Amazon previews Zocalo enterprise-grade cloud collaboration service

Cloud computing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has begun previewing a new storage and sharing service intended to deliver a secure enterprise-grade document collaboration platform for workers using a variety of devices, including PCs, Macs, and tablets.

Currently available only as a limited preview, Amazon Zocalo is pitched as a fully-managed, secure storage and sharing service with strong administrative controls, enabling users to comment on files and send them to others for feedback, without becoming mired down with multiple versions of files being passed backwards and forwards as email attachments.

Zocalo would appear to be a rival for numerous existing store-and-share services such as Dropbox – or even Google Docs and Microsoft’s SharePoint platform. Amazon is pitching its service as being less complex and less costly than the competition, with pricing starting at $5 (£3) per user per month, including 200GB of storage.

Noah Eisner, Amazon’s general manager for Zocalo said customers had said they were fed up with the cost, complexity, and performance of existing document and collaboration management tools.

“AWS was increasingly being asked to provide an enterprise storage and sharing tool that was easy to use, allowed users to quickly collaborate with others and met the strict security needs of their organisations. That’s what Amazon Zocalo was built to do,” he said.

According to AWS, Zocalo lets users share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, webpages, images, PDFs, or text files, and add and see comments on these types of documents.

For mobile users, access to Zocalo is via a free application available for the Apple iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets, as well as via a web browser.

Meanwhile, desktop sync applications are available for Windows PCs and Macs, providing a fast and easy way to access files stored in Zocalo via a folder on the computer. Currently, only Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.7 or later are supported.

For administrators, Amazon Zocalo can integrate with an organisation’s Active Directory infrastructure, meaning that end users can continue to use their existing enterprise credentials for authentication.

For security, all data stored in Amazon Zocalo is encrypted both during transit and at rest, according to Amazon, and administrators can set policies to control user sharing behaviour as well as choose the AWS Region where data is stored. Audit logs allow an admin to review file and user activity.

Amazon said that customers can get started using Zocalo with a 30-day free trial that provides 200GB of storage per user for up to 50 users. However, customers need to have an AWS account to set up and manage the service.

Additionally, Amazon is offering Zocalo to subscribers of its Workspaces cloud-based Windows desktop service for no extra charge. This includes 50GB of storage per user with the option to upgrade to 200GB for $2 per month.

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