By now, most companies have realized that digital applications in the workplace not only improve functionality, but also modify former procedures to have long lasting success. This is why intranets are all the rage in corporate solution management.
Simply put, an intranet is the basic term for the collection of internal applications in a company. An intranet is used to facilitate collaboration between colleagues and groups within a company. Intranets connect to the Internet, but they are firewalled with security to avoid access from unauthorized personnel.
Intranets have assisted organizations in the deployment of their strategies and are increasingly becoming more popular. But could it be possible for something already amazing like an intranet to become even better? Perhaps a little something…extra? That’s right, we’re talking about an extranet.
You’re probably wondering what an extranet is. If an intranet is an internal productivity tool, an extranet expands the capabilities of an intranet to provide access to clients, partners, vendors or an authorized set of customers. An extranet functions similarly to a DMZ, in that it provides access to authorized personnel, but does not grant full access to an organization’s entire network.
Essentially, an extranet is the sharing of two organization’s intranets. Can this be a good thing? According to some tech experts, extranets provide several different benefits.
With the use of an extranet, organizations can exchange large volumes of data using electronic data interchange (EDI), share product information solely with partners, collaborate with other companies on joint ventures, implement and utilize training programs for their respective staff members or collectively provide information to a number of organizations for when companies are affiliates.
This all sounds promising, which might make some wonder: Are there any drawbacks? Perhaps integrating an extranet could increase tech costs, due to the maintenance of all of the hardware, as well as software and employee training. In addition, some companies may be concerned about the security of extranets.
For the most part, though, extranets expand the reach of the intranet. If properly integrated and secured, extranets can simplify tasks for organizations, partners and clients.