Computer News, April 29, 1996
Intranet gives its fluid
|Everyone expects the National Science
Foundation to be at the cutting edge of technology. After
all, NSF funded the research that led to the development
of the World Wide Web. So it's no surprise that NSF has
one of the slickest intranets-internal networks built on
But NSF didn't build it for technology's sake. NSF has a distinct business motive for building its intranet, Inside NSF.
"NSF has about 400 managers who run each foundation program:' said Frederic J. Wendling, director of NSF's Division of Information Systems.
"About half of these managers are scientists who come to NSF for about a year or two to manage the program and then go back to their universities. Because of this structure, the agency has a early turnover rate of about 20 to 30 percent" he said. By providing basic financial, research and human resources information-and even tips for getting around the Washington area-the intranet helps NSF manage the turnover, Wendling said.
agencies have been slower than the corporate world in
catching on to the intranet boomlet. But now the NSF and
the Interior and Veterans Affairs departments are leading
NSF employees access Inside NSF from the
Communications option on the agency's standard PC menu.
Users may opt for Netscape Communications Corp.'s
Navigator or the NCSA Mosaic Web browser. Communications
also provides a, link to Intemet-resident applications
that build a personal home page.
|IRAM and a 4G hard drive. The server's
operating system is SunOS 4.1.3.
Security is multifaceted: -NSF uses the features of Netscape's Commerce Server to restrict access to client machines in the nsf gov domain. It allows access only to unclassified material and considers host security-using one-time passwords, running security scripts and closely monitoring trouble-prone applications such as Sendmail.
As an added safeguard for Inside NSF and its external Web page, NSF is installing an Internet firewall.
some Inside NSF highlights:
"We feel we're just beginning here," Vander
Putten said. "We're not finished by any
means. 'The next stage is to start people performing
transactions on the intranet, like personnel actions
requests and requests for services from the Division of
Administrative Services and the Division of Information