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  • Writer's pictureSara Millis

Business IT terminology: Your comprehensive guide to 176 common terms

As IT service providers, we are often asked what terms mean when we talk to clients. To help make our sector easier to understand, we thought it helpful to create a comprehensive glossary of IT terminology for businesses - you are welcome!

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176 standard terms to help you understand your business IT better

A-C IT Terminology

  1. Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): A document that outlines the proper behaviours and activities of an organisation's IT resource users. AUPs set guidelines to ensure the responsible and secure use of technology.

  2. API (Application Programming Interface): Rules and protocols which allow different software applications to communicate. APIs enable the integration of diverse software systems and services.

  3. API Gateway: A server that receives API requests, enforces throttling and security policies and passes requests to back-end services. API gateways streamline API management and security.

  4. Application Server: A server that runs and manages software applications, handling tasks like data processing and user authentication. Application servers support scalable and distributed applications.

  5. Automatic Document Feeder (ADF): A feature on some printers that allows multiple pages to be automatically scanned or copied sequentially. ADFs save time when handling multi-page documents.

  6. Backup and Recovery Policy: A policy that defines procedures for regularly backing up data and recovering it in case of data loss or disasters. Backup and recovery policies ensure data availability and business continuity.

  7. Bandwidth: The maximum data transfer rate of an internet connection, typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Sufficient bandwidth ensures smooth online activities, like video conferencing and file downloads.

  8. Biometric Authentication: Security measures that use unique biological traits like fingerprints or facial recognition for identity verification. It offers a high level of security and convenience in user authentication.

  9. Biometric Mouse: A computer mouse with biometric authentication features like fingerprint scanners. Biometric mice provide secure access to devices and data.

  10. Blade Server: A modular server that fits into a blade server chassis, allowing multiple servers to share common resources. Blade servers maximise density and reduce power consumption.

  11. Borderless Printing: A printing feature that allows images or text to be printed to the edge of the paper without margins. Borderless printing is often used for photos and marketing materials.

  12. Botnet: A network of computers or devices compromised and controlled remotely by an attacker. Botnets are often used for DDoS attacks and other malicious activities.

  13. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy: A policy that establishes guidelines for employees who use their personal devices (e.g., smartphones, laptops) for work purposes. BYOD policies address security and privacy concerns.

  14. Business Continuity Plan (BCP): A strategy outlining procedures to maintain essential business functions during disruptions, disasters or unforeseen periods of business system outage.

  15. Central Processing Unit (CPU): The primary hardware component responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations in a computer. CPUs are critical for overall system performance.

  16. Cloud Backup: The process of copying and storing data in the cloud for disaster recovery and data protection. Cloud backups offer off-site storage and accessibility.

  17. Cloud Computing: The delivery of computing services (e.g., storage, processing, networking) over the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. Cloud computing offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

  18. Cloud Cost Management: Strategies and tools for monitoring and optimising cloud spending. Effective cost management ensures cost efficiency in the cloud.

  19. Cloud Migration: Moving data, applications, and workloads from on-premises systems to the cloud. Cloud migration requires planning and testing to ensure a smooth transition.

  20. Cloud Orchestration: Orchestration streamlines complex cloud operations by automating cloud infrastructure provisioning, management, and scaling using scripts or tools.

  21. Cloud Security: Measures and practices to protect data and resources in cloud environments from threats and breaches. Cloud security includes identity and access management (IAM) and encryption. Here’s our full guide to cloud attacks.

  22. Cloud Security Policy: A policy that addresses the secure use of cloud services and protecting data stored in the cloud. Cloud security policies manage risks associated with cloud adoption.

  23. Cloud Service Level Agreement (SLA): A contract defining a cloud service provider's performance, availability, and support commitments. SLAs establish expectations and accountability.

  24. Cloud Storage: Online storage services that allow users to store and access data from anywhere with internet access. Cloud storage providers include Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon S3. Here’s a guide we created to help you keep your cloud storage organised because we know how frustrating it is not to quickly find the files you need.

  25. Cloud-native: A software development and deployment approach that leverages cloud services, microservices, and containerisation.

  26. CMYK: The colour model used in most colour printing, representing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black).

  27. Compliance Policy: A policy that outlines the organisation's commitment to adhering to relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. Compliance policies ensure legal and ethical conduct.

  28. Containerisation: Packaging and deploying applications and their dependencies as containers, ensuring consistency across different cloud environments. Containers offer portability and efficiency in cloud deployments.

  29. Cybersecurity Audit: An assessment of an organisation's IT security measures to identify vulnerabilities and compliance with security policies. Here’s a full guide on how to run an effective cybersecurity audit.

  30. Cybersecurity Framework: Guidelines and best practices for managing cybersecurity risks. Frameworks like NIST and ISO 27001 help organisations build robust security programs.

  31. Cybersecurity Policy: A set of guidelines and procedures that define how an organisation protects its digital assets. It outlines security measures, employee responsibilities, and incident response protocols. Here’s a full guide to common cyber attacks so you can see how detailed your policy needs to be.


  1. Data Backup: The process of copying and storing crucial digital information to prevent data loss. Regular backups are essential to recover from system failures, cyberattacks, or accidental deletions.

  2. Data Backup Retention: The policy or practice of retaining backup data for a specific period to meet compliance or business requirements. Backup retention ensures data availability for recovery and legal purposes.

  3. Data Breach: Unauthorised access, disclosure, or acquisition of sensitive information, often due to security vulnerabilities. Data breaches can result in the exposure of customer data and legal consequences.

  4. Data Center Cooling: Technologies and methods to maintain an optimal temperature and humidity level within a data centre.

  5. Data Center: A centralised facility that houses servers, storage devices, networking equipment, and other IT infrastructure. Data centres provide security, redundancy, and scalability for digital operations.

  6. Data Classification Policy: A policy categorising data based on sensitivity and importance, helping organisations prioritise security measures.

  7. Data Encryption Key: A cryptographic key used to encrypt and decrypt data. Proper key management is essential to data security.

  8. Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Tools and policies to prevent unauthorised access, sharing, or leakage of sensitive data. DLP safeguards against data breaches and compliance violations.

  9. Data Masking: A data security technique that replaces sensitive data with fictional or scrambled values.

  10. Data Retention Policy: A policy that specifies how long an organisation should retain data, both electronic and physical, for business, legal, or regulatory reasons. Data retention policies help manage data storage and privacy compliance.

  11. Database Server: A server designed to manage, store, and retrieve data from a database, often used for applications requiring data storage.

  12. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attack: A cyberattack where multiple compromised devices flood a target server or network with traffic, causing a service disruption. DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm resources and make a website or service inaccessible.

  13. Dedicated Server: A physical server exclusively leased to a single client or organisation, offering complete control and resources.

  14. Denial of Service (DoS): An attack that overwhelms a network or system to disrupt services and make them unavailable. Here’s our full guide to DoS attacks.

  15. Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP): A comprehensive strategy and set of procedures for recovering IT systems and data after a catastrophic event.

  16. Duplex Printing: The capability to print on both sides of a sheet of paper automatically. Duplex printing reduces paper usage and is more environmentally friendly.

  17. Elasticity: The ability of a cloud service to automatically scale computing resources up or down based on demand.

  18. Employee Training and Awareness Policy: A policy that outlines the organisation's commitment to providing cybersecurity training and awareness programs for employees.

  19. Encryption: Converting data into a code to prevent unauthorised access. Encryption ensures data privacy and security, especially during transmission or when stored on devices.

  20. Endpoint Security: Protective measures and policies to secure individual devices (endpoints) like computers, smartphones, and tablets. Endpoint security prevents malware infections and data breaches.

  21. Ergonomic Mouse: A computer mouse that reduces strain and discomfort during prolonged use.

  22. External GPU (eGPU): An external graphics card enclosure that connects to a laptop or desktop to boost graphics performance. eGPUs are used for gaming and graphics-intensive applications.

  23. External Hard Drive: A portable storage device (usually small) that connects to a computer via USB or other interfaces for data backup and additional storage.

  24. External Monitor: A separate display screen connected to a laptop or desktop computer to extend or duplicate the screen.

  25. File Server: A server that stores and manages files and data, providing centralised access to users or clients.

  26. Firewall: A security barrier that protects your network from unauthorised access and threats. A firewall is a gatekeeper for your digital infrastructure, monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing traffic.

  27. Firewall Rule: A specific configuration that dictates how a firewall should handle incoming or outgoing traffic.

  28. Form Factor: The size and shape of a hardware component, such as a motherboard or a hard drive.


  1. Graphics Card Ports: The connectors on a graphics card for connecting to displays, including HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI.

  2. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): A specialised hardware component designed for rendering graphics and accelerating specific computational tasks.

  3. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Driver: Software that communicates between the operating system and your graphics processing unit, enabling proper GPU functionality.

  4. Hard Disk Drive (HDD): A traditional storage device that uses spinning magnetic disks to store data. HDDs offer high storage capacity at a lower cost per gigabyte.

  5. Heat Sink: A passive cooling device that absorbs and dissipates heat from a computer component, such as a CPU.

  6. Hybrid Cloud: A combination of cloud-based environments (public and private) allowing data and applications to be shared.

  7. Incident Response Plan (IRP): A documented strategy outlining the steps to take when a cybersecurity incident occurs, including incident detection, containment, and recovery.

  8. Incident Response Team: Professionals responsible for managing and mitigating cybersecurity incidents.

  9. Incident Severity Level: A classification system that assesses the impact and urgency of a security incident.

  10. Information Security Policy: A set of rules and practices that define how an organisation protects its sensitive information and IT assets.

  11. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): A cloud service that provides computing resources over the Internet, including virtual machines and storage. IaaS allows users to build, manage, and scale their infrastructure.

  12. Ink Cartridge: A replaceable container that holds ink for inkjet printers.

  13. Inkjet Printer: The printer sprays tiny ink droplets onto paper to create text and images. Inkjet printers are popular for home and office use, offering high-quality colour printing.

  14. Input/Output Ports: Connectors on a computer or monitor for interfacing with external devices, such as USB, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Ports enable data transfer and peripheral connections.

  15. Internet of Things (IoT): An interconnected network of devices, including vehicles, buildings, and other objects, with embedded sensors and software that collect and exchange data. IoT offers automation and data insights across various industries.

  16. Intrusion Detection System (IDS): A security tool that monitors network or system activities for suspicious behaviour or patterns. IDSs can trigger alerts or take automated actions to mitigate threats.

  17. Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): A security system that actively blocks or prevents real-time network threats. IPSs complement IDSs by taking automated actions to stop attacks.

  18. IT Asset Management (ITAM): Tracking and managing an organisation's hardware and software assets.

  19. IT Governance Policy: A policy that establishes the framework for decision-making, accountability, and oversight in IT management.


  1. Keyboard Switches: The mechanism under each keycap of a keyboard that registers keypresses and determines the typing feel. Common keyboard switch types include mechanical, membrane, and scissor switches.

  2. KVM Switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse): A device that enables you to control various computers from a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse.

  3. LAN (Local Area Network): A private network that connects computers and devices within a minimal geographic area, like an office or home.

  4. Laser Printer: Printers that use a laser beam to form images on a drum, which is then transferred and fused onto paper. Laser printers are known for their speed and crisp text output, making them ideal for office environments and larger-scale print runs.

  5. Liquid Cooling System: A cooling solution that uses a liquid coolant to dissipate heat from computer components, such as CPUs or GPUs.

  6. Load Balancer: A device or software distributing network or application traffic across multiple servers to ensure even load distribution.


  1. Machine Learning: A subset of AI where algorithms allow computers to learn and make decisions or predictions based on data.

  2. Malware: Malicious software designed to harm or gain unauthorised access to computer systems. Malware includes attacks like viruses, worms, ransomware and Trojans. Here’s our full guide to Malware.

  3. Mobile Device Management (MDM) Policy: A policy that defines rules and procedures for managing and securing mobile devices used within the organisation.

  4. Monitor Aspect Ratio: The ratio of a monitor's width to height determines the screen's shape (e.g., 16:9, 21:9). Aspect ratio affects how content is displayed on the screen.

  5. Monitor Panel Type: The technology used in the display panel of a monitor, such as IPS (In-Plane Switching), TN (Twisted Nematic), or OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode). Panel type affects colour accuracy and viewing angles.

  6. Monitor Resolution: The number of pixels displayed on a computer monitor is typically represented as width x height (e.g., 1920x1080). The higher your resolution, the sharper and more detailed visuals you get.

  7. Motherboard: The core circuit board of a computer that connects all hardware components, including the CPU, RAM, and storage devices.

  8. Mouse DPI (Dots Per Inch): The sensitivity level of a computer mouse, representing how far the cursor moves on the screen with each physical movement.

  9. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): A security method requiring users to provide two or more authentication factors. MFA enhances security by adding layers of verification. Here’s how to set up MFA across your business.

  10. Multifunction Printer (MFP): A printer that combines printing, scanning, copying, and faxing functions into a single device.

  11. Network Access Policy: A policy that defines who has access to an organisation's network and the conditions under which access is granted.

  12. Network Cable Types: Different cable standards are used for data transmission, including Ethernet cables (e.g., Cat 5e, Cat 6) and fibre-optic cables.

  13. Network Interface Card (NIC): Hardware component that allows a computer to connect to a network, wired or wirelessly.

  14. Network Load: The amount of data traffic on a network at a given time. Monitoring network load helps ensure optimal performance.

  15. Network Protocol: A set of rules and conventions that govern how data is transmitted and received over a network. Examples include TCP/IP, HTTP, and SMTP.

  16. Network Redundancy: Duplicate network components or paths that ensure network availability in case of failures. Redundancy minimises downtime and enhances reliability.

  17. Network Segmentation: Creating sub-divisions in your network to improve security and manage traffic. Segmentation limits the impact of breaches and isolates critical resources.

  18. Network Switch: A hardware device that connects devices within a LAN and forwards data based on MAC addresses. Switches enhance network performance by reducing data collision.

  19. Network Topology: The physical and logical device layout and connections in a network. Common topologies include star, mesh, and ring configurations.

  20. Optical Drive: A hardware component that reads and writes optical discs, such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.

P-R IT Terminology

  1. Page Yield: Estimated number of pages a printer cartridge can produce before needing replacement.

  2. Pantone Colour: A standardised colour-matching system used in printing and design to ensure consistent and accurate colour reproduction.

  3. Paper Tray: A compartment in a printer that holds sheets of paper for printing. Printers may have multiple paper trays for different paper sizes or types.

  4. Password Policy: A set of rules and requirements for creating and managing passwords to enhance IT security. Here’s our full guide to password attacks or password cracking.

  5. Patch: A software update or fix designed to address vulnerabilities and improve system stability. Keeping software and operating systems up-to-date is crucial for security.

  6. Patch Management: Planning, testing, and applying software updates and patches to systems and applications.

  7. Patch Rollback: Reverting to a previous software version or configuration if a patch causes issues.

  8. Patch Tuesday: A scheduled day by Microsoft for releasing security updates and patches for Windows operating systems and software.

  9. Phishing: A cyberattack where attackers impersonate trustworthy entities to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information through deceptive links or attachments. Here’s our full guide to Phishing attacks.

  10. Phishing Awareness Training: Education programs for employees to recognise and avoid phishing attempts.

  11. Platform as a Service (PaaS): A cloud service that offers application development and deployment environments.

  12. PostScript: A page description language used in high-end printers for accurate and complex document rendering.

  13. Power Supply Unit (PSU): A component that supplies electrical power to a computer, converting electricity from an outlet into usable voltage.

  14. Print Quality: The overall appearance and legibility of printed text and images. High print quality ensures clear and vibrant output.

  15. Print Queue: A list of print jobs waiting to be processed by a printer.

  16. Print Speed: The number of pages a printer can produce per minute (PPM).

  17. Print Spooler: A software component that manages your print jobs and sends them to be printed in the correct order.

  18. Printer Interface: Hardware connections (e.g., USB, Ethernet, WiFi) on printers enable them to connect to computers and networks.

  19. Printer Resolution: The level of detail a printer can reproduce, usually measured in dots per inch (DPI). Higher DPI results in sharper and more detailed printed images.

  20. Privacy Policy: A document communicating an organisation's practices regarding collecting, using, and protecting individuals' personal information.

  21. Private Cloud: A cloud computing environment exclusively dedicated to a single organisation, often hosted on-premises or by a third-party provider.

  22. Proxy Server: An intermediary server that acts as a gateway between a client and another server, enhancing security and performance.

  23. Public Cloud: A cloud computing environment hosted and managed by a third-party cloud service provider, accessible by the general public.

  24. Rack Unit (U): A standardised unit of measurement for server and network equipment equal to 1.75 inches (44.45 millimetres) in height. Rack units determine the size and spacing of server equipment in racks.

  25. Rack-Mountable Hardware: Equipment designed to be mounted in a standard equipment rack commonly used in data centres.

  26. Rack-Mountable Server: A server designed to be mounted in a standard equipment rack commonly used in data centres.

  27. RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks): Data storage solutions that combine hard drives into one unit to enhance data redundancy, performance, or both.

  28. RAM (Random Access Memory): Temporary, high-speed memory that a computer uses to store data that is actively in use. RAM affects system performance and multitasking capabilities.

  29. Ransomware: Malware that encrypts a victim's data and demands a ransom for decryption. Ransomware attacks can lead to data and financial losses. Here’s our full guide to Ransomware.

  30. Refresh Rate: The number of times a monitor refreshes the displayed image per second, usually measured in Hertz (Hz). You'll see smoother motion and reduced screen tearing from higher refresh rates.

  31. Remote Work Policy: A policy that governs the conditions and expectations for employees who work outside the traditional office setting, often remotely. It should include IT policy statements.

  32. Resolution (Printer): The level of detail a printer can reproduce, typically measured in dots per inch (DPI). Higher printer resolution results in sharper and more detailed prints.

  33. Rootkit: A malicious software that grants unauthorised access to a computer or network while hiding its presence. Rootkits are challenging to detect and remove.

  34. Router: A device that directs data packets between networks, like your home network and the Internet. Routers manage traffic and determine the most efficient path for data transmission.


  1. SaaS (Software as a Service): Cloud-based software applications delivered over the Internet on a subscription basis. SaaS eliminates the need for on-premises software installation and maintenance.

  2. Scanner Resolution: The level of detail a scanner can capture, usually measured in dots per inch (DPI).

  3. Server: A powerful computer that stores and manages data, applications, or services for multiple users or clients. Servers play a vital role in hosting websites, managing email, and running various business applications.

  4. Server Backup: The process of regularly copying server data to ensure data recovery in case of hardware failure or data loss.

  5. Server Blade: A modular, self-contained server unit used in a blade server chassis. Blade servers are space-efficient and simplify data centre management.

  6. Server Farm: An extensive collection of servers grouped to provide high availability and scalability for various services. Server farms are used for redundancy and load balancing and are commonly used by web hosting and cloud services.

  7. Server Farm Management: Monitoring and managing server farms to ensure uptime, performance, and resource allocation.

  8. Server Maintenance: Regular tasks and procedures to keep servers running smoothly and prevent hardware or software issues.

  9. Server Rack: A specialised enclosure that houses and organises multiple servers in data centres or server rooms.

  10. Server Room: A dedicated space within an organisation's premises or data centre to house and protect servers and networking equipment.

  11. Server Security: Measures and practices to protect servers from unauthorised access, data breaches, and cyberattacks. Server security includes firewalls, encryption, and access control.

  12. Server Virtualisation: The practice of running multiple virtual servers on a single physical server, enabling resource optimisation.

  13. Serverless Computing: Cloud-based providers manage the infrastructure, allowing developers to focus solely on writing code. Serverless computing is event-driven and auto-scales resources.

  14. Social Engineering: Manipulating individuals to divulge confidential information or perform actions that compromise security. Social engineering tactics include phishing and pretexting.

  15. Software as a Service (SaaS): A cloud service model where software applications are provided and accessed via the Internet on a subscription basis. SaaS eliminates the need for on-premises software installation and maintenance.

  16. Software License Compliance Policy: A policy that ensures an organisation complies with software licensing agreements and copyright laws. Licence compliance policies prevent legal issues and penalties.

  17. Solid-State Drive (SSD): A storage device that uses flash memory to store data, offering faster performance. They are usually more durable than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). SSDs are commonly used in laptops and desktops to improve system speed.

  18. SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security): Cryptographic protocols that secure internet communication by encrypting data transmitted between a web server and a client's browser. SSL/TLS ensures data privacy during online transactions and website browsing.

  19. Toner Cartridge: A replaceable container that holds toner powder for laser printers.

  20. Trackball: An input device that replaces the traditional mouse with a ball that users rotate to control the cursor. Trackballs are favoured for precision and reduced wrist strain.

  21. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): A more secure layering of protection for users. It commonly combines something you know (a password) with something you have (a mobile app or token) to give two pieces of personal identification for sign-in.

  22. UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply): A device that provides backup power during electrical outages, protecting hardware from data loss or damage.

  23. USB Hub: A device that expands the number of USB ports available on a computer or laptop. USB hubs enable the connection of multiple peripherals.


  1. Vendor Management Policy: A policy that outlines the criteria and procedures for selecting, evaluating, and managing third-party vendors and service providers.

  2. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): A private network segment within a public cloud provider's infrastructure. VPCs offer enhanced security and isolation for cloud resources.

  3. Virtual Private Network (VPN): The secure network connection that encrypts internet traffic, enhancing online privacy. VPNs are commonly used to protect data while accessing public WiFi or geographically restricted content.

  4. Virtual Private Server (VPS): A virtualised server hosted on a physical server, providing dedicated resources and isolation for users.

  5. Virtualisation: Creating virtual versions of hardware, software, or network resources. Virtualisation optimises resource utilisation and simplifies IT management.

  6. Virus Definition: Antivirus software regularly updates files to identify and remove known malware.

  7. VPN Tunnel: A secure, encrypted connection established between a user's device and a remote server through a VPN. VPN tunnels protect data as it travels over the Internet.

  8. Vulnerability Assessment: A systematic process of identifying a system's security weaknesses. It helps organisations prioritise and address potential security risks.

  9. WAN (Wide Area Network): A network that connects multiple LANs over a larger geographic area, often using the Internet. WANs facilitate communication between distant locations or branch offices.

  10. Web Server: A specialised server that hosts and serves websites and web applications to users via the Internet. Web servers handle HTTP requests and responses.

  11. Wide-Format Printer: A printer for producing larger-sized documents or graphics, often used in engineering, architecture, and graphic design.

  12. Wireless Printing: A computer or mobile device that connects to an external printer over WiFi to print documents and photos.

  13. Wireless Router: A networking device that combines a router, switch, and access point to provide wireless connectivity to devices.

  14. Zero Trust Security: A security model that assumes no trust, even inside the network, verifies every user and device attempting to connect.

  15. Zero-Day Vulnerability: A software vulnerability exploited by attackers before a patch or fix is available. It's a significant security risk since there is zero-day protection.

If you are a business in the Soho London area and need some jargon-free IT solutions - contact Eric today!



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