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  • Intranets

    I ran a search here and I am surprised this has not yet been addressed.

    Do you run an Intranet? They can be run at work, ran underground, even run at home. What are some of the security concerns to consider? What benefits have you encountered? How did you get started, on what software and hardware? What advice do you have for others who have or want an Intranet?

  • #2
    Originally posted by astcell
    Do you run an Intranet?
    Not currently, but I have administered several in the past.

    What are some of the security concerns to consider?
    Really, it depends on what the intranet is meant to accomplish. That (for me, at least) has pretty much meant the same as for any host placed on the Internet, but with the exception that backends, tools, and data that would never be made publicly-accessible are available internally (and need to remain only internally-available).

    As an example: one that I was co-administering was essentially a homegrown bug-tracking system that was tied in to Perforce. A second box provided internal http and centralised filesharing/home directory services. From our VPN, both were accessible for remote developers. In that environment, it was entirely acceptable to work in this manner.

    In short: your security concerns are going to depend largely on your environment and the roles the intranet will be expected to undertake.

    What benefits have you encountered?
    Consolidation of internal information - project status, common tools, and documentation. Cross-referencing between Perforce and the bug tracking system was invaluable, especially in regression testing.

    How did you get started, on what software and hardware?
    Most of the back-end to tie various applications together was homegrown, written in a mix of mainly Perl and PHP. I didn't deal much directly with the development of the backend, so am not too terribly clear on what exactly it consisted of. Hardware was mainly PII-class stuff running FreeBSD with Apache (and appropriate modules), Samba, NFS, and other normal network services.

    What advice do you have for others who have or want an Intranet?
    Plan it out in detail before implementing it from both a system and network perspective, and leave room for expansion. Make sure it's portable, so that as needs grow and hardware changes you don't have to completely redesign the thing every time a move is necessary. Be certain that only those who need access to it have that access, and that what's contained on it isn't walking out or being propagated. And make sure it's really needed in the first place - in an organisation where a simple file server will suffice, an intranet can cause more problems than it solves.


    • #3
      I have file servers coming out of my ears, and even I can't find anything any more. If I had Intranet I could have a GUI and better organize stuff.

      Cannot afford any public Interface, cannot afford a single hack from the outside, ever. I guess that means using an inside box only for starters!


      • #4
        A lot of Intranets languish because they don't deliver value. Stale content & poor navigation are common problems..

        An intranet based on php/mysql/linux/apache is at check that out.

        This link should help too save alot of coding. Designing for an Intranet is exactly the same as designing for a website. An intranet IS a website, the difference is that it can only be accessed be a select group of people and not by joe public over the internet.