Your next office meeting might get a little scheduling help from Amazon, if the online retailer has its way. That's because Amazon announced it is expanding its services to include a suite of e-mail, contacts and calendar-booking resources designed with enterprise clients in mind.
Called Amazon WorkMail, the services will allow workers to use applications and clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, a Web browser, or the native iOS and Android apps, to connect with its offering. Amazon said it would provide the services to enterprise clients who won't have to buy any hardware or complex e-mail server software. The company said Amazon WorkMail can integrate with existing corporate directories and has enterprise-level security features.
Better Security Than Cloud-Based Email
Amazon is positioning WorkMail, which is being sold through its Amazon Web Services division, as a tool for companies that don't want to host e-mail services on their on-premises servers, but need more security features than are available on existing cloud e-mail services.
The company said it would offer strong encryption key management and full control over data location, major selling points for many IT departments. Enterprise clients will also be able to pay only for the individual mailboxes they create, a potentially critical feature for smaller companies.
“Customers have repeatedly asked us for a business e-mail and calendaring service that is more cost-effective and simpler to manage than their on-premises solution, more secure than the cloud-based offerings available today, and that is backed by the same best-in-class infrastructure platform on which they’re reliably running so many of their current (and future) workloads,” said Peter De Santis, Vice President, AWS Compute Services.
Customizable Security Policies
The company is hoping Amazon WorkMail can attract the attention of IT administrators by reducing the cost and complexity of corporate e-mail systems. In addition to eliminating the need for software licensing, Amazon said WorkMail would eliminate the need for IT departments to upgrade, patch or back up their systems.
WorkMail will also provide better security and privacy controls than cloud-based e-mail services, Amazon said. Customers will retain full control over the locations of their data by choosing the AWS Region where their data is stored. All data in transit is encrypted using industry-standard SSL, and Amazon WorkMail is integrated with the AWS Key Management Service so that customers control their own encryption keys.
The new service will also enforce whatever security policies are requested by the customer for users’ mobile devices via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Among other specifications, businesses will be able to require device encryption, require that devices lock, specify requirements for device password strength, and wipe devices remotely using the AWS Management Console.
Administrators will also be able to integrate WorkMail into their existing Microsoft Active Directory so that users can access their new mailboxes with their existing corporate credentials. The service will include a migration tool for administrators who want to migrate mailboxes from on-premises e-mail severs to WorkMail.