Desktop and Application Streaming

AWS Announces the General Availability of Amazon WorkSpaces Web

We consistently hear from our customers that they are migrating critical workloads from legacy applications to cloud based, SaaS web applications. Unlike traditional desktop or mobile application development, web applications are often easier to build and support, they can offer nearly zero downtime, they can deliver better performance for geographically distributed users who may not be collocated alongside internal servers, and they can be accessed on any device with a web browser. As a result, many end users in groups across the enterprise like sales, human resources, and customer support only require access to a connected web browser to be productive. While this model simplifies application management, enterprises can still be susceptible to risks inherent to remote devices. Legacy solutions like VPN can provide overly permissive access which, if compromised, can be used by malicious actors to pivot to other internal systems. Security teams struggle to detect or prevent attacks with unknown signatures packaged in web content, have concerns about company IP being stored on remote devices, and users may be connecting from outdated and potentially insecure browser clients.

Today at re:Invent, we announced the General Availability of Amazon WorkSpaces Web. WorkSpaces Web is a new capability from our End User Computing suite – a low cost, fully managed WorkSpace built specifically to facilitate secure, web-based workloads. WorkSpaces Web makes it easy for customers to safely provide their employees with access to internal websites and SaaS web applications without the administrative burden of appliances or specialized client software. WorkSpaces Web provides simple policy tools tailored for user interactions, while offloading common tasks like capacity management, scaling, and maintaining browser images.

How WorkSpaces Web Facilitates Browser-Based Workloads

With Amazon WorkSpaces Web, corporate data never resides on remote devices. Web sites are rendered in an isolated container in AWS, and pixel streamed to the user. The isolated browsing session provides an effective barrier against attacks packaged in web content and prevents potentially compromised end user devices from ever connecting with internal servers. Every session launches a fresh, always up to date, non persistent web browser. WorkSpaces Web supports enterprise controls that allow administrators to set browser policies (e.g., set default home page, bookmarks, enable/disable extensions, allow/deny list specific URLs, or any of Chrome’s 300+ policies) and user settings (e.g. clipboard, file transfer, or local printer controls). When the session is complete, the browser instance is terminated, ensuring sensitive corporate web content is never outside enterprise control.

WorkSpaces Web’s user experience is simple, intuitive, and available on any desktop or tablet device with a web browser. An administrator just needs to share the portal URL with end users, either by adding it to their SAML2.0 application gateway or distributing the URL to users. Users navigate to their WorkSpaces Web Portal URL with their local browser and sign in with their existing SAML identity. WorkSpaces Web users then browse just as they normally would, with broad site compatibility and access to all of the features they would expect within their browser.

WorkSpaces Web provisions browser sessions for users on demand, automatically. AWS manages the capacity and scaling, so customers do not need to specify the instances, size their fleet, predict usage, or create and manage complex scaling logic. WorkSpaces Web automatically updates to the latest browser version, eliminating the need for customers to update and manage browser images.

How Customers are Using WorkSpaces Web

Centerfield is a cutting-edge digital marketing and sales technology company headquartered in the heart of Silicon Beach, with additional offices in New York, Boston, Florida, and Jamaica. The growing organization continues to impact the AdTech space by providing end-to-end customer acquisition services and analytics and piloted WorkSpaces Web as a solution to support users from the contact center.

“Many of our users just need access to select websites in order to be fully productive. We had the chance to pilot WorkSpaces Web during beta and are excited about its potential. We tried device management to support BYOD but always dealt with configuration issues. When we moved to virtualization, we found the cost structure and administration required was excessive for web-based workloads. WorkSpaces Web was easy for us to get up and running, we didn’t have to deploy a client to the user’s device, and the service is fully managed – so there’s no capacity or scaling to manage. We added our browser policies and we were up and running. AWS even keeps the browser images up to date on the most recent versions for us. We are excited about what WorkSpaces Web has to offer,” said Ervin Sala, VP of IT at Centerfield.

SynchroNet is an AWS Advanced+ Consulting Partner focused exclusively on End User Computing solutions like Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0. SynchroNet has implemented more AWS EUC deployments globally than any other partner. SynchroNet partnered with AWS to pilot the WorkSpaces Web beta and shared their thoughts on the service.

“Enterprises are leveraging virtual desktops for users to access the most modern computing technologies, anywhere, at anytime. But at the same time many workloads are shifting from the traditional desktop to web-based SaaS applications. There are users that need access to cutting edge SaaS application, but can do so from a web browser. And there are users who work in roles without a traditional desktop (e.g., the factory floor, field technicians, etc.) that just need browser access to a handful of internal websites. Customers may not be in a position to rewrite and externalize every internal website, which can lead to pent up demand for access. We partnered with AWS and had the opportunity to try WorkSpaces Web during beta. We’re excited because WorkSpaces Web has the potential to be the first step in a cloud-first workspace. It can address customers’ distributed workforce and security needs on any device and SynchroNet is ready to help customers get started with WorkSpaces Web today.” – Bryan Luce, GM of End User Computing.

Pricing and Regional Availability

WorkSpaces Web offers low, predictable, pay as you go pricing. Customers pay only a low, monthly price for employees who actively use the service, eliminating the risk of over-buying. There are no up-front costs, licenses, or long-term commitments. WorkSpaces Web is now available in Northern Virginia, Oregon, and Dublin and will be coming to additional regions in 2022.

Get Started

To get started with WorkSpaces Web you can visit the Amazon WorkSpaces console and select WorkSpaces Web. To create a web portal, simply federate your existing SAML2.0 identity provider and connect WorkSpaces Web with your Amazon VPC that can reach the internet and your internal company websites. You can then customize the browser policies and user settings for your portal.

Learn more at Amazon WorkSpaces Web

For more on EUC re:Invent 2021 see our “Guide to re:Invent”.