An intranet is a private network within a company that allows it to share information and computing resources with employees. It’s also a central repository for company data and encourages communication, especially collaboration in teams. An intranet requires a web server, which manages requests for data hosted on the intranet, and a content management system to control the creation and publication of intranet content. A database that includes employee usernames enables an intranet to maintain security and provide gated access to important information and applications. An intranet can also use cable modems or T lines, which are high-speed data connections leased from communications providers, to connect to the Internet and other external resources.

Modern intranet platforms resemble consumer applications, with a strong focus on user experience and a smart homepage that users can customize. Some include features like chat, which allows workers to engage in real-time conversations, or video conferencing, which facilitates collaboration on projects. Other features are project management tools, such as to-do lists and status updates. Many companies are also using their intranets to improve internal corporate communication and foster a culture of engagement.

The main challenges of an intranet are encouraging employee participation and ensuring that the platform is updated regularly. In the past, intranets were complex systems that required extensive IT support to operate. Now, most organizations opt for hosted intranet software that runs on a private cloud and provides a user-friendly interface. These platforms are less expensive to deploy and support than traditional intranets, but they may lack functionality that many users expect from an enterprise social platform.

A company can extend its intranet to customers, suppliers and partners through an extranet. These networks are typically found in a WAN, which uses a leased line to connect to the Internet. A firewall is essential to secure an intranet network, which protects data packets from malicious attacks and ensures that only authorized users are able to access its resources.

The World Wide Web has changed the way businesses communicate and conduct business. Its universal set of standards – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and other technologies – enable people to link to information stored on computer systems worldwide.

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