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AWS – Creating a place for employees to share files with WorkDocs

Amazon WorkDocs is a cloud-based document storage service that integrates seamlessly with your operating system’s file explorer. It allows you to share files and folders with coworkers, enables collaboration with inline feedback, and saves each version of your documents so you can retrieve old content that was inadvertently deleted.

How to do it…

Follow these steps to set up a WorkDocs site:

  1. Log in to your AWS account and go to the WorkDocs dashboard.
  2. Click Get Started Now, as shown in the following screenshot: 

Amazon WorkDocs
  1. Click on the  Launch button to launch the Quick Start, as shown in the following screenshot:

Get started with WorkDocs
  1. Fill out the administrative details. Use a globally unique name for the Site URL. Do not include any special characters in the URL.

WorkDocs Access Point and Administrator
  1. Click Complete Setup.
  2. It will take up to 10 minutes for the site to be provisioned.

WorkDocs site initializing
  1. When initialization is complete, you will receive an email from AWS, as shown in the following screenshot. Click the Get Started! button in the email:

WorkDocs Get Started email
  1. You will be redirected to a password creation screen. Set your password and click Update User.
  1. The next screen you see will be the WorkDocs web interface:

WorkDocs welcome screen
  1. Click the Support link in the upper-right corner and select Apps.
  2. Under DRIVE APP, select your operating system to install a client that will present your WorkDocs drive as a folder on your machine.
  3. Follow the installation instructions, start the application, and enter your WorkDocs Site URL. Log in with the credentials you created earlier and the drive should appear. If you are using macOS, you may need to make a security exception to allow the drive to be mounted.
  4. Open the drive to see two folders, one for your documents and one for documents that are shared with you:

Amazon WorkDocs Drive
  1. Go back to the WorkDocs web application, click the user icon in the upper-right corner, then click Open admin control panel.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the control panel and click Invite users.
  1. Invite any additional users to the site by adding their email addresses, as shown in the following screenshot:

Invite WorkDocs users

At this point, you know the basics of how to create and administer a WorkDocs site to allow employees to easily collaborate and securely store their documents in the cloud. Be sure to delete the site if you no longer need it, to avoid future charges.

How it works…

WorkDocs takes advantage of the security, reliability, and durability of AWS cloud-based resources to provide its functionality. The installed drive client interacts with the operating system’s filesystem API to mimic the look and feel of a mounted drive. This client sends files to and receives files from AWS in an asynchronous manner, usually within a few seconds of a file being created or changed.

There’s more…

WorkDocs can be set up to integrate with your on-premises directory via AD Connector. You can also set it up with an AWS managed Microsoft Active Directory, which can be an important part of complying with security programs such as Personal Credit Information (PCI) or FedRAMP.

Users also have the ability to log in using single sign-on (SSO).

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is also an option that can be used with WorkDocs. MFA is always a recommended option to increase the security of your user files.

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