Confused About All These Tech Terms: Information Technology Glossary
In today’s world, everyone uses information technology. This is simply the technology behind our computers and networks including software and hardware. For businesses, it includes servers, data centers, and other technology to support their IT infrastructure.
In spite of its prevalence, many people are not familiar with some of the terminologies and terms used by IT experts. Below, we offer up a few of the most common expressions and give you easy-to-understand definitions. These are by no means a thorough explanation of the terms but they do provide an overall idea of what the word means.
Artificial Intelligence-The development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require a human. They include speech recognition, language translation, visual perception, and decision making skills.
BDR – This abbreviation stands for “backup and disaster recovery”. This is a plan where all hardware and software is regularly saved in both onsite and offsite locations. This can prevent data from actually being lost. If a data breach occurs, an IT specialist can restore the whole system from backed-up copies. This helps a business to get back up and running very quickly even after hurricanes or other disasters.
Big data-This term refers to extremely large data sets used for the purposes of analysis. This complex data processing is often completed by larger companies in order to reveal trends and patterns that can help them with upcoming marketing campaigns.
Breach (cyber) defense-Any method of protecting your networking and computing resources from intruders and hackers. This can include protection for your IT infrastructure along with antivirus software and firewalls. All known threats are analyzed, then strategies are formulated to stop these attacks before they occur. Most breach defense mechanisms include a planned response to any type of cyber-attack. A good breach defense will include strong measures to safeguard company assets.
Business Continuity– The ability for a business to continue its operations even when there is a cyber breach or other disaster that would normally cripple a company.
Cyber or security breach– An internet security breach where cyber thieves hack into your computer systems and steal data or plant malware. These breaches can cripple your organization and damage your data including customer records. Cyber breaches usually cost a business over one million dollars for each event and they damage the company’s reputation, harming the brand.
Dark Web– This is the Back Alley of the Internet. It is where illegal transactions often take place. Drugs and other contraband are sold on the Dark Web. Entry into this area requires a special browser known as Tor (The Onion) and special software to protect the user from the many dangerous threats that loom on the Dark Web.
Deep Web– Any content that is not indexed by Google bots including educational sites, email programs, company intranet, etc.
Hybrid Cloud-A cloud computing environment where a mixture of public and private cloud services are created to lower operating costs and gain access to a wider range of computing resources.
IT Infrastructure-This term includes all networking, servers, computers, software, hardware, and other technology used to manage and support all information technology resources.
Machine learning-This is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) where a computer system automatically learns as it processes data. The computer doesn’t need to be explicitly programmed to achieve desired results. This science develops computer programs that can access data and learn while they’re working so that they evolve into smarter machines over time.
Malware– A combination of the words “malicious” and “software”. This term has come to refer to any type of software that was built for the specific intent of disrupting a company’s computer network and damaging computer equipment. It can include spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, adware, and many other types of malicious software.
MSP– An IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company that provides a full range of services to help businesses manage all their computer and network resources.
Outsourcing-The process of hiring an outside company to manage all aspects of networking, IT, communications, computers, servers, and other information technology.
Private Cloud-A private cloud refers to a cloud computing environment where a private IT infrastructure is created for one specific organization. It is usually managed with internal resources.
RPO– Recovery Point Objective is the maximum amount of time that data should be lost due to a natural or manmade disaster.
RTO– Recovery Time Objective is the maximum amount of time a business can be without its data (due to a natural or manmade disaster) before the business is at risk.
Ransomware-A type of malicious software where a cyber thief blocks the user’s access to his or her own computers, network, and data. The thief demands a ransom in order to restore full access to all computer systems. Money is extorted from business owners usually in the form of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin which is untraceable. Ransomware attacks have escalated due to their overwhelming success. Normally, a Trojan disguised as a legitimate file, is accidentally downloaded. These can come as email attachments or links. One of the most dangerous Ransomware programs is called “WannaCry worm” and it can travel between computers with no user interaction.
Resolution Time-The amount of time it takes to resolve an issue, most often a security, network, or IT problem.
Response Time-The amount of time it takes for a service provider to respond to a call for service from one of its clients. Most IT providers guarantee specific response times as a perk to selecting their service over others.
Scalability-A company’s ability and flexibility to scale up or down as business needs arise.
SLA- A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a customer and a service provider. It outlines the duties and responsibilities of the service provider and the terms of the contract. It includes the signatures of those in management from both entities.
Software bug-An error, fault, or flaw in a computer program that produces an unintended effect. Bugs are usually the result of mistakes by programmers when developing the source code. The term “debugging” is often used to describe the process of fixing software bugs.
Virtualization-Virtual Machines (VM) are created that look and behave exactly like the real thing. This can include servers, networks, operating systems, or storage devices. This allows a company to have a much more sophisticated IT infrastructure at lower costs. It also enables a business to enjoy the benefits of scalability. With virtualization, you can easily scale up or down as needed, so you only pay for services and equipment that you need at that time.
VPN– Virtual private networks (VPN) are built over public infrastructures to provide a higher level of security to the data transmitted. Usually, encryption is used to protect apps and data from intruders as the data is processed across the internet. There are numerous types of VPN, including Advanced VPN, PureVPN, Hotspot Shield, and ExpressVPN.
Zero Day Threats– This is a threat exploiting vulnerabilities within computer security systems. The term is derived from the word “zeroth”, which is the time of the exploitation. It occurs either before or on the first day the developer becomes aware of it. Therefore, there is no security fix for the threat due to the fact that developers are completely unaware of its existence. A number of different vectors can be used in a zero day attack. These attacks are usually instigated by well-known hacker groups who take pride in being able to outsmart developers.