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22 Jan 2015

DNN Intranet Identity and Authentication

DNN Intranet Identity and Authentication

Author: John Royle  /  Categories: Integration, AD-Pro Active Directory Integration Suite  /  Rate this article:
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DNN has always been a popular platform to build an intranet. They have been successful for over two decades in this way because they can leverage the economies of scale of technology originally developed for the public internet.   

[See blog post by Bruce Chapman of DNN Corp here: Using a CMS for an Intranet ]

Content Management Systems are ideal at providing the core benefit of an intranet – the ability to quickly and easily publish information relevant to an entire organization.   With a powerful CMS, you can also publish information to subsets of an organization such as departmental or team level.   Evoq Content is an ideal product to create an intranet with.

Developments in Internet technology have created collaboration tools such as ideation, gamification and wikis, which allow all members of an organization to contribute to the intranet.  Such collaboration provides a healthy base for innovation, teamwork and benefits that surpass even the core value proposition of an intranet, which is generally to provide an information distribution platform.

Identity and Authentication

The key differentiator between an intranet and a public Internet site is not the content, or the technology or the infrastructure.  It is the difference in the audience – an intranet is designed and built for an internal audience.  

While private networks can achieve locking away an intranet from public access, an increasingly common strategy is to ensure that all access to the intranet is across public networks by authenticated visitors only.

Even if the intranet is on an internal network, ensuring that the correct identity for the visitor allows the use of collaborative tools.   Nearly all technologies beyond simple web browsing on intranets rely on the identity of the user being known.

Only intranets with identity and authentication solved can unlock the power of showing role and individual based information, and allowing the user to participate in collaborative tools.

Organizational Identity

Many organizations have built identity solutions around Active Directory for internal systems.   Active Directory is a widely used Directory service for Windows domain networks, and uses common standards like LDAP, which in turn allows integration with other organizational systems.

Organizations with internal networks built on Microsoft Windows technologies often choose to build an intranet with DNN as it runs on the same Windows Server technology.  

Linking the organizational identity stored in Active Directory with the user identity within a Content Management and Collaboration system like DNN is the best way to ensure the benefits of an organizational intranet.

Technologies like automatic synchronization of directory data ensures that administrative tasks of creation and revocation of users in an organization only need to be done a single time.   Single sign one for users then allows seamless transition between organizational systems and networks and the intranet, all the while keeping the identity of the user.

Building an Intranet with Active Directory and DNN for a CMS

Bringing together the prior points,  gaining the maximum effectiveness from an intranet involves:

  • Leveraging internet systems and technology for a low-cost publishing system, particularly through the use of open and extensible Content Management Systems.
  • Using collaboration tools to establish an intranet as a place of innovation and teamwork
  • Ensuring that all intranet users have their identity established and authenticated, to collaborate, view specific content and to restrict access to unauthorized visitors.
  • Using common industry technologies like Active Directory integrated into the intranet to provide the authentication and identity
  • Constructing the entire system from off-the-shelf components for a low total cost of ownership.

Using Evoq Content as the core of an intranet, combined with Active Directory integration is an ideal platform for building a world class, productive and modern intranet.

Glanton Solutions distributes a suite of tools for Identity Management and Authentication in the DNN Ecosystem.  These are listed in the list of Evoq Preferred Products for use with the Evoq products.

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