For a better understanding of Intranet and extranet, it is better first to give a general explanation about the reason for their original creation and their connection with the Internet. As you know, the Internet is used worldwide to connect billions of computers.
The Internet is not a secure network, and the reason is that it is public. Systems connected to this network create a great chance for your device or computer to be hacked by hackers. For this reason and to create a safe and private platform, organizations and centers with important data to send and store use intranet and extranet networks. To better understand this article, we suggest you read “Getting to know the concept of the Internet.”
What is an intranet?
An intranet is a network with limited access used within an organization or company, so access to it is impossible for non-organizational people. In other words, an intranet is a private network belonging to an organization that includes a host or a web server that hosts local websites.
The Intranet will also have various routers that mted to the Internet with a firewall. This firewall helps control access between the Intranet and the Internet so that access to the internal network is allowed only to people who are members of the same company or organization. Therefore, it can be said that the Intranet connection to the Internet is not necessary, and this platform is provided depending on the needs of the organizations.
The intranet network is not available outside the network, and globally, access is closed through the firewall even if it is connected to the Internet. If it is possible to access the Intranet through the Internet, this network will no longer be an intranet and will form an extranet. gave
This network is considered a safe network for organizations due to the setting of access and the internal communication environment without using the public Internet network. Inside the Intranet, different permissions and accesses are given to different users; For example, if the manager wants to access the database, he will have limited access to the data, while the company owner has full access to the database.
The purpose of intranet design is that members of a group in one place can easily share files, which is why most people call Intranet private or personal Internet.
For example, consider an office with several PCs and printers networked together. This network does not connect to the outside world. On one of the drives of one of the personal computers, there is a list of web pages that make up the Intranet.
Other PCs on the network can access this directory by placing their browser on the Intranet. For example, a web page located at D:\financial\index.htm on a computer dedicated to the web will be available on the Intranet like it is on the Internet using web servers.
Intranet features and benefits
It can be said that all the Internet features are also present in the Intranet. One of the prominent features of the Intranet is determining its size and security, the size of the Intranet can vary depending on the needs of the organization, city, or country, and its security is also provided for organizations due to its structure and application. But in addition to these two things, there are other features in the Intranet that attract large organizations more than ever.
For example, the management of documents and data, their sharing, and the access level of users in access is another great advantage of this functional network in the discussion of data management. or the ability to search based on keywords or special terms, categories, filtering tagged content and other things for faster and easier access for users, as well as the possibility of creating social networks on the intranet platform, which brings easier and faster intranet communication to the organization brings.
Similar to the On-Cloud deployment mode, this network provides 24/7 access to the Internet even outside the organization so that employees do not lose contact with their organization when they are away from the office.
What is an extranet?
An extranet is a computer network similar to an intranet that allows controlled access from the outside to itself for business, collaboration, or education. In other words, an extranet can be considered a developed type of Intranet that can be accessed from outside the company and all areas that have access to the Internet (usually for partners and agencies).
For example, suppose an intranet is built in a university, and this university has several branches in different countries. In that case, an extranet is used to connect the Intranet to different branches of the university worldwide. Using extranet, users can connect to this private network and access its data through the Internet with information such as username and password.
An extranet is similar to an intranet, except that it is accessible through a web portal. The extranet can be accessed from anywhere for someone with a username and password. Of course, this permission can be different based on the access level. This type of network is designed to share information and files within a group whose members are not concentrated in one place—for example, using a VPN where employees can connect to the network outside the office with a username and password.
Extranet features and benefits
Extranet has almost all the features of Intranet. In this network, one of the most important features is security. The reason for that is not opening internal networks and unauthorized access for outsiders who are considered possible security threats, which causes the risk of hacking and data loss to be significantly reduced.
What are the differences between Intranet and Extranet?
Over the past few years, the Internet has emerged as the most popular electronic communication platform. The idea of the developed extranet or Intranet is that the business community can conduct its business electronically using the public communication network of the Internet instead of private networks but securely and privately. An extranet attempts to use public Internet lines to connect to private networks or intranets in organizations and centers. This means that the standards available on the Internet, such as TCP/IP, are followed for communication on the extranet.
The main difference between these two networks is who can access them. An intranet allows only employees within the network infrastructure to use the system.
But the extranet has gone one step further and provided access to foreign users. As mentioned, data and content stored in an intranet are only available to internal users. At the same time, network administrators can set and choose which data is available to external users in an extranet. And this has made extranet networks more popular in organizations.
To better understand the difference between both networks, it is better to understand their nature. In simpler terms, in terms of application, these two networks can be compared to investment accounts and bank loans. In investment accounts, a bank card is not given to the customer, and the customer can access the invested money only through the same bank, and it is not possible for him to access it from other banks and branches. Just like the Intranet, which is only available locally and cannot be accessed outside the country or region.
Similarities of Intranet and extranet
Both systems have user access and permission settings to control users’ access to data and network resources and prevent unwanted mistakes. And depending on the type of platform being used, both networks can offer the same type of features and content.
Both intranets and extranets allow businesses to store and share group calendars, documents, and projects in one central location. Also, both of these networks enable better collaboration among employees, distributed workforce, customers, and partners. Of course, on the Intranet at the city or country level and the extranet globally; Therefore, both of these networks provide the possibility of increasing productivity.
Why should brands use Intranet and extranet?
A well-designed and well-equipped intranet system can play an essential role in helping brands improve the performance of their employees. In this type of network, you can decide what customers and employees can see or not. On the other hand, customers and users of this network are confident that their confidential information is not available to unauthorized people from outside the network.
These networks show a sense of commitment and the importance of information and quick access of users to customers, making your brand more popular and reliable than before. They also create a space to foster strong customer relationships.
For example, in the extranet, it is very important for customers, business partners, or suppliers abroad to easily transfer data and share information, as well as an efficient way to collaborate and save time, all of which are among the advantages of using this network. Is.
Which Intranet or extranet network is suitable for my organization?
When considering the choice of network for a digital infrastructure in the workplace, it is possible to make a mistake in choosing one of these two networks. Because Intranet and extranet may seem similar at first glance, they have certain differences. In the following, we will separate how they work together.
A network is for organizations and private companies when employees within the organization can access documents, tools, information, and all capabilities through a single centralized platform. Therefore, when an organization has a branch in another city or country that needs to connect to this network, Intranet is not recommended at all. Because even with Internet access, this connection is one-way and is made from inside to outside.
A controlled private network that allows third-party partners to access some information over the Internet and outside the network, usually for a specific company or institution. Therefore, the best option is extranet if the organization or company has branches in different regions or will be connected with certain organizations and centers outside the company.
You may think to yourself that an extranet is better in any case. Still, it is better to know that setting up an extranet will impose more costs on the organization, such as the use of firewalls and security systems, in addition to hiring experts, while creating a way for hackers to penetrate your internal network. did If there is no need to connect outside the network in the short-term development of an organization, it is better to use the Intranet and develop it and turn it into an extranet if needed.