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Extranet definition

Extranet is part of an organization's private network that can only be accessed by specific outsiders, e.g., contractors, customers, or vendors. The extranet is designed to allow information and data to be shared securely with specific individuals, keeping them away from the organization's intranet, which should be accessible only to employees.

Typically, users use logins and passwords to gain access to the extranet.

Extranet examples

  • Universities use extranets to securely share information and e-learning resources with students, keeping their intranets closed.
  • E-commerce platforms have extranets for customers and suppliers to create accounts and buy or sell products.
  • Delivery companies have extranets for customers, allowing them to log in and check delivery status.

Extranet challenges

  • High costs. Extranets require complex implementations and security measures, making them quite expensive.
  • Dependency. Extranet-oriented services depend on the organization's network, and network failures can affect them.
  • Security concerns. Extranets are mostly secure, but they require skillful implementation and maintenance. They are also never completely free of threats. For example, users are prone to sharing their login information due to phishing attacks.