Do you ever leave the office to visit clients or share information with your business partners? If yes, you may want to consider creating an extranet portal. What exactly is an extranet portal? It is a website that permits controlled access from outside an organization’s network, or in layman’s terms, controlled external access to your intranet.
More often, our customers have been showing interest in making their intranet site accessible outside of the confines of their headquarters. The reasons behind this push are as varied as the industries our customers are from. But perhaps two of the most compelling reasons are:
Increasingly, organizations are finding the need to grant users who are not members of the organization access to their intranets. But many intranets contain sensitive or private information, especially Financial Intranets and Healthcare Intranets. Given the security concern, organizations turn to creating an extranet portal, which allows users outside of the organization to access only portions of the intranet, based secure permissioning.
Provision Your Extranet Portal
There is immense value in collaborating and centralizing your information on an extranet portal. However, the question is how do you provision an extranet? The foundation is to create an engaging sub-site only accessible to external users and redirect these users on login to your extranet portal. The following is a brief process on how to execute provisioning a new extranet portal:
You will need to choose an address that can be easily accessed at your headquarters, as well as from outside your organization. You will need to make DNS configurations to assign a public IP to your intranet portal and likely allow traffic through your firewall to make it externally accessible.
Your users will want to finish their online tasks quickly, even more so when they are on the road. For this reason, the most frequently accessed resources should be plainly visible from the home page of your intranet. The same goes for your external users outside of the organization. Find out what the most important information is for those external users to access, and only include those items on your extranet portal. Anything required by external users should be laid out for them on your extranet.
In the Google era, users expect to get information after a quick search. Make sure you describe your content well, so it shows up on the top of the search results list when your users search. Utilizing our latest product release, Super Search, whatever your users search for should be at the top of the list, but if it doesn’t appear right away, it could need some more filtering (i.e. by author, by document, by publish date). If you describe it well, your users shouldn’t even have to use the filtering option.
Your intranet is simple, clean and easy to navigate, the same should be said about your extranet. Whether its users accessing it from on the road, or an external user accessing it, you want to keep your extranet sub-site simple so that extranet users can find what they need quickly.
Having access to your intranet from anywhere is great! But it goes without saying that you want just the right people accessing this information. A common concern for organizations granting external users access to their intranet is the possibility of sensitive data being seen by unauthorized users. With the different security permissions available on your intranet, you can secure your extranet portal to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Follow these tips to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access:
Whether you are part of a bank, credit union, hospital or even travel agency, you can benefit from engaging actively with your stakeholders on your intranet, both within the organization and outside of it.
Now you should have the tools to provision your own extranet portal. Still need some help? Comment below, I am happy to assist!
Download our popular ebook The Top 10 Things to Look for in an Intranet to discover the 10 essential features to look for during your intranet search.