The Ultimate IT Support Glossary for Small Businesses (Part II)

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IT Support Glossary

Executive Summary

  • Get Support has always been committed to making IT support as simple as possible for UK small businesses – and that means jargon-busting is one of our favourite pastimes.

  • In the second part of our Ultimate IT Support Glossary, we return to the world of technical terminology to shed some light on the IT jargon that small businesses may come across every day.

Introduction

There’s no question that the realm of IT is packed full of technical terminology.

From SSD to MSP to EDR to CPU, there’s no shortage of acronyms, initialisms, and uncommon phraseology.

As the pioneers of plain English in IT, we’ve already put together an ultimate IT support glossary for small businesses – but it just wasn’t enough. There are simply so many terms to cover that we felt a second part of the glossary was necessary to explain even more of these words and phrases.

Ready to bust some jargon?

Business Intelligence (BI)

Business Intelligence, often shortened to BI, refers to a collection of technologies and strategies which help companies analyse their data to create actionable insights.

BI can be managed differently from business to business, but will often include the use of systems such as data warehouses, reporting tools, cloud services, and more. One example of BI in action is Microsoft’s Power BI platform, available as part of Microsoft 365. This app allows businesses to stitch together different data sources to create a single cross-channel dashboard.

Break/Fix

When it comes to delivering real-world IT support, businesses generally have two options they can choose from: Managed Service Providers (MSPs) or Break/Fix providers. We’ve covered the former option in a dedicated Plain English Guide, but what exactly is a Break/Fix provider?

Break/fix is effectively a ‘pay as you go’ option for business computer and IT support. The service provider bills the customer for the work which has been carried out, as opposed to paying a regular monthly fee as they would with an MSP.

Encryption

Here’s a word which is used quite a lot, but might not always be well understood – especially in the context of IT support and business.

Encryption simply refers to the process of taking data and encoding it in a way which prevents it being read by an unauthorised party. Think of a bunch of Scrabble letters being mixed up – the data essentially becomes unreadable. Until, that is, someone with the right key comes along and is able to rearrange the letters into the correct order.

This is very much the Plain English version of how encryption works, but it’s enough to know that the process can protect data either in-transit, at-rest, or both. For more info, check out our Plain English Guide.  

Zero Trust Networking

Zero Trust Networking is a cyber security measure which is designed to keep everything within a network secure and accessible only to authorised users.

Zero Trust is a highly secure model, requiring that anyone trying to access a network pass robust identity checks, such as Multi-Factor Authentication, before they’re allowed in. Even beyond this, when Zero Trust is in effect, users will have to prove their identity again when they try to access files within the network. It may sound extreme, but that’s the reason Zero Trust is used in businesses and organisations with highly sensitive data on their servers.

Safety first, after all.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

A Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack is a type of cyber attack which targets servers in an attempt to bring them down or make them inaccessible to others. It does thing using brute force and sheer strength of numbers.

DDoS attacks are malicious attempts to take down websites by artificially inflating the amount of incoming traffic to that website. Because website servers are balanced based on the predicted amount of traffic, it often doesn’t take much to overburden a server such that it refuses to serve files to new visitors. The result is known as a DDoS – and they remain a frustratingly common occurrence.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

You might have heard about VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, in the context of cyber security and maintaining privacy online – and there’s a very good reason for this.

VPNs are essentially relays through which you can route your internet traffic, so that – from the perspective of the website or web service – your machine is located someone other than where you really are. The effect of a VPN is to both mask your IP address and, usually, encrypt your internet traffic. In this way, VPNs can be a great way to preserve internet privacy and prevent malicious parties from intercepting sensitive business data.

Biometric Authentication

Biometric Authentication might sound like something torn from the pages of science fiction, but you probably already use it every day. Biometric Authentication systems are those which require a form of physical scan to prove a person’s identity.

The most common forms of biometric authentication today are fingerprint sensors on mobile phones along with the ‘Face ID’ system on Apple’s iPhone line. This form of authentication stems from a similar concept to Multi-Factor Authentication, but rather than something you have and something you know, it’s something you are.

Need IT support services delivered in plain English?

We hope this second part of our IT support glossary has helped you make sense of the words and phrases you come across in your working day. If you find yourself butting up against jargon more often than you’d like – especially if your IT provider is the source – it might be worth saying hello to Get Support.

Our IT support agreements are built on a philosophy of plain English IT. That means we’ll always be clear and concise about what we’re doing, how we’re helping, and what we recommend for your company.

Want to know more about our IT support agreements? Call the team today on 01865 594 000 or just drop your details into the form below.

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