Business use of intranets, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and extranets threatens to stifle investment in the public Internet, claims a report published by IDC and the Open Group last week.
The report, entitled Global Infrastructure, was based on a survey of IT managers at large multinational companies.
"The short-term success that companies are experiencing with intranets and extranets may lead to a fragmentation into hundreds of closed private networks built on top of the public infrastructure," commented Michael Sullivan-Trainor, senior analyst at IDC. "Without a common set of specifications, technologies and products which guarantee the level of security and reliability businesses require, the Internet may simply become an interesting public access network."
However, David Robinson, technical director at Netscape UK, disagreed with the report. "If there are such great barriers (to deploying applications online), why are people still doing it?" Robinson asked. "At the moment it is perfectly possible to find solutions using existing standards to deliver secure applications over the Internet."
Global Infrastructure report from IDC and the Open Group
Other key findings in the report are:
- New revenues have been realised by Internet pioneers
- Return on investment and revenue gains have not necessarily improved companies' profits
- Use of Internet technologies has grown at a rate of 200% per year
- All of the companies surveyed had deployed an intranet
- 50% are using VPNs to extend services to remote users
- 66% had deployed an extranet for their business partners
- 25% cited interoperability, skills and legacy issues as holding back intranet deployment
- 80% said security was the primary barrier to expansion of VPNs and extranets
- Less than 15% said they would deploy mission-critical applications over the Internet
- 60% said they would accelerate plans to move business to the Net if security and reliability issues were resolved.
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