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on February 2, 2021 Internal Communications

What is the Difference between Internet and Intranet?

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They may sound the same, but “Internet” and “Intranet” are two very different things. When setting up any information and communication technology, it’s important to know the difference and to utilize the right system. 

The Internet is what you’re using to read this article, as it consists of a global system of computer networks linked by the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP). This connects different devices from all around the world.

An intranet, on the other hand, is much more limited in scope. You can think of the intranet as a version of the Internet that’s only available to a specific group of people. This is why you’ll often find organizations using an intranet instead of the internet. It can allow for more controlled Internet access and will facilitate better internal communication.

Understanding the difference is very important when building a corporate communication system. 

User Access

Anyone with an Internet connection can access the Internet. All that is required is a modem, router, or a location with public WiFi to access the Internet on any Internet capable device.

While this is common knowledge, it’s an important distinction to make, as intranets offer much more controlled access. Only authorized users with the right login information can access a specific intranet network. For example, you’ll often see companies provide intranet access to their employees — access that doesn’t apply to any non-employee.

This greater degree of control also applies to tools within the intranet. A closed off instance of a program within your organization will facilitate employees interacting with each other. 

Because of this, communication between authorized users (i.e. employees) can be a lot smoother and more secure on intranets than on the Internet. 

Privacy and Security

The Internet is a humongous place, making it very difficult to secure. There are certainly firewalls, anti-virus software, encryption, and other security measures you can take advantage of to protect your devices. Any security measures can be far more effective in protecting smaller intranet networks.

Due to the highly sensitive nature of employee information and business records, many businesses opt to use an intranet over the Internet for their day-to-day operations. 

An intranet also allows you far more control over what information enters the system and is stored. On the other hand, the Internet sees a global and unrestricted contribution of information from parties all around the world.

Information Access

For the most part, the Internet is a very accessible place when it comes to information. This is great in some respects, such as when trying to learn something new, but it’s not so great for securing sensitive information — especially for businesses.

With an intranet, you have far more control over who has access to what information. Additionally, you also have far more control over how your information is organized. 

This is helpful in keeping your business records in one place, making it easier for employees to find what they need, quickly passing on information to newly-hired employees and other important tasks. An intranet is far more accommodating to customized search engines. It also maintains continuity regarding recently departed employees. 

Important Distinctions

Intranets may be more limited than the Internet, but it’s for this very reason that they may be more suitable for your organization. With user access limited to your employees, as well as far more control over who can access what information, intranets are often in fact the better choice.

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