding Sensitive Data online.

    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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