An intranet is a private network that hosts applications, information and links to outside resources. It operates on the same software and networking protocols as the Internet, but is strictly limited to the users of a single organization. It uses a web server to manage requests and deliver data hosted on the network. It also includes a content management system for storing and displaying information.
Companies use an intranet to share business documents, communication and collaboration tools. The intranet also houses applications that enable workers to perform line-of-business tasks, such as managing company records and arranging videoconferencing meetings. It may be accessible on desktop PCs, laptops or mobile devices via a web browser. The intranet is often connected to the Internet through a cable modem or leased T lines that support higher-speed data transmissions.
Modern intranets are often social and offer a user experience that resembles consumer applications. These features increase engagement and help encourage the adoption of the platform. In addition, they may provide gamification elements to boost employee participation and recognition of accomplishments. The platforms can also serve as the hub for an organization’s internal communications, connecting multiple communication channels and departments.
However, some challenges can arise with the use of intranets. Employees who spend too much time in these environments are at risk of mental health issues, and the platform’s design can make it difficult to identify and address sensitive topics. Additionally, conversations can veer off into unrelated subjects and create polarization in the workplace. In some cases, offensive material is posted that can be embarrassing for employees to see.
To access the company intranet, employees must have a password and be connected to the organization’s LAN or a secure virtual private network (VPN). It is common for businesses to connect to the Internet through their intranet to access external resources. A firewall is a key component to protecting the network and ensuring that only authorized data is transmitted through the intranet.