Technology Glossary

This is a sample of a technology glossary PRIMAL GLOW would provide a client as part of a Technology Audit. We also create Network Maps and other resources that help organizations make the most of their current technology.

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Technology glossary


A network of external servers hosted on the Internet that provides a computing service or that allows you to store and access data.

Examples of cloud storage: Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud
Examples of cloud computing services: Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Microsoft Office 365


The process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. This is used for security purposes so if data ends up in the wrong hands it is not accessible.


A part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication. In other words, it stops intruders from stealing or tampering with your data but allows wanted data (email, web pages, social media) to enter.
It can be built into a router, a separate piece of hardware or part of an anti-virus/security package.


Short for malicious software, is any software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, gain access to private computer systems, or display unwanted advertising. The most common ways we get malware is by downloading what we think is legitimate software but it comes bundled with malware or by downloading software from unknown sources.


An electronic device that receives data from a phone line or a cable line and translates the data so it can be transmitted to your computer. The computer only reads digital data. Phone lines and cable companies do not transmit digitally.


A system of computers that are joined together so that they can communicate by exchanging information and sharing resources. Networks can be both wired and wireless.


The act of trying to obtain financial or other confidential information from Internet users, typically by sending an email that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization, usually a financial institution, but contains a link to a fake website that replicates the real one.

For example, you receive an email from someone claiming to be from your bank. In this email, is a link or short-cut to a webpage. You click on it. The webpage you go to can look quite legitimate. It is not. It then might ask you to sign in with your banking information. If you sign-in, you have now given this fake company your banking information.


Ransomware is a form of malware in which rogue software code effectively holds a user’s computer hostage until a “ransom” fee is paid. Ransomware often infiltrates as a computer worm or Trojan horse that takes advantage of open security vulnerabilities. Most ransomware attacks are the result of clicking on an infected e-mail attachment or visiting a hacked website.


Small electronic devices that join multiple computers together via either wired or wireless connections. They take a single internet signal and split it up so it can be used by many.


Email that is sent to large numbers of people and that consists mostly of advertising.


A server is a computer, a device or a program that is dedicated to managing network resources.


  • File server – a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.
  • Print server – a computer that manages one or more printers and allows many to access to the printer(s).

SSID (Service Set Identifier)

The technical term for a wireless network’s name. A wireless router will broadcast out its SSID, which allows devices then to show a list of nearby wireless networks. Any computer with wireless should be able to see it and click on it. If the network is secured, it will then ask for a password. Only those who have the password can therefore access that wireless network.

A router can be set up with multiple SSIDs and passwords. This helps protect an organization’s sensitive information from being accessible to others who may be accessing their wifi (eg. volunteers, guests).


It works as a central place for computers, printers and every other wired network device on the network to communicate with each other. It does not connect directly to the internet but if you plug a router into it, it will distribute internet to other computers.


Wifi is a technology that works through radio waves, just like a cell phone network, or an actual radio. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an acronym or short form. WiFi allows computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area. A WiFi signal is broadcast by a router.