Intranet vs VPN
Intranets and VPN are two technologies that are commonly used in business environments. It is important to note though that while Intranet is just a term that is used to describe an internal network that simulates the Internet while VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, is one methodology used to remotely connect to a network as if you are connected locally.
An Intranet is just a local network that utilizes the same technologies that the Internet does (i.e. HTTP, SMTP, FTP) in order to simplify things and make it a lot easier for members of the organization to access resources and share data. Using the said technologies make it easier for administrators to provide different levels of access in a manner that is already familiar with most people. On the other hand, VPN was created to address the need of inexpensive and secure connections between distant offices. Prior to VPN, leased lines provided a secure but very expensive means of achieving this.
A VPN utilizes a much bigger public network like the Internet to pass the data along since the origin and destination are probably not in the same locale. To prevent snoopers from getting the data, encryptions are utilized to make it ‘unreadable’. With Intranets, the computers are usually located in the same vicinity so there is little or no need to utilize the Internet and employ complicated encryption systems.
Although it is not necessary to use the Internet to have a fully functional Intranet, doing so can extend the usability of the Intranet. This is often achieved by tunneling the Intranet through a VPN so that remote users can still access the resources of the Intranet as if they are connected locally. There is no need to add security measures to the Intranet as the data would be automatically encrypted once it goes through the VPN and decrypted after it reaches the destination. Accessing the Intranet via a VPN is no different than accessing it locally once you’ve successfully established a connection.
1. Intranet is a type of network while VPN is a method of connecting distant computers
2. A VPN goes through a public network while an Intranet does not have to
3. Intranets can be deployed over a VPN but not all Intranets are
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