Computers connected with each other within a company with no access to the public networks are called intranets. Every enterprise, whether small or large, needs an intranet in place to share information and work in collaboration.
Files and resources are shared in an intranet. Computers are connected with network cables and infrastructure is designed on the IP model. The same protocols of network communications are used to implement an intranet, but with restrictions to access for company’s data and internal information.
Companies’ internal websites
Intranet could be websites within the company with access to restricted users. Only employees or contractors of that organization have an access to these websites and network resources. An intranet streamlines collaborations of all the business processes for every project.
Firewall and other network security tools are provided to protect data and information of the company. A separate content management system is implemented to document and archive processes and procedures for every project. This also includes updating knowledge base and eBooks related to the project.
Tools and applications in an intranet
A corporate can have internal social networking applications, such as, messengers, forums, forms, etc. This is to ensure smoother communication within the company. The search application developed on the intranet indexes and retrieves data upon request.
An intranet has a homepage, with a login id and password that is unique to every employee in the organization. This is also available on the mobile platform. All the tools and applications of the intranet can also be accessed on the mobile platform that is integrated with the IP of the companies’ gateway.
Security and access restrictions
Every user in the company is allotted a certain amount of access to resources and data. Depending upon the project as well as the designation of the employees, this limit is set. This is done for security as well as to enhance the productivity within the organization. Doing so also prevents wastage of network resources and bandwidth.
Extranet is for outside access
Suppliers, vendors, partners, etc can access public resources of the company via the extranet website. They do not have access to the internal resources or data of the company. It is a part of the intranet that has limited public access. It is more of an extension of the intranet of the company.
Any computer with a standard configuration can access an extranet website or an application. Data encryption and user authentication are used to allow access to the extranet. Extranet can also be purchased from a service provider who maintains the same for your company.
When is extranet useful
A company that wants to collaborate with clients to show demos, execute applications, share presentations, and give access to repository needs an extranet. The main objective is to collaborate for a project, automate processes, and communication via a single, well structured platform.
Materials pertaining to training and development, eBooks, catalogues, etc that are made available to customers and clients need an extranet application. Security is paramount here, as any loophole can give unauthorized access to the internal and confidential resources of the company.
Expensive to implement
There are different cost effective models to implement an intranet as well as an extranet. Companies need to be careful in selecting a security solution provider which encrypts and protects the way data is communicated within and outside the company through public domains. They are compatible with almost all the browser platforms and operating systems. They are user friendly and easily navigable.
Customization of tools and techniques
The intranet as well as extranet solution can be integrated with any internet applications, such as, Outlook, etc. Project timelines are set and managed through an extranet website. Project resources are shared with the employees and the clients.
Customer support is also provided with an extranet application. For instance, Microsoft’s SharePoint is a server based suite of applications that can be used for customizing intranet, extranet, and also web applications.
This integrated server suite that comes with many inbuilt capabilities can speed up the process for any project. Content management that supports all formats of content is made available for intranet, extranet, as well as the internet.
Clients and customers do not need technical expertise
To be able to access and collaborate via extranet applications, the clients do not need technical training. Their user profiles are created and securely stored in the database. The site administrator can grant access to the resources and tools that are specifically applicable to that particular project only.
For instance, the client has no access to the files of the company that they will not be working on. Only the site administrator can limit or grant access to the clients, vendors, customers, partners, and people outside the company.
Yet another need for an extranet
When the company wants to make announcements, display offers, or change the terms and conditions, the vendors and customers are made known through an extranet website. An extranet website is a platform where this information is displayed as and when needed.
Your customers too can place orders through an extranet website. You can also integrate a payment gateway that includes invoice and accepts payments via this portal. Vendors and suppliers can also send queries and get them answered via this portal. Customers can raise tickets, give feedback and communicate via this website.
Growth of the business
A business that seeks growth needs an extranet. It can accept more orders and provide relevant information in various formats. Media in any format can be uploaded onto this website. Your administrator can manage the content and curate it from time to time.
This makes it easier for customers to find any information they are looking for. This is one of the most organized ways to communicate with the customers.
Implementing an intranet and extranet requires one to have a professional experience in infrastructure development. When the right network is implements, it saves resources and money in execution and maintenance. Businesses that are on the go can make information about their company mobile so it is accessible on any platform, without any interruption. To learn more about extranets or intranets feel free to drop in a comment below or feel free to reach us by following this link.