An intranet is a non-public computer network that could be considered the opposite of the Internet. Such a network can be limited to a few computers or one company location, or it can connect all the branches of a globally operating company. The spatial extent of the network is not important in the case of an intranet; it is simply a matter of the circle of users being limited and usually only users who are part of the company and accordingly have a username and password can log on.
Possible uses of an intranet
An intranet is used especially in larger and medium-sized companies, but also in public authorities. Here it is primarily used to communicate information. For example, internal company regulations, procedural instructions, job descriptions, employee magazines, forms and documents are made available for retrieval. The respective data is maintained directly online on the intranet, so that all employees always have access to the same level of information. In addition to providing information, an internal web is also used for communication. Chats and forums can be set up for this purpose. The term “social intranet” has also been coined in the meantime, in which the intranet includes a wiki, blog or network.
Advantages of the intranet
An intranet can greatly simplify collaboration in companies. It prevents different versions of forms, documents or other information from circulating, as the most up-to-date version can always be accessed via this medium. The time wasted searching for information is significantly reduced by the good structuring of the internal network. Evaluations as well as the automation of procedures and processes in the company are further advantages that an intranet can bring to companies.
Technical basics of the intranet
In order to set up an intranet, a company-internal computer network must be available. Also required are the TCP/IP network protocol and Internet services, which form the basis for various applications. Finally, users can access the intranet using conventional web browsers. If the network is to be connected across several locations, leased lines with a high transmission rate are usually used to ensure fast data exchange. IPsec technology makes it possible to include mobile devices in the network. The exchange of data between the Internet and the intranet is regulated by firewalls, which control what information is allowed to enter and leave the network. Administrators can control access rights as part of the operating system’s user administration.
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