Source: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States [CC BY]

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has acquired encrypted messaging service Wickr for an undisclosed amount, beginning the foray of the e-commerce giant into the real on encrypted messaging and providing services to government and military groups and enterprises.

Wickr confirmed the acquisition via a notice on their website.

Wickr will continue to be operated by AWS as the secure communications services will offer its service to AWS customers effective immediately, according to a blog post by Stephen Schmidt, vice-president, Amazon Web Services.

“We’re excited to share that AWS has acquired Wickr, an innovative company that has developed the industry’s most secure, end-to-end encrypted, communication technology,” Schmidt wrote, adding that Wickr’s features give “security-conscious enterprises and government agencies the ability to implement important governance and security controls to help them meet their compliance requirements.” Wickr, which has raised nearly $60 million in funding, claims to be the only “collaboration service” which met the security criteria set down by the NSA.

Wickr was one of the first to roll out encrypted and disappearing messaging before WhatsApp and Signal mirrored the concept, and unsurprisingly, it shot up into prominence for its advanced security features and zero trust platform design. It counts the US Department of Defence among its customers.

The blog post read, “Today, public sector customers use Wickr for a diverse range of missions, from securely communicating with office-based employees to providing service members at the tactical edge with encrypted communications. Enterprise customers use Wickr to keep communications between employees and business partners private while remaining compliant with regulatory requirements.”

Where does AWS, with revenues of $13.5 billion in the last quarter, come into this? Amazon might look to offer Wickr to expand its portfolio of communication, collaboration, and productivity services, using it as a business service, or use it to “messaging-as-a-service” for other companies to use in their apps. It can also use Wickr, which claims to be the “most secure” video conferencing and collaboration platform, and uses end-to-end encryption, to build a new consumer messaging app, or build more services connected to Amazon Echo.

Coming at a time when AWS is locked in a battle with Microsoft over the multibillion-dollar JEDI contract, Amazon feels that the need for secure communications was accelerating. That is logical, since the shift to online platforms due to the pandemic has been an unprecedented event, and security is a matter of importance now more than ever.

Schmidt said that enterprises and government agencies have a growing desire to protect their communications across many remote locations as the shift has come to hybrid work environments. “Wickr’s secure communications solutions help enterprises and government organizations adapt to this change in their workforces and are a welcome addition to the growing set of collaboration and productivity services that AWS offers customers and partners.”