Disadvantages of Intranets

By Todd Bowerman

An intranet is a powerful tool for any business, making it easier to share documents and files between users and to work collectively on group projects. However, intranets do come with a few drawbacks that must be considered before deployment. An intranet can offer you great efficiency and safety gains, but those gains are made at the cost of flexibility and user freedom. In the end, each business must determine for itself if an intranet is the best networking path.

User Weaknesses

The weakest part of any security system is often its users. When all of your company’s computers are connected through an intranet, any compromised machine will give access to shared information on the network. If users rely on easy-to-guess passwords or accidentally download malware or spyware, your entire network could be compromised due to the mistake of one individual. The threat increases if users can access your intranet from home computers or laptops.

Implementation Costs

Building and implementing an intranet network can be expensive. Depending on how many users you need connected and what type of security measures you want to implement, adding an intranet can demand a significant investment. Additionally, older PCs will need to be upgraded to more easily interact with the network, and users will need to be trained on how to efficiently use the intranet for work-related tasks. All of these factors can increase the total cost of implementation.

File Safety

While it’s true that sharing files and documents between users can boost productivity, it’s also true that sharing files puts them at greater risk. When several people are teams are working on documents simultaneously, it’s easier for those documents to be potentially be deleted or damaged. For example, “Toy Story 2” was famously deleted by one accidental command issued by a user and was only recovered thanks to a lucky backup copy from an employee who had been working from home. A company relying on intranet must be proactive about setting file and folder permissions to ensure simple mistakes don’t damage a project.

Ongoing Costs

Intranets aren’t just costly to implement, they have to be maintained. Costs to consider regarding your intranet include software updates, server upgrades, training of new employees, and consultancy regarding intranet improvements and modifications. A company with an intranet network will also need a full-time IT staff to maintain the network, keep computers connected, and deal with problems as they arise. Extranet requires less in the way of network supervision.