What Does Amazon's New Cloud Email Offering Mean for Government?

WorkMail, the latest addition to Amazon Web Services' suite of cloud tools, is not marketed to public-sector clients -- but it may have everything government needs.

by / February 9, 2015

The Amazon cloud is expanding.

This spring, Amazon Web Services (AWS) will launch a new cloud email service called WorkMail. And though it is not specifically branded as a government cloud like those products on offer by Microsoft and Google, Amazon’s newest addition to AWS is priming the online wholesaler for market contention.  

WorkMail demonstrates an expanding suite of cloud services from Amazon, as it follows the launch of managed desktop computing service WorkSpaces, and document collaboration and file storage service Zocalo. 

According to Amazon, WorkMail will include such features as active directory integration, CJIS-compliant security, Outlook integration, a “feature-rich” Web client, mobile device management (MDM), spam and virus protection, 50 GB maximum storage space per mailbox, and a migration tool. WorkMail will cost $4 per user per month, or $6 per user per month if bundled with Zocalo.

Though a young product and not yet out of the preview phase, WorkMail appears to be comparable to market competitors, said Onvia Market Analyst Lyndon Dacuan.

“Amazon seems to be in line and offering the security features that state and local agencies are requesting,” he added. “One of the things that we have studied recently is the move to BYOD and how that creates a need for mobile device security, and they do say specifically that they do have a MDM feature, which is pretty highly sought-after.”

Everyone knows the cloud is a huge trend in government, Dacuan said, but analysis conducted using the Onvia Project Center indicates that 2015 could be a banner year. State, local, federal and education budgets around the nation have 831 mentions of cloud projects, an increase from 487 actual cloud projects in 2014, and 392 in 2013.

Dacuan pointed to an upgrade by Nebraska's city of Omaha and Douglas County as a prototypical enterprise cloud email procurement. They were looking for cloud email, calendaring, chat and document collaboration, she said, along with pre-inbox email security scanning, outbox email scanning, and migration support and management.

“Amazon’s WorkMail functionality seems to meet typical agency needs, “ he said. “There might be agencies out there that need something more specific, but it seems to fit.”

WorkMail is available for free preview before the product’s official launch.

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.

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