Amazon Rolls Out Zocalo File-Sharing Service

Amazon said Thursday that Zocalo, its recently unveiled file-sharing service for enterprises, is now generally available to all AWS users.

Zocalo offers managed and secure document storage and sharing in the cloud. The enterprise-grade service has been available to some customers since July as part of a limited preview release.

While AWS is the dominant force in IaaS, claiming roughly the same market share as its next four largest competitors combined, Zocalo enters a segment of the cloud-services market that is intensely competitive. Box, Dropbox for Business, Google Drive and Egnyte, are some of the vendors vying for business subscribers.

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Jeff Barr, Amazon chief cloud evangelist, said in an AWS blog post Zocalo was partly born out of Amazon's desire to create a document hub that could be used internally. Amazon employees, including himself, needed functionality to add structure to a process of document drafting, editing and revising often accomplished through their email inboxes.

Amazon's enterprise customers had also been asking for a secure storage and sharing solution, Barr wrote in the blog post.

Zocalo allows the owner of a document to selectively share it with others from within or outside an organization, request feedback, and even impose deadlines.

"Zocalo gives you simple, straightforward access to your documents anytime and from anywhere, regardless of location or device. Zocalo supports versioned review and markup of a multitude of document types, and was designed to allow security-conscious administrators to control and audit access to accounts and documents," Barr wrote.

Users can link the centralized user management functionality to their Active Directory and exercise tight controls over sharing. They can even forbid downloading for extra protection, Barr noted.

Zocolo presents specific functionality to a document owner, a document reviewer or an administrator. The intent is to prevent boundaries from becoming accidentally blurred, according to Barr.

All documents are stored in a designated AWS Region, recommended to be the closest geographically to limit latency, and transmitted in encrypted form.

Washington Leon-Jordan, director of enterprise software and system integration for New York-based, born-in-the-cloud solution provider Nimbo, told CRN the release of Zocalo is nothing short of an industry-changing event.

"Businesses can now take advantage of their own cloud file-sharing service at a fraction of the cost of already established services or prohibitively expensive on-premise alternatives," Leon-Jordan told CRN.

"Having Zocalo as part of the AWS ecosystem of services provides the added benefit of combining multiple AWS offerings to create yet even more innovative solutions," he said.

The Zocalo client application can be installed on PCs running Windows 7 or MacOS 10.7 or later. Files saved to a designated sync folder will automatically be uploaded to Zocalo across an encrypted connection and synced to other devices. Those files can then be accessed from multiple devices, including many of the most popular tablets.