Amazon is gunning for a slice of the business productivity market with a hosted email and calendar service that can be accessed via Microsoft Outlook or any other mail client that supports Microsoft's Exchange Activesync protocol.
WorkMail is currently available as a preview in the US East (Northern Virginia) and Europe (Ireland) regions served by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Companies in these regions can sign up today to test the service.
WorkMail was designed to work with the existing PC- and Mac-based Outlook clients that many organisations will already be using, including the pre-packaged Click-to-Run versions.
The use of Microsoft's Exchange Activesync protocol means that it supports browser-based access and will work with many third-party mail clients.
Prospective customers can sign up for a free 30-day trial, supporting up to 25 users with 50GB of email storage each.
After this, pricing is on a per-user, pay-as-you-go basis, according to Amazon, starting at $4 per month for a 50GB mailbox, or $6 per month for a bundle that includes WorkMail and WorkDocs.
WorkDocs is the new name for Amazon's Zocalo file storage and document collaboration service launched last year.
AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr announced WorkMail on the company's official blog, saying that the new service includes security features and controls that allow it to meet the needs of many types of organisation.
These include Location Control, which offers the ability to choose where specific AWS region user mailboxes are stored, and encryption of data at rest and in transit.
A WorkMail administrator can also apply policies and actions, such as selectively requiring encryption, and enforcing password protection and automatic screen locking for mobile devices.
The administrator can also remotely wipe a lost or stolen device if necessary, Barr said.
In addition, WorkMail can integrate with an organisation's corporate directory via the firm's recently introduced AWS Directory Service, or use Directory Service to create a directory for the customer as part of the set-up process.
"You can use your existing directory or you can have WorkMail set one up for you," Barr explained.
"You can send and receive email through your existing domain name by adding a TXT record (for verification of ownership) and an MX record (to route the mail to WorkMail to your existing DNS configuration)."
WorkMail also makes use of other AWS services including Identity and Access Management, Key Management Service and Amazon Simple Email Service.
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