Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V W

a

API


Application program interface (API) is code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other.         

Auto Attendant

An automated attendant is a phone system that transfers incoming calls to various extensions as specified by the caller, without the intervention of a human operator. Most auto-attendants can route calls to landline phones, mobile phones, VoIP devices, or other automated attendants. An auto attendant may also be referred to as a virtual receptionist. 

AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform that provides customers with a wide array of cloud services such as a secured cloud services platform that offers compute power, database storage, content delivery, and various other functionalities.   

Azure

Microsoft Azure is Microsoft's public cloud computing platform; it provides a variety of cloud services, such as computing, networking, analytics, and backup and disaster recovery and more.     

b

BAA

BAA (Business Associate Agreement) is a legal document between a healthcare provider and a contractor. A provider enters into a BAA with a contractor or other vendor when that vendor might receive access to Protected Health Information (PHI).

BaaS

Backup as a Service. A solution for backing up files and objects, typically into an offsite or cloud environment. It is important to follow the 3-2-1* rule for best practices in backing up data.

* The basic concept of the 3-2-1 backup strategy is that three copies are made of the data to be protected, the copies are stored on two different types of storage media, and one copy of the data is sent offsite. 

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the capacity of network communications—either wireless or wired—to transmit the maximum amount of data from point-to-point via a computer network or Internet connection in a specified amount of time—typically one second. Bandwidth describes the data transfer rate; it is not a measure of network speed. 

Bit

A bit (abbreviation for binary digit) is the smallest unit of data in a computer. A bit has a single binary value, either 0 or 1. Although computers usually provide instructions that can test and manipulate bits, they generally are designed to store data and execute instructions in bit multiples called bytes

Blockchain

Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. 

BRI

Basic Rate Interface (BRI) is a level of service in the ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) that is intended for the home and small enterprise. 

Business Continuity

The ability of an organization to maintain essential functions during and/or after a service disruption, such as hardware failure, loss of power, and natural disasters. 

Byte

A byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long that most computers use to represent a character such as a number, letter or typographic symbol. Each byte can hold a string of bits that need to be used in a larger unit for application purposes. 

c

CCaaS

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a customer experience solution that allows companies to access all the separate components that make up a traditional contact center via all channels and touchpoints (voice, SMS, social media, chat, etc.)—sometimes referred to as "skills-based routing"—in the cloud, rather than on-premises. 

CCaaS providers maintain and develop the software (hence “as a service”), which allows call centers to focus on using the software to provide a better customer experience (CX). 

CLEC

One of the many terms used to label a company that offers local telephone services, a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) is a telecommunications provider company (often called a carrier) in the US and Canada that competes with already established carriers, incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), to provide interstate exchange access services that are used to send voice traffic.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a general term used to describe anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. This can include computing, storage, servers, and more. These services are accessed over the public internet or private WAN technology  

Cloud Connect

A cloud connect is a popular choice for a private and secure direct connection to your cloud services. This can reduce latency and improve security compared to using the public internet to access the cloud.

Contact Center

A contact center is a central point from which all customer contacts are managed. The contact center typically includes one or more call centers but may include other types of customer touchpoints as well (chat, email, etc.). A contact center is generally part of an enterprise's overall customer relationship management (CRM) strategy.

CoS

Class of Service (CoS) is a method of managing network traffic by grouping similar types of traffic (e.g. videos, emails, file transfers) together and assigning each of these groups its own level of service priority. 

CPaaS

CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) A CPaaS is a cloud-based delivery model that allows organizations to add real-time communication capabilities, such as voice, video and messaging, to business applications by deploying application program interfaces (APIs).

Communication services can be also be embedded into business applications, such as sales software, to add features like click-to-call, multifactor authentication, and notifications. 

CRM

CRM software consolidates customer information and documents into a single database so business users can more easily manage and access it. 

CX

CX stands for "customer experience." CX is an accumulation of a customer's experience with a brand or an organization. In other words, it is not a singular interaction or a snapshot in time, but the amalgamation of all of their experiences combined. 

d

DaaS

Desktop-as-a-Service is a desktop operating system that runs on virtual machines located in the cloud, allowing the streaming of virtual desktops over a network to endpoint devices where they're accessed through client software or a web browser. All of the support infrastructure, including network resources and storage, also live on the cloud. 

Data Center

A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices.

DDoS

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are when a massive influx of web traffic from a multitude of IP addresses floods a machine or network resource. As a result, all systems shut down, preventing legitimate requests from being fulfilled. 

DID

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) is the service of a local phone company (or LEC) that provides a block of telephone numbers for calling into a company's private branch exchange (PBX) system. 

Direct Connect (AWS)

Direct Connect provides Amazon Web Service (AWS) customers a way to transfer data without using the public Internet; Amazon says that private network connections provide a safer, more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections. 

DNS

Domain name system (DNS) is a naming database in which Internet domain names are located and translated into IP (internet protocol) addresses. This system maps the name people use to locate a website to the IP address that a computer uses to locate a website.

DPI

Deep packet inspection is an advanced method of examining and managing network traffic, functioning at the application layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model by examining the contents of packets passing through a given checkpoint and making real-time decisions based on rules assigned by the ISP, network manager or an enterprise, based on what the packet contains. 

DRaaS

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is the process, policies, and procedures related to preparing for the recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure that is critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity.  

e

Edge Computing

Edge computing is a distributed information technology (IT) architecture in which client data is processed at the periphery of the network, as close to the originating source as possible. The move toward edge computing is driven by mobile computing, the decreasing cost of computer components and the sheer number of networked devices in the internet of things (IoT).

EMM

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is software that allows employees the secure use of mobile devices and applications. It can also increase productivity because IT departments can provide employees with the applications and data they need to perform work-related tasks on mobile devices. 

Encryption

In computing, encryption is the method used to convert data from a readable form to an encoded version that can only be decoded by another entity with a decryption key. It is a vital method of providing data security, specifically for end-to-end protection of data being transmitted across networks.

Endpoint

An endpoint is a remote computing device that communicates back and forth with a connected network.

Examples of endpoints include:
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Servers
  • Printers       
ERP

Enterprise resource planning is a modular software system that is designed to integrate the main functional areas of an organization's business processes into a unified system.

An ERP system includes core software components that focus on essential business areas like accounting, HR and supply chain or customer relationship management.

Ethernet

Ethernet is the traditional technology for connecting wired local area networks (LANs), enabling devices to communicate with each other via a network protocol. 

 

f

Failover

Failover is a backup operational mode in which the functions of a system component, like a network, processor, server, or database, are assumed by secondary system components when the primary component becomes unavailable due to scheduled downtime or failure.

Firewall

A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented by both hardware and software, or a combination of both. 

FOC Date

A firm order commitment (FOC) date is when a current service provider issues a positive order acceptance in response to a port order issued to them to move a number from their network to another and includes the date they (the current carrier) will release the number to port to the new carrier. 

g

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google Cloud Platform, offered by Google, is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products, such as Google Search and YouTube. 

h

Helpdesk

In the context of IT, helpdesk is a department inside an organization that is responsible for answering the technical questions of its users. Most major IT companies have set up help desks to respond to questions from their customers. The questions and their answers are usually transferred using e-mail, telephone, website, or online chat. Additionally, there are internal help desks aimed at offering the same form of help, but only for the employees within the organization.

Hosted PBX

The basic principle is that a service provider owns and operates a PBX (private branch exchange) phone system and hosts it in a controlled data center off-site from the client. The service provider charges a service fee for the client to access and use the system. 

i

IaaS

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. IaaS is one of the three main categories of cloud computing services, alongside software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

IDS

Intrusion detection service (IDS) is a device or software application that monitors a system or network to identify malicious activity or policy violations. The activity or violation is reported to an administrator or collected centrally using a security information and event management system.

IoT

The internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

IP

Internet Protocol (IP) is the method that data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other computers.

IPS

Intrusion prevention system (IPS) monitors a network for malicious activities such as security threats or policy violations. The main function of an IPS is to identify suspicious activity, and then log information, attempt to block the activity, and then finally to report it.

ISDN

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is a set of standards for circuit-switched transmission of data over various media, including ordinary telephone-grade copper wire.

IT

Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information.

j

Jitter

The term used to refer to the random audible pops or cracks herd on voice calls being transmitted over the Internet. Latency is usually the cause of these sounds.

l

LAN

A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and peripheral devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server within a distinct geographic area. A LAN may serve as few as two or three users in a home-office or several hundred users in an office. 

LATA

LATA (local access and transport area) is a term in the U.S. for a geographic area covered by one or more local telephone companies, which are legally referred to as local exchange carriers (LECs).

Latency

The time elapsed between transmitting, receiving and retransmitting data through a network.

LEC

LEC (local exchange carrier) is the term for a public telephone company in the U.S. that provides local service. LEC carriers are also sometimes referred to as telcos.

A local exchange is the local central office of a LEC. Lines from homes and businesses terminate at a local exchange. 

LOA

A Letter of Agency (LOA) is a document authorizing a telecommunications provider to act on a consumer's behalf.

Link Aggregation (LAG)

Link aggregation (LAG) is used to describe various methods for using multiple parallel network connections to increase throughput beyond the limit that a single connection can achieve.

m

Malware

Malware is a contraction of malicious software; it is any piece of software that was written with the intent of damaging devices, stealing data, and generally causing chaos. Viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware are among the different kinds of malware.

Managed Services

Managed service is the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis; it is an alternative to the break/fix or on-demand outsourcing model where the service provider performs on-demand services and bills the customer only for the work done.

Under this subscription model, the customer owns or has direct oversight of the system, and the Managed Services Provider (MSP) is the service provider delivering the managed services.

mb and MB

A megabit (mb) is a unit of measurement for data size, most often used in discussions of data transfer. It takes eight megabits to make a megabyte.

Megabyte (MB) is a data measurement unit applied to digital computer or media storage. One MB equals one million (106 or 1,000,000) bytes.  

MDM

Mobile device management (MDM) is software that allows IT administrators to control, secure and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets and other endpoints. MDM is a core component of enterprise mobility management (EMM).

MMR (meet me room)

A "meet-me room" is a place within a colocation center where telecommunications companies can physically connect to one another and exchange data without incurring local loop fees.

Services provided across connections in an MMR may be voice circuits, data circuits, or Internet protocol traffic.

Mobility

Mobility is an approach to work in which employees can do their jobs from anywhere using a variety of mobile devices and applications; it also refers to the mobility of employees and corporate data as well.

MPLS

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a routing technique in telecommunications networks that directs data from one node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, thus avoiding complex lookups in a routing table and speeding traffic flows.

MPLS is able to support multiple protocols over its transport such as SIP, IP, RTP, etc. MPLS is used to deliver Layer 2 VPNs or Layer 3 VPNs.

MSP

A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that remotely manages customers' IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model.

MSPs charge for their services under various pricing models such as per-device, per-user and all-inclusive pricing.

MSSP

A managed security service provider (MSSP) is an IT service provider that furnishes an organization with cybersecurity monitoring and management, including such things as virus and spam blocking, intrusion detection, firewalls, and virtual private network (VPN) management. An MSSP can also handle system changes, modifications, and upgrades. 

n

NBFW

A network-based firewall (NBFW) controls traffic going in and out of a network by filtering traffic based on firewall rules, allowing only authorized traffic to pass through it. Most companies include at least one network-based firewall at the boundary between their internal network and the Internet. 

Network Protocols

Established rules that dictate how to format, transmit and receive data so computer network devices — from servers and routers to endpoints — can communicate regardless of the differences in their underlying infrastructures, designs or standards.

Network Security

Network security is an over-arching term that describes the policies and procedures implemented by network administrators to avoid and keep track of unauthorized access, exploitation, modification, or denial of the network and network resources.
Well-implemented network security will block viruses, malware, hackers, etc. from accessing or altering secure data.

NFV

Network functions virtualization (NFV) is an initiative to virtualize network services traditionally run on proprietary, dedicated hardware. With NFV, network functions like routing, load balancing, and firewalls are packaged as virtual machines (VMs) on commodity hardware.

NGFW

Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a part of the third generation of firewall technology, NGFW combines a traditional firewall with other network device filtering functionalities, such as an application firewall, by using in-line deep packet inspection (DPI), an intrusion prevention system (IPS). 

NOC

A network operations center (NOC) is where administrators supervise, monitor and maintain a telecommunications network. Large enterprises with large networks as well as large network service providers generally have network operations centers.

o

Open System Interconnection (OSI)

Is the reference model that defines the layers of the process for network communications. It is also known as the OSI Reference Model, OSI Model or OSI RM. 

p

PaaS

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform that allows customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app.

Packet Loss

Packet loss is the failure of one or more transmitted packets to arrive at their destination. This event can cause noticeable effects in all types of digital communications. 

PBX

A PBX (private branch exchange) is a telephone system that switches calls between users on local lines while also allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines.

Phishing/Phishing Attack

Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication channels. The attacker uses phishing emails to distribute malicious links or attachments that can perform a variety of functions, including the extraction of login credentials or account information from victims.

POP

Point of presence (POP) is the point where two or more networks or communication devices form a connection with each other. POP primarily refers to an access point, location or facility that connects to and helps other devices establish a connection with the Internet.

POTS

Plain old telephone service (POTS) is the standard telephone service that most homes use. Telephone services based on high-speed, digital communications lines, such as ISDN, are not POTS. The main distinctions between POTS and non-POTS services are speed and bandwidth. 

PRI

Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is an end-to-end, digital telecommunications connection that allows for 23 concurrent transmissions of voice, data or video traffic between the network and the user. 

Private Cloud

Private cloud is a computing service that is provided to only a select group of users, either over the Internet or via a private internal network. It gives businesses many of the same benefits as the public cloud - including self-service, scalability, and elasticity - with the additional control and customization available from dedicated resources over a computing infrastructure hosted on-premises.

In addition, private clouds deliver a higher level of security and privacy through both company firewalls and internal hosting to ensure that neither operations nor sensitive data are accessible to third-parties.

Public Cloud

Public cloud is a computing service offered by third-party providers over the public Internet; they are available to anyone who wants to use or purchase them. They may be free or sold on-demand, allowing customers to pay only per usage for the CPU cycles, storage, or bandwidth they consume.

Public clouds can save on costs of having to purchase, manage, and maintain on-premises hardware and application infrastructure; the cloud service provider is held responsible for all management and maintenance of the system.

Every employee of a company can use the same application from any office or branch using their device of choice as long as they can access the Internet.

q

QoS

Quality of service (QoS) refers to any technology that manages data traffic to reduce packet loss, latency, and jitter on a network. QoS controls and manages network resources by setting priorities for specific types of data on the network. 

r

Ransomware

Ransomware is a subset of malware in which the data on a victim's computer is locked, typically by encryption, and payment is demanded before the ransomed data is decrypted and access is returned to the victim.

Ransomware can be spread via malicious email attachments, infected software apps, infected external storage devices, and compromised websites.

Remote Access

In terms of Network Management, it is the ability of a NOC or other control point to access a remote computer or network for the purpose of monitoring and management.

Router

A router forwards data packets from one local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) to another. Based on routing tables and routing protocols, routers read the network address in each packet and make a decision on how to send it based on the most expedient route (traffic load, line costs, speed, bad lines, etc.). 

RTF

Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) is an Internet protocol standard that specifies a way for programs to manage the real-time transmission of multimedia data. 

s

SaaS

Software as a Service (SaaS) SaaS is a way of delivering centrally hosted applications over the Internet—as a service.

SaaS applications are sometimes called web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software.

SDN

Software-defined networking (SDN) is an architecture that aims to make networks agile and flexible. The goal of SDN is to improve network control by enabling enterprises and service providers to respond quickly to changing business requirements.

 

SD-WAN

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a technology that uses software-defined networking (SDN) concepts to distribute network traffic across a wide area network (WAN).

An SD-WAN automatically determines the most effective way to route traffic between branch offices and data center sites. SD-WANs are managed by a centralized controller. The software enables information technology (IT) staff to remotely program edge devices, reduce provisioning times and minimize or eliminate the need for network engineers to manually configure routers in branch locations.

SIP

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a signaling protocol, widely used for setting up, connecting and disconnecting communication sessions, typically voice or video calls over the Internet. SIP is a standardized protocol with its basis coming from the IP community and in most cases uses UDP or TCP.

SLA

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment between a service provider and a client in which specific aspects of the service, such as quality, availability, responsibilities, are agreed on between the provider and the customer.

SSID

Service set identifier (SSID) is a sequence of characters that uniquely names a wireless local area network (WLAN) and is occasionally referred to as a network name.

SSO

Single sign-on (SSO) is a session and user authentication service that permits the use of a single set of login credentials (e.g., name and password) to access multiple applications. SSO can be used by organizations of any size as well as individuals to reduce the need to manage numerous usernames and passwords.

t

TCP

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a standard that defines how to establish and maintain a network conversation via which application programs can exchange data.

TCP is a connection-oriented protocol, which means a connection is established and maintained until the application programs at each end have finished exchanging messages.

TCP/IP

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)  is a suite of communication protocols used to interconnect network devices on the internet. TCP/IP can also be used as a communications protocol in a private network.

TCP/IP specifies how data is exchanged over the internet by providing end-to-end communications that identify how it should be broken into packets, addressed, transmitted, routed and received at the destination.

Transmission Delay

The unpredictable delay in a packet network that is caused by congestion and buffering the data as it travels from the ingress to the egress. 

u

UCaaS

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a cloud delivery model that offers a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services.

UCaaS features include messaging, presence, collaboration tools, and voice and video conferencing. UCaaS is known for providing flexibility and scalability for core business tasks.

UID

A unique identifier (UID) is a numeric or alphanumeric string associated with a single entity within a given system. UIDs make it possible to address that entity so that it can be accessed and interacted with.
Unique identifiers can be assigned to anything that needs to be distinguished from other entities, such as individual users, companies, machines or websites.

Unified Communications (UC)

Unified communications (UC) is a framework for integrating various asynchronous and real-time communication tools, with the goal of enhancing business communication, collaboration, and productivity.

Unified communications do not represent a singular technology; rather, it describes an interconnected system of communication devices and applications that can be used in concert or successively. 

v

VAR

A value-added reseller (VAR) is a partner that leans on an array of products to sell, typically offering services to supplement their primary business (such as CDW offering managed services or voice solutions). 

VM

A virtual machine (VM) is an operating system (OS) or application environment that is installed on software, which imitates dedicated hardware. The end-user has the same experience on a virtual machine as they would have on dedicated hardware. 

VNF

A Virtual Network Function (or VNF) manages specific network functions that run on one or more Virtual Machines (VMs) on top of the hardware networking infrastructure — routers, switches, etc.

Individual VNFs can be connected or combined together as building blocks to offer a full-scale networking communication service.

VoIP

VoIP (voice over IP) is the transmission of voice and multimedia content over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.VoIP is enabled by a group of technologies and methodologies used to deliver voice communications over the Internet, enterprise local area networks  (LANs) or wide area networks (WANs). 

VPLS

Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) provides ethernet-based multipoint to multipoint communication over IP or MPLS networks. It allows geographically dispersed sites to share an Ethernet broadcast domain by connecting sites through pseudowires. 

VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a connection method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. 

w

WAN

A wide area network (WAN) is a geographically distributed private telecommunications network that interconnects multiple local area networks (LANs).

Enterprise WANs allow users to share access to applications, services, and other centrally located resources. This eliminates the need to install the same application server, firewall or other resources in multiple locations. 

WLAN

A wireless LAN (WLAN) is a wireless computer network that links two or more devices using wireless communication to form a local area network (LAN) within a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, campus, office building etc. 

WAP

A wireless access point (WAP) is a hardware device or configured node on a local area network (LAN) that allows wireless capable devices and wired networks to connect through a wireless standard, including Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. WAPs feature radio transmitters and antennae, which facilitate connectivity between devices and the Internet or a network.

A WAP is also known as a hotspot.

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