An intranet is a private network based on TCP/IP protocols, belonging to an organization, usually a corporation, accessible only by the organization’s members, employees, or others with authorization. An intranet’s websites and software applications look and act just like any others, but the firewall surrounding an intranet fends off unauthorized access and use.
How Intranets Are Used
Like the Internet itself, intranets are used to share information. Secure intranets are now the fastest-growing segment of the Internet because they are much less expensive to build and manage than private networks based on proprietary protocols.
The Difference Between an Intranet, Internet and Extranet
An intranet is designed to allow a company to share information and resources with others in the company, for group projects and teleconferencing. This is in contrast to the Internet, which is public access.
When a company allows access to any part of its intranet, for example, parts are accessible to customers or suppliers outside the company, it is called an extranet. Outsiders are granted access to the extranet part of the company’s intranet with a valid username and password, which determines which parts of the extranet can be viewed.
Intranet applications are basically software that is used on the intranet. Most applications are similar to Internet applications such as browsers, instant messengers, and document publishing software. Unlike Internet applications, however, intranet applications reside on the local server.