Extranets provide a secure solution for sharing files and information inside and outside of an organisation.
Here are the reasons to choose Microsoft SharePoint as your extranet solution.
What is an extranet?
Similar to an intranet, an extranet is an information-sharing and file collaboration solution.
Whereas an intranet is designed to perform this predominantly within an organisation, an extranet will allow for select access and information to be shared with chosen external individuals and organisations.
Extranets are useful for sharing data externally in a more structured way than sharing individual files (via email or file share solution for example). As a result, they can be used to simplify working relationships between different organisations, or between organisations and individuals.
Typical applications for extranets include:
Customer billing portal – A custom extranet can be used to provide access to customers’ bills and account details. Easy to manage by account teams, an extranet will restrict customer access to their specific documents.
Helpdesk information – Service companies can find value in sharing support documents relevant to their customers' services via an extranet. This can reduce helpdesk enquiries for service companies and empower customers with information.
Employee on-boarding – When hiring a new employee, notice periods can mean it’s weeks or months before they actually start at your company. Sharing HR or company information with them via an extranet before they join can ensure they are aware of work processes before they start and hit the ground running.
Project management – Extranets can work as part of a project management solution, allowing project developers and customers to collaborate on planning documents, review project plans or track hours.
As the tool of choice for intranets, SharePoint is also an excellent platform for extranets.
The value of an extranet (over a website) is that information can be restricted for and targeted to those people a company have a relationship with. SharePoint provides advanced options for access, with administrators able to tailor access to the external organisation or individual. This can include password access or specialist multi-factor authentication to ensure secure access by the right individuals.
Based on a user’s profile, SharePoint can ring-fence content, or limit file visibility for those accessing data from outside of an organisation. Files can also be set to read-only, and downloads blocked to ensure the security of information.
SharePoint also keeps records of which files have been accessed and edited, when and by whom. This means that external user activity within the extranet can be tracked. Once a task has reached completion, user access to the extranet or individual documents can be revoked.
Add to this the other features of SharePoint, and the applications for the platform are broad as. Should you be interested, our consultants will be able to discuss possibilities with you in line with your requirements.
To discuss a SharePoint extranet solution for your organisation, please get in touch.