Amazon Web Services will directly compete with Microsoft's Office 365 with the launch of a new cloud-based email and calendar service targeted at businesses.
The AWS WorkMail service is being marketed as a secure solution. It will be hosted out of the company's global network of data centres, and will allow users to specify which region their email is stored in for latency and compliance purposes.
Messages, contacts, attachments and other data at rest are encrypted, and users are given the ability to control the encryption keys through Amazon's Key Management Service. Should customers choose not to manage their own keys, WorkMail messages will be encrypted with keys supplied by AWS.
Data in transit to and from Outlook clients and certain iPhone and iPad apps is encrypted using S/MIME, AWS said. Data in transit to other clients is encrypted using SSL.
WorkMail admins can opt for encryption, password protection and automatic screen locking for mobile devices, and can also remotely wipe devices that have been lost.
The service will work with existing mail and calendar tools - such as Outlook on Windows - and is expected to be made available in the second quarter of this year.
Features of the service include calendaring, calendar sharing, tasks, contact lists, distribution lists, resource booking, public folders, and out-of-office messages.
WorkMail will cost US$4 per month for a 50GB mailbox. Messages are capped at 30MB.
It will also be bundled with AWS' Zocalo file storage service - which has been renamed as WorkDocs - offering users 50GB of mail and 200GB of storage for US$6 per user.
AWS will offer a 30 day free trial in which organisations can serve up to 25 users with 50GB of email storage per employee.
WorkMail utilises AWS tools including Directory Service, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Key Management Service (KMS), and Amazon Simple Email Service (SES).
A preview of WorkMail opened today to users in AWS' Europe and US East regions.