IT Glossary

  1. Antivirus: Software designed to scan your computer for viruses. When a threat is discovered, the software then deletes the virus. Antivirus software runs automatically in the background on your device. It’s effective against threats like malware and spyware but is not a complete IT security solution.
  2. Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR): Paired together, these two terms refer to distinct processes. Backups are a copy of your data you rely on when files are corrupted or accidentally deleted. Disaster Recovery is a comprehensive process for getting your applications, data, files and system restored after a severe outage – like a cyberattack or extreme weather event.
  3. The Cloud: A way to store and access files, applications and data online. When you move to the cloud, everything on your physical servers is virtualized, meaning a copy exists on the cloud server. After virtualization is complete, you have full access to whatever is in the cloud server on any device at any time.
  4. IT Security: The strategies, tools and processes IT experts use to prevent cyberattacks. The exact methodologies and practices continually evolve as threats are ever-ever changing. Most IT security professionals encourage combining defenses, such as antivirus software, firewalls, IT security training, spam filtering, and advanced threat detection to offer a higher degree of protection.
  5. Datacenter: The physical or virtual space that houses your IT systems. This includes your critical applications, data, servers, firewalls, etc. Computing, networking and storage all take place in your data center. If there’s an outage at your data center, your business will experience downtime.
  6. Downtime: Businesses experience downtime when one, or more, of their systems are knocked offline. It can be caused by a simple power outage or a complex ransomware attack. During a major outage, your ability to work is cut off. You lose access to everything from emails and phone systems to your applications and data.
  7. Dark Web: A hidden area of the internet used by criminals. When data is stolen in a cyberbreach, it is put up for sale on the Dark Web. Anyone can then buy the stolen records. Personal information like names, addresses, social security numbers, medical records, bank account information and credit card numbers are readily available.
  8. Endpoint: Any laptop, computer, smartphone, tablet, Internet of Things (IoT) device, server, desktop, or workstation connected to your network is an endpoint. They are frequently targeted in cyberattacks. Criminals know if they gain access to an endpoint, they can infiltrate your network too.
  9. Firewall: A device that monitors your incoming and outgoing network traffic. It permits or blocks traffic based on security rules you establish. Firewalls are a line of defense in a robust IT security plan that helps prevent viruses and cybercriminals from penetrating your network.
  10. Malware & Spyware: Any malicious software is considered malware. The viruses can enter your network through email, the internet, or corrupted software installed on a device. Types of malware include Trojan horses, viruses, worms, and spyware. When a machine is infected with spyware, criminals can track your actions and collect information you enter – like usernames and passwords.
  11. Managed IT Service Provider: Organizations that want to outsource some, or all, of their IT department work with managed IT service providers. (Also called a managed services provider, or MSP). Services vary depending on the provider. They could offer a help desk-only solution or comprehensive, white-glove technology management.
  12. Microsoft 365: A popular suite of business applications that include Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint Teams and Word. Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based, subscription product. Users can access the applications and their files from any device.
  13. Multifactor/Two-Factor Authentication: A simple, powerful security measure for logging into accounts. After you enter your username and password, you’ll be asked for a second verification. This could be a code texted to your phone or a set of numbers generated by a security key or application. The information is unique to you and the codes are time-sensitive.
  14. Mobile Device Management (MDM): To keep endpoints secure, devices are enrolled in mobile device management systems. MDM software lets IT administrators remotely monitor devices. If a device is stolen or compromised, the admins can lock the device or delete data files.
  15. Network: When 2 or more devices connect to send information back and forth, that’s a network. The connection can occur online or physically.
  16. Phishing attacks: Emails that attempt to lure recipients into clicking on toxic links, replying to the sender, or wiring money. The sender’s goal could be to introduce malware into the system, steal data or extract money. Attackers are increasingly clever and continually adopt new methods to appear legitimate.
  17. Unified Communications: A system that unites multiple forms of communication and collaboration into one platform. The single application typically provides a way for you to send text-based messages, make and receive phone calls, share files, join video meetings and host conference calls.
  18. Uptime: The opposite of downtime. Your IT systems are available, allowing everyone to access files, send emails, receive phone calls, share information, save documents, etc.
  19. VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a way to make phone calls over an internet connection instead of analog phone lines. This can be done via a computer or VoIP-enabled phone. If you download an app to your smartphone, you can use it to make and receive calls using data instead of the internet.
  20. VPN: A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure way to use public WiFi. When you use a VPN, your IP address is masked, and data is encrypted. People cannot track you and your information remains secure.