With the development of the Internet, the technologies underlying it (for example, such as hypertext markup in HTML and the use of a common TCP / IP network protocol) have become increasingly used to develop network applications within companies and organizations for use solely in their private computer networks.
Thus, we can say that the intranet is a "private" Internet for working with internal information, which is accessed through a regular browser. The intranet allows you to work through secure VPN channels using the Internet. In addition to the company's internal site, many information processing applications, such as accounting software or contact management systems (CRM), can work through their network. Access to the intranet network from the "external Internet" is controlled by the firewall and anti-virus programs.
Intranet access rights
It is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of intranets and extranets. In principle, there is nothing complicated here, especially if you look at the first part of a complex word. If the intranet is "internal Internet", then the extranet is part of the intranet, to which only some internal and selected "external" users have access. Usually, this is access to private financial and business information, internal systems of work and mutual settlements with partners and customers, access to other intranets for maintenance, etc. An extranet can combine parts of two independent intranets. Access can be made by external identification devices, such as smart cards or USB tokens.
The transfer of information flows to the internal network of the company gives an obvious benefit:
- Improves the productivity of teamwork.
- Provides instant and flexible access to any internal information in the usual format via a standard Internet browser.
- Improving relationships with suppliers and customers by creating an extranet.
- Reducing the cost of installing and developing software. It is no longer necessary to install the client software on each computer, it is enough to place it on the internal WEB server, and any improvements will be available to everyone instantly.
- The network operates on any equipment and operating system. The transfer of programs and information is quick and easy.
Like any other software system, the internal network, apart from its advantages, has its drawbacks, which must be taken into account at the design stage:
- The entire internal network or a separate intranet site can be hacked over the Internet and used by hackers for their own purposes. Therefore, the choice of antivirus software and firewall must be approached with the utmost care at the very first stage. It is inadmissible to leave these issues of external security for later.
- The uncontrolled placement of unverified information on the intranet is a source of constant conflict and problems. It is necessary to think over the system for controlling the data received and the list of persons entitled to do so. It is recommended that an electronic digital signature be used to identify authorship.
- The transfer of information and programs to central WEB-servers may require their modernization and modification of the licensed policy of the installed software when implementing the intranet system. This may require additional financial costs.
The most important part of the internal network is an intranet portal where all important information will be published, such as a list of employees, rules and job descriptions, news and training courses, etc. This also includes a Web site that represents the company on the Internet.
The portal is easily expanded with new functions, and when creating it, there is no need to create a new information structure of the organization. Intranet will unite all different types of data sources into one information space . The intranet portal can be accessed through a secure VPN or HTTPS connection from any computer or mobile device. Intranet service software packages provide a large number of templates for information portals for their quick launch.
Social networks and intranet
Social networks have become an integral part of our lives, and intranets are no exception. Joint work on projects, communication of employees, partners and dealers on the internal network led to the emergence of a separate concept - the social intranet. This is not just software, but a new tool for increasing the effectiveness of collective activities. It is a kind of symbiosis of a social network and programs for collective discussion and project development.
Intranet network allows you to bring the team work of the company to a new, more efficient level. Models of social Internet work can be very diverse: from the possibility of communication on personal pages to the full transfer to selected users of the function of organizing teamwork. It does not matter what size the company has, and what is the structure of its management. Managerial and social relations can be changed at any time to achieve greater efficiency of joint activities. Working groups arise dynamically and can themselves determine the internal hierarchy of relationships. It is safe to say that with skillful use of the intranet is a powerful tool to increase the profits of any company.
So, we figured out what an intranet is, now we'll look at the software to create it. First, let's call the basic software requirements:
- Tools for developing and supporting internal intranet sites.
- Transmission of messages between network members.
- Internal social intranet network.
- Support for joint development of projects and documents.
- Tools for business analysis and work with databases.
- Providing protection against viruses and external penetrations.
As you can see, the list of requirements is pretty standard, and if you want, you can always find a separate set of programs for each option. Moreover, there are clear leaders in their segments of the market, whose products are much better than "large" software packages. On an intranet, this is especially true for security. For example, Kaspersky Anti-Virus or the Comodo Internet Security firewall still cope with its features much better than similar Microsoft utilities.
Let's return to the software. As already mentioned, you can always find a separate software package for each intranet function, but it's much more profitable and more reliable to install a complex from one provider. Among the universal solutions, let's highlight Microsoft and "1C: Bitrix."
Microsoft SharePoint Products
This is a whole package of programs for organizing collective projects on the Intranet. These are software for creating corporate portals and websites, searching information in databases and documents, managing workflows on an enterprise scale, and business analysis functions.
SharePoint is one of the most powerful and expensive software packages to support intranet work. It is used both in the basic version, and as a means of developing third-party unique applications for the internal network. The main advantage is full integration with Microsoft programs, which reduces the cost of implementation and support; Vice - high cost. But with the advent of the "cloud" SharePoint service, the price becomes affordable for medium and even small companies.
"1C: Bitrix." Corporate portal
Strong positions of software in the CIS are provided by 1C with its automation of accounting software, which are installed in almost every organization. Full integration with 1C products is an undoubted advantage, of the minuses we note the lack of functionality. Despite the fact that the program supports the requirements for intranet software, it is still only an intranet portal, and it will be difficult to develop something that goes beyond it. Of the advantages, we note the adequate price policy for our conditions and the ease of installation.