Internet/intranet and extranet - all in one package?
Today many companies, whether larger, medium or smaller have a content architecture and production methodology from a different era. System life cycle have a tendency to be over-extended. While this happens development rushes on, demands with regards to mobility services and social aspects of web applications or content management services increases.
Transformation surely can be a difficult business, changing systems resource demanding, potentially very time consuming. Therefore it might not be so strange that many postpone plans, while that happens the data volume increases, gap between existing and new platform increases, and the task may grow in size.
One Web solution - many layers
Over the past 6 months I've worked mostly with open source based solutions and that's been a revelation, if not say a downright liberation. One of these solutions is in fact intranet/extranet and internet all in package. With user & access management, private areas, private file and directory structures, to mention but some features. The system also includes scheduler, allowing users to decide when a document is being published, when it expires, and when or if it is to be reused or recycled, booking services, event management and various other functions.
The solution is scalable enough and powerful enough to work for even larger organizations although I probably would define a different form of architecture than one used for smaller organisations. However that's relatively easy to fix. The key message here is, so far the only real costs implied on the software side has been a plug-in for $9.90. The rest is freeware and my labour (not an expensive resource either). I've aslo designed a policy based hierarchy that effectively relieves anyone not in need of if, from confusing administration menus and functions they will never have a need for. A hierarchy making it easy to grant people rights to various functions, literally on the fly.
Securing the site - SSL
This is becoming more and more normal to do, that Google decided to (some say) favorize sites using SSL in one shape or form may have contributed to the sharp increase of encrypted websites. But if you intend to run a layered architecturte, or put many eggs in one basket so to speak, encryption should be a standard.
Today there are a variety of SSL encryption products available, from the relatively inexpensive to the bloody expensive, from 256 bit or basic encryption to the top notch commercially available. Software evolution have made it easier to secure your website, there's no longer a need for dedicated hardware, the certificate can be applied to a virtual host and your web solution as easy. When a 1 year subscription of a SSL certificate will set you back with around $150, and work on all types of devices, there's really no argument against it.
Given an increasing demand for centric solutions, social networking, B2B, workflows and higher degree of flexibility plus customer interactions, I would definitely recommend a more tightly integrated way of running various CMS services. Truth be told, I am working on one right now and, if I am to believe the client it's going to make a big difference for them.
If you want your own single-point solution, with failover (if you want to) and with more than enough functionality to keep your users happy, let me know hmmm? :)