An intranet portal is a website that users must log into to access. The term intranet is used to describe an Internet-based network, where users have to connect directly to a server through their computers. They are able to access restricted data and applications through the Internet. The most common use of an intranet portal is for businesses with sales staff in the field. The staff members are not able to physically access computers that are attached to the network via cables. Instead, they access company files via the intranet portal.
Typically, users are provided with a user name, password, and a secured website address. He or she logs into the website and is able to access different features, based on their permissions or roles. Common features include file upload and downloads, discussion boards, and secured websites.
An intranet portal is a multi-function website that includes public and private sections, personalized content, and data retrieval and submission tools. These tools may be enhanced or hidden by the software programmers or system administrators. Typically, user manuals are posted on the website, providing instructions for use to business users.
When selecting an Internet portal software package, there are two types of products: open source and commercial. Many firms include open source products in their bidding process. In a business environment, open source software is not free, but cost is based on the number of users. Open source is a term used to describe software programs that provide general access to the source code.
The benefit of an open source solution is the access to an increased number of programmers and developers. Open source programs are typically written in the most common programming languages, making resources easier to find and not as costly. Be sure to check references with care, and review the quality of work.
Commercial intranet portal products range widely in both features and prices. Make a list of the required features of the software and rank each feature in terms of importance, for easy reference. Talk to the end users and the system administrators to determine their priorities.
Security is very important when selecting a computer software product, and portal technology is no exception. Many firms build in enhanced security features to reduce the impact of hackers and malicious programs. Additional security features are used to limit access to restricted data. Common features include security certificates and user authentication.