What exactly is an Intranet?
An intranet is a private network within a business that allows workers to securely exchange company information and computer resources. An intranet can also be utilized for group collaboration and teleconferences.
Intranets promote internal communication inside a company. They provide employees with easy access to critical information, links, applications, forms, and business records databases. To ensure intranet security, a database including all of the usernames of workers with network access permissions is frequently utilized.
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Applications of the Intranet
Depending on their demands, organizations use intranets in a number of ways. These are some examples:
Project administration : To-do lists, personnel directories, progress updates, and other resources help users manage their projects.
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How do Intranets function?
A web server that manages requests for data held on the server is required for a safe and functional intranet. The web server locates and distributes requested files to the proper user. A content management system should also be implemented to manage the development, publishing, and maintenance of intranet material.
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An intranet may also include a number of interconnected local area networks (LANs) as well as leased lines connecting to wide area network resources. TCP/IP, HTTP, and other internet protocols are used by the intranet's web server. An intranet often includes links to the outside internet and other resources via one or more gateway computers.
Employees must have a particular network password and be linked to the business LAN in order to access the company intranet. Remote employees connect to the intranet using a virtual private network (VPN) or similar secure connection.
The VPN allows users who are not connected to the necessary LAN to login into the intranet and access all of the same information and services as if they were connected to the LAN.
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Flowchart of a Firm’s Intranet
The intranet appears to be a private version of the internet. Companies can use tunneling to send private messages across the public network. To link one portion of their network to another, they utilize sophisticated encryption and decoding, as well as other security precautions.
Intranets are also provided via hosted software applications. Rather than having its own private server, a firm purchases intranet software that provides the same tasks as traditional intranets. Some current intranets function similarly to social networking apps, connecting to a variety of business applications. Employee experience platforms are another name for these apps.
7 Components of Intranet Security
1. Anonymous Access
Granting anonymous access is not an issue with smaller companies. To obtain access, each user must first log onto the intranet. This can be a problem in larger enterprises.
In healthcare companies, for example, there may be one computer on the floor that is shared by all nurses. While it is possible to require each nurse to log in separately, this might lead to problems in practice, such as:
If a nurse fails to log out, the following nurse will be using the incorrect account.
If the computer must be connected to the domain, the browser will attempt to authenticate using the system's login credentials rather than the nurses' credentials
When nurses are forced to log in and out, they are less likely to monitor corporate news in the short minutes they have free time.
If you have any sort of shared computers, be sure that any intranets you're considering allow for anonymous access to less sensitive resources.
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Because anonymous access does not require authentication, establishing an intranet that is only accessible within the building is crucial and provides more protection.
2. Compatibility with Active Security Groups
Many times, security may be implemented depending on a user's department or job. For example, only bank tellers should be able to access bank teller processes. Membership in various departments or jobs should already be specified in your Active Directory.
Check to see if the software you're considering can import and update these groups from Active Directory. If it can't, you'll have to manage security group membership in both the intranet and Active Directory, which takes time and is prone to mistakes.
3. Maintaining Social Control
We all know that what you can say in the breakroom is not the same as what you can say in a management meeting. This social context, however, is frequently lost on the intranet.
If you intend to utilize the intranet to boost employee engagement, be certain that you can use security to create "safe areas" in the intranet for discussion and comments, restricting how far conversations may spread.
This applies to all intranet social features, such as blog postings and comments, Discussion Forums, and Message Boards.
4. Support for Temporary or Volunteer Employees
Before selecting an intranet solution, consider the sorts of employees you have and how they will use the intranet. While the vast majority of your users may access the intranet using their Windows credentials (controlled by IT), do you have any temporary employees who are not in Active Directory?
For example, if you frequently bring in temporary workers or volunteers, you'll want the flexibility to generate temporary intranet logins for them without having to go to IT to create an official Active Directory account for them.
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To support both Single Sign-On for permanent workers and temporary staff, make sure the intranet solution you pick supports both Windows and Form-based logins at the same time.
Don't forget about the prices. Many intranet suppliers demand a monthly subscription per user, regardless of whether they are full-time permanent employees or part-time volunteers/temporary employees. When pricing out your intranet, don't forget to account for these temporary employees.
5. Avoiding Misrepresentation
Most people don't consider this until after they've chosen an intranet solution, but it may be crucial. You want workers to be allowed to update their personal information on the intranet, such as phone numbers, talents, and hobbies, but other areas, such as title and image, must be restricted.
Understand the security implications of allowing employees to modify how they appear in the Employee Directory, and make sure that any solution you pick allows you to restrict access to employee data if this is an issue.
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6. Protect Intranet Data Using Encryption
The administrator must encrypt data at rest and in transit. BitLocker, for example, guarantees two-level encryption of data on drives and offers a unique key for each file on SharePoint Intranets. Simultaneously, the SSL/TLS connection protects the data in transit.
7. Create a Safe Home Network
Employees that work from home have access to the organization's digital portal via their home Wifi network. These networks are less secure than those used in offices.
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Companies must properly explain employee expectations in order to establish a secure home network. First and foremost, the IT staff must stress the necessity of generating strong passwords.
They must implement a policy requiring employees to reset their passwords after a certain period of time, maybe 90 days.
Second, businesses must define whether workers must access the intranet through a separate network or the company's VPN. In addition, the IT staff must prevent login information from being saved on laptops and mobile devices.
Advantages of Intranet
Benefits and drawbacks of Intranet
The following are some of the possible advantages of adopting an intranet:
Enhanced internal communication, information exchange, and cooperation;
Request tracking has been simplified;
A place for new ideas to be tested before they are implemented on a company's website;
An enhanced company culture that prioritizes employees and fosters involvement and engagement;
A positive return on investment as a result of the low installation and operational expenses
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There are other obstacles to creating an intranet, such as the following:
Because of the high cost of people, intranet users receive insufficient assistance. As a result, when software defects or other difficulties emerge, they are not promptly remedied.
The intranet must be available from anywhere and at any time. As a result, multiple device responsiveness must be carefully considered and is one of the most highly requested intranet components.
Similarly, effort should be made to ensure that the speed and quality remain consistent across all devices.
As remote working grows more common, it introduces new problems in maintaining intranet security. The type and sensitivity of your organization's data are critical considerations, and protecting it is the joint duty of the firm and its workers.