A few words of a foreign language can get you a long way in a strange land.
We know that IT jargon is an alien language to a lot of people, and we do our best to keep the tech talk to a minimum when we’re working with our clients.
In any case, you probably have enough of your own office jargon to start worrying about ours.
But in a tech-led world, a lot of IT terms are cropping up more and more in everyday conversation. And if you do have a problem you need help with – or just a question you’d like to ask us about your business IT – it’ll save a lot of time if you have a few words of lingo in your locker.
Our new guide is a great place to start. It won’t tell you everything, but if you need an easy A-Z of some of the most common terms you’ll hear when you’re talking with an IT expert, then you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s start at the beginning…
Software that automatically downloads adverts when you’re online, such as banner ads and pop-ups
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Systems and devices that simulate human behaviours and decisions. This can include creating systems, language processing, speech recognition and machine vision
Software that identifies and removes viruses from your device. Also known as anti-malware
API (Application Programming Interface)
Software that allows two or more applications or programs to communicate with each other and share information
A vulnerability in a security system that allows unwanted access to files and data
The maximum amount of data you can send and receive in a given amount of time, over an internet connection. Imagine a big pipe compared with a small pipe
A network of private computers infected with malware and controlled as a group to spread the virus further
A temporary file that stores information on your device to speed things up. For instance a web cache might remember the last thing you were doing so it can reload a page where you left off
Data storage and computing power that lives on remote servers, which are accessed via the internet
An unusable data file
Any and all security measures put in place to protect your devices, systems and network from cyber attack
A hidden part of the internet, accessed using special software. It’s rife with criminal activity. This is where stolen data, such as credit card details, is often sold
A security incident where private data is viewed or stolen by unauthorised persons
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)
A type of cyber attack that harms or stops a network by flooding it with data from numerous other devices
The period of time a network or systems are offline (or ‘down’), preventing the normal running of a business
The process of encoding data to make it unreadable without the right access information – usually a password, passkey or authentication app
A security measure that controls what data can come in and out of your network
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Protocol (see below) used for transferring files from a server to a computer across a network. This is usually authenticated with usernames and passwords
GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)
A type of image file than can be either animated or static
Unit of data equal to one thousand million bytes. A typical movie download might be between 1 and 4 GB
The physical devices in your IT world – computers, printers, phones, tablets
A physical location where you can gain internet access via Wi-Fi
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
The universal language of the internet, used to structure web pages, tell your web browser how to display them and create links between them
Your entire system – your network, servers, and all your devices
Operating software manufactured by Apple and used exclusively on its hardware
A unique number that identifies a device connected to the internet
A widely used programming language used in millions of applications and devices around the world
Software used by cybercriminals to record the keys pressed on a keyboard. This information can be used to access login credentials and other sensitive information
LAN (Local Area Network)
A network of connected devices that spans a small area, such as your office or home
Malicious software, a type of virus, designed to infect your system and disrupt, damage, or gain access to your device, server or network. This can lead to the unauthorised access or theft of data and private information
Unit of data equal to one million forty-eight thousand, five hundred and seventy bytes
NOS (Network Operating System)
A specialised operating system for a network device, like a router or firewall
NTFS (Network Transfer File System)
A file system used by Windows for storing and retrieving files on a hard disk
OS (Operating System)
Software that manages a computer’s basic functions, and provides common services for computer programs
Scam emails that pretend to be from a credible source and aim to steal personal information and/or login credentials
The set of rules that allows different devices to communicate with each other
A server that sits between a device requesting information, and the server providing that information. For example, it could be a gateway between your laptop and the internet, that stops hackers from reaching your network
RAM (Random Access Memory)
A form of temporary computer memory that’s usually used to store working data
Malware that encrypts sensitive data and demands a ransom for its release (ransoms should never be paid – data is often never properly released, or is only partially returned)
A device that directs data to the right places in a network
A computer or program that manages access to a network and holds data in one location for multiple users to access
Programs and apps that make devices work
Malware (see above) that spies on the actions you take on your device. This can be used to steal data or passwords, or listen in to conversations
To analyse a problem with a view to solving it (something we do a lot of!)
A form of malware that looks harmless but conceals a virus
UAC (User Account Control)
A feature that only allows authorised users to make changes to a system or device
A type of widely used cable that connects or charges devices. This could be a keyboard connecting to a computer, or a flash drive transferring data
A malicious computer program or code that can copy itself and spread throughout a network, corrupting or damaging data and systems
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A more secure way of connecting to a company’s network remotely, or using the internet over a public Wi-Fi connection
WAN (Wide Area Network)
A network of devices that are connected across a wider area than a LAN, and allows you to connect to smaller networks
WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)
A wireless network that connects two or more devices, creating a LAN
A type of malware that replicates itself to spread to other devices across a network without human activation
A file that compresses its contents to create a smaller file that’s easier to share or store
We hope this has helped.
Yes, we operate in a technical world with some jargon that can be
off-putting if it’s not something you’re used to talking about.
But your business IT is there to make your life easier and more efficient. We take a lot of pride in our ability to work with our clients, helping them to understand their systems without sending their heads into a spin.
So if your current IT support provider can’t do that – or you don’t have support you can call on for help and advice whenever you need them – we’d love to have a chat to find out how we can help you.
Get in touch anytime to arrange a no obligation conversation. You’re guaranteed it will be jargon-free.