The same software applications and networking protocols that enable the Internet and World Wide Web work inside private corporate networks called Intranet software allow employees to share information, files and other resources on a secure network that is limited to employees who are allowed to access it.
Employees use intranet tools to communicate, collaborate and manage projects. They can also access company news, policies and other information that is important to the organization. Some intranets have social elements that enhance communication and productivity, such as forums, to-do lists, wikis and a company news feed. Some intranets have a central repository for documents and other data, including database-driven forms and document management systems.
A firewall protects an intranet from outside threats and malicious attacks. The firewall software tracks incoming and outgoing data packets to confirm that they do not contain unauthorized or suspicious requests. It also prevents hackers from using tools to gain entry to the intranet or its internal servers.
While instant messaging channels, such as Slack and Teams, can be great for real-time communication, they are not the best for formal announcements or longer conversations. For this reason, many companies are turning to modern intranet platforms that offer a social media-style user experience and connect to an array of enterprise applications. These are sometimes called employee experience applications or portals.
Employees must be connected to a company LAN to access the intranet, and they typically have to enter a password to log in. Companies can also create a VPN (virtual private network) to let employees who are not connected to the company LAN sign into the intranet. These systems also use a firewall to ensure that the VPN does not connect to the outside Internet and allow malware, hackers or other outside threats to penetrate the system.