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Extranet: What is it, what is it for and how is it different from the Internet?

Extranet: What is it

The extranet is a private network that controls access to a group of default users. Its name comes from the Latin vocabulary “extra” (outside) “net” (network), that is, a network connection from outside.

In other words, this allows people outside or outside the company to connect to an internal network to view or share information. As long as you have the access and credentials necessary to enter.

In this tutorial we will explain step by step What is this system and what is it for? The differences you have with the Internet, as well as the risks and advantages that this type of connection can bring.

What is the Extranet and what is this technology used for? communication?

extranet

It is a private network which uses Internet protocols, communication protocols and a public communication infrastructure, p> so that you can safely share all the information or a part of the same.

In other words, it can be part of the Intranet, which is part of the organization that extends to different users outside it.

Commonly it has a semi-private access . To enter it, it is not mandatory that the user be a worker of the company, but it must have some connection with the entity.

It is for this reason that this type of network needs to have a reliable level of security, thus preventing anyone from accessing it.

This type of network allows people outside the company, can be: customers or suppliers, have access > to a part of the organization’s Intranet.

In technical terms, we are talking about a firewall that also allows access to external users. In summary, it is used to connect external users to internal company information. It should be noted that this information is very superficial, and will only be what the entity is interested in showing.

For example, a customer can observe the quantity in stock of a product. The employees of the company visualize the prices, the quantity existing in the warehouse or billing, etc.

Among other applications you have:

  • Online banking: it is the best known example of an extranet; Through it, the bank provides the possibility for its clients to consult their accounts and operate in them.
  • Groupware: allows various companies to participate in the creation of new applications with a common objective.
  • Budgets and orders.
  • Catalogs and offers.
  • Technical assistance.
  • Software download.

What are the main characteristics of such a network?

The characteristics of this type of connection are very useful, and that is why every day there are more sectors that decide to use it.

Among them are:

  • Large amounts of data can be exchanged and sent. Product catalogs can be shared with wholesalers, distributors, companies.
  • Services can be provided and access to them or others, which are provided by the company or a group of companies. For example, with customers, you can share news and updates about it and its associations.
  • Access to external users of the company.

The Extranet: How do these types of networks work?

Its operation is a bit complex to explain, but it is very easy to understand. As previously indicated, it is an external network that allows people outside a sector to access important information, carry out transactions, etc.

For its correct operation, an identification is needed (username), and a password (can be created by the user or delivered by the company). In addition, access levels must be established for customers and sellers, in this way we will increase security.

Explaining it in another way, the Extranet shares a similar configuration with the Internet. Therefore, the communication that takes place between the two networks is given thanks to a set of 500 network protocols that They manage to determine the form, rules and format in which communication can occur.

In this sense, the Internet IP protocol is very important, and together with the transmission control or TCP form the basis of the data exchange.

Internet vs Extranet How do they differ and which of the two is it better?

There are some very notable differences between the Internet and Extranet.

Among which we indicate the following:

  • The Internet is a public access network. Which means that any user can enter and get the information that is available in it.
  • In the case of the extranet, access is only for those previously registered (private), so they are grants a user and a password so that he can enter and observe partial and controlled information.

Which of the two is better? This question depends on the need of the user or the company. In the case that it is a commercial company or with a modality of remote works, the best thing that you can apply for the connection of this one with the workers and clients, is to use the extranet.

Since will allow your workers to send and receive valuable information, without outsiders being able to observe or manipulate it. In the case of your customers, they can observe data about products and services without the need for direct or semi-direct contact with the company.

But, if you are only a common user who wants to send and receive some data that is not of extreme importance, it is best to use the Internet and the email service.

What do you need to create an Extranet network and how to do it?

There are two ways to create a network and be able to integrate it into corporate communication, for both cases, these are portals:

  • Corporate portals : is the type of portals that brings together all applications in a single user interface. It is a great advantage when integrating many tools from different extranets. Because the user is prevented from having or having to switch between different operating modes and authenticate several times.
  • Process portals: are portals oriented to commercial processes, they are designed to carry out tasks on orders, cost calculations, etc.

Another alternate method to create it is using some content management system or program. This range of functions covered by the software may vary depending on the CMS that is used.

To create it v as to require certain elements such as: security and privacy for the network. An administration for the Firewall server, the issuance and use of digital certificates; for user authentication, a message encryption system and the use of virtual private networks (VPN) ; that will make a direct connection through the public network.

But it is best to always turn to a specialist in the area, in order to correctly create this type of connection.

Why should I use this network? Advantages and disadvantages

The reason why this type of network should be used, is basically because of the ease and freedom it gives the company to manage different areas of it. Whether they are aimed at ordinary users or their workers, without them getting confused or unintentionally joining.

Extranet advantages

There are several advantages for which it is convenient to implement this type of network in your company or institution.

Among them we name the following:

  • Faster exchange of relevant and irrelevant data and information.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Time and cost savings.
  • Data maintenance is simple.
  • Optimized communication with partners and customers.
  • Cooperative work is easier to do.
  • Improves the management.
  • Internet address under your own domain.
  • Allows secure transactions between the entity’s internal systems.
  • Company employees can obtain Quickly and easily information about customers, suppliers and partners.

It is also important to mention that, previously, the problem of companies was based on geography, but thanks to the implementation of this network today it is possible to see updated information at the moment. This makes it easier for employees to take perform your task optimally in conjunction with other people at a distance.

Disadvantages of the Extranet

As with many technologies and new tools, there will always be failures or inconveniences, but they are usually a very tiny factor to take into account, compared to all the advantages that this technology brings.

Among the disadvantages are:

  • Higher acquisition and maintenance costs of servers and other services.
  • Danger of possible infiltration of unwanted persons. (However, this can be avoided with strong security measures.)
  • Reduction of personal contact with customers and business partners.
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