Extranets are a subset of intranets that are used by organisations. It is a network of communication that is based on the internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It allows trade partners, clients, and other organisations to get access to the firm’s intranet within a restricted environment. As a result, it is a private network that securely communicates internal information and activities of a company with authorised persons outside the organisation without granting them access to the whole network of the company in question. It is needed that users have identification, passwords, and other authentication measures in order to access this network.
Some of the advantages of using an extranet include:
- ● As a single point of contact between the corporation and its trading partners, it serves this function well.
- ● It automates the firm’s procedures, such as placing an order with suppliers when inventory levels fall below a certain threshold.
- ● The platform allows consumers to settle their issues and concerns, which helps to enhance customer service.
- ● It helps the company to exchange information with trading partners without having to engage in time-consuming paper-based publication processes.
- ● In business activities that are repetitive in nature, such as placing frequent orders with vendors, automation can help to simplify the process.
- ● What is the process of establishing an extranet?
- ● This type of network is established in the form of a Virtual Private Network since it is vulnerable to security concerns because it makes use of the internet to link outsiders to the intranet of an enterprise.
- ● In a public network such as the internet, a virtual private network (VPN) can provide you with a secure network.
- ● The data transfer is accomplished through the use of the transmission control protocol (TCP) and the internet protocol (IP).
Using the Internet Protocol Protection Architecture (IPSEC) protocol, VPN ensures secure transactions in the extranet since it adds an extra layer of security on top of the TCP/IP protocol, which is used for data transfer in the extranet. The IP packet is enclosed in this layer, resulting in the formation of a new IP packet, as seen below:
Access to the extranet is denied to anybody who is not allowed to do so.
In addition, it protects unwanted users, even firm workers, from accessing the data stored on its server. Using a password is recommended.
Extranet’s drawbacks include the following:
- ● Hosting: If you decide to host extranet sites on your own server, you will need a high-bandwidth internet connection, which may be prohibitively expensive.
- ● If you are hosting it on your own server, you will want additional firewall protection. It increases the amount of effort required and makes the security process more complicated.
- ● Dependency: It is reliant on the internet since it is impossible for outsiders to acquire information without utilising the internet.
- ● Customer, business partner, vendor, and other face-to-face engagement is reduced as a result of this, which results in a poor ability to create relationships with these individuals.