IT Glossary for Business Owners

Updated on 12th March 2021

When looking to outsource your IT, or to find an IT partner to support your internal team, you may come across some acronyms or words which as a business owner can be confusing. We have put together this handy guide to explain what is meant by certain acronyms and phrases in the world of Information Technology.

  1. MSP – Managed Service Provider

An organisation that offers a range of outsourced IT services for businesses that do not have the in-house resource or capability to manage their own IT. This will include the infrastructure, software, security, and technical support to their staff.

  1. ISP – Internet Service Provider

An organisation with the ability to provide access to the internet.

  1. BYOD – Bring Your Own Device

This is an IT policy that allows employees to access company systems and data using their own personal device such as smartphones, tablets or laptops.

  1. CSP – Cloud Service Provider

An organisation that offers some components of cloud computing such as Infrastructure, network services, or business applications. The cloud services are hosted in a data centre that can be accessed by companies or individuals using network connectivity.

  1. Virtual Desktop

A virtual desktop is where pre-configured images of the operating system and applications used are accessed remotely over a network. i.e. the desktop environment is separated from the physical device. This allows users to access their desktop anywhere on any kind of endpoint device and the desktop can be managed from a centrally located data centre.

  1. SaaS – Software as a Service

Software as a Service is a way of delivering applications over the Internet thereby negating the need to install and maintain software packages that you need for your business.

  1. IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service is a solution that replaced the need for physical infrastructures such as storage, servers, firewalls, and security through a pay as you go structure provisioned over the internet.

  1. ITIL –

ITIL is a framework for managing IT as a service and describes processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists that can be applied by an organization toward strategy, delivering value, and maintaining a minimum level of competency. There is no formal independent third-party compliance assessment.

  1. SOC – Security Operations Centre

A SOC is a facility that specifically operates to constantly monitor, detect, investigate, prevent and respond to cyber threats.

  1. vCISO – Virtual Chief Information Security Officer

An outsourced security expert is responsible for developing and managing an effective security program in an organisation.

  1. BUDR – Back-up and Disaster Recovery

This is the provision of real-time automated disk backup, disk imaging, file-level backup, and bare-metal restore for Windows servers and workstations. Off-Site Replication ensures that image and folder backups are immediately and automatically transferred and stored safely away from the business location. This process is completely automated and eliminates the need for manual back-up or human intervention and ensures minimum loss of data and revenue for your company in the event of a disaster.

  1. Virtualisation

Virtualisation is where a physical environment such as servers and network devices are replaced by a simulated or virtual alternative. This allows a business the opportunity to reduce the need for certain IT infrastructure thereby reducing expenses and improving efficiency and agility.

  1. Infrastructure

Infrastructure is the combination of hardware, software, networks, and all IT related equipment required for the operation and management of a business.

  1. VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol is a phone service over the internet. It is the technology that converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or other data-driven devices replacing the need for a traditional phone system.

  1. Strategic IT

The process of forming an IT strategy that is a comprehensive plan detailing how technology should be used to meet a company’s business goals. This allows for effective communication to senior leaders in an organisation, detailing a list of prioritised actions and an IT Roadmap for the future.

  1. Data Management

The discipline and techniques used to process, store, and organise data in an organisation. Data is a corporate asset and effective management can allow a business to make informed decisions.

  1. Protocol

A network protocol is an established set of rules that determine how data is transmitted between different devices in the same network. Essentially, it allows connected devices to communicate with each other, regardless of any differences in their internal processes, structure, or design.

  1. Firewall

A network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules.

  1. FTP

File transfer protocol (FTP) is a common method of transferring files via the internet from one host to another host.

  1. Dark Web Monitoring

The dark web is a hidden network of websites that requires a special web browser to access. The dark web’s privacy and anonymity means it is used by Cyber criminals. The process of searching this area of the internet to detect whether personal information is available on the Dark Web is known as “Dark Web Monitoring”

  1. Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Tests

A Vulnerability Assessment is a scan of your systems that checks to see if there are any vulnerabilities.   The results of the scan will show if and how an application, website or other system is vulnerable. However, it will not access the systems to see what the result would be if the vulnerability was exploited. In simple terms, it is like someone identifying that you have left a window open at your home but they do not access your home through the open window. It cannot therefore give any details of what would happen if the vulnerability was exploited. The limits of a vulnerability assessment are that it can tell you what the vulnerabilities are but it cannot explain the impact.

A Penetration Test is a method of identifying and testing vulnerabilities or gaps in IT security that could be exploited, therefore leaving your business at risk. A penetration test usually begins with an automated vulnerability scan but goes into far more depth. As in the analogy above the penetration test finds the open window but in this test, it does enter through the open window. This is effectively an authorised “hack” of your systems by qualified and experienced security experts to determine what the impact would be.

  1. SIEM: Security Incident and Event Management

This is the process of identifying, monitoring, recording, and analysing security events within a real-time IT environment and is used to provide a centralised and comprehensive view of the security of the IT infrastructure of a business.

  1. Web Filtering

Web filtering is a technology that stops users from viewing certain URLs or websites by preventing their browsers from loading pages from these sites. Web filter tools work off of a constantly updated URL database that shows which websites and domains are associated with hosting malware, phishing, viruses or other tools for harmful activities.

We are always looking to expand our glossary, if there are any words you would like to see here, get in touch with our team at [email protected].



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