The Definitive Guide: Technology Words And Phrases (Part 2)

More words and phrases to help you navigate future technology discussions.

Articles published October 12, 2017 by Mike Wallen

A few months ago, we defined 20 technology terms that can be confusing and complicated to non-IT professionals. Now, we’re back with more words and phrases to help you navigate future technology discussions.

2FA: Two-Factor Authentication

2FA is a process designed to ensure the security of sensitive information by requiring two forms of identification when attempting to access an account. One way may be something the user knows like a password, the other may be something like a one-time token or a fingerprint. This is just another way to ensure that the person accessing the account is the right person.

Big Data

Big data represents massive amounts of data that is categorized by the volume, variety, and velocity of the data. Organizations today are accumulating more data than ever before, and sources may include traditional data sets like customer transactions and accounting information and digital data like website statistics and social media interaction. Robust applications and infrastructure is used to help analyze massive amounts of data to identify trends and assist with strategic decision making.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

A CRM system or application helps organizations track and manage customer and prospect data. Some CRM systems provide features for marketing automation, customer support, contract management, and invoicing (among other things).

Disaster Recovery

How you deal with a network outage, recover from it, and the steps you take to keep that issue from occurring again are crucial factors for your organization. Disaster recovery is how you recover from a disaster that has actually happened. What are the steps you need to take to get your organization back to normal? The goal is to resume mission-critical operations as quickly as possible after a disaster.

You might hear vendors refer to response time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). RTO refers to how quickly you want to be back up and running after a disaster, while RPO identifies the timing of your data backups to coincide with resuming mission-critical operations after a disaster occurs. Make sure your organization sets both objectives, so there is a standard to adhere to and follow.


A firewall is the foundation to protecting your network from unauthorized access. As a network security system, a firewall manages incoming and outgoing traffic and acts as a shield from unwanted and untrusted networks or intruders.

HaaS: Hardware as a Service

HaaS is a procurement model where a managed services provider offers hardware and related maintenance services for a monthly fee. The hardware is installed by the provider and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are established to determine the responsibilities. If there are any issues or updates with the hardware, the managed services provider takes care of it. HaaS can be a simple way to get access to state-of-the-art hardware with a consistent and predictable monthly cost.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS is a cloud platform for organizations that don’t want to build and maintain a data center. IaaS provides virtualized hardware that’s already configured and ready to use, and expansion (or contraction) is easily accomplished. IaaS providers typically handle the storage, servers, networking, and virtualization, and you manage the operating system, security, and applications.

PaaS: Platform as a Service

PaaS is a cloud computing service that provides a computing platform, allowing you to develop, test, and manage your applications. Think of it like your own operating system, where you manage your applications and your data, but don’t have to purchase or maintain the underlying infrastructure.

SaaS: Software as a Service

Do you have a personal email account, such as Gmail? If so, then you’re utilizing SaaS. SaaS is a hosted cloud application made available over the internet, allowing you to use the software without having to purchase, manage, or maintain the IT infrastructure.

IoT: Internet of Things

IoT is the concept of connecting various products and devices to the internet, and to each other. This is more than just the devices you’d expect, like cell phones and tablets, but everything from TVs, to lamps, to your thermostat. For instance, when you wake up in the morning, your alarm clock could notify your coffee maker to start brewing a fresh pot.

OS: Operating System

This is a common term that refers to your computer’s OS, such as Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X.


Phishing scams are appropriately named. Simply put, they are email scams that try to lure people into clicking on links that have viruses, much like someone trying to lure fish with bait. The email will offer something lucrative and tempting. It will likely disguise a link to a site you’re seemingly familiar with, in order to get you to click or download malicious software.

SIEM: Security Information and Event Management

SIEM is a security management tool that gives a holistic view of an organization’s IT infrastructure and security. It helps organizations look at their data from a consolidated view, so that any abnormal trends or patterns can be spotted easily. Here’s what Fortinet had to say about it: “When a breach could put hundreds or thousands of patients’ sensitive information at risk, and cost your organization millions, you need real-time monitoring across your network and the ability to respond immediately to an event. Some of the recent mega-breaches we’ve seen in retail and other areas could have been avoided, or at least mitigated, if they have been monitoring and questioning unusual traffic within their networks. If you do not have a system that is proactively monitoring sensitive areas so you can respond to threats quickly, then you're doing your organization, and your patients, an injustice.”

Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks are an ever-present danger for organizations, because they target the one thing that is the hardest to control: employees.

These attacks manipulate the target into taking some form of action, which often include providing confidential information. Common examples of social engineering attacks include emails that look normal but actually contain hidden links with viruses (phishing emails), pretexting phone calls where the cyber criminal acts like a trusted source and then engages the employee to divulge sensitive information, and searching unlocked trash and recycling bins to discover valuable information that could be used in a future attack.

SSL: Secure Sockets Layer

SSL is the security that creates an encrypted connection between a server and a web browser. If you’ve ever accessed a website that had a lock icon next to the URL, then you’ve been on a site that is SSL certified. This gives you peace of mind that your browsing and data is safe and protected. 

Although this isn’t a comprehensive list of technology terms, we hope it provides you with a basic knowledge base for your organization to use in the future. If you’re interested in learning more technology terms and phrases, read Part 1 in the series.  

About The Author

Mike Wallen

Mike Wallen is a Business Solutions Manager at Aureon Technology. Mike is enthusiastic and passionate about helping small to medium-sized businesses eliminate the hassle, waste, and headaches of all things technology in their business to create a worry-free environment.

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