Collaboration: At web speed

An intranet is a powerful conduit for completing projects quickly and easily. Here's information that will help make getting started just as smooth.

An intranet is a powerful conduit for completing projects quickly and easily. Here's information that will help make getting started just as smooth.

By Rob Schenk

Many small businesses use local area networks (LANs) to share data files, centrally print documents, send e-mail, and even surf the Internet. But for seamless collaboration, a LAN isn't the best tool. E-mail gets lost or goes unread, users lack control over information on the network, and information sharing tends to be awkward. Effective collaboration requires an intranet.

Basically a network of computers separated from the Internet by a security perimeter (a proxy server or firewall), an intranet can be deployed across an entire organization or within individual divisions or departments. You can post price lists, procedure manuals, human-resources policies, benefits forms, plus many kinds of collaborative projects. An intranet is an inexpensive means of disseminating information that can increase productivity, allowing quick, easy access to data.

Access to an intranet is usually via a Web browser—an interface users are already comfortable with. The browser allows access from any Web-enabled system (with the proper user ID and privileges).

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