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IT Glossary


Posted 12th July 2021


IT Glossary

A

  • Access point: A piece of hardware that when installed allows computers that are on the wireless network to communicate with computers on a wired network.
  • Address: Also known as an email address, website address or internet address.
  • Alias: A nickname, it is created to be used instead of a more complicated name.
  • Authentication: You authenticate yourself by entering your specific username and password onto your computer or server.

B

  • Backup Server: A physical server where folders, files and databases are backed up. In the event of a data loss, the data can be retrieved from the backup on the server.
  • Bandwidth: Describes the most amount of data at one time that can be transferred over a network or internet connection.
  • Browser: Examples include Safari, Chrome or Firefox – you use these programmes access the Internet.
  • Bug: If an error in software or hardware is discovered, it is often called a bug.
  • Business Continuity Plan: This describes what many businesses need to hold in a Plan in response to potential accidents, disasters or emergencies, enabling them to continue trading as normal.

C

  • Cache: These files are saved on your computer’s hard disk. They assist your browser to display web pages that you have already visited more quickly.
  • Chat: You can chat with people on the computer screen and into a small message box over the Internet.
  • Client: Describes a programme or a computer that is able to connect to and request information from a server.
  • Cloud Computing: Used to describe any systems you access that are not on your premises (on-prem). Your online backup could be an example.
  • Compress: This describes the process of decreasing the size of a file. You may need to do this to save disk space, for example.
  • Cookie: These are minute pieces of information that you are often asked to accept when browsing pages on the internet. Often used to track internet history as you move around the net.
  • CPU: This is the physical part of a computer that is the centre of all operations.
  • Crash: Sometimes computers can crash due to a hardware or software problem. Information can occasionally be lost as a result.
  • Cursor: The pointer that you see on the screen as you move your mouse.
  • Cyberspace: The virtual space within which we communicate with other uses online.

D

  • Data Centre: Often a physical room, used to house computer systems or servers.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Systems or Processes that can ensure that you do not lose data (or alert when data is leaked).
  • Database: Information collected and organised so that you can access the information it holds quickly.
  • Decompress: This is the process of restoring a particular file to its original size.
  • Desktop: Also known as the Home Screen, this is where you will find icons, files and programmes on your computer.
  • Devices: Examples of input devices include a mouse, your keyboard or microphones. Examples of output devices can include printers or monitors.
  • Dialogue Box: You may know this as a ‘window’. It often prompts you to take an action or to warn you of a potential issue on your computer.
  • Disaster Recovery: These are the processes in place that ensure that your business can continue trading in the event of a disaster or catastrophic event.
  • DNS: The Domain Name System. Computers convert domain names that we can read into IP Addresses that other computers can read. 
  • Domain Name: The individual part of website names like bbc.co.uk  
  • Download: When you transfer files from the online space onto your computer.

E

  • E-mail: Electronic email; Programmes you may use to send and receive email include Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo or Gmail.
  • Encryption: Ensures that data cannot be interpreted by anyone who should not be viewing it.

F

  • File: The majority of information stored on your computer is held in a file of some kind. Files could be text, images, video or audio.
  • Firewall: Protects your hardware and software from unauthorised attempts to access the system.
  • Flash drive: Also known as a USB stick, it plugs into your computer’s USB ports and acts as a portable hard drive.
  • Freeware: This describes software that has been devised by those who would like to give it away for altruistic purposes.
  • FTP: File Transfer Protocol; When computers exchange files between each other over the internet.

G

  • Gateway: A physical device that routes traffic between and within networks.

H

  • Hard Disk (or Hard Drive, Hard Disk Drive, HDD): A hardware piece of equipment in your computer, where the data remains even when switched off.
  • Hardware: Describes the physical parts of your computer.
  • Homepage: This is often the first page of a website that you will land on when browsing the internet.
  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language; Primarily the language used for creating web pages.
  • HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol; Describes the definitions of how a web browser and a server interact with each other.
  • Hyperlink: If you double click on a hyperlink, it will open whatever is contained within the link.

I

  • Icons: You will often see icons on the Desktop or Home Screen of your computer. They represent programmes and files and folders.
  • Information Security Policy: A policy that guides those that work with your IT assets.
  • Integration: This is the process of integrating items, whether that is computers, systems or even business networks into one entity.
  • IP Address: A unique identifier for each computer and server on the Network or Internet.
  • ISP: The Internet service provider provides you with your Internet connection. Examples include SKY, BT and Virgin Media.

J

  • Java: A particular language often used on web pages that primarily feature animations.
  • JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group; A photographic file.

L

  • LAN: Local Area Network; Describes a network which connects a number of devices over a particular area – typically in a single physical location.

M

  • Malware: Specific programmes that have been developed to maliciously attack information on a computer.
  • Managed Antivirus: When an IT provider installs antivirus software onto a business’s computers and servers, whilst monitoring its health.
  • MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions; A particular protocol that ensures you are able to attach a variety of files to an e-mail.
  • Multimedia: Describes software that incorporate text, images, sound and video.

N

  • Network Adapter: A physical device that enables your computer to connect to a network. It is often known as an adapter card or network interface card.
  • Network Hub: A central point that enables devices to connect on a network.
  • Network Security: Describes the security offered by your network in implementing a variety of measures including having an up-to-date security policy in place, protecting your network from unauthorised access.
  • Network: A number of interconnected computers which exchange information.

O

  • Online: You are online when you are on the internet.
  • Operating System: You may know of operating systems such as Windows or iOS.
  • Output: This is the data that comes out of a computer. It could be the data displayed on the screen or sound from the speakers.

P

  • Page: Refers to a page of a website on the internet.
  • Patch: Describes an element of software which has been designed to enable a computer programme to update or fix bugs within it.
  • PC: Personal Computer.
  • PDF: Portable Document Format; a particular file format which enables the file created as a .pdf to be viewed regardless of the programme it was originally created in.
  • Program: Also known as software, applications or apps.

R

  • RAM: Random Access Memory. This is where all of the operating systems and programs  run on a computer, typically the more RAM the more programs that can run at once or the faster a machine will operate.
  • Remote Backup: This service enables users with a system to store computer files as ‘backups’ in a ‘cloud’ location.
  • Remote login: Enables you to set up an interactive connection to a computer in another location.
  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM): Describes the process of controlling IT systems by using locally installed agents remotely.
  • Risk Assessment: A document created that has analysed events that may negatively impact your business.
  • Risk Management: How you would manage the risks in your business around using IT.  
  • Router: A physical device which is used to connect two Networks whilst then passing data back and forth. Typically used as an entry/exit point on a network.

S

  • Scalability: Increasing capacity in your hardware or software capabilities to ensure you can increase your resources as a business.
  • Server: A standalone computer which responds to the requests of a client programme or computer.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA): A contract that ensures that the services that the service provider has agreed to provide you with.
  • SMPT: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This is the standard protocol for e-mail transmission across the internet.
  • Software: Programmes such as Microsoft Word or Excel.
  • Spam: Also known as junk email.
  • Switch: A physical piece of equipment which acts as a controller and ensures that  networked devices can talk to each other effectively.
  • Sync: The process of merging data.

T

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA): An ever increasingly popular increased level of security which is achieved using a token device and an individual PIN.

 

U

  • USB port: A port on your computer where Flash Drives can be plugged into.
  • Username: You would use this along with your password to sign into your computer or online systems.


V

  • Virtual Server: Able to be accessed over the internet, it shares software and hardware with other virtual servers.
  • Virus: Describes a malicious program which strives to access your computer and cause data damage or loss.
  • VoIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol; Many businesses use the internet to make phone calls using VoIP.
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network): A particular network which is created over the internet. Data contained within it can be ‘scrambled’.  
  • VPS (virtual private server): A particular virtual server which appears to users as a private server, but, is in fact installed on a computer which runs multiple operating systems.

W

  • WAN: A larger network that covers a wide area spanning the country or even globally.
  • WAP: Wireless Application Protocol; Protocols that ensure wireless access can be granted to the internet.
  • Wireless (networking): Devices including PCs, phones and tablets possess the ability to gain access to the Internet with no physical connection.
  • WLAN: Wireless Local Area Network; This describes the group of computers and devices that make up a wireless network.
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