The IT Glossary – Quick Reference Edition

The IT Glossary – Quick Reference Edition

Are you familiar with the term jargon? If you’ve ever been in a conversation with someone who knew A LOT about a subject and didn’t hold back a lot of industry terms, you’ve probably been the victim of a blast of jargon.

While a high frequency of jargon might give the impression that someone knows what they’re talking about, it’s not usually helpful for the other person in the conversation who doesn’t understand all the terminology.

The Continuous Networks team does our best to ensure that our clients don’t need to be experts in IT terminology in order to get the most out of our services – but that doesn’t mean we’re not happy to share some of the common parlances of IT support!

In fact, education is an important part of our role as a technology partner with any business – and we take that role seriously. With that in mind, today’s blog post is dedicated to introducing (or re-familiarizing) our readers to some commonly used terms in IT support.

Keep this glossary handy the next time you’re attempting to decipher what your IT guy is saying over the phone. But better yet, consider scheduling an audit with our team and leave those confusing, jargon-riddled conversations in the rear-view forever.

Access Point – This is discussed frequently in IT and refers to a device that allows computers and other devices with wireless capabilities to communicate with a wired or virtual network. This may be a fancy name for describing a wired router, switch or other hubs.

Applet – An applet is a program that’s able to run on any computer, despite the operating system the computer is running. In some cases, Java applets can be used to deliver malicious software to remote systems.

Authentication – The process that computers and networks use to identify a user and assign their appropriate access privileges. This process is where IT staff may be able to help provide more protection to sensitive material by implementing multi-factor authentication.

Bandwidth – This is the term ascribed to the amount of data that can be transmitted over a network at a point in time. Higher bandwidth rates mean a larger volume of data can be transmitted over the network.

Business Continuity Plan – In short, a plan or procedures designed to enable to business to respond to disasters which threaten operations and data loss. A proper BCP can minimize expensive downtime because of technology failure. These should typically be implemented with cloud-based backup systems and virtualization. Also, a highly beneficial Continuous service.

BYOD – BYOD is an acronym for Bring Your Own Device. In some offices, employees can bring personal mobile devices which are also used to access company resources like VPN, email, etc. While this does provide convenience, it also presents employers with a variety of new security risks.

Cache – This term has a couple of meanings, but it is mostly used to refer to an area of computer memory which stores frequently accessed data for quicker access for the user. Additionally, it can also be used to describe a file on a hard drive where this frequently accessed data can be stored. A quick way to “reset” your internet browser is to clear the browser memory and cache.

Client – A computer, or program on the computer that requests information from the server. There are several types of clients, but a common client is an internet browser, like Chrome or Firefox.

Cloud Computing – The general term to describe data that is not stored locally on your computer. Essentially, internet and infrastructure services that run within a web browser, and networks that are connected through the Internet with server redundancy.

Cookie – A piece of data stored on your web browser when connecting to certain servers. The cookie is specific to the user and used for identification purposes throughout your session. Some cookies, if they contain executables, can be used to install viruses on computers although this is not common.

Database – A collection of information organized on a computer and categorized so that applications can access this information quickly. Essentially an electronic filing system.

Dark Web – An area of the internet with content unavailable to traditional search engines. The dark web is often associated with a black marketplace for hackers and other criminal enterprises. Stolen credit card information, social security numbers, and medical history are often bought and sold on the dark web.

Data Visualization – The use of tables, charts, graphs, etc. to communicate the results of data analysis and actionable findings from the analysis.

DNS – An acronym for Domain Name System. A process where a networked computer is accessed by a name, rather than the IP address.

Disaster Recovery Plan – See Business Continuity Plan above.

Encryption – A security process that manipulates data in order to prevent the interception of that information. Encryption helps ensure only the intended recipients will see the data.

Firewall – A firewall is a system that helps protect and secure a computer network. A firewall can provide a wide net of protection from websites to WiFi networks from outside security risks.

Front End – This is a phrase used to describe the elements of a website that are seen and interacted with by a user. “Front-end development” involves the HTML code, CSS, and JavaScript.

FTP – An acronym for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is the way computers can exchange files back and forth through the internet.

Help Desk – A help desk is a name usually given to information or assistance resources with computers. Many software companies offer helpdesk services via an online chat or toll-free phone number. Additionally, help desk support is commonly given to IT support services like the kind provided by Continuous.

IP Address – An acronym for Internet Protocol address. Each computer that is connected to the internet has a unique identifying number (IP address).

ISP – An acronym for Internet Service Provider, the company which provides connectivity to the internet.

Malware – This is a contraction of the phrase malicious software. Malware is any piece of software created with the intent of doing hard to data or devices. There are many kinds of malware.

Network Security – A blanket term used to describe a holistic approach to securing a network. Comprehensive network security involves protection against malware, viruses, worms, and other hacker attacks as well as the installation and maintenance of firewalls.

Virtual Machine – This is software that allows a computer act to as a separate machine, while also running applications and programs like a computer. Essentially, the user leverages software to exhibit the behavior of a separate computer.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) – A virtual private network is a network that allows a public internet connection to be used as a private network. Generally, these are deployed to improve security and maintain flexibility for remote workers to access data.


This should be a helpful resource, although it’s not all the IT terminology one is likely to face on any given day. Should you need a little more clarification, we’d encourage anyone to consider signing up for a technology audit with our team.

We’re able to create custom roadmaps to improve the existing technology infrastructure of a business, tailored exactly to their needs. Whether that’s simple help desk support, or a full cloud network installation, the Continuous Networks team is here to help.

And of course, you never have to worry about jargon-overload when dealing with us!