But how familiar are you with extranets and intranets? Do they fulfill the same function as the Internet? How do they differ on a granular level? Are there similarities that companies can leverage when trying to improve remote work capabilities for their employees?
In this article, we explain the inner workings of an intranet, the internet, and an extranet. You'll better understand which system is right for your business and how to identify similarities and differences when looking for an internal communication tool that streamlines your organization's workflow.
What is the Internet?
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. The Internet offers a range of communication and information options through standardized communication protocols. It is a network of networks that uses the Internet Protocol (IP) suite to communicate between devices and computers.
From learning how to create life-changing apps to automating manual tasks, the Internet is a ubiquitous part of life today.
Examples of internet services
Examples of Internet services are:
The netwith a collection of over a billion web pages that you can view in a web browser like Chrome or Firefox.
social media appslike Facebook and Twitter where you can share videos, photos and status updates.
email appslike Gmail and Outlook, where you can send and receive messages and documents online.
online game softwarewhere people use the Internet to play computer games regardless of location.
How does the internet work?
The Internet is not owned by a single entity. It is an interconnection of large computer networks that operate on a standard Internet protocol. It uses wired and wireless communications such as 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and Ethernet to send and receive information.
Each computer has a unique IP address, which is used to identify a computer's location on a global network. Each IP address has a Domain Name Server (DNS) that makes it easy to find and locate a specific computer that may be hosting data.
What is an intranet?
an intranetIt is a secure, private communications network within an organization that supports employees' internal workflows, such as information sharing.
The intranet is used for communication, documentation and socialization. It acts as a central access point to internal and external resources that allow your employees to work efficiently.
The intranet is part of the Internet. Unlike a public body, it is a private bodypractices wikiowned by a single organization. There is a strong security firewall that prevents unauthorized users from accessing the network.
examples of intranets
Some ways that organizations use an intranet are:
- A company's wikiwhere employees can find documents for work orders
- An internal social networkthat favors personal relationships and avoids the feeling of isolation at work
- A collaborative workspacewhere employees work together on projects
- NoEmployee onboarding platformTrain new employees and help them get on board at their own pace
- updatedinternal knowledge baseto keep employees up-to-date with expert-verified information
How does an intranet work?
Similar to the Internet, an intranet runs on the TCP/IP protocol. Computers on an intranet also have unique IP addresses for the site's identity.
In the past, you could only connect to a physical location with intranets over wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs). Thanks tomodernes Intranet-CMSMore and more companies are turning to cloud-based solutions that allow remote workers to connect wirelessly to a company intranet and take advantage of features such as search engines, blogs, mobile apps and cloud collaboration.
8 advantages of an intranet
1. Be the only source of truth
When employees spend more time looking for information across multiple platforms, it can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction and inefficiency.
Rather than storing company files on scattered units and duplicating multiple versions of the same document, an intranet is a centralized platform for storing and sharing business information.
The information your employees need to be efficient and productive is right at your fingertips. Employees can trust information on your company's intranet because it is verified by experts and is the only source of truth.
2. Build brand loyalty
Share content such as internal news, press releases, annual reports, etc.mission statementsthrough its intranet, it gives employees the feeling of working in a transparent company. It's easier to reinforce brand equity and build loyalty when employees are kept informed.
3. Promote employee engagement
One of the reasons employees leave is that they are dissatisfied with their jobs and not motivated to show up.
Your company's intranet centralizes your employees' workflow and keeps them connected in a remote workplace. An intranet is an events calendar, an employee directory, a knowledge database, and a communication and collaboration tool all rolled into one.
Coworkers can comment on another coworker's update, host remote events, collaborate on projects, and easily find resources. Encourages employees to create content andknowledge sharingthrough feature-rich editors. Done right, intranets lead to greater innovation, productivity and growth.
4. Personalized communication
In the age of information overload, attracting and retaining attention is increasingly difficult. No one reads their company-wide feed or opens the hundreds of notifications they receive every day.
An intranet allows you to customizeInternal communicationThis way, employees only receive content that is useful to them. with gurusinternal communication program, you can also send announcements to ensure employees are reading important updates and keep track of who has read them.
5. Simplified integration
Employees with a great onboarding experience are more likely to stay. With an intranet, all the resources and information employees need on board are already online.
Instead of monitoring new employees and bombarding them with information,Employee onboarding software like Guruallows you to create a standalone onboarding experience where new employees are onboarded at their own pace.
6. Reduce management costs and improve efficiency
Streamlined workflows and processes on an intranet save time for HR and other departments. Save money on paper and printers with digitized forms for performance reviews, expense reports and other HR policies and procedures.
Instead of multiple team leaders creating documentation for the same processes, you have a single source of information for each process in a department, providing clarity and increasing efficiency.
7. Improve feedback
Tools such as forums, surveys, polls, and social features encourage two-way communication between employees in an organization. You can use surveys and polls to find out what's working in your organization and what features could be improved. Managers can also use the intranet to give and receive feedback from their teammates.
8. Encourage collaboration between teams
The old, rigid departmental structures of organizations are rapidly disappearing. They are being replaced by an agile workplace where employees go where their skills are needed.
Intranets eliminate silos. The social nature of an intranet means that employees can use the search capabilities to find and connect with like-minded colleagues outside their department. Ultimately, this organic way of building relationships leads to greater collaboration, teamwork, and knowledge sharing across teams.
What is an extranet?
An extranet is part of a company's intranet. Similar to an intranet, it is a controlled private network where authorized suppliers, partners, and customers can access information on a company's intranet.
The term extranet became popular in the early 2000s when several organizations used it to describe a central repository of shared data that could only be accessed by authorized members of specific workgroups.
As the extranet is structured like an intranet, it relies on IP and TCP for data exchange. Extranets also have security features such as firewalls and password-protected credentials to prevent unauthorized access.
Examples of Extranet
- A distribution network to maintain communication between suppliers and distributors
- A central collaboration tool for a franchise to communicate across multiple locations.
- cross collaborationthrough the authorities
- Ecommerce website integration to share inventory data over a secure network
- A project management tool that allows a project manager to share documents and contracts with subcontractors and other stakeholders
- A board portal that allows members of an association to access meeting minutes and board documents
- incorporation documentsfor subcontractors or freelancers who don't have access to their employees' intranet
What are the differences between the Internet, an intranet, and an extranet?
|What does that word mean?||Burymeans between||intrameans inside||Extrameans out|
|by definition||A global network of computers that allows people to communicate and share information.||A private network restricted only to employees of an organization||A private network within an intranet that allows organizations to communicate and share information with external suppliers, customers, and partners who need access to restricted information.|
|purpose||No specific goals, as anyone can use the Internet to create content or share information.||Designed to solve a specific set of problems such as knowledge sharing, data storage and internal communications.||Designed to improve collaboration between an organization and other third-party companies|
|Accessibility||It is public and does not belong to anyone.||It is not publicly available and owned by a single entity.||Limited access on a need-to-know basis|
|Connection||Between computers around the world||Among the employees of an organization||Between an organization and its suppliers or customers|
|Property||Nobody||one unit||Can be one or more entities|
|safety||Depending on the internet user to secure their network connection||Applied through a robust firewall to prevent unauthorized access||It is enforced through a firewall that keeps unauthorized users out and separates the extranet from the intranet.|
|Username||Worldwide||employees of an organization||Employees of all affiliated organizations on the extranet|
|relationship||a network of networks||Depends on internet to work||Depends on the intranet to work|
|network size||By far the largest network in terms of connected devices||A small network where only employee devices connect||It is similar in size to an intranet.|
|regulation||not regulated||Regulated by policies governing a single organization||Regulated by various organizations|
|example||Use Instagram on your phone or search for resources on Google||A company like Asana uses Guru to communicate internally and share information with their employees.||A company like McDonald's uses an internal network to maintain communication with franchises in the United States|
Are there similarities between Internet, intranet and extranet?
Shared Internet, intranet, and extranet resources include:
- Internet protocol like TCP/IP
- Purpose of exchanging information and communicating with users over the network
- Access via a web browser
- Messaging works like an Internet application.
- They may have different encryption techniques, but the firewall security features are similar.
Use the combined power of the Internet and the Intranet to improve your employees' communication and workflow
If you're looking for an in-house solution to improve employee engagement and support your organization's workflow, look no further. Modern intranets rely on an Internet connection to function. Therefore, you only need an intranet to be able to use the Internet and extranet resources.
Intranet software like Guru is highly secured to prevent unauthorized access. Store all your business documents on a central platform so they can be easily accessed by everyone. Employees are more engaged because they have the tools for remote collaboration and expert-verified information to complete work tasks.