How Businesses use the Internet, Intranets, and Extranets.
Business uses of the Internet
Given its capabilities and widespread use, the Internet is a powerful business tool.
Companies can communicate efficiently and cost-effectively with employees and potential customers worldwide.
As the figure below shows, businesses use the Internet to:
Sell their products and services online
Generate brand or name awareness
Reach new audiences with product information
Improve customer service and support
Reduce printing costs
Automate internal processes
Conduct surveys and market studies online
An intranet is a private TCP/IP-based network of computers on an organization's secure local area network (LAN).
An intranet typically contains confidential and sensitive company documents.
Each intranet is custom-designed to meet an organization's needs. As such, only an organization's employees have access to it.
The employees access the intranet using the same Web browser they use to access the Internet (for example, Firefox or Microsoft's Internet Explorer).
An extranet is a special portion of an intranet to which only authorized users may send and receive information or conduct transactions.
Think of an extranet as an intranet that allows a company's clients to access it.
Extranets can be completely outside a company's network or they can be attached through secure measures.
The Slide Show shows examples of how businesses might use intranets and extranets.