For many, understanding the difference between the Internet, Intranet, and Extranet can be confusing—especially for those who have never used them before. We meet a lot of people in the walk of life who often ask me different questions from general to technical problems they encounter in the usage of computers and techno gadgets.
Will answer some of their questions based on my knowledge and at times refer to the internet or books. The internet is full of information and refer them to Google Scholar, Google Books, Microsoft Academic Google, Quora, etc (Visit this website for some of the educational search engines; https://www.rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/15-educational-search-engines/ ).
Well, in this post we will look at the frequently asked question which is the difference between the Internet, Extranet, and Intranet, in brief, we won’t go deep into the topic. However, at the bottom of the Post, you will find references to websites and books you can visit for further reading.
The Internet, Extranets, and Intranets all rely on the same TCP/IP technologies. However, they are different in terms of the levels of access they allow various users inside and outside the organization and the size of the network. An intranet allows for restricted access to only members of an organization, it is a private computer network that uses Internet Protocol technologies to securely share any part of an organization’s information or operational systems within that organization.
An extranet expands that access by allowing non-members of the organization such as suppliers and customers to use company resources. It can be viewed as part of a company’s intranet that is extended to users outside the company, usually via the Internet. The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.
The Internet is a worldwide interconnection of computers through many complex networks. The Internet was established in the late 1960s under the sponsorship of the Department of Defense (DoD) and later through the National Science Foundation. It provided a way for universities and companies to do military and government research to communicate and to share computer files and software. In the early 1990s, the Internet was privatized and opened to anyone. Today it is a system with billions of users across the world.
An intranet is a network where employees can create content, communicate, collaborate, get work done, and develop the company culture. The prefix “intra” means within or inside. Therefore, an intranet is the company’s digital workspace that centralizes and streamlines every person, document, tool, conversation, and project in your company. An intranet allows employees and colleagues to work together in a virtual space—for the most part, no outside parties are involved.
Businesses use intranet software for a variety of reasons, a company intranet streamlines daily activity, organizes people and data, improves internal communications, and increases employee engagement. It also solves many challenges for remote teams and large organizations by connecting staff with colleagues, information, and projects, no matter where they are.
Advantages of intranet
- Improves internal communication.
- Connects your company across locations and time zones.
- Helps employees find information.
- Boosts recognition and reward.
- Simplifies employee onboarding.
- Provides organizational clarity.
- Encourages knowledge sharing.
- Reinforces your brand and values.
- Reduces emails and meetings.
- Brings your workplace culture to life.
- Improves employee engagement.
An extranet is similar to an intranet, but also provides controlled access to authorized customers, vendors, partners, or others outside the company. If an intranet is a digital workplace for internal communications, an extranet is a digital platform used for external communications. “Extra” refers to any contact or activity outside of your business, such as clients, vendors, and suppliers.
Therefore, an extranet is a private network where these individuals (clients, vendors, suppliers, partners, etc.) can communicate with you and your employees in a closed digital workspace. Extranet software serves an extremely important role, as it allows for private communication, collaboration, knowledge sharing, document sharing, and data transfer between partners and organizations.
An extranet supports a variety of needs. Large volumes of data can be exchanged between parties via extranet software, for example, thus facilitating easy collaboration. These collaboration tools are particularly useful for companies that need to brainstorm or communicate frequently with clients and customers. It saves hours in comparison to email and telephone. Extranet software also monitors and fixes potential bugs or issues that can occur with a company’s products or services—almost like built-in quality control.
Extranet software plays an integral role in companies that conduct business with other organizations. Sharing large bulks of information, collaborating on projects, and discussing private information with individuals outside of your company can be done in one place. This streamlines projects and creates a pleasant experience for your clients and partners.
Advantages of the extranet.
- Streamlines repetitive business processes.
- Increases customer satisfaction.
- Highly secure when properly designed.
- Increases productivity.
- Reduces the margin of error.
- Offers flexibility.
- Provides timely and accurate information.
- Shortens time to market.
- Improves supply chain management.
- Saves time and money.
- Provides security.
- Fosters customer loyalty.
- Louis E. Frenzel Jr. (2016) ‘Internet Technologies’ in (Fourth Edition) Principles of Electronic Communication Systems. New York: McGraw-Hill Education Publishers, pp 556 – 587.
- Barrie Sosinsky, (2009) Networking Bible. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, Inc Publishers.
- Behrouz A. Forouzan, (2006) ‘The Internet’ in (Fourth Edition) Data Communications and Networking. New York: McGraw-Hill Education Publishers, pp 16-21.
- Difference Between Internet, Intranet And Extranet (With Comparison Chart), https://vivadifferences.com/difference-between-internet-intranet-and-extranet/
- Hannah Price, ‘11 undeniable benefits of an intranet’, https://blog.jostle.me/blog/benefits-of-an-intranet.
- Wardynski DJ. (May 8, 2020) Extranets: 9 Benefits For Your Business & Why You Need One, https://www.brainspire.com/blog/extranets-9-benefits-for-your-business-why-you-need-one
- Internet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet
- Internet, https://www.britannica.com/technology/Internet