There is no shortage of jargon in the IT universe, and it does not help that many terms are confusing or misleading. Here are some of the terms we have found most end users could benefit from some clarification on, with some down to earth explanations.
Disaster Backup and Recovery; Bad things happen. Hard drives fail, employees click on crypto-malware and/or accidentally delete data, and more. Without planning to persevere, you are planning to fail. You MUST have a disaster strategy in place. Not only do you have critical files that would be hard to reproduce (your QuickBooks file, perhaps?), but also consider all the time/effort/expense in setting up your network. You need a snapshot of your server or key computer, for example- or even if you have your key files you will need to reinstall and setup all your data, mapped drives and program settings from scratch. Not just time consuming but expensive!
Hard Drive– often confused with RAM or even the entire machine, hard drives are where your operating system and data are stored. The larger the capacity of the hard drive, the more photos and documents on can store. For many folks the best option is at least a 500GB hard drive.
Local Area Network– also called a LAN, these are computers/servers connected together and exchanging information locally; like at your home or office.
Malware; mostly a catch all term for virus’, spyware, etc. Malware damages computers and/or networks. Trojan horses, spyware, adware, viruses, ransomware, and worms are common types of malware.
On Premise Infrastructure; Think of this as the opposite of “The Cloud”. Your files/applications are within your four walls. This affords you greater control, and if your internet connection goes out- you can still access your “stuff”. While the cloud can be a good solution in certain circumstances, you need a trusted local IT provider to sift through your real needs and all the marketing to determine what should be in house, the cloud, etc.
Phishing Attack; Email scam attacks are increasingly common… but worse, they are increasingly convincing. These days, who isn’t expecting an important package of some sort? A well written email explaining your UPS package has an issue and to “click here” to resolve is all it takes to hold your company’s entire data hostage. A good managed antivirus is important, as is a good backup and data recovery solution. But you should also pay attention to your employees. Regular and careful training and reinforcement is key and there are solutions to address just that.
RAM- Random Access Memory is a part of your computer that allows for multi-tasking. The more you have, the better your computer can handle multiple programs open simultaneously, like having Excel open while surfing the web through a browser. Typically, 8GB or RAM is sufficient for most users.
Remote Monitoring and Management; By proactively monitoring your hardware and network, your IT provider is afforded an interesting and important opportunity – solving IT problems before they even start. While nothing can foreshadow all issues, wouldn’t it be nice to avoid most IT problems in the first place? Most providers for a small monthly fee can make that happen.
SSID– Standing for Service Set Identifier, SSID’s are simply the friendly name for a wireless network. That’s how you can tell your neighbor’s WiFi connection from your own for example. When you are picking a WiFi network from your phone, you are picking them by their SSID. They are typically named for practicality like “Smith Guest”.
The Cloud; Try as they might in the marketing universe, “The Cloud” is not some magical place where data and applications live without care and consequence. “The Cloud” is someone else’s computer or server. That’s it. If not properly cared for by the cloud provider, your data and uptime are sitting ducks.
Wide Area Network– also known as a WAN, is a network that covers a larger geographical area, and often utilizes various internet server providers. “The Internet” is a WAN. Going to a website, for example- is utilizing a WAN to go from say your computer at home to a server in Toronto, Canada.
While understanding IT terminology is fun and exciting (ok, maybe not!)- the most important thing is to have a trusted technology provider or advisor to help you sift through the ever-changing landscape that is IT. New threats that must be guarded against emerge ever day. And technological advances take place all the time. It’s imperative in your business to be well defended and as efficient as possible.