lucadp - Fotolia


WorkDocs replaces Zocalo as AWS file sharing platform

Amazon WorkDocs offers much of the same functionality as other file-sharing services. While its security features may offer a slight edge over others, it's still trying to find its audience.

The AWS product once called Zocalo has changed its name to Amazon WorkDocs. The file-sharing system lets end users comment on files, send them to others for feedback and upload new versions without needing to email multiple versions of their files as attachments. Moreover, Amazon WorkDocs users can take advantage of these capabilities wherever they are, using most devices to access the AWS file sharing service.

Amazon WorkDocs grants IT administrators the ability to integrate with existing corporate directories, gives them access to sharing policies and audit logs, and allows them to control where data is stored.

If this sounds like all of the other file sharing services -- such as Dropbox, Google Docs and Box -- you're right. Since the release of Amazon WorkDocs, the service has had trouble finding an audience.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) has been a huge hit over the last five years; AWS knows its way around storage. However, the file sharing market is really measured by the software used to manage files, not the storage systems. In fact, DropBox operates using S3, putting an easy-to-use layer of software on top to make file sharing seamless for those among us who are less geeky and more functional.

Upon first glance, the use cases for the AWS file sharing service are pretty much the same as the other file sharing services. However, WorkDocs is more collaboration- and security-aware than others. For example, users can create sharing policies around files, as well as logging. Users can even specify where files will be stored to remain compliant with laws around where data can exist.

The AWS file sharing product, WorkDocs, is more of a business-oriented system than others, but even those have taken steps to make file sharing more business friendly. For instance, Dropbox Business gives IT admins audit logs and controls to restrict access, while remote wipe secures data if a device is lost. Users can also connect a personal Dropbox account to a work account, so vacation photos stay separate from sales presentations.

Should your business consider Amazon WorkDocs? As file-sharing systems go, it provides the functionality that most businesses need. However, there are roughly a dozen file-sharing systems that provide the same basic services. Google Drive may be a better choice for collaboration, as users can work on documents at the same time. DropBox may be an easier choice for businesses simply looking to share files, because staffers might already be using it in their personal lives.

While Amazon WorkDocs offers a 30-day free trial with 200 GB of storage per user for up to 50 users, it still needs to catch up with the competition.

Next Steps

Amazon Zocalo (WorkDocs) similar to other collaboration tools

What is the future of enterprise file-sharing apps?

Get accurate results from cloud file-sharing services

Dig Deeper on AWS business applications