What Is An Intranet And How Is It Used?

Written By Alla Levin
January 11, 2024

What Is An Intranet And How Is It Used?

Everyone knows what the internet is, but there is also something called the intranet, and thanks to the similar spelling and the similarities they share, the two could be easily confused. Therefore, let’s take a look at what exactly an intranet is and why it’s such an essential part of today’s increasingly digital world.

Whereas the internet is open to everybody on the planet, an intranet is a private network operated by a company or organization as a space where employees and members can share resources and information. For example, the intranet is the place where in-house programs such as corporate LMS (learning management systems) can be accessed by all employees. An intranet is also useful as a forum where organizations host teleconferences, group work, and a host of other communications and information-sharing purposes.

Let’s now take a closer look at the many ways organizations can use intranets:

  • Communication – Organisational communications such as relevant news, informational charts, member and section directories, private podcasts, and messaging are easily available to all participants over an intranet.
  • Personalization – An Intranet is able to deliver personalized content to members tailored to their role in the organization.
  • Collaboration – The internal network provided by the intranet allows members to easily work together and share information.
  • Access to Information – Important organizational information like policies, updates, benefits, and other resources can be shared across large groups of members.
  • Centralized Repository – The intranet serves as a private library where all of an organization’s internal data and important information can be accessed from a main repository.
  • Automation – Intranets can automate a wide variety of repeatable tasks in order to streamline daily activities.
  • Project Management – The intranet provides a central platform for projects where management directions, status updates, action lists, and other useful resources can be stored and shared among participants.
  • Social – Like the internet, a private intranet can provide social media features that allow members to maintain a personal account, browse newsfeeds, check status alerts, and post content.

Let’s now examine how intranets are set up to work in an organizationWhat Is An Intranet And How Is It Used

Much like its vastly larger cousin the internet, a private intranet utilizes a web server to manage requests to access its hosted data. The server responds by locating the requested files and delivering them to the organization member or group that ordered them. A content management system controls the implementation, management, and publication of the intranet’s content.

The intranet can contain a variety of local area networks (LANs) and leased lines connected to wide area networks (WANs). The intranet’s web server utilizes the same internet protocols, like HTTP and TCP/IP. The actual internet and other external resources can be accessed via gateway computers.

An organization’s intranet can only be accessed by those with a membership and possess a password. For those working onsite, the intranet is accessed via a LAN, and for those who wish to log in from a remote location, the connection is made via a virtual private network (VPN) or similar secure connection. Signing into the intranet over a VPN allows remote users to access all of its services, features, and information as if they were connected to the LAN.

To keep an intranet safe from outside dangers the internet might bring such as malware, viruses, and other malicious attacks, a firewall must be put in place. The firewall studies and tracks every incoming and outgoing information packet to ensure they don’t contain any suspicious or unauthorized requests.

An intranet can be accessible to people outside the intranet, like partners, customers, and other interested parties. This is called an extranet. Risks are involved, making firewall protection a critical component of an extranet’s setup.

In general, intranets resemble a small, private internet. Utilizing tunneling, organizations can send private messages across the public network of the internet. The tunneling process implements encryption and decryption safeguards to allow users to connect one section of an intranet to another across the web while maintaining privacy.

The intranet generally looks like a private version of the internet. With tunneling, companies can send private messages through the public network. They use special encryption and decryption and other security safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.

Rather than running them on a private server, intranets can also be provided by hosted software applications. The organization purchases software that performs exactly like a traditional intranet but is maintained by an off-site service. In the same way that some corporate applications connect to social media platforms, an organization can set up an employee experience platform.

Having an intranet in place is a useful way for any organization to carry out its plans and purposes, with all members able to share resources. An organisation can register their extranet with the Australian Government in order to share extranet resources with a variety of related interests. We hope that this article has given you a clear understanding of the differences between the internet and an intranet.

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