Would You Consider a Switch to Amazon WorkMail?

Amazon is constantly making itself a more dominant presence in all things Internet with its consumer services as well as its business cloud services. Now it wants to be your email provider as well.

Amazon announced yesterday on its official blog a new product called Amazon WorkMail. Jeff Barr, who goes by the intriguing title of Senior Web Services Evangelist, wrote, “I would like to introduceAmazon WorkMail. This managed email and calendaring solution runs in the Cloud. It offers a unique set of security controls and works with your existing desktop and mobile clients (there’s also a browser-based interface). If your organization already has a directory of its own, WorkMail can make use of it via the recently introduced AWS Directory Service. If not, WorkMail will use Directory Service to create a directory for you as part of the setup process.”

The New York Times reports, “Amazon has been the leader in cloud computing, but Microsoft in particular is determined to catch up. Google is another major player, with IBM also a contender. ‘Even though there are these strong competitors, Amazon thinks there is still a market out there,’ said T. J. Keitt, an analyst with Forrester Research. ‘They can make a play based on their data center capability and security, but whether that adds up to a highly utilized offering is to be determined. It could be an uphill march.’”

The article also says, “Google declined to comment. Julie White, general manager of office marketing at Microsoft, declined to directly address Amazon’s new venture but said in a statement that Microsoft has been deeply invested in business email for 20 years. She added that Microsoft was ‘making investments to extend the power of Outlook across platforms while also delivering innovative technologies like Office Graph that powers functionality such as Office Delve and Outlook Clutter that utilize machine learning and the cloud.’”

Amazon’s Barr writes, “WorkMail was designed to work with your existing PC and Mac-based Outlook clients including the prepackaged Click-to-Run versions. It also works with mobile clients that speak theExchange ActiveSync protocol.

Our 30-day free trial will give you the time and the resources to evaluate WorkMail in your own environment. As part of the trial, you can serve up to 25 users, with 50 gigabytes of email storage per employee. In order to help you to move your organization to WorkMail, we also provide you with a mailbox migration tool.

WorkMail makes use of a number ofAWS services including Amazon WorkDocs (formerly known as Amazon Zocalo), the Directory Service, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Key Management Service (KMS), and Amazon Simple Email Service (SES).”

He explains it further, “As a WorkMail user, you have access to all of the usual email features including calendaring, calendar sharing, tasks, contact lists, distribution lists, resource booking, public folders, and out-of-office (OOF) messages.

“The browser-based interface has a full array of features. It works with a wide variety of browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and newer (IE 9 and higher) versions of Internet Explorer. The interface gives you access to email, calendars, contacts, and tasks. You can access shared calendars and public folders, book resources, and manage your OOF.

“WorkMail was designed to work in today’s data-rich, email-intensive environments. Each inbox has room for up to 50 gigabytes of messages and attachments. Messages can range in size all the way up to 30 megabytes.

“As part of this launch we are renamingAmazon Zocalo to Amazon WorkDocs! WorkMail can be used in conjunction with WorkDocs for simple, controlled distribution of documents that contain sensitive information.”

What do you think? Are you ready to trust Amazon with your organization’s email system? Has Amazon come up with a replacement for Microsoft Outlook? Comment below.

Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.