Intranet definition

What is an intranet?

An intranet can be defined as a private network used by an organization. Its primary purpose is to help employees securely communicate with each other, to store information, and to help collaborate. Modern intranets use social features that allow employees to create profiles and to submit, like, comment, and share posts.

what is an intranet

Uses of intranet

What are the uses of intranet?

An intranet is primarily used by organizations as a tool to:

  • Share organizational updates
  • Store files
  • Connect employees
  • Collaborate with teams across boraders
  • Increase productivity
  • Give employees a voice in the organization

Improve productivity and employee engagement

When intranets first became heavily utilized, its purpose was mainly for top-down communication and file storage. Negative opinions on the effectiveness of an intranet are usually associated with top-down communication. These days, the intranet is made to allow both bottom-up and top-down communication. Top-down is necessary to get employees aligned with the organization's vision and mission, where bottom-up communication is unmissable for real employee engagement. The best intranet embraces and allows management and the employees to communicate in an organic fashion. Ultimately, the use of intranets improve productivity.

Curious about the existing types of intranet?
Get the comparison guide

Benefits of intranet

What are the benefits of an intranet?

Whether cloud-based or on-premise intranet, using an intranet has many benefits. Some of the biggest benefits are

Improve communication with an intranet

Agility is the new century’s buzzword for business success. Adapting fast means acting fast, acting fast means communicating fast. An intranet brings your organization together, no matter where they are. It allows everyone to communicate what’s necessary for greatness – from the CEO to the janitor. Add integrations with your most-used business apps, quick adoption, a user-friendly interface and security, and you have a winning intranet platform for a more agile business. All you need is a web-browser and internet access.

Want to know more about cloud-based intranets? Read about Google intranet solutions and how they can benefit your organization.

Function of intranet

What should an intranet include?

A successful intranet includes some essential features that make it a valuable channel for communication and collaboration. Some of the features are:

Share files


Search across your organization


Find people in the people directory


Build pages

Collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and slides


Mobile access


Promote employee engagement

Intranet FAQs

Frequently asked questions about intranet

What is an intranet site?

What does intranet mean?

“Intra” means “internal” and therefore describes the use of an internal communication tool. The prefix “intra” is also translated to “within” and “inter” translated to “between” or “among”. The meaning of intranet is therefore: an internal communications tool that is used between employees.

Can intranet work without Internet?

The Internet is the underlying technology that enables an intranets connectivity. Intranet and internal are usually kept apart to keep the intranet secure. To access the intranet, employee’s computers need to be connected to your organization's local area network (LAN). These computers need to have web browser software for example: Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer. Firewalls are put up as gatekeepers and to provide security.

What is the difference between internet and intranet?

The internet is a globally-connected network of computers and publically accessible by anybody. The intranet is a local or restricted network and only accessible to people within an organization. Another big difference is that an intranet is a software as a service (SaaS) that can be bought or licensed by an organization. The internet is not owned by a single person or organization but companies or governments can own certain bits. 

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