THE IT A-Z: POPULAR IT AND TECH TERMS (PART 1)

February 10, 2021

Do you know your ISPs from your CSVs?

Your Caches from your Cookies?

IT jargon. We know it well. Unfortunately, not everybody does.

But rather than a full on glossary, we thought it would be more fun to pick out some of our favourites and do a little A-Z of IT terms.

You won’t find absolutely every IT term here but we do mention some other possible entries for each letter.

In this article we look at A-M. Look out for our next post where we’ll cover the other half of the alphabet.

So, without further ado…

A IS FOR AUTHENTICATION

How do you prove to a computer that you are who you say you are?

Authentication. Simple authentication asks for a username and password to gain access.

Different levels of security require different levels of authentication. A site or software that uses sensitive data, such as online banking, will require more than just a password to access. Usually there will be at least one extra level, or factor, of authentication.

This is called MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) and it’s recommended for maintaining tight security on your network. We talked more about it here.

Also: AI, Adobe, Apple, Automation, Anti-Virus

B IS FOR BANDWIDTH

Your bandwidth measures how much data can be transmitted across your network at any given time. The larger the bandwidth, the more data can be transmitted and therefore more demanding tasks can be achieved.

For more data hungry tasks such as downloading software, installing large updates or streaming video over the internet, a larger bandwidth is required.

This is normally measured in bits per second. Modern networks run in millions of bits per second (megabits per second or Mbps).

Also: Back-Up, Bots, Buffer

C IS FOR CACHE

Pronounced like cash, this is data stored to help your browser display things more quickly on repeat visits allowing for rapid access.

You can get rid of your cache or optimise what is stored, just like you can remove cookies (you do know what cookies are right? No? Ok bonus entry below). However, doing this will make loading frequently used sites slower.

Cookies are more like individual pieces of info, used to identify you during a session on the internet. Getting rid of these will make the website forget you. Which you may want in some cases but it may also make things more inconvenient.

Also: CPU, Cryptocurrency, Cyber Crime, Cloud

D IS FOR DDOS (DISTRIBUTED DENIAL OF SERVICE)

A DoS is a Denial of Service. This is a type of cyber-attack that involves disrupting the internet traffic and activity of a user.

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is where multiple endpoints on a network are targeted. Victims will be flooded with 1000’s of data requests, which the system will not be able to handle.

This causes the service to delay or crash until the attack is halted. Often, these attacks will be initiated by the victim downloading malware that is then instructed to launch an attack.

Also: Database, Dell, DNS (Domain Name System), Defragmentation

E IS FOR ENDPOINT SECURITY

An endpoint is just another way of saying an individual device that connects to a network. Business networks have multiple endpoints which is all the computers, laptops and phones connected to that network.

These are theoretically vulnerable areas of the network so EP involves securing those endpoints through a centralised system or software installed on each device.

Also: Encryption, Ethernet

F IS FOR FIREWALL

Firewalls are an integral and commonly used part of any cyber security strategy.

They act as a filter for internet traffic entering your network or computer and block suspicious or dangerous activity. Unsurprisingly, we’ve talked about them a lot before.

Also: Flash player (discontinued 2020)

G IS FOR GATEWAY

A gateway is simply any device that routes traffic between networks and regulates it. On a private network this is typically your router but it could be any device associated with a specific IP (internet protocol).

Also: Gb, GIF, GHz

H IS FOR HDD (HARD DISK DRIVE)

A Hard Disk Drive or Hard Drive is a way of storing data on your computer. Typically, this is where all the data and information on a computer is stored. 

HDD’s are constructed of a physical disk which is operated by moving parts. Now though, most new computers use an SSD or Solid-State Drive instead, which are much more efficient and can access data significantly faster too. They’re also more expensive!

Also: HTTP, HTML, HP

I IS FOR IOT (INTERNET OF THINGS)

A bit of a tech buzzword at the moment, the Internet of Things is going to become more and more prominent as more objects that we use on a day-to-day basis become connected to the internet.

We talked more about this in our next big things in tech blog. Classic examples in the home are Alexa speakers and smart light bulbs. IoT tech will also increasingly be used in business and manufacturing to streamline processes and make them more efficient.

Also: IP, ISP (Internet Service Provider)

J IS FOR JAVASCRIPT

JavaScript or JS is a programming language that is one of the core technologies behind the world wide web, along with HTML and CSS.

It enables interactive web pages and is an integral part of web apps, making things happen in front of our eyes. All browsers have a dedicated engine to execute JavaScript commands.

It’s also used to build servers and frameworks for creating applications. It looks different to other programming languages and different commands achieve different things, but we’ll leave the nitty gritty to the Devs!

Java and JavaScript are 2 different languages.

Also: Java, Jpeg

K IS FOR KILOBYTE

A multiple of the unit byte, which measures digital information. Internationally this is recognised as 1000 bytes although digital memory capacity is measured in binary so it’s technically 1024 bytes (210) … Yes, we’re not quite sure either.

For all intents and purposes, it’s 1000 bytes and a megabyte (MB) is 1000 kilobytes. Your typical word document is usually around 20 – 30KB.

Also: Keyword

L IS FOR LAN

LAN is a form of network connecting computers with the internet and peripheral devices such as printers.

Standing for Local Area Network, it means a group of computers and devices connected together, usually in the same building. Devices on the same LAN can interact with and see each other.

Other types of network include MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network).

Also: Localhost, Lenovo, Linux

M IS FOR MANAGED ANTIVIRUS

This is a centrally managed software solution for securing computers on a network from virus threats. An IT support provider (like us!) will install and update the software as well as check and scan for issues.

This is all part of a managed antivirus solution, helping businesses be as safe as they can be.

Also: Microsoft, Macintosh, MFA

So, there’s our round up of the first half of the alphabet, look out for part 2 where we give you our pick of N-Z.

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