What is an extranet?

by Guillaume client BEGHIN on Feb 17, 2020

Good communication is the basis of effective cooperation. There are several ways to do this. This is the case with the extranet. Let's take a look at this word whose meaning few people know.

An extranet is a private, controlled computer network that uses Internet technology to connect a defined group of external users to each other and provide them with access to a computer network. It serves to provide resources which are then made available to an authorized, but not public, user group.
Secure, access to the extranet requires authentication from the partner so that they are authorized to consult the network information. There are two possible security levels for logging in:

• simple authentication, which only relies on a username and password
• strong authentication, which requires the implementation of a certificate

Like anything, the extranet has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are multiple: rapid exchange of data, increased productivity, saving time and money, enhanced data updating thanks to simplified data management, optimization of communication with external parties, support and simplification of teamwork, and improvement of knowledge management. However, acquisition and maintenance costs can be high, employee training is required, and there are increased security risks.

Extranets have rapidly multiplied in large and medium-sized companies, driven by customer services and the development of collaboration between companies. Their relatively high cost of development and maintenance has long deprived small organizations of them. They are now penetrating this target thanks to suppliers offering turnkey tools using the SaaS (Software as a Service) technique which relieve the subscriber of the costs and risks of development, maintenance, hosting and backups. .
Nowadays, the extranet is particularly used by companies that employ employees who work from home to make information available, to replace traditional emails and/or paper, etc. It is also useful for two companies that maintain relationships commercial or for a company and its subsidiary to share IT resources.

Extranets are also used for commercial exchanges, sending quotes, purchase orders, invoices and catalog consultations. This commercial management via extranet can be burdensome for the customer and the supplier because it requires organization, an operating method and “training” to avoid any errors. There are now SAAS solutions in the form of E-shop , private online ordering solutions, or merchant sites, which simplify all these commercial relations and secure all exchanges.