Taking Advantage of an Intranet

Because a network administrator's sphere of influence will vary from company to company, you might find that your company's Web site is either managed by a Webmaster or taken care of by a company that provides Web design and Web hosting. This doesn't mean you can't use Web technology to enhance your internal network, however. Any TCP/IP network can take advantage of Web technology and other Internet-based services. Using Internet technologies on a private network means you are building an intranet . You can have Web sites on an intranet just like you find on the Web, but they are private.

Web sites in an intranet setting can actually be used for a number of different purposes. You can build Web sites that allow users to easily access data on a database running on an application server. Because just about everyone knows how to use a Web browser, the need for training users to use the front end for the database server is almost nonexistent. Web sites can also be used for exchanging files between users, and Web sites designed for specific company projects can be used for discussions between the various participants in a project.

A number of large companies have also found that intranet Web sites can be used to promote company morale . For example, "water cooler " Web sites are provided for employees to post information such as employee birthdays or to invite employees to special celebrations. Providing this type of site can actually cut down on the amount of email used by employees for personal communication with other employees .

Intranets also provide an excellent platform for you to test Web server hardware and your Web site itself. Opening up a Web system to employees on the intranet as a test can allow you to diagnose problems and access overall performance before you actually roll the Web site out onto the WWW.

The Absolute Minimum

In this chapter we took a look at some of the options for creating a corporate presence on the Web. We discussed options for hosting your own Web site and the use of a Web hosting service.

  • Your corporate presence on the Web can take the form of marketing Web sites, or you can use the Web as a platform for an online store. Web sites make good marketing tools in that they allow you to provide customers with varied content, such as print, pictures, sound, and video. A Web site can deliver more content types than any other advertising medium.

  • Hosting your own Web site requires that you have the proper hardware infrastructure, including a Web server and perhaps other servers, such as a firewall, application server, and so on.

  • Web server software is available for a variety of NOS environments. NetWare and Microsoft Windows Server both include Web servers as part of the NOS. Apache Web Server is a popular Web server used on Unix/Linux servers.

  • Web-hosting services can provide the hardware infrastructure and the appropriate servers to host your Web site and supply a secure Web environment. Online hosting services provided by Yahoo! and Microsoft make it easy for a small business to have a Web site, and these services will even help you get your domain name .

  • Web design software makes it easy to create complex Web sites. Web design tools such as Macromedia Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage provide wizards and other features that allow for the creation of Web pages without HTML coding.

  • Building an intranet allows you to take advantage of Internet-based services such as Web pages for internal corporate use.

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Networking
Absolute Beginners Guide to Networking (4th Edition)
ISBN: 0789729113
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 188
Authors: Joe Habraken

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