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Encyclopedia > Intranet

An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity to securely share part of an organization's information or operations with its employees. Sometimes the term refers only to the most visible service, the internal website. The same concepts and technologies of the Internet such as clients and servers running on the Internet protocol suite are used to build an intranet. HTTP and other Internet protocols are commonly used as well, such as FTP. There is often an attempt to use Internet technologies to provide new interfaces with corporate "legacy" data and information systems. The Internet Protocol (IP) is a data-oriented protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched internetwork. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos and other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML... In computing, a client is a system that accesses a (remote) service on another computer by some kind of network. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet and most commercial networks run. ... HTTP (for HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the primary method used to convey information on the World Wide Web. ... “FTP” redirects here. ...

Briefly, an intranet can be understood as "a private version of the Internet," or as a version of the Internet confined to an organization. The term first appeared in print on April 19, 1995, in Digital News & Review in an article authored by technical editor Stephen Lawton [1].



Intranets differ from "Extranets" in that the former is generally restricted to employees of the organization while extranets can generally be accessed by customers, suppliers, or other approved parties.[2]

There does not necessarily have to be any access from the organization's internal network to the internet itself. When such access is provided it is usually through a gateway with a firewall, along with user authentication, encryption of messages, and often make use of virtual private networks (VPN's). Through such devices and systems off-site employees can access company information, computing resources and internal communications. In telecommunications, the term gateway has the following meanings: In a communications network, a network node equipped for interfacing with another network that uses different protocols. ... Firewall separating zones of trust A firewall is a hardware or software device which is configured to permit, deny, or proxy data through a computer network which has different levels of trust. ... Authentication (from Greek αυθεντικός; real or genuine, from authentes; author) is the act of establishing or confirming something (or someone) as authentic, that is, that claims made by or about the thing are true. ... “Encrypt” redirects here. ... A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a private communications network usually used within a company, or by several different companies or organizations, communicating over a public network. ...

Increasingly, intranets are being used to deliver tools and applications, e.g., collaboration (to facilitate working in groups and teleconferencing) or sophisticated corporate directories, sales and CRM tools, project management etc., to advance productivity. CRM may stand for: In information technology Customer Relationship Management CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model Compensating Resource Manager Clean Room Model, reverse engineering and recreating of a design without infringing copyrights and trade secrets, see Clean room design Cluster Resources Manager CRM114, a spam filter Communication Resource Manager, part of the... Project Management is the discipline of organizing and managing resources (e. ...

Intranets are also being used as culture change platforms. For example, large numbers of employees discussing key issues in an online forums could lead to new ideas.

Intranet traffic, like public-facing web site traffic, is better understood by using web metrics software to track overall activity, as well as through surveys of users.

Intranet "User Experience", "Editorial", and "Technology" teams work together to produce in-house sites. Most commonly, intranets are owned by the communications, HR or CIO areas of large organizations, or some combination of the three. Human resource management (HRM) is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organizations most valued assets - the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business. ... The Chief Information Officer or CIO is a job title for a manager responsible for information technology within an organization, such as a listed company or an educational institution. ...


  1. Workforce productivity: Intranets can help users to locate and view information faster and use applications relevant to their roles and responsibilities. With the help of a web browser interface such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, users can access data held in any database the organization wants to make available, anytime and - subject to security provisions - from anywhere within the company workstations, increasing employees' ability to perform their jobs faster, more accurately, and with confidence that they have the right information. It also helps to improve the services provided to the users.
  2. Time: With intranets, organizations can make more information available to employees on a "pull" basis (ie: employees can link to relevant information at a time which suits them) rather than being deluged indiscriminately by emails.
  3. Communication: Intranets can serve as powerful tools for communication within an organization, vertically and horizontally. From a communications standpoint, intranets are useful to communicate strategic initiatives that have a global reach throughout the organization. The type of information that can easily be conveyed is the purpose of the initiative and what the initiative is aiming to achieve, who is driving the initiative, results achieved to date, and who to speak to for more information. By providing this information on the intranet, staff have the opportunity to keep up-to-date with the strategic focus of the organisation.
  4. Web publishing allows 'cumbersome' corporate knowledge to be maintained and easily accessed throughout the company using hypermedia and Web technologies. Examples include: employee manuals, benefits documents, company policies, business standards, newsfeeds, and even training, can be accessed using common Internet standards (Acrobat files, Flash files, CGI applications). Because each business unit can update the online copy of a document, the most recent version is always available to employees using the intranet.
  5. Business operations and management: Intranets are also being used as a platform for developing and deploying applications to support business operations and decisions across the internetworked enterprise.
  6. Cost-effective: Users can view information and data via web-browser rather than maintaining physical documents such as procedure manuals, internal phone list and requistion forms.
  7. Promote common corporate culture: Every user is viewing the same information within the Intranet.
  8. Enhance Collaboration: With information easily accessible by all authorised users, teamwork is enabled.
  9. Cross-platform Capability: Standards-compliant web browsers are available for Windows, Mac, and *NIX.

Hypermedia is a term used as a logical extension of the term hypertext, in which audio, video, plain text, and non-linear hyperlinks intertwine to create a generally non-linear medium of information. ...


  1. Inappropriate or incorrect information can be posted on an intranet which can reduce its credibility and effectiveness.
  2. In a devolved and highly interactive intranet there is freedom to post abusive and possibly illegal materials. There is a balance to be struck between taking advantage of this freedom to achieve corporate goals and having appropriate controls in place to meet an organization's legal or moral responsibilities.
  3. Training is required to educate people of what intranet can do.
  4. Need expertise in field to administer and develop Intranet information within the organization.
  5. Security of the intranet becomes an issue. Other users may post sensitive information which may appear to another user. Furthermore, in an industry with high turnover there is the potential for an employee to acquire sensitive information which may significantly benefit their new position at a competing company.
  6. As information can be posted by any user, information overload may occur during the cause if it is not controlled well.

Planning and creating an intranet

Most organizations devote considerable resources into the planning and implementation of their intranet as it is of strategic importance to the organization's success. Some of the planning would include topics such as:

  • What they hope to achieve from the intranet
  • Which person or department would "own" (take control of) the technology and the implementation
  • How and when existing systems would be phased out/replaced
  • How they intend to make the intranet secure
  • How they'll ensure to keep it within legislative and other constraints
  • Level of interactivity (eg wikis, on-line forms) desired.
  • Is the input of new data and updating of existing data to be centrally controlled or devolved.

These are in addition to the hardware and software decisions (like Content Management Systems), participation issues (like good taste, harassment, confidentiality), and features to be supported [3]. Look up Wiki in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A content management system (or CMS) is a system used to organise and facilitate collaborative content creation. ...

The actual implementation would include steps such as

  1. User involvement to identify users' information needs.
  2. Setting up a web server with the correct hardware and software.
  3. Setting up web server access using a TCP/IP network.
  4. Installing the user programs on all required computers.
  5. Creating a homepage for the content to be hosted.[4]
  6. User involvement in testing and promoting use of intranet.

See also

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Enterprise portals. ... An extranet is a private network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity, and possibly the public telecommunication system to securely share part of an organizations information or operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers or other businesses. ... If you are looking for the web application toolkit, see IntraWeb VCL An intraweb is a web comprising all HTTP nodes on an intranet; synonyms are corporate web, internal web. ... Local area network scheme A local area network (LAN) is a computer network covering a small geographic area, like a home, office, or group of buildings. ... Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a broad area (i. ... For information regarding portals on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Portal. ...


  1. ^ Stephen Lawton's Digital News & Review article "Intranets Fuel Growth of Internet Access Tools." [1]
  2. ^ Callaghan, J. (2002), "Inside Intranets & Extranets: Knowledge Management AND the Struggle for Power", Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-98743-8
  3. ^ University of South Carolina Making the most of inhouse communications
  4. ^ [2]

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Intranet Usability: Design Guidelines from Studies with Intranet Users (1023 words)
This report helps intranet designers improve the usability of their designs by giving them the results of usability testing of 14 different intranets: 10 in different cities in the U.S.; three in London, England; and one in Hong Kong, China.
The return on investment for intranet usability is often a factor of 10 or more, as further analyzed in the ROI chapter of the report.
Intranet design annuals present case studies of intranet designs with great usability to allow intranet designers to learn from each other.
Intranet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (941 words)
An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity, and possibly the public telecommunication system to securely share part of an organization's information or operations with its employees.
Most commonly, intranets are owned by the communications, HR or CIO areas of large organizations, or some combination of the three.
When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers, partners, suppliers, or others outside the company, that part becomes part of an extranet.
  More results at FactBites »



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