As a business owner, it's important to be aware of the different terms and technologies that are used in the IT industry. This can help you communicate better with your IT team and make more informed decisions about your company's technology infrastructure.
In this article, we define 20 IT terms that every business owner should know, and we explain their importance in a business context. Here are some basic technology terms to know to start building your IT lexicon:
Adaptive technology describes technologies that can be customized to meet the needs of individual users. Adaptive technology can help businesses improve the usability of their applications and reach a wider audience by making their applications accessible to users with disabilities.
Big data is a term used to describe the large volume of data that businesses generate. Big data generally refers to data sets too large and complex to be understandable without thorough analysis. Once properly analyzed, big data can help businesses improve their decision-making, customer service, and marketing efforts.
Business intelligence (BI) is a set of techniques and tools for the collection, storage, analysis, and presentation of data. Business intelligence can help business owners make better decisions about their operations by analyzing data and creating visualizations that can help reveal the big picture and actionable insights.
Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to policies that allow employees to bring their own personal devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) to work and use them for work purposes.
BYOD policies can save businesses money on hardware and software costs as well as increase employee productivity and satisfaction, and they can be convenient for remote employees. However, they often also require additional effort to implement security and management properly. Organizations should thoroughly evaluate all the possible aspects before implementing a company hardware policy.
Cloud computing is a service that lets you access and use data, programs, and other IT resources over the Internet (“the cloud”). Cloud computing can help business owners save money on IT infrastructure costs, but again come with additional considerations.
Cloud storage is a term used to describe the process of storing data on remote servers. That data can then be accessed over the Internet. Cloud storage can help businesses improve their flexibility and scalability, as well as reduce their costs.
Cross-platform compatibility is the ability of a software application to run on multiple platforms. Cross-platform compatibility can help businesses consolidate software subscription costs as they use one application that integrates with multiple programs.
Most people have a basic understanding of what cybersecurity is - security for your digital assets. But they may not know that cybersecurity can include hardware and software tools, company policies, and employee training to employ every business asset as a line of defense. Cybersecurity is a basic need for every business, no matter its size, to protect itself from today’s cyber threats.
A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunication and storage systems. A well-designed data center can help improve performance and reliability while reducing costs.
Disaster recovery refers to the process and procedures related to recovering from a disaster. Disaster recovery planning can help business owners protect their data and minimize downtime in the event of a major outage or disaster.
Encryption is the process of transforming your data into an unreadable format so that if it’s stolen, malicious parties are unable to access it. Encrypted data can only be recovered by using an encryption key, so encryption adds protection to your data even if it’s taken by unauthorized users.
This is a term used in the business and information technology industries to describe the process of designing, planning, and implementing enterprise-wide IT systems. Enterprise architecture can help businesses improve their decision-making, communication, and collaboration, and align IT processes with business strategies.
Identity management describes the process of managing digital identities and their access to programs or systems. For example, a business may have its employees assigned with individual logins to access a network, allowing the business to grant or deny access to individual accounts.
Identity management can help businesses improve their security and maintain compliance with industry regulations.
IT governance is the process of ensuring that an organization's IT activities align with its business goals. A company with solid IT governance will get more value from their IT services and often will be more efficient and productive.
Mobile device management (MDM) is a term used to describe the process of managing mobile devices. MDM can help businesses improve their security, and it’s especially important for businesses with workers that are often deployed to job sites or otherwise working remotely.
A Managed Services Provider, or MSP, provides managed IT services to businesses. These providers develop complete solutions for organizations that include preventative maintenance, security, support, etc., as opposed to being billed hourly to fix problems as they arise.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a cybersecurity tool that protects devices and networks by requiring multiple methods of authentication to grant access. For example, instead of just entering a password, it requires employees to enter both their password as well as a code generated by an app or a fingerprint scan.
MFA’s stunning success rate at blocking password attacks (Microsoft found it to be 99.9% effective) makes it a very valuable cybersecurity tool for businesses.
Phishing is a type of cyber attack in which the attacker poses as someone else to try to access your private information. An attacker may send you an email posing as your bank or a company you’ve done business with in order to scare you into clicking a link or sending them your private information directly.
Risk management refers to the policies and processes that you use to reduce risk in your business. This includes proactive cybersecurity measures, backups, and disaster recovery planning. Good risk management helps businesses remain stable, even during disasters and unexpected circumstances.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a type of software that is delivered over the internet as a monthly subscription instead of bought and installed at a large one-time price. SaaS can help businesses save money on software development and maintenance costs as well as improve their flexibility and scalability.
If you're a business owner, it's important to have at least a basic understanding of these IT terms. IT can be a complex and ever-changing field, but understanding these basic concepts can help you make better decisions for your business and find the IT services that meet your needs.