Information Technology Terms and Definitions

We use a fair amount of industry jargon in our content about IT support & IT security, so we’ve defined a list of IT terms & will continue to add definitions.

AntiVirus – software that protects hardware and other software from computer viruses.

Backup & Disaster Recovery –  the practice of restoring company data from a secondary storage system in the event a virus, physical failure, or a user mistake wipes it out.

Bandwidth – the size of the pipe connecting a computer to the rest of the Internet, and the speed at which data can flow through that pipe.

Central Processing Unit (CPU) – the main computer component that carries out functions and dictates the speed programs can be run.

Cloud – a pool of shared resources enabling scalability, elasticity, and high-value computing power available from multiple locations and devices.

Cooling resources – a fan or air conditioning system that removes heat (a waste product of computing devices) so they don’t overheat.

Firewall – a network security system installed on a computer or network to block unauthorized access while still allowing permitted outbound communication

Information Technology – the study of computing systems that store, retrieve, and send information.

Malware – malicious software designed to steal information, harm hardware or software, or disable computing functions.

Managed IT Services Provider – a company that delivers IT support and/or security services to other organizations, typically with a proactive mentality and preventative approach.

Managed Security Services – services that analyze security protocols and implement proactive security measures. These IT security efforts shield sensitive data from cyber criminals, based on past criminal activity, who can bypass existing security systems and remain under the radar of firewalls and antivirus software.

Memory – the amount of temporary and cached storage that computers can access.

Phishing – a cyber criminal’s attempt to steal credentials, credit card, or bank account information through email or phone calls by disguising themselves as another trusted person, such as the company CFO or a  popular entity.

Ransomware – a computer virus which blocks access to data until the victim pays the cyber criminals who launched the virus.

Social Engineer – a cyber criminal that tricks people into giving away confidential information via phone or email by posing as a trusted source.

Spear Phishing – phishing schemes targeted at specific companies or individuals to increase their chance of success.

Storage – the amount of space available to save data on a computer, in a physical datacenter, or in the cloud.

Virus – malicious software that finds ways through security gaps and modifies programs and data (to sabotage them, grant access to unauthorized parties, or stop them from working).

Virtual Private Network (VPN) – a system that lets people separated by geographic distance to share data or networks as though their devices were in the same location.

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