Privacy and Security at Low Cost

[insights] Posted by lemur47 on 6 August 2023

You will have a practical idea of how to start your own project at an incredibly low cost. Not only are the costs low, but you can focus on efficiency, your privacy and security.

If you're a person who wants to start your own project, this insight will help you choose apps to start small but effective. Yes, today's insight will feature some apps!

  1. Skiff
  2. Proton with Notesnook

Over the past few months, I've been researching apps, tools and technologies that focus on both privacy and security. And I've been installing and using them to see if I can migrate from the Big Tech world to the encrypted side.

I will start with the conclusion. You can indeed migrate or partially use the Big Tech and at the same time incorporate authentic apps as the main infrastructure for your project.

Because I've found and finally achieved an exquisite balance in between. With this balance you will also be able to automate those repetitive, very time-consuming and meaningless tasks that make you feel so stressed.

First of all, please stop spending money to start a project.

In the world of bricks and mortar, this means that you don't necessarily need to invest in a nice office, fancy business cards, hiring a consultant and other gadgets.

In the digital and virtual world, it means that you don't have to invest in expensive apps and tools up front. SaaS (Software as a Service) helps you get started with a free plan.

But remember, freemium is NOT always a good solution for you. In fact, it's becoming increasingly dangerous in terms of privacy and security. So you need to be more careful about what you choose.

Skiff - a good to start as a small virtual office

If you already have a custom domain such as or, Skiff is a good solution for you. It gives you privacy with E2EE (end-to-end encryption) technology and other security features.

It's good for you because you can start a free plan with your own custom domain. This means that you can send and receive emails with your domain. This freemium service is hard to find in other apps.

Skiff also includes Calendar, Drive and Pages. This gives you a minimum viable product to start with. Pages is a kind of note-taking app with sharing and collaboration options. Pages lets you to export a note to PDF and Markdown, so you can create documents in the cloud.

Proton with Notesnook - an environment for privacy and security

This is my virtual office, which is all about mobility. Since I've been living and travelling around the Southeast Asia and Taiwan with Airbnb, mobility is key to building privacy and security into my environment.

Proton not only has privacy and security features, but also gives you a beautiful and well-designed user experience. With a paid plan, you can also use a premium VPN with malware and ad blocking.

Proton includes Mail, Calendar, Drive, Pass (and VPN). Pass is a vault for your password, credit card and notes. If, like me, you are a citizen of this galaxy and want to be free from a specific location to start a project, VPN and encryption are a powerful combination for you.

Notesnook is a note-taking app and one of my favourite and most respectful apps on the encrypted side. Their privacy policy is very authentic and they have open-sourced their source code for auditing. Their pricing is also user friendly, and they share the product roadmap which includes upcoming features. It's a worthwhile investment in both yourself and in the privacy movement.

The secret to an exquisite balance between efficiency and protection

This is a little giveaway for you today. I'm going to share with you what I've found and used for my efficiency and protection. And these techniques won't cost you a thing.

Booking automation can be done with Google Calendar, Calendly and Proton/Skiff. Proton and Skiff still don't have a booking app yet, so you'll have to get creative.

Sharing Google Calendar with Proton and vice versa is a workaround. The point is that your main calendar is Proton and you should only share the limited information with Google Calendar (free or busy). Calendly has an option to select multiple calendars to find your free time.

To protect your network, you can add more technology to Proton VPN. Or if you choose Skiff, it will be very helpful to secure your network for your smartphone, tablet and laptop.

Cloudflare Zero Trust gives you an advanced feature to protect your network in the context of mobility. Their Zero Trust is an alternative to the existing VPN technology and your traffic is protected by a complex combination of advanced technologies.

You can set up your own firewall in the cloud to prevent malware and spam. The dashboard has a minimal analytics and you can check the status of your network access and requests. But one thing I tested and found a bit dubious is TLS decryption. But that depends on your balance between efficiency and protection, it's NOT about their quality of service.

The advantage of using Cloudflare Zero Trust is that you can integrate other services with it. This is where you need to find YOUR balance between efficiency and protection. If you're a technical person, you can build your website for free using a combination of Cloudflare Pages, GitLab and JAMstack like Hugo. This tech stack is exactly what I use for

Other benefits of using Cloudflare include cloud storage and video streaming. If you have a technical background, their cost-effective offerings are very attractive for delivering the content and building the data lake.

If you're not tech-savvy, you can build your website and blog with Softr and Airtable. Like Skiff, Softr lets you use your own domain for free and doesn't require any coding skills, so you can publish a landing page in minutes. This is exactly what I use for

Airtable gives you a visual database and helps you say goodbye to spreadsheet culture. It's not E2EE, but they add security features to the API keys. If you could be familiar with databases and formulas, you will have a powerful tool and a strong ability to run your business very efficiently, I promise.

When it comes to automation, I'll leave that for another time.