Intranet is an Internet-based infrastructure that’s only accessible to an organization’s employees or any one with authorization. It uses the TCP/IP connection and provides web-based services, communication tools such as email and everything else that defines the Internet, but only to a selected few. In other words, it’s a private online zone that shares any form of company-related data, systems and services inside an entity. Intranet uses/features are as follows:
- Accessibility: Employees can access a wide variety of documents and applications conveniently and quickly from an intranet site.
- Effective Communication: The intranet offers powerful intra-firm communication tools, such as email, chat, blogs, etc.
- Publishing: Intranet helps upload, update and maintain corporate information such as employee manuals, company policies, training manuals, news feeds, etc.
- Cost-Savings: Information can be seamlessly shared across employees, eliminating the need and costs to print and maintain documents, like procedure manuals, requisition forms, etc.
- Increased Bandwidth: Compared to standard Internet sites, Intranet sites are much faster and advanced, making usage of advanced content such as multimedia and rich graphics feasible on Intranet pages.
Intranets are, at times, geographically confined, thanks to firewalls. And there are instances when Intranets traverse countries. A firewalled setup means Intranet access is only possible from designated computers. In other words, accessibility is based on IP addresses and/or login credentials. When external stakeholders, such as suppliers and vendors, are given limited access to the Intranet setup, the particular portion becomes extranet.
Sharing information across the organization and still keeping them private makes Intranets relevant and beneficial. An intranet site looks like any other web-based site, but at its core, it’s different. Also, it’s not the same as a company’s official website. In fact, an Intranet network is much more complex, offers increased scope and content variety, making it much harder to maintain compared to official company sites. An intranet site is also less promotional and more task-oriented than Internet sites.
Why Companies Use Intranet and Not the Internet?
Intranet pretty much mimics the capabilities of the Internet. Then, why not simply use the Internet? Intranets are preferred because they provide a distraction-free environment. Unlike the Internet, intranet blocks out unofficial or entertainment-based web destinations, such as social media or gaming websites.
Intranet systems aren’t obliged to their users. Companies use intranet to display what it wants to show and not what its employees would like to see. Internet sites must provide what their visitors require, or they risk losing them to other public websites. Since intranet information is unique to a company, its users or employees do not have alternatives.