Guide to IT Acronyms
MSP, IoT, VPN, Oh My! Your Complete Guide to IT Acronyms
Do information technology acronyms seem confusing? In our industry, we love to abbreviate technical terms to acronyms. No worries – we are here to help with the alphabet soup! Some of these acronyms may be familiar to you and you may hear them every day. Others are specific to information technology systems and challenges.
Here are the most frequently used IT acronyms you may come across in your day-to-day life or as a business owner:
AI: Artificial Intelligence
Have you ever asked “Alexa, how is the weather today?,” or “Siri, what is the best recipe for baked ziti?” This is an example of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.
Speech recognition, visual perception, and even decision-making are all examples of how artificial intelligence is changing the way we communicate and perform daily tasks.
API: Application Programmer Interface
An application programmer interface, or API, is software that allows for two separate applications to “talk” to each other. You likely use an API nearly every day but never thought about it. When looking for the best deals on a travel site, an API lets the travel site quickly collect flight and hotel availabilities from providers before showing you your options. Without an API in place, the travel site would have to manually reach out to the provider to find pricing and availability.
AWS: Amazon Web Services
AWS, or Amazon Web Services, is a cloud-services platform that offers its users database storage, content delivery, and other services. Individuals, businesses, and even government agencies rely on AWS to obtain large-scale computing services without having to build their own IT infrastructure.
Big brands like Netflix, Twitch, Turner Broadcasting, BBC, LinkedIn, Facebook, ESPN, and Twitter use AWS for storage. If you’re binge-watching your favorite new show online, chances are you are watching content stored with AWS.
FTP: File Transfer Protocol
FTP, or file transfer protocol, is one of many ways of transferring a file over the internet. While this is less common now that companies rely on the cloud to share files, some businesses still use FTP. With FTP, the files are hosted on an on-premises server and employees can upload files to share via a link, like you would do when sharing a link on Google Drive.
HaaS: Hardware as a Service
Hardware as a Service, or HaaS, is a procurement model that is similar to leasing or renting equipment. In the HaaS model, businesses essentially “borrow” their IT hardware from a managed service provider (MSP). The MSP owns the hardware and is responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
IoT: Internet of Things
The IoT, or the Internet of Things, describes all the physical objects that are interconnected over the internet or other communication networks. It’s literally the billions of devices around the world that are connected to the internet.
A good example of IoT in action is a wearable device like an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Wearables give users data about their lifestyle using the internet to collect and share the data. Other real-world examples of IoT include home security systems with cameras that are accessible online, smart appliances (think thermostats you can turn on or off from an app on your phone), and even medical devices that document health data through a wireless connection.
IP: Internet Protocol
Internet Protocol, or IP, is the set of rules by which data is sent from one computer to another over the internet. Every computer has a unique IP address – do you know how to find yours? Go to Google and type in “What’s my IP address?” That is your unique identifier when you are communicating online.
IP addresses are useful to trace a device’s location or an origin of an email and to troubleshoot network errors or identify cyber intruders.
MFA: Multi-Factor Authentication
With the increase in cyber threats over the last decade, MFA, or multi-factor authentication, has become a best practice to access private data or sensitive information. MFA requires a user to submit at least two different identifiers to log in to a website or to access files on a server.
A common example of MFA is when you have to enter a password AND a code sent to your smartphone to authenticate yourself. The banking industry uses MFA frequently, as well as websites and apps such as Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox, and Apple ID.
MSP: Managed Services Provider
Another common IT acronym is MSP. A managed service provider, or MSP, is a term used to describe an organization that provides an outsourced specialized service to a business. While there are MSPs in several industries, the most common are outsourced IT services.
An IT MSP provides specialized IT support through services including technical support, cybersecurity, hardware and software installation and maintenance, help desk, network and server administration, network monitoring, and computer patching and software updates, to name a few.
SaaS: Software as a Service
Software as a Service, or SaaS, allows users to access applications and software over the internet. While the terminology may seem unfamiliar to you, you likely are already using SaaS daily. Cloud-based apps like email, calendars, and even Microsoft Office 365 are all examples of SaaS.
With SaaS, businesses do not need to install and maintain software on their own. Applications are updated and maintained through an internet connection.
VoIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol
Voice over internet protocol, more commonly known as voice over IP or VoIP, allows users to make phone calls over broadband internet. Unlike traditional phone systems, a VoIP system works by converting sound into digital voice communication and transferring it through Internet broadband.
VoIP also allows users to conduct video meetings and conference calls and is often a more cost-effective means of business communications.
VPN: Virtual Private Network
A VPN, or virtual private network, gives you online privacy by creating a private network on a public internet connection. A VPN essentially protects your data from unwanted eyes by creating an encrypted tunnel for your data. A VPN also hides your IP address and allows you to access public Wi-Fi safely.
Traveling abroad and want to access your favorite Netflix show that is only streaming in the U.S.? You can use a VPN to hide your IP address and binge-watch away!
Everound, Your Managed IT Services Provider
At Everound, we partner with small and medium businesses in Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the Baltimore/DC metro region and take care of their IT infrastructure and needs. We provide managed information technology services designed to help companies become more efficient, boost productivity, reduce risk, improve operations, and promote digital security.
We support national organizations and local businesses by solving IT challenges with customized information technology solutions. Our team of network engineers and technology specialists has been helping clients for more than 30 years.
When you choose to work with Everound, you are more than a ‘client,’ you are our partner. We are relationship-focused and work hard to understand your unique challenges. From day one, we will integrate seamlessly into your organization and treat your team as our team with respect and transparency; communicate with clarity; and above all, implement solutions to help your business be successful.
Let us take on your IT challenges so you can focus on your business. Reach out today for a free IT infrastructure and cybersecurity assessment.