Zocalo Steals the Show at AWS Summit in New York

Zocalo is the new file sharing collaboration tool now being offered by Amazon Web Services. The robust suite is a direct response to feedback received from IT professionals. Technology staffs all around the world indicated what they liked and did not like about their current corporate cloud sharing tools. Amazon listened to this feedback and they have presented to corporate world with Zocalo.

Noah Eisner, the GM of Amazon Zocalo, reiterates that, “Customers have told us that they’re fed up with the cost, complexity, and performance of their existing old-guard enterprise document and collaboration management tools. AWS was increasingly being asked to provide an enterprise storage and sharing tool that was easy to use, allowed users to quickly collaborate with others, and met the strict security needs of their organizations. That’s what Amazon Zocalo was built to do.”

When it comes down to it, pricing is the key motivator for IT decision makers. Zocalo makes sense for corporate environments because of the simple and affordable licensing agreement. For only $5 per user per month, Zocalo users are provided with 200GBs of storage space. If you currently lease an Amazon Workspace in the cloud, you are eligible to use Zocalo for free. The only caveat is that Amazon Workspace users only get 50GBs of space for Zocalo whereas paying members get up to 200GBs per user.

Zocalo can be setup to use Active Directory to authenticate users into Zocalo. This feature means your end users will not have to remember separate login credentials because their domain credentials will allow them to login from any desktop or mobile device from anywhere in the world. Zocalo’s key functionality revolves around document and media control.

For corporate clients who must keep their data in a certain country or region due to laws, Zocalo has your compliance concerns covered. Zocalo was designed to give administrators maximum control over their corporate data and where it is physically located. Documents that are being collaborated upon can be setup to have internal deadlines. Zocalo also provides administrators with granular control over access privileges giving administrators total control over the Zocalo experience.

Some of Zocalo’s features include:

  • Flexible document storage and sharing: Users can share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, webpages, images, PDFs, or text files.
  • Access from any device: User can synchronize files using the Amazon Zocalo Sync client, which automatically uploads to Zocalo.
  • Optimized Tablet Access: The Amazon Zocalo tablet application increases user productivity by allowing them to access files and leave feedback on the go.
  • Simple feedback: Users can easily manage feedback on their documents by setting optional deadlines for feedback. They can also track files they have sent out for review. Users are notified by email if requested to leave feedback.
  • Central file hub: This platform allows users to access and track files and documents they are either working on, requesting for feedback or reviewing from one location. This makes collaboration a lot easier.

For administration control, Zocalo offers:

  • Security: Amazon Zocalo encrypts data as it is being uploaded as well as in storage. Administrators can use Amazon Zocalo Management Console to limit storage limit and manage who has access to files by using audit logs to track file and user activity by time, IP address, and device in addition to regulating file sharing outside the organization. Similarly, users can regulate access to their file and disable downloads.
  • Integration with corporate directory: Organizations can integrate their existing Active Directory with Amazon Zocalo to allow users to access Zocalo using their existing Active Directory.

Zocalo is entering into a niche with several pioneers like Dropbox, box, Huddle, Google Docs and Microsoft SharePoint Online. Zocalo has borrowed many features from Dropbox and Box however, Dropbox is its main competitor considering they used Amazon S3 to host their service for a number of years.

Zocalo will allow users sync, which means they will not need Microsoft Office to edit files or the need to email revised documents. This is not surprising as Dropbox launched Project Harmony in April this year, which offers the same functionality. In addition, users can collaborate on other Office documents like Excel and PowerPoint. Furthermore, Dropbox allows all users to access two storage compartments, personal and professional, through Dropbox for Business – a feature it launched early this month.

Box, on the other hand, has an application called box edit that has a similar editing functionality.

Zocalo, however, is determined to differentiate itself from its competitors by branding itself as a user-friendly service.

AWS presented Zocalo as a cheaper option in comparison to the prices and storage capacity offered by their competitors. Box charges $5 per month per user for 100GB storage with 2GB maximum file size while Dropbox charges $9.99 per month per user for 100G storage capacity.

If other enterprise file sharing service providers respond by lowering their prices, struggling Box startup may be in trouble especially with their pending Initial Public Offering. However, Box CEO Aaron Levie sounded optimistic, calling this niche “untapped” in response to the launch of Zocalo via email saying, “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the cloud content category, and Amazon’s entry underscores the scale of the market opportunity. Amazon Zocalo looks like a useful service for file storage and sharing.” He added, “At Box, we’re laser focused on offering the security, scalability, collaboration and cross-platform support that enterprises require to be more productive and competitive across workforces of hundreds of thousands of employees.”

Besides Google Docs, which is a free service for Gmail users, Microsoft SharePoint Online is the cheapest on the block at just $3 monthly fee per user.