Information has become an on-demand commodity at both personal and business levels. The development of Internet followed by other similar components such as Intranets and Extranets rapidly evolved the information world in past few decades. Today, with the help of the Internet and other related innovations, people can easily share or access massive amounts of information from any part of the world. Besides, business managers use these technologies to make quick and better decisions, reduce costs, increase productivity, and create more opportunities among other things.
Comparison of Internet and Intranet
Though most people either hear about or use Internet and intranet on a daily basis, the majority cannot tell the difference between the two. In this article, let us try to compare Internet and intranet.
What is Internet?
The Internet is a worldwide network that connects and facilitates transmission between millions of computers across the globe. You can assume it as a community of computers connected together to form a unified public network that links one-and-all to the rest of the world. It enables access to information, communication and transfer of data among the users.
The internet uses TCP/IP as the standard protocols to provide end-to-end connectivity that defines packets, transmission and routing of data at the destination computer. Users can access any computer on the internet provided they have its Internet Protocol (IP) address. An IP address is a set of numbers like 126.96.36.199 that identifies a particular computer or client-server on the network. The Internet has unlimited users with the number of subscribers and applications increasing exponentially every year.
What is Intranet?
An intranet is a restricted or local private network connects multiple computers together to allow sharing of information and sharing of network resources. The intranet is an exclusive network that can only be accessed by a limited group of authorized users. Individual organisations, governmental agencies and institutions develop, own and run their own intranets and their employees/ members can access computers on their networks. In other words, an intranet is a network designed to enable distribution of information resources with individuals within a particular organization
PCs within an intranet network can be connected to the internet or other intranets, especially where a firm runs multiple offices. This connection requires a strong firewall solution to maintain security.
The intranet too uses internet protocols such as TCP/IP, HTTP and FTP, and every PC is identified by an IP address that is unique within the network. The main advantage of using an intranet is data security and lower costs, as it allows secure access or sharing of huge amounts of digital data minimizing the risk of information leakage, and at the same time lowers the printing and distribution costs.
Objectives of the Intranet
Different organizations use intranets to achieve various objectives.
- Provide Collaboration Tools – Offers centralized access information and resources such as documents, business applications, templates and contacts among other tools.
- Communication – Broadcasting and exchange of individual, group or general information like announcements, employees’ recognition and other business-related changes.
- Internal User Support – Easy management of query calls from employees connected to the intranet.
- Information Repository – Intranet is a secure storage place for company’s sensitive information including; HR policies, procedure manuals and employee benefits.
- Instant messaging – Offers internal email and IM platform for efficient and faster management of internal communications.
Differences Between Internet and Intranet
- The Internet is a public network that does not belong to single or multiple organizations, but the intranet is a private network that is managed and owned by an institution or a firm. This means that everyone has access to the internet whereas, intranet provides access to a small group of authentic users.
- While the internet offers wider and better access to information, the intranet is restricted to informational resources within a firm.
- Concerning security, the internet exposes users to security vulnerabilities such as hacking and other malicious attacks. On the other hand, the intranet is safer, and can be privatized depending on company’s need. The intranet requires user authentication such as username and password to access the network.
Similarities Between Internet and Intranet
- Both the Internet and intranet use standard Internet protocols (TCP/IP, HTTP and FTP) for connection and communication.
- Just like accessing the internet, intranets are accessible from any web browser or a dedicated web portal. However, only users of the intranet have access to intranet-hosted sites.
- The internet supports communication tools such as emails and instant messengers. Similarly, modern intranet technology enables the use of own instant messaging, and email platforms within the organization.
Below is a summary of the key differences.
|Purpose||Connects million of networks and computers.||Connects group of computer in a restricted network like inside an organization|
|Information||Unrestricted and available to all.||Restricted, monitored and available to within an organization.|
|Protection||Open and vulnerable to attacks.||Safer with closed network|
Both the intranet and the Internet are important tools for any organization. The intranet network enhances a company’s digital communication, providing a secure platform for accessing, storing and sharing electronic resources. Additionally, a business requires the Internet for networking, external communications, sales and marketing and information retrieval.