Common Tech Terms You Should Know Before Hiring an MSP
Do you ever feel at loss with all the technical jargon in the IT field? Part of being prepared to enter into talks with a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) is having a solid understanding of the way IT reps communicate.
So before getting into talks about services from an MSP, you’ll want to know the common terms used. That way, you avoid miscommunication and can easily decide what services you truly need.
Since we are also an MSP, here at ITS we’ve noted the common terms clients ask us about. We go through these terms when talking with them about the products they have with us. Tech terms are explained through definitions and analogies for the client’s benefit.
We’ve compiled the common tech terms we explain to clients into an easy-to-understand list for your reference.
Here are a few of those basic terms.
1. Active Directory
A program on a server that manages all your user information like names, email addresses, contact numbers, and IP addresses. Sometimes referred to as the domain controller.
Authentication refers to any process that confirms the identity of a user or the authenticity of login credentials and passwords. Some examples of this are 2FA and MFA.
Stands for Backup and Disaster Recovery. It’s a server that will be used as a backup for your current server.
Biometrics are physical characteristics used in the authentication process, such as fingerprints or facial recognition.
5. Break-fix Companies
Companies that help resolve an issue after the problem presents itself. Can be useful for one-off situations and has a lot of differences from Managed Service Providers.
6. Business Continuity Plan
A plan for emergency response, backup operations, and post-disaster recovery steps that will keep critical resources available and facilitate the continuity of operations in an emergency situation. Can also be referred to as an Incident Response Plan.
It is an umbrella term for practices and programs aiming to lessen the possibility of hackers getting your information or exploiting your company.
Decryption is the process of translating an encrypted message back into its original plaintext.
9. Disaster Recovery Plan
A Disaster Recovery Plan is a process put in place to recover and restore IT systems in the event of a disruption or disaster.
Stands for Domain Name Server. This is a server that manages your user information and where you install your active directory.
The cryptographic transformation of data - or plaintext - into ciphertext, which makes data unreadable to anyone who accesses that data without authorization.
Typically a line of text but sometimes an image, a hyperlink is a clickable shortcut to a specific web address. Text hyperlinks are typically shortened to be easier to read or change into unrelated text, but hovering your mouse over the hyperlink will reveal the complete original “address.”
14. In-house IT
It refers to technicians directly hired by your company. They’re on your payroll and work the same hours as your other employees. Often contrasted to Break-fix companies & MSPs.
15. Malicious Code
Software that presents as something innocuous, but actually grants a hacker unauthorized access to system resources or tricks a user into executing other malicious functions on the hacker’s behalf.
This is short for malicious software and is the more common term for a wide range of different types of malicious code.
Stands for Managed IT Service Provider. They’re third-party providers of IT services and aim to provide your company with a complete IT department.
18. Network Closet
A centralized location for your devices such as internet routers, firewalls, and servers.
19. Offsite Technicians
Technicians that do not go to your office to resolve technical issues. They will usually access your workstation remotely and coordinate with you about your tech issues via email or phone call.
20. Onsite Technicians
Technicians that go to your office to resolve technical issues. They’re deployed to solve hardware issues and to set up equipment at your office. Often employed alongside offsite technicians.
The use of e-mails that seem to be sent from a trusted source to trick a user into doing something like entering valid credentials at a fake website, sharing confidential information, or granting access to funds or other company resources. Comes in different kinds.
22. Risk Assessment
A process that identifies potential security risks and the impact those risks could have on a business. Also known as a network assessment.
A server is a place where you store large amounts of data and manage the way this data is accessed. Servers are used for many different purposes such as backup devices, information management, and database storage.
24. Social Engineering
Refers to any type of non-technical or low-technology means used to carry out a cyber-attack such as lies, impersonation, tricks, bribes, blackmail, and threats.
Electronic junk mail can often contain malicious content.
A generic term for a person, entity, or automated process that accesses a system, whether authorized to do so or not.
A hidden, self-replicating section of computer software that spreads by infecting another program. A virus requires that its “host” program be run to make the virus active.
28. Wireless Access Point
A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is an area where you can wirelessly connect to a network. It is often referred to as a wireless router, despite the differences between them.
Need more information about MSPs?
Hiring an MSP requires thorough preparation - you need to know if the resources you’ll put into an MSP are worth it. Therefore, knowing common terms used by MSPs like DNS, servers, and break-fix companies will help you identify if you need the services provided by an MSP.
At ITS, we’ve helped explain the previous information to our clients. If you want to continue your research about MSPs, read “What Does a Managed IT Company Do for My Company?” However, if you have company-specific questions, contact us so our experts can help you with your unique situation.