Amazon has announced general availability of its WorkMail managed calendar and email service that looks set to be a rival for Microsoft's Office 365 and the business-grade version of Google's Gmail.
Amazon WorkMail was unveiled as a preview almost a year ago, offering business users a secure, managed email and calendar service hosted on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform, and accessible via commonly available desktop and mobile clients.
The company has now announced that the service is fully available from three AWS regions - US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon) and Europe (Ireland) - starting at $4 per user per month for 50GB of mailbox storage.
Amazon claims that WorkMail has a number of advantages over other mail services in that it requires no upfront investment and features simple pay-as-you-go pricing. Potential customers can evaluate the service for free with a 30-day trial for up to 25 users.
Even as a preview release, WorkMail supported capabilities such as Location Control, enabling customers to choose the specific AWS region where user mailboxes are stored, integration with existing corporate directory services, and encryption of data at rest and in transit.
However, Amazon has added to the features supported by WorkMail during its year-long preview, with new capabilities focusing on security, ease of use and data migration.
The latter comes in the form of a migration tool that enables customers to move existing Microsoft Exchange mailbox data onto Amazon WorkMail, and can be run from Amazon WorkSpaces, on an AWS EC2 instance running Windows, or on Windows computers on the customer's own network.
Other capabilities are also in the pipeline, according to AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr.
"We are working on interoperability support that will allow users of WorkMail to benefit from a single Global Address Book, and to access free/busy calendar information across both environments. I'll have more information on this feature in the near future," Barr wrote on the AWS Official Blog.
"We are also working on an email journaling feature. This will allow you to use your existing email archiving system to capture and preserve all WorkMail communication."
Other capabilities include additional client support for Apple systems running OS X, including Apple Mail and Outlook. WorkMail's support for the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol means that it can already be accessed from devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10, as well as via a browser.
Integration with the AWS Key Management Service now means that administrators can create and manage the keys used to encrypt data at rest, giving them further control over the security of their data.
Amazon has also managed to achieve ISO 27001, ISO 27017 and ISO 27018 certifications for WorkMail, Barr said.
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