Building An Internal Collaboration Platform For Teams

September 7, 2023 Programming

Intranet server: Share files, sites, apps internally using SharePoint, Confluence on an on-premise server

An intranet is a private network that uses Internet protocols but is accessible only within an organization. It uses the same networking technologies as the public Internet, but is not accessible from outside the physical/logical boundaries of the organization. It provides a central location for employees to find information, resources, and services relevant to their jobs and projects. Modern intranets integrate tools such as wikis, discussion forums, and employee directories for internal interaction.

Setting up an internal intranet server allows organizations to securely share resources within office networks. This article discusses using Microsoft SharePoint and Atlassian Confluence to create an intranet on a local server or server rented by your organization (

Deploying SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful collaboration platform to build intranets. Install SharePoint on Windows Server and configure accounts in Active Directory.

Create team sites for departments to share files like documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Customize the interface using templates. Embed workflows and approval processes.

Here are some additional details about deploying Microsoft SharePoint on an on-premise intranet server:

  • Hardware requirements: Dedicated server ( with minimum 8GB RAM, multi-core processor, and large storage for documents/files.
  • Install SharePoint on Windows Server and set it up in standalone or server farm topology based on organizational requirements.
  • Configure web applications, site collections, and navigation elements to structure content for ease of access.
  • Use out-of-the-box templates or customize master pages and page layouts using SharePoint design tools.
  • List libraries and document sets allow managing folders, metadata, and policies on file uploads from employees.
  • Integrate SharePoint search functionality to index content for effective searching across sites.
  • Scheduling, task management, and approval workflows extend SharePoint’s collaboration abilities.
  • Configure external user access through Extranet zone for sharing limited content with partners/vendors.
  • Configure MySites to provide personal social experience and profiles within the intranet ecosystem.
  • Control access using SharePoint groups, permission levels, and auditing major data and configuration changes.

Hosting SharePoint Add-ins

Deploying custom SharePoint add-ins allows enhancing the intranet functionality. There are two main ways to develop add-ins:

Provider-hosted model is preferable for full trust solutions where the add-in’s web application is hosted externally but integrated within SharePoint. The add-in interacts with SharePoint using CSOM/REST APIs. Examples include a newsfeed or polls add-in.

Including advanced capabilities like extracting metadata from documents requires leveraging SharePoint’s object model and data from within the add-in itself, enabled through the provider-hosted model. The add-in’s web app is deployed to the on-premise web server while connectivity is maintained using the App Principal object.

SharePoint pages can surface add-ins seamlessly embedded without jarring the user experience. Deploying add-ins to the same server as SharePoint allows fast communication avoiding latency over external networks. Add-ins extend SharePoint’s intrinsic functionality by leveraging its ecosystem within organizational intranet policies.

Using Confluence

Atlassian Confluence offers excellent features for knowledge collaboration. Set up Confluence on Linux or Windows and connect to an Oracle or SQL database.

Create spaces for teams and projects. Using markup language, authors can collaborate on pages in real-time. Include screenshots and videos when linking pages. Provides a mobile-friendly interface.

Confluence gains functionality through plugins. Code snippets, Gantt charts, and backlogs that follow project management protocols are a few examples of plugins.

Securing the intranet

Install a firewall to isolate the intranet network from outside traffic, and set up rules to restrict access from inside while allowing outside traffic as needed. Encrypt intranet traffic with TLS/HTTPS.

To protect systems with highly sensitive data from general user access, configure security zones or VLANs. Use firewall ACLs to control traffic between zones.

Enable Windows Active Directory for centralized authentication of users and machines on the intranet network. Integrate AD authentication with SharePoint and Confluence for a seamless single sign-on user experience.

Create security baselines for servers using principles from frameworks such as the CIS benchmarks. Frequently patch software and systems using change management protocols.

Leverage server monitoring technologies that can detect anomalies in access patterns, network activity, and system logs. If necessary, investigate alerts for compromise.

Educate intranet users about cyber threats through security awareness training, which can include simulated phishing attempts and incident response protocols.

Conduct periodic vulnerability assessments and network penetration tests. Identify and remediate vulnerabilities based on risk ratings to strengthen the overall intranet security posture.

A well-designed on-premise intranet using SharePoint and Confluence optimizes internal information exchange within organizational policies.