Amazon Launches Cloud E-mail Service to Compete with Enterprise Providers

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) has officially launched its Amazon WorkMail service after a lengthy preview, offering a challenge to traditional enterprise e-mail providers.

In targeting the enterprise, WorkMail provides a managed calendaring and e-mail service that can work with in-house solutions, such as Microsoft Outlook, Web-based services or iOS and Android mobile apps. It's also compatible with Microsoft Active Directory, enabling Microsoft Outlook users to sign into WorkMail through their client using their existing corporate credentials.

With security always a top concern in organizations, WorkMail provides security features and controls such as location control, encryption of stored data, and message scanning for spam and virus protection, along with policies and actions for controlling mobile devices, AWS spokesperson Jeff Barr said in a blog post this week.

"Today, businesses face a difficult choice when it comes to e-mail," AWS said when it announced the preview early last year. "Hosting e-mail on-premises requires expensive hardware, complex software licensing and ongoing maintenance work. Existing cloud e-mail services may help with some of these problems, but they either don't offer the security features businesses require (like strong encryption key management and full control over data location), don't integrate with existing corporate directories, or don't support popular Microsoft Outlook features like shared calendaring. Now, Amazon WorkMail delivers the simplicity and on-demand access of a managed cloud service that works with popular e-mail clients and also has the security controls enterprises need."

Barr this week said WorkMail capabilities have been expanded and improved during a nearly year-long preview, improving those aforementioned security controls, along with ease of use and migration. Other enhancements include integration with AWS Key Management Service (KMS), ISO certifications, easier setup, support for additional clients and more.

More improvements are on tap, Barr said. "We are working on interoperability support that will allow users of Amazon WorkMail to benefit from a single Global Address Book, and to access free/busy calendar information across both environments," he said, promising more information to come on that front. "We are also working on an e-mail journaling feature. This feature will allow you to use your existing e-mail archiving system to capture and preserve all Amazon WorkMail communication."

The service costs $4 per user per month, with 50GB of mailbox storage allotted per user. A 30-day free trial is available for up to 25 users.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.