Information and Communication Technology

intranet services

Features and use of common intranet services

A lot of the things that you can do on the Internet, you can also do on an intranet.

The differences are that:

In addition to Internet-type services, there are some other services which are, usually, only available on an intranet.

This page looks at what an intranet is and the services which are available on one.

What is an intranet

Hint, it's not a badly spelled Internet

An intranet is a private computer network that uses the same communications protocol (TCP/IP) as the Internet.

The term is usually reserved for networks within companies, schools, or other organisations, but any private network that uses TCP/IP qualifies, that includes most home networks. You could well be connected to an intranet right now.

An intranet can host many of the services that are available in the Internet. The difference being that the intranet versions are private to users of that network, while an Internet service is usually available for anyone, or at least anyone who signs up and pays for it.

An Intranet may be extended into an extranet. This is when parts of the intranet are made available to people outside of the organisation, often by using the Internet. e,g, an Internet based retail company may have part of its network such as:

Internet Style Services

When what you see on an intranet looks like what you are used to using on the Internet

Many Internet services can be duplicated on an intranet.

Common services of this type are forums, instant messaging, e-mail, and search engines.

The main differences between these services and the Internet equivalents are scale and legal liability.

Services on an intranet are nearly always smaller than ones on the Internet, with the possible exceptions of services within very large organisations such as governments or multi-national companies.

Since organisations have legal duties towards their members, employees, etc. intranet services are nearly always monitored, moderated, or otherwise controlled so that inappropriate material does not appear. Organisations will usually have a code of conduct which users must agree to.

Non-Internet Style Services

Although the Internet is a very big place, so they may appear there sometimes.

Since intranets are private within an organisation, they are often used to hold private information. e.g. a school might hold pupil records, a company might hold staff pay information. This information is likely to be in a database or other information management system.

An intranet may also be used to hold items such as an organisation's:

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