An extranet is a private network that uses internet protocols and public telecommunication systems to securely share part of an organization’s information or operational systems with its suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, or other businesses.

What does Extranet mean?

An Extranet is a private network that allows external parties to access specific resources and information within an organization’s internal network. It provides controlled and secure access to authorized users, typically partners, suppliers, customers, or other stakeholders, beyond the organization’s firewall.

Extranets employ a combination of technologies, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), firewalls, and access control mechanisms, to ensure that external users can securely connect to the organization’s internal network. This allows authorized users to access relevant information, collaborate on projects, and conduct business transactions remotely, while maintaining the integrity and security of the internal network.

The design and implementation of an Extranet require careful consideration of security measures, access management, and data privacy regulations to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. Organizations establish clear policies outlining the authorized users, the level of access granted, and the acceptable use of the Extranet resources.


Extranets play a crucial role in enhancing collaboration, streamlining business processes, and fostering relationships with external partners.

Collaboration: Extranets facilitate secure sharing of documents, project plans, and other collaborative materials with external parties, such as project partners, suppliers, or distributors. This enables efficient coordination and execution of joint projects and initiatives.

Business Process Automation: Organizations can leverage Extranets to automate business processes, such as order placement, inventory management, and customer support, with external stakeholders. This streamlines operations and eliminates manual communication errors.

Partner and Supplier Management: Extranets provide a platform for organizations to manage relationships with their partners and suppliers. They can share updates, place orders, and track deliveries, enhancing supply chain visibility and efficiency.

Customer Relationship Management: Extranets can enhance customer relationships by providing secure access to self-service portals, knowledge bases, and support forums. Customers can access information, track orders, and request assistance conveniently.


The concept of Extranets emerged in the late 1990s as organizations sought ways to securely share information and collaborate with external parties over the internet.

Early Development: Initially, organizations established Extranets using dedicated leased lines or dial-up connections. However, these solutions were expensive and limited in Scalability.

Virtual Private Networks: The advent of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) in the mid-1990s provided a more secure and cost-effective way to create Extranets. VPNs encrypt Network Traffic and establish secure tunnels between remote users and the internal network.

Internet-Based Extranets: The widespread adoption of the internet in the late 1990s led to the development of internet-based Extranets. These Extranets utilize firewalls, authentication mechanisms, and access control protocols to protect internal network resources.

Cloud-Based Extranets: In recent years, the emergence of Cloud Computing has given rise to cloud-based Extranets. These Extranets offer scalability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of deployment.