Intranet is gradually turning out to be a prerequisite for organizations and this is mostly because it enables centralized and effective information sharing as well as management. However, an intranet is not sufficient when it comes to connecting the management, suppliers, customers as well as partners in the best- possible way. Creating a direct extranet SharePoint site comes up as a possible solution to this problem. While developing your company’s extranet, you have a few options to choose from. These options are In-house, Hybrid and Private Cloud. Here is a brief discussion about these three modes along with the factors you have to consider in the process of implementation of the extranet.
SharePoint, the popular web application development platform, already poses certain challenges with respect to connecting with the external users. You need to consider as to which third party solution needs to be installed for the purpose of offering the end-users with the sign-in as well as password reset capabilities. Now, the forum-based authentication is usually more preferred over the claim-based authentication.
Deploying an in-house SP extranet for your business requires you to spend substantial amount of time and money. The assistance of the infrastructure experts is extremely essential in this regard. Taking this into consideration, organizations are found going for the other options with respect to the site hosting that help in quick accomplishment of projects apart from remaining within the stipulated budget.
Public Cloud Deployment
Public Cloud Deployment or signing up for the SP hosting services on a platform called SaaS is a cost- effective option for businesses as, it is considered a low cost model. As far as the basic collaborative features are concerned, the hosted SP foundation solution offers unlimited access for users, hence, facilitating addition of multiple external users. However, licensing is a better option if you are looking for the highly advanced SP server features.
On the flip side, connecting the on-premises intranet with the extranet located in the public cloud hosting platform is not a feasible option. Even with a recognized provider by your side, data security would come across as a major point of concern.
Hybrid or Private Cloud
It is obvious for anyone to prefer the private cloud hosting solution for the extranet because it comes up with excellent flexibility along with control of on-premises deployment. Again if you are looking for low cost and scalability, a public cloud solution such as Office 365 is preferred. Private Cloud hosting is indeed the best- suited option for the small to mid-sized organizations attempting at combining the intranet and the extranet. At the same time, a hybrid deployment including the process of having two sites on one farm is also facilitated.
Now, running a hybrid solution implies keeping the intranet in-house while hosting the extranet in the cloud. The challenge lies in allowing internal users to move from intranet to extranet and also the other way round. SharePoint’s newest claims feature enables choosing the claim type characters while making the connection between farms actually more hassle- free than with SP 2010.
The good thing is that even though you start with two different environments, that is, the intranet and the extranet, connections can still be made and content published from the on-premises intranet to the extranet hosted somewhere else. In fact, it becomes simpler to move the complete intranet to a similar private cloud. Cross-site publishing enables two sites to connect easily while also making it easier to implement with least amount of involvement on part of the SP administrators.
All said and done, your company’s extranet will certainly be of substantial benefits provided you make the right choice and take the right decision. This would help you leverage the benefits of SharePoint application development.