A company’s LAN, or local area network, can house a private Internet-like environment called an intranet. The intranet is basically a set of HTML pages relating to internal company business, for employees’ eyes only. It is not available to the Internet. For many companies, an intranet can be a powerful and efficient management tool. It can provide protected and individualized access to a broad range of information of substantial value to employees and their managers.

For example, a corporate intranet can provide immediate access to:

  • Corporate mission and standards of conduct
  • Company newsletter
  • Company announcements
  • Company news releases
  • Company vacation schedule
  • Employee vacation balance
  • A great variety of online forms, such as:
    • Vacation requests
    • Expense reports
    • Performance reviews
    • Suggestions for process improvement
  • Sales support, such as:
    • Online PDF versions of sales literature
    • Online PDF copies of third-party articles and references
    • Sales bulletins and announcements from managers
    • Online reporting forms
    • Product and technical information
    • Asynchronous bulletin boards
    • Current product pricing and discount schedule

The range of information you can make available, or collect through a private intranet, is virtually unlimited. And it’s all secure because an intranet is typically password protected, with user access controlled by management.

 How Do Intranets Work?

An intranet is available online just like any other website. However, similar to a Content Management System, an intranet is programmed so that every area is protected and can only be accessed by individuals who are given the appropriate “permission” by their management, or based on their role in the company. In that way, all information is protected, and everyone who should have access to particular information can get it quickly and easily. Random visitors who stumble across it will not be able to get onto the site.

Other intranet formats

A “normal” website can also have a password-protected area that functions like an intranet. In addition, a totally private intranet can be mounted on a proprietary company computer, where it would only be accessible from inside the company on the company’s network.

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