There was a time when the networks were closed. There could be an Internet access point, but it was constrained. Then over the years, the connection to the Internet became a must-have, the networks opened up. It was, and it is always a matter of many of them, to convey information outwards, between customers and suppliers for example, through messaging or to access a website.
Intranet, extranet, Cloud, and Internet
Since the advent of the cloud, some confusion has reigned in the networks. Indeed Three concurrent phenomena are the cause of this confusion:
- The need to connect to the Internet and its countless services (professionals or personal)
- The need to connect to the intranet from Outside, the need for the extranet
- The development and use of cloud services
The four words are used here: Intranet, extranet, Internet, and cloud. As long as we lived in isolation, the intranet was the answer, on a LAN, sometimes extended when it comes to connecting multiple remote sites. Then the connection to the outside world, if only to get e-mail messages or to access a search engine, was made necessary and the Internet connection, permanent or not, was the answer.
Then this internet connection to dedicated services has turned into a secure and private connection, the famous VPN (Virtual Private Network). Virtual, because the connection is based on public resources, such as the Internet, and private because it uses a secure tunnel. One can imagine that this is a private pipe inserted into a public one. We then create a network Extended, or WAN (Wide Area Network), not only to link remote sites but to integrate dedicated services hosted outside the company.
For fifteen years now, dedicated services have become an integral part of the “cloud.” The dedicated services have become shared, within public data centers. So we Virtually included public services in a private network. There are two ways to solve this dilemma:
- Fully privatize the connection
- Open a dedicated tunnel on a public connection
In the first case, It will take another exit point to access public Internet services. In the second, the same connection serves both The Internet connection and the private connection. Both solutions have their pros and cons that are outside the scope of this article. I’ll send you back In Chapter 5 of my book, Private, Hybrid and Public Clouds.
Accessing the systems
Remains to look at the need to Connection from the outside. Users are increasingly nomadic and want to be able to access the company’s systems from a smartphone or home. The integration of the company’s partners also becomes a topical topic for security and compliance issues.
If the system you want to access is in the cloud, it usually is accessible from a simple, secure Internet connection. It will take into account authentication and in particular enable multi-factor to enhance security access, as well as data encryption on both mobile devices and during connection. It is relatively quick and straightforward.
But how to transform an Intranet into an extranet and access it from the outside? As with access to cloud services, the ideal is to be able to use a Gateway that will expose the available services and manage the authorized access. Several solutions exist. However, as with transferring intranet applications to the cloud, the question of how and why should be asked. Indeed, not all apps are ” Extranetable.” I refer you again to Chapter 5 of my book, Private, Hybrid and Public Clouds.
Whatever the case in which you are going to find yourself, the external access to your systems is no longer a question: it is a necessity. Nomadism, external collaboration, and the cloud have definitively cut down the barriers to accessing computer systems. Get help from a specialized service provider if necessary, and consider that total openness is now the only solution!
English translation was done by Bing and correction assisted by Grammarly.