A newsgroup can solve many communication problems in businesses where it is difficult to get all members of a team together to exchange information regularly. Newsgroups enable anyone in the group to read or post information at any time. Because articles are organized into topic threads, newsgroups make it easy for a user to locate all information about a particular topic. Unlike e-mail, newsgroups provide a mechanism that allows you to easily archive information for future reference.
The following scenario describes how you can create a private news site to meet specific goals. A private news site is a collection of newsgroups used only within your company. Users outside the company cannot access the newsgroups.
Goal: To improve communication between department members working on a project and to organize and archive project information.
Software components: Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0 or Microsoft Windows 2000 Server; Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 4.0; Microsoft Internet Mail and News version 4.0 or Microsoft Outlook Express.
Environment: A Microsoft Windows network.
Setup considerations: Install the Microsoft NNTP Service component of IIS using the IIS Setup program.
Other: To use a newsgroup as an information archive, do not set an expiration time for articles and be sure to back up the newsgroup directory frequently.
Hosting a few private newsgroups within your organization typically requires only a computer running Windows 2000 Server. Because NNTP Service uses the standard NNTP protocol, department members can access newsgroups using any NNTP client software, although Outlook Express provides additional security options if you need them. The server and clients must be set up to use TCP/IP.
Begin your project by creating a few newsgroups. If your project is to design and build a better mousetrap, for example, you might call your newsgroups mousetrap.design, mousetrap.test, and mousetrap.manufacturing. Because articles within each newsgroup are organized by subject, you do not need a separate newsgroup for each specific subject.
The URLs for your newsgroups have the following formats:
Server is the name or IP address of Microsoft NNTP Service, newsgroup is the name of the newsgroup, and article is an optional identifier of a specific article.
Depending on the confidentiality of the articles, you might need to define security for the newsgroups. If the information is available to anyone in your organization and your network is protected by a firewall, you can allow anonymous access. If you need greater security, create Windows 2000 Server accounts for each newsgroup user and then restrict access to the newsgroup directories to those accounts. Microsoft NNTP Service manages security using Windows 2000 Server accounts and permissions.
Members of your department can read and post articles about their project on a timely basis, keeping each other informed without having to schedule frequent meetings.