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January 25, 2019

Amazon WorkLink: Create a Self-Destructing Copy of Your Web Content

Solution being offered as a fully managed service

By CBR Staff Writer

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has rolled out a new way for enterprise employees to access secure internal corporate websites from their own personal devices.

With WorkLink, a copy of the company’s website is transported to a worker’s device. A secure web browser situated in the cloud recreates the web page content as a fully interactive graphical representation.

An employee can then access this content through the web browser on their device. However, the company web page content they are viewing is not streamed from the cloud, instead it is a data package embedded onto the employee’s device. Once they have viewed the content and closed the browser tab the content is destroyed.

Enterprises currently use a number of security techniques when they enable workers to access secure company sites. Mostly common is Mobile Device Management which registers all devices and monitors anything connected to the network, this method can be time consuming for IT teams.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are also used, but this often requires the employee to set up custom browsers and security features themselves.

“When talking with customers, all of them expressed frustration that their workers don’t have an easy and secure way to access internal content, which means that their employees either waste time or don’t bother trying to access content that would make them more productive,” wrote Peter Hill, Vice President of Productivity Applications at AWS in the announcement.

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Amazon WorkLink A Manipulable Corporate Website Copy in Your Pocket

Amazon WorkLink is not directly connecting employees to an enterprise’s secured networks or internal webpage. Instead it takes that content and a sends it to a browser hosted in AWS’s cloud infrastructure. There it is converted into a fully interactive simple vector graphics simulacrum of the chosen content.

This graphical representation is then pushed out to the worker’s phone where they can access it using their own internet browser. The content is not streamed from the cloud, instead it is delivered as an embedded package. The copied content is formatted so that it responds to common manipulations’ such as pinching, typing and scrolling.

As it is delivered as package that essentially self-destructs upon use, it reduces the risk of sensitive content being accessed in the event of a workers personal device going missing. Amazon claims that devices using WorkLink will consume less bandwidth as they will no longer have to process HTML, style sheets and JavaScript Files.

Also, since the content is displayed as graphical representation no company data is been cached or stored on the device.

Currently WorkLink only works with iOS 12+, with Android 6+ compatibility expected to be rolled-out at a later date. Somewhat oddly, on launch it works with a Safari browser, but not Chrome, with support for Chrome said to ‘follow in the coming weeks.’

Mickey Davis VP of Managed Workplace Services at Unisys commented in Amazon’s release: “With Amazon WorkLink, end users can securely perform important tasks – such as resolving customer support requests, reviewing important business reports and approving budget requests or expense reports – in seconds using just their phones. We are testing Amazon WorkLink at Unisys to access our training wiki and trouble ticketing system.”

See Also: Why the Linux Foundation’s New Project May Prove Transformative

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