Building Your Company's Intranet - Semalt Expert Advice


Have you considered having an Intranet? This is probably the next step in achieving a secure and seamless way to share information or data across employees within an organization. Semalt can help you accomplish this, but what is the Intranet? 

It sounds so much like the internet, but they are quite different. From its name, we can deduce that it has something to do with being within something "Intra." The Intranet then blends these two elements creating the internet within a website. As an organization, you may want to have a website that is limited to employees alone. It is called an Intranet. Intranet websites are developed using the same technologies used to create a public website on the Internet, only that they differ in a few areas. When considering a typical website and an Intranet, you will find two primary differences.

The first one is that the content of an Intranet site is focused on a restricted group of people. Considering that Intranets are made mainly for employees and subcontractors of a company, the information they carry can be sensitive and different from what you will find on a website. 

Secondly, the Intranet isn't accessible via the Internet. Crazy right! Intranets use web servers specially programmed to respond only to requests made from inside the internal network of an organization. Thanks to this, outsiders won't be able to gain access to the Intranet as long as they are outside the organization's network. 

How Intranets Works

  • Setting up an Intranet
  • Routers are needed to give employees access to the Intranet
  • Routers are needed to give employers access to the Intranet
You will need these components when setting up a secure and reliable Intranet:
  • Web server (hardware and software)
  • Networked PCs
  • Firewall hardware and software
  • Content Management Software
  • Other Application software
To develop an Intranet, the organization still requires a server. A web server is made up of two parts hardware and software. 

In developing an Intranet, the hardware we use depends on the size of the Intranet. The content to be published and the number of users also influence how powerful the hardware would be when setting up. 

For example, text-only web pages Intranet accessed by a maximum of five people wouldn't need a powerful machine to run the server software. However, if you plan on hosting streaming videos that will be accessed by thousands of employees at the same time, you will need a larger and dedicated server to take on the load. You can also use a cluster of servers with significant bandwidth.

The server software handles all the requests for files, video images, and more on the server. The software finds these files and sends them off to the right computer. 

Semalt helps with installing and configuring the Web server in an Intranet network. To do this, a company must recognize how critical the Intranet will be for its day-to-day operations.  By using the Intranet for core business functions, companies recognize that more redundancy needs to be built into the system.

In certain companies where employees depend on the Intranet for Web-based business applications, the wiser decision will be to employ a backup server or even a networked server cluster that shares responsibilities. In such cases, the company can also host the database on separate machines, so that in case a server goes down, another takes its place. 

How do employees connect to the Intranet?

Since the Intranet isn't on the Internet, a wise question is how employees will gain access to the Intranet?  To connect to the Intranet, employees' computers must be connected to the organization's LAN. The computer used to access the Intranet must also have web browser software. 

How can the Intranet be kept secure?

Thanks to Firewall hardware and software, the Intranet is kept safe. Think of these two as the gatekeepers. They stand as a guard between the outside internet and the corporate Intranet. They monitor all incoming and outgoing data packets ensuring no unauthorized or suspicious requests get executed. Having a firewall is essential for Intranet security, particularly when the Intranet has extranet extensions or permits remote login from outside the corporate LAN.

Semalt helps organizations create, publish, and manage the content on the Intranet. However, companies can decide to do this on their own if they have an IT department that can get it done. Semalt creates standardized web content easily without requiring the company to know HTML or other programming languages. 

Semalt helps its clients add load other software onto the Intranet web server or application server at the company's request. Some examples of such applications include a Web-based conferencing application, project management tools, and comprehensive CRM tools like SAP or PeopleSoft.

Hiring Semalt means you do not have to worry about setting up servers and installing software. We also offer consultancy and maintenance services, which allow you to focus on growing your business while we do the heavy lifting of your Intranet. 

Steps on setting up an Intranet 

Step 1

We develop your Intranet as we would a regular website. We can build one from scratch using HTML, CSS, and other web-building tools. Content management systems can also be used to assist when building a website Intranet. 

Step 2

We test the Intranet one was done with its build by deploying it in a test capacity on the companies internal network. A public web server will be set up so that it's port 80--over which web traffic is conducted, while on an Intranet server, we avoid this. Once set up, employees can gain access to the test server by going to its numerical IP address on the internal network; for example, "http://12.1.3.110." once connected to the LAN you hit enter, you will gain access to an internal Intranet web server that is assigned that IP address for that server.

Step 3

The next step is to restrict access from outside the internal network. This is done by IP address restrictions. We register usernames and passwords to ensure that everyone who gains access to the server is authorized. IP address restriction checks the IP address of all login requests and will only reply to the local network's addresses. So if your routers assign IP addresses in the range 10.0.[0-255].[0-255], which is the typical size for mid-sized business, then any incoming request outside that range will be rejected. 

Step 4

Finally, a domain name is chosen for your Intranet server. Intranet servers are frequently assigned third-level domains. For example, if an organizational domain is "Semalt.com," then the Intranet may respond to "hr.Semalt.com," or "internal.Semalt.com." DNS can be private, and if so, only internal network users can find these domain names. It can also be public, as long as external requests to these DNS addresses are rejected, thanks to the setup in step 3.

The future of Intranets

Privacy is becoming a critical issue in our world today. Storing information on paper can be ineffective many times. An Intranet can be made to allow employees to access information from a secure portal. Today in America, we see Intranets being used in hospitals, and this has made recording and catching up on patient information very efficient. With quick access, there is a need for anyone to start looking through building a high stack of files to get patient records. Amazingly, the Intranet trend closely follows internet trends. So with the introduction of Web 2.0, we are bound to see significant improvements. Web 2.0 seeks to use social media and user-generated content rather than the static and read-only nature of Web 1.0.

Many of the websites with the most traffic are fueled by Web 2.0 principles. Haven't you noticed an increased number of blogs, the popularity of online social media networks, and the pre-eminence of Wikipedia? These are the elements of Web 2.0.

Corporate Intranets are currently getting upgraded. Net generation students are beginning to enter the workplace, so certain improvements will inevitably be made. This Net Generation is familiar with a world steeped in communications technology. Many of them have never experienced life with landlines or no internet. Simply put, they'd be lost without their cell phones.

This puts pressure on the world itself to evolve as they will need or better still develop better ways to communicate. E-mail is the tip of the iceberg. Companies will soon begin to have their blogs. They will want to have a company Wikipedia, and hook up with friends on a company-wide social network.

Thanks to Intranet, these dreams and more can be achieved. With Semalt taking care of your Intranet needs, life becomes more comfortable, but you can safely and healthily rest, knowing your company data is safe. It is a common trend to believe that sensitive information stored on the Intranet isn't safe; well, that isn't entirely true. Yes, there's a chance of getting hacked, but that's a very slim chance. With our ability to restrict who sees what on the Intranet, certain pages will load only to individuals with clearance. This way, you keep your company safe, and you push it to the future.