Many businesses have had to reassess their business practices due to COVID-19. As remote work and rapid innovation became the new standard, digital transformation became a primary goal.
In a highly unique atmosphere, businesses had to carry on as usual. Part of it included assessing their tools and technology to verify they were designed to support a virtual work environment. One that does not jeopardize security, organization’s productivity, internal and external communication, or cooperation.
One item that swiftly transformed from a nice-to-have to a need was the intranet. It became a significant tool for many organizations for business continuity. They also used it for crisis communications, remote work, online training, and more. Unfortunately, COVID-19 exposed what their network couldn’t achieve for several firms, leaving them wanting more (i.e., extranet).
An extranet is a web portal that an organization’s external vendors, partners, customers, or any other users that require limited information access can access.
The host organization administers the extranet’s administration and content, as well as provides restricted access to internal and external users. A vendor is one example of an extranet use case.
You can think of an intranet as an organization’s private communication network. It’s a secure website for employees that contains important corporate news, information, papers, and business process tools. The intranet portal might be hosted on-site, in the cloud, or on off-site servers.
On the other hand, an extranet enables the communication between business partners and vendors, etc. Only some persons from outside the corporation have access to the extranet. It can be used by many organizations, such as a firm that gives its vendors access to the extranet for product and invoicing reasons.
In simple terms, an organization can use it for Business-to-business functions. It’s perfect for transferring big amounts of data between partners. An extranet can also be used to track down and resolve problems with a company’s products and services.
Intranets like AgilityPortal assist your business by enhancing employee engagement, collaboration, and productivity. An intranet that is well-designed makes it easier for workers to conduct their jobs and streamlines the process of bouncing between numerous sites and apps that most people use on a daily basis. Instead, all of the necessary information for workers to accomplish their tasks is centralized and up to date in one easy-to-access spot.
Many of the intranet benefits may be extended to your partners or other external organizations via extranets while retaining security and control over who has access to what. Consider the following scenario: Your partners want to work together on a project, but they require access to sensitive client information that you keep secure. For people outside the organization, an extranet may make use of the collaborative benefits of an intranet while keeping any sensitive information private within the organization.
Organizations with broad networks, vendors, or other non-customer user groups must account for a wide range of requirements. So, well-designed extranets enable them to establish meaningful, productive workspaces for each audience.
However, justifying the construction and maintenance of an extranet, particularly for teams with limited development resources, might be difficult. One method to get around this is to build your extranet as an extension of your intranet.
It enables you to reuse components that are valuable to all audiences, maintain consistent and connected databases across multiple sites, and ensure that security policies are correctly applied according to sites and users, reducing the risk of confidential information being exposed to third parties. In many respects, viewing your extranet as a sub-project of your intranet may be beneficial since each site provides services tailored to the demands of its audience while adhering to the same standards and design procedures.
Organizations must be deliberate in maintaining and enhancing their intranets and extranets in order for them to be user-friendly and deliver actual value to their users. This entails soliciting feedback on a regular basis and implementing fixes and feature requests into your releases. This might be something your staff can keep an eye on, or you could bring in a relationship manager to help you understand what your partner’s desire is.
Remember that intranets and extranets serve distinct purposes. While a page for the workplace fitness club may be suitable for your intranet, that type of culture-building will be less useful to your partners. Keep in mind the relationships you’ve formed with partners, and make sure your extranet represents that work culture correctly. You’re creating a tool for people, not for your own business goals. When done well, the loyalty and pleasure gained will pay for themselves over time.
An intranet is hosted inside, but an extranet is more likely to be available via a secure web-based platform. While both operate as a central repository for essential papers and projects and also allow for communication among multiple organizations, an intranet is kept internally. Each has its own technological framework, especially in terms of rights and access regulations that may be specified by the project owner.
There are a few distinctions between intranets and extranets in terms of privacy and security. In an intranet setting, passwords and data encryption are employed to suit the demands of internal groups and firm data protection. Extranets frequently use additional security layers to protect external access to private data and tools. Firewalls, for example, can be used to keep specific data off the public network. As an extra layer of protection, identity verification, as well as access and permission management, can be implemented.
Content and document management are available on both systems. The main distinction is that an intranet is designed for internal use exclusively, but an extranet allows other parties such as suppliers, agencies, partners, and others to process and modify documents.