AWS – Hosting your company’s email with WorkMail

Amazon WorkMail is a full-featured host for your company’s email, contacts, and calendar. It is compatible with common email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook and the iOS email app. At just $4 per user per month, it can be a very cost-effective alternative to more expensive email systems. Users also have the option of using a browser to access their WorkMail account directly.

WorkMail manages patching, security, backups, and audit logs for your company’s email, without any complex configuration or manual intervention.

How to do it…

In this recipe, you will set up WorkMail for a single user to demonstrate its capabilities.

  1. Log in to your AWS account and go to the WorkMail dashboard. Click the Get started button.
  2. In this recipe, we will use the Quick setup option:

WorkMail Quick setup
  1. On the next screen, give your organization a unique name:

WorkMail Organization name
  1. Click Create. Provisioning can take a few minutes.
  2. Once the organization is active, click on the alias link to go to the user provisioning screen.
  3. Click Create user and add your own user details for testing.
  4. Give the user a default password on the next screen and click Add user.
  5. Go to the left-hand menu and click Organization setting s:

WorkMail Organization settings
  1. Click the web application link to launch the browser-based email client for your domain.
  2. Log in with the credentials you just created.
  1. Click the letter icon to see your inbox:

WorkMail Inbox
  1. Click the calendar icon to see your calendar:

WorkMail Calendar
  1. Click the contact icon to see your contacts:

WorkMail Contacts
  1. Use the interface to send yourself an email, create a calendar entry, and add a few contacts to get the feel for it. As you can see, it is a full-featured email environment.
  2. Inspect the other tabs available on the Organization settings screen:
    • Monitoring: Store events in CloudWatch.
    • Migration: Configure Exchange migration.
    • Journaling: Configure an email address to receive a copy of all emails sent in your organization.
    • Interoperability: Set up integration between WorkMail and Exchange.
    • SMTP Gateways: Route outbound email through an SMTP appliance.
    • Inbound Rules: Set up inbound rules based on domains and addresses.
    • Outbound Rules: Set up outbound rules based on domains and addresses.

You now have a basic understanding of how to configure Amazon WorkMail. If you do not plan to keep using the organization you just created, remove it and delete the user directory, to avoid any future charges.

How it works…

You can create and maintain your own user directory in WorkMail, or you can leverage your on-premises directory of users so that you don’t have to maintain them in two places. This is possible with both AD Connector and Microsoft AD running on AWS. It’s also possible to integrate with an on-premises Exchange server.

WorkMail takes advantage of Amazon’s cloud capabilities to keep storage costs low, make your data durable, secure it with services such as KMS, and save a journal of your email to meet your compliance needs.

Like every AWS service, WorkMail comes complete with an API and SDK to give you complete programmatic control and flexibility to implement custom functionality.

There’s more…

Are you interested in migrating your email to Amazon WorkMail to save money and lower your administrative burden? Amazon has partnered with audriga and Transcend to offer a complete migration solution. Check out their offerings at the following links:


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