An intranet is a private network that a company creates for internal use to share information and applications. An intranet uses the same software and networking standards as the Internet, but it is restricted to employees of a specific company. An intranet can also be connected to the Internet by a VPN (virtual private network), allowing employees from outside the company to access the internal network.
Typical internal communication tools in an intranet include employee directories, organization charts and newsfeeds. These help improve internal corporate communications by providing a central repository for important information and links. An intranet can also help with project management, providing a place to store to-do lists, calendars and other tools for tracking tasks.
To maintain the integrity of an intranet, security measures are crucial. The network must be protected by firewall software, which monitors incoming and outgoing data packets to confirm they are not from malicious hackers or from unauthorized users. The firewall can also block or filter out irrelevant traffic from the Internet.
An intranet may be used to host a variety of enterprise applications, including collaboration tools, document management systems, and tools for teleconferences. In addition, the system can support a virtual work environment by hosting applications that make it possible for employees to access and interact with company data and resources from remote locations.
A centralized, secure intranet is an excellent way to facilitate teamwork. However, just as with social media platforms, the success of an intranet depends on the willingness of employees to participate. Intranets that offer gamification features and other elements designed to encourage participation can boost engagement levels.
Modern intranets take advantage of cloud computing technologies to reduce implementation and maintenance costs. They often resemble consumer applications that feature a user-friendly interface and a smart homepage that can be customized by each individual user. An intranet can also provide a variety of different channels to communicate with co-workers, such as a discussion forum and an online bulletin board.