Data security is regularly hitting the headlines at the moment. Recent data breaches highlighted with Talk Talk and further advice provided by the ICO highlight the importance of reviewing your own intranet hosting, security and wider collaborative working processes.
When it comes to ensuring your intranet is secure there are many software solutions available to organisations but how secure are they? I thought it might be useful to explain a little more about your hosting options.
Internal V Private Cloud V Public Cloud Hosting
Hosting your intranet internally can be the most secure option and is very dependent upon on your IT infrastructure, requirements and physical space. If you can host onsite the advantages can be:
- Single sign on is easier to achieve
- Access and future development of your intranet is easier as its readily available
- The intranet can be brought into line with other business processes as it is on site and fully owned and controlled by you
- If hosted on site you can review the intranet in line with other business systems, enabling greater integration and business efficiencies
- Onsite hosting might see your operational costs reduced
For some organisations, internally hosting your intranet is not possible, maybe due to financial, people or time resources. If this is the case for you, then externally hosting could be the way forward and could result in the following benefits:
- No need to purchase additional hardware or software to accommodate your intranet (reducing capital expenditure)
- Future maintenance of hardware is taken care of
- Future operating system updates are also taken care of as part of your managed service
You can achieve all of the benefits of hosting onsite with reduced costs and no ongoing hardware maintenance and updates to factor in. HOWEVER, did you know that there are further options when it comes to hosting you intranet software that you need to be aware of?
Private or Public Cloud?
Deciding on externally hosting your intranet provides you with a further choice of whether you would like your intranet hosted in a private or public cloud.
Private cloud hosting enables you to decide exactly where your intranet will be hosted and you can source the supplier and location and either manage this through your software supplier or directly. Here at SORCE, we help by vetting the suppliers to ensure they are ISO accredited and can make supplier recommendations.
Public clouds are those offered by companies such as Google or Amazon, with infrastructures shared by millions of clients worldwide. Some intranet software providers offer Public (shared) cloud hosting as standard and others, such as here at SORCE offer private cloud hosting.
Both options can offer:
- Reliability. If there are server issues they are unlikely to affect you as the provider will have multiple back up servers.
- Scalability and flexibility. As your business grows or your needs change whether you opt for a public or private cloud your service can be increased with your demand.
- Pay as you go costing. You pay for what you use.
One of the most important differences concerns security. A public cloud intranet software solution, means that you are, in effect, sharing access to the software with that providers other clients/users. You will have secured access but may not know where your data is being hosted, this may not be a concern for some, but for many organisations that have sensitive data knowing where your intranet is hosted is business critical.
For many organisations, public clouds are not allowed because of the nature of their business. The NHS and Banks for example can't use internet accessed clouds.
In a private cloud environment, you have your own server(s) in a known data storage location, often with additional security layers. Single sign on can be provided by making any server in your private cloud part of your company’s network. You also have full access to the server(s) allowing you to make configuration changes when you need to.
I hope this has provided you with some insight and things to think about when taking stock of your current intranet hosting and security, or considering a new solution. To help further SORCE have created an intranet implementation guide which may offer further insight
As intranet software and consultancy providers our software powers the intranet and extranet for hundreds of organisations. Our clients cover a wide range of sectors from finance to manufacturing, not for profit organisations (such as charities and housing associations) as well as local authorities and other public sector agencies.