Skip to content

IT Glossary

Access point: A device that wireless-equipped computers and mobile devices communicate with a wired network.

Application: A program designed for a specific purpose, such as email or graphic design.

Authentication: The process of identifying a user on a network, typically requiring you to enter username and password to gain access.

Bandwidth: A measurement of the amount of data that can be transmitted over a network at any given time. The higher the network’s bandwidth, the greater the volume of data that can be transmitted.

BI: Business Intelligence; a recognized industry term for organizational analytics, including historical, current, and predictive views of business operations.

Business Continuity: Activity performed by an organization to ensure that critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, regulators, and other entities that must have access to those functions. Business Continuity refers to activities performed to maintain service, consistency, and recoverability.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. This is a business and technology policy that allows employees to bring in personal mobile devices and use these devices to access company data, email, etc.

Cache: A set of files saved on your hard disk that help your browser display pages you have already visited. It displays the files from your hard disk instead of the web.

Captcha: An acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It is a  challenge-response test the user must get correct in order to proceed.

Client-server technology: The connection between networked computers in which the services of one computer (the server) are requested by the other (the client). Information is processed locally on the client computer.

Cloud: Shorthand for cloud computing services. The cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet instead of your computer.

Cookie: A small piece of information you may be asked to accept when connecting to certain servers via a web browser. It is used throughout your session as a means of identifying you. A cookie is specific to, and sent only to the server that generated it.

CPU: Central processing unit; the part of a computer that oversees all operations and calculations.

CSP: Cloud Service Provider; a business model for providing cloud services.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A set of processes, technologies and software that help businesses manage their relationships with their customers. It allows businesses to personalize and customize their contacts with the customer to gain more sales.

Database: A collection of information organized so that a computer application can quickly access selected information. Organized by fields, records (a complete set of fields), and files (a collection of records). 

Datacenter: Facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices.

DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol; a protocol that lets a server on a local network assign temporary IP addresses to a computer or other network devices.

Disaster recovery: The process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity.

Disruptive Technology: New technology that displaces an already established one. 

DNS: The domain name system is how computers convert human-readable domain names and hostnames to numerical IP addresses.

Domain Name: Domain names are the base part of website names like

Domain: Part of an Internet address. The network hierarchy consists of domains and subdomains. At the top are a number of major categories (e.g., com, edu, gov); next are domains within these categories (e.g., KeystoneCorp); and then there are subdomains.

Encryption: The manipulation of data to prevent accurate interpretation by all but those for whom the data is intended.

Ethernet: Ethernet is the standard wired network technology. If your computer is connected to a network via a cable, it’s an Ethernet cable.

Firewall: A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that blocks certain types of traffic. For example, a firewall could block incoming traffic on a certain port or block all incoming traffic except traffic coming from a specific IP address.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol; a method of exchanging files between computers via the Internet. Files can contain documents or programs and can be ASCII text or binary data.

Gateway: A gateway is a device that routes traffic between networks. For example, at home, your router is your gateway. It provides a “gateway” between your network and your ISP. 

Greyware: Greyware (or grayware) refers to a malicious software or code that is considered to fall in the “grey area” between normal software and a virus. Greyware is a term for which all other malicious or annoying software such as adware, spyware, trackware, and other malicious code and malicious shareware fall under.

Handshake: The initial negotiation period immediately after a connection is established between two modems. This is when the modems agree about how the data will be transmitted. The set of rules they agree on is called the protocol.

Help desk: A help desk is an information and assistance resource that troubleshoots problems with computers or similar products.

Hostnames: A hostname is a human-readable label that points to a device connected to a network. For example, on your home network, your computer’s hostname may be BOBSPC.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language; a language used for creating web pages. Various instructions and sets of tags are used to define how the document will look.

HTTP: The hypertext transfer protocol is the standard protocol for modern web browsers and the web itself uses.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service; In the most basic cloud-service model, providers of IaaS offer computers – physical or (more often) virtual machines – and other resources.

IP Address: An Internet Protocol address, or IP address, is a numerical address that corresponds to your computer on a network. When a computer wants to connect to another computer, it connects to that computer’s IP address.

ISP: Your Internet service provider is the company that provides you with your Internet connection.

Java: A general purpose programming language commonly used in conjunction with web pages that feature animation. Small Java applications are called Java applets; many can be downloaded and run on your computer by a Java-compatible browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer.

JavaScript: A publicly available scripting language that shares many of the features of Java; it is used to add dynamic content (various types of interactivity) to web pages.

LAN: A local area network is a small network that’s confined to a local area. For example, your office network is a LAN. Connects a group of computers for the purpose of sharing resources such as programs, documents, or printers. Shared files often are stored on a central file server.

Localhost: The hostname “localhost” always corresponds to the device you’re using.

MAC: Media Access Control; The hardware address of a device connected to a shared network.

MAC Address: Each network interface has a media access control address, or MAC address — also known as a physical address. This is a unique identifier designed to identify different computers on a network. MAC addresses are assigned when a manufacturer creates a network device.

Mail server: A networked computer dedicated to supporting electronic mail. You use a client program like Microsoft Outlook for retrieving new mail from the server and for composing and sending messages.

MDM: Mobile Device Management; Any routine or tool intended to distribute applications, data, and configuration settings to mobile communications devices. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of a mobile communications network. MDM must be part of a coherent BYOD strategy.

MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions; a protocol that enables you to include various types of files (text, audio, video, images, etc.) as an attachment to an e-mail message.

MSP: Managed Service Provider; A business model for providing information-technology services.

Nameserver: A computer that runs a program for converting Internet domain names into the corresponding IP addresses and vice versa.

Network: A group of interconnected computers capable of exchanging information. A network can be as few as several personal computers on a LAN or as large as the Internet, a worldwide network of computers.

Network adapter: A device that connects your computer to a network; also called an adapter card or network interface card.

Network hub: A common connection point for devices on a network.

Network Interface / Network Adapter: Your computer’s wired Ethernet connection and Wi-Fi connection are basically both network interfaces. If your laptop was connected to both a wired connection and a Wi-Fi network, each network interface would have its own IP address because each is a different connection.

Port: When an application wants to send or receive traffic, it has to use a numbered port between 1 and 65535. This is how you can have multiple applications on a computer using the network and each application knows which traffic is for it.

Protocol: Protocols are different ways of communicating over the Internet. Different protocols are ideal for different types of communication.

RAM: Random Access Memory provides space for your computer to read and write data so that the CPU can find it quickly and easily.

Remote desktop: A Windows feature that allows you to have access to a Windows session from another computer in a different location

Remote login: An interactive connection from your desktop computer over a network or telephone lines to a computer in another location (remote site).

Router: A device used for connecting two Local Area Networks (LANs); a device that passes traffic back and forth. You likely have a home router. It’s that router’s job to pass outgoing traffic from your local devices to the Internet and to pass incoming traffic from the Internet to your devices.

SAN: A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated storage network that provides access to consolidated, block-level storage. SANs primarily are used to make storage devices (such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes) accessible to servers so that the devices appear as locally attached to the operating system.

Server: A computer that is responsible for responding to requests made by a client program (e.g., a web browser or an e-mail program) or computer. Also referred to as a “file server”.

SID: Service Set Identifier; a name that identifies a wireless network.

SMPT: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is an Internet standard for e-mail transmission.

SSL: Small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites. 

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol; a method of handling outgoing electronic mail.

Switch: A switch serves as a controller, enabling networked devices to talk to each other efficiently. Through information sharing and resource allocation, switches save businesses money and increase employee productivity.

TCP/IP: Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol; an agreed-upon set of rules that tells computers how to exchange information over the Internet.

Two-factor authentication: An extra level of security achieved using a security token device; users have a personal identification number (PIN) that identifies them as the owner of a particular token. The token displays a number which is entered following the PIN number to uniquely identify the owner to a particular network service. The identification number for each user is changed frequently, usually every few minutes.

USB: Universal Serial Bus; a connector on almost every computer that allows you to quickly and easily attach external devices such as mice, printers, scanners, modems, or external storage devices.

Username: A name used in conjunction with a password to gain access to a computer system or a network service. 

URL: A uniform resource locator, or URL, is also known as a web address. The current URL is displayed in your web browser’s address bar.

Virus: A program intended to alter data on a computer in an invisible fashion, usually for mischievous or destructive purposes. Viruses are often transferred across the Internet as well as by infected diskettes and can affect almost every type of computer.

VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol; a means of using the Internet as the transmission medium for phone calls. An advantage is you do not incur any additional surcharges beyond the cost of your Internet access.

VPN: Virtual Private Networking; a means of securely accessing resources on a network by connecting to a remote access server through the Internet or other networks.

WAN: A wide area network is a larger network that covers a wider area. Your ISP provides you with a connection to their own WAN, which connects to the Internet.

WAP: Wireless Application Protocol; a set of communication protocols for enabling wireless access to the Internet.

WEP: Wired Equivalent Privacy; a security protocol for wireless local area networks defined in the 802.11b standard. WEP provides the same level of security as that of a wired LAN.

Wi-Fi: Wireless Fidelity; A generic term that refers to any type of 802.11 network (e.g., 802.11b, 802.11a, dual-band, etc.). Products approved as “Wi-Fi Certified” (a registered trademark) are certified as inter-operable with each other for wireless communications.

WLAN: Wireless Local Area Network; the computers and devices that make up a wireless network.

WPA: Wi-Fi Protected Access; a standard designed to improve on the security features of WEP.

Back To Top