Being there an Intranet, common problems in security show up now and again. The setup of Intranets are usually within the confines of a private network and no one seems to remember that the threat might be right within the organization. Whether internal or external, information security must be given the attention it requires. Users within the Intranet can steal confidential company documents simply because the network administrator thinks that a firewall was sufficient security to implement. Outside hackers can also break in and have unrestricted access to computers within the Intranet once they bypass the single firewall.
Just like the security issue, being on a closed network does not exempt Intranets from ending up with viruses, Trojans, worms and other malicious programs that may have been introduced by a single user and ends up spreading unhindered through out the entire Intranet. It is remarkably easy to introduce these as they can be brought in through devices such as thumb drives therefore having backdoor access to bypass the firewall.
Filing Systems Disorganization
With time, the information stored within Intranets tends to get disorganized. Quite a number of organizations do not formulate policies on control and storage of files and documents on the Intranet. In the beginning everything may seem okay but as months go by the magnitude of this common problem begins to manifest. Finding information placed posted by one user that is to be shared may become difficult to trace and clutter becomes the order of the day.
Minimal User support
With no official user support, the Intranet becomes a burden to those trying to use it on a daily basis. This may not seem to be such a big deal to the more experienced users on the Intranet. This cannot be said for the new users. With lack of user support it gets difficult for new users to find their way around the Intranet and therefore hinders their productivity in one way or another. Most organizations are not willing to have internal user support staff on payrolls and this just keeps this problem persisting year in year out.
Lack of Interactivity and Feedback
With today’s tends on the Internet, popular websites go so far as to engage the users with ways of involving them in the enrichment of content such as providing ways for them to comment on content, upload content, correct content and participate in polls and surveys and many other interactive features. Intranets have shied away from this trend to the simply handing loads of information to the user without regard for anything else.
Little or No Documentation
With little or no documentation, it usually leads to either frustrated users or stressed out IT staff who have to spend countless hours a year figuring out how the internals of the Intranet work. It gets worse for the new set of developers trying to work on code developed by other developers. This becomes difficult as they again have to troubleshoot Intranet Systems without the benefit of the documentation and not knowing what the previous developer intended when they wrote code for a particular function. This forces the developers to adopt bad design practices.
Because of the closed nature of the Intranet, they tend to end up being badly designed as most start off focused on specific functions. No design decisions are made early enough to accommodate controlled scaling. There are a lot of quick fixes that end up in the architecture of Intranets that after years of usage you may find it evident in the lack of consistency therefore making it even harder to use and understand for new comers. This leads us to the next common Intranet problem.
Software issues can also be a one of the Intranet’s most common problems. Software installed and running the Intranet may have been configured badly or may be buggy to start with. It may therefore make life unbearable for the Intranet users and worse still, it could end up corrupting the data that is passed back and forth within the confines of the Intranet. Maintenance becomes difficult, time consuming and expensive.
Also related to software issues, another common problem with the Intranet is performance, as the Intranet administrator endeavors to keep up to date with the latest software upgrades and updates and as time goes by the same software upgrade may tend to demand more resources out of the hardware thy run on. This starts affecting the performance of the computers within the Intranet. This is true also for badly designed software for example a badly designed database schema that was running okay with a few tens of thousands records, but once the same data is now millions of records you may end up with degraded performance.
Another common Intranet problem is users’ productivity assessments. Most organizations do not bother to use the technology behind the Intranet to gather information about the productivity of the users. Therefore the Intranet does not contribute to the growth of the organization in a way in which it should. Productivity assessment has to be handled using traditional methods and that increases the demands on the Human resources.
All Images are based on screenshots from the author’s computer and photographs taken by the author. Information in this article is based on information gathered from years of experience developing enterprise systems that run over Intranets.