Learn more about the common phrases, words, and acronyms used in the worlds of IT, cybersecurity, digital transformation, marketing, and business printing.


17 minutes

Jan 01, 2023


Access Management: The practice of controlling and managing user access rights to digital resources, systems, or networks using modern identity and access management tools. This ensures that only authorized individuals can gain entry and perform specific actions based on their roles and permissions.

Black Hat Hacker: A hacker who engages in unauthorized and malicious activities, exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, or software for personal gain, often involved in activities like data theft, sabotage, or cybercrime.

Breach: Compromise of a business’ system where an unauthorized user penetrates a network or accesses sensitive data like personally identifiable information.

Decryption: The process of converting encrypted data back into its original and readable form using a decryption key or algorithm, allowing authorized users to access and interpret the information.

Disaster Recovery: A vital process for modern businesses to restore critical systems, data, and services following a security breach or cyberattack. Disaster recovery involves implementing strategies, technologies, and protocols to minimize downtime, recover lost or compromised information, and ensure business continuity, thus mitigating the impact of the incident.

Encryption: The process of converting plain or readable data into a coded or unreadable format using cryptographic algorithms, making it inaccessible to unauthorized users and providing data security and confidentiality.

Firewall: A network security device or software that acts as a barrier between an internal network and external networks or the internet, monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predefined security rules to protect against unauthorized access and potential threats.

Information Security (Infosec): Infosec refers to the policies and procedures businesses use to protect information from unauthorized access, use, modification, or destruction.

Keyloggers: Software or hardware devices designed to record and capture keystrokes entered on a computer or mobile device. They are often used maliciously to steal sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or confidential data.

Malware: Short for “malicious software,” malware refers to any software or code specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems, networks, or devices, including viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): An authentication method that requires users to provide multiple forms of verification, such as passwords, biometrics, security tokens, or SMS codes, to verify their identity and gain access to a system or application, providing an extra layer of security

Network Monitoring: The process of continuously observing and analyzing network traffic, activities, and behavior to detect and respond to potential security threats, performance issues, or anomalies.

Next-Gen Antivirus: Advanced antivirus software that incorporates new and innovative technologies, such as behavioral analysis, machine learning, or artificial intelligence, to detect and block a wide range of sophisticated malware and cyber threats.

Phishing: A cyberattack technique that involves fraudulent attempts to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information or accessing malicious files or web pages, often through deceptive emails, websites, or messages. It comes in multiple forms, such as spear phishing (highly-targeted phishing), whaling (spear phishing with higher-value targets like executives), and smishing (SMS phishing).

Ransomware: A malicious software that encrypts files on a victim's computer or network, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker. It is a type of cyberattack that extorts money from individuals or organizations by threatening to delete or publish the data. Effective prevention, detection, and response measures are essential to combat this common and growing cybersecurity threat.

Spyware: Malicious software that secretly monitors and collects information about a user's activities, including keystrokes, browsing habits, and personal data, and may transmit it to third parties for malicious purposes.

Trojan: A type of malware that disguises itself as legitimate software or files while carrying out malicious activities in the background, often allowing unauthorized remote access to a computer system or enabling other types of malware.

Virtual Private Network (VPN): A site-to-site VPN works to secure and encrypted connection established over a public network, such as the internet, allowing users to access and transmit data privately and securely as if they were directly connected to a private network.

Virus: A type of malicious software that self-replicates by inserting its code into other programs or files, spreading from one computer to another, often causing damage, data loss, or disruption to computer systems or networks.

Zero-Day: A software vulnerability or security flaw that is unknown to the software vendor or developers, leaving systems exposed to potential exploitation by hackers until a patch or fix is developed and deployed.

Zero-Trust: A security framework that assumes no trust by default, requiring verification and authentication for every user and device attempting to access resources or systems, even if they are within the internal network, to minimize potential security risks and prevent unauthorized access. 

Digital Transformation

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The field of computer science that focuses on creating machines and systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as natural language processing, problem-solving, and decision-making. Modern AI tools are being used in many areas of a business, including automation, cybersecurity, content creation, customer service, and data analytics. Additionally, AI is now commonly used in industries like private equity, aerospace, healthcare, marketing, and more.

Automation: The use of automated technology (robotic process automation, hyperautomation, business process automation, etc.) and machines to perform tasks or processes with minimal human intervention, increasing efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Automation can be used in multiple parts of a business—including in marketing, supply chain management, and accounts payable—and in various industries—such as healthcare, construction, and retail.  

Big Data: Extremely large and complex data sets that require advanced tools and techniques to capture, store, manage, and analyze, often revealing patterns, trends, and insights that were previously inaccessible. Big data is can be of use in many industries, including healthcare and aerospace.

Business Intelligence (BI): The technologies, tools, strategies, and practices used to collect, integrate, analyze, and present business data and information, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions and gain competitive advantages in key areas like marketing, sales, finance, and operations.

Business Process Automation (BPA): Software designed to automate repeatable, multi-step or complex business processes and typically tailored to a business’ unique needs or challenges.

Change Management: The structured strategy and set of processes used to manage and navigate organizational change, ensuring smooth transitions, minimizing resistance, and maximizing adoption and benefits.

Data Lake: A centralized storage repository that allows for the storage and analysis of large volumes of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured (raw) data. It serves as a scalable and flexible solution for organizations to store diverse data types, enabling data exploration, analytics, and machine learning applications.

Data Warehouse: A structured and integrated repository that consolidates data from various sources within an organization to support reporting, analysis, and business intelligence activities. Data warehouses transform and organize data into a consistent and standardized format, facilitating decision-making processes and providing a historical view of the organization's data for strategic insights.

Digital Twin: A virtual replica or representation of a physical object, system, or process that allows real-time monitoring, analysis, and optimization, facilitating better decision-making and problem-solving. Often commonly used in industries that develop and use heavy machinery like construction, manufacturing, and aerospace.

Document Management: The practice of efficiently storing, organizing, and tracking digital and physical documents within an organization, aiming to enhance accessibility, collaboration, version control, and workflow efficiency.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Integrated software systems that facilitate the management of various business processes, including finance, human resources, supply chain, and customer relationship management, providing a centralized platform for data storage, analysis, and decision-making.

Internet of Things (IoT): A network of physical objects and devices (things) that are connected using sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of collecting data via the cloud. Connected can be anything from computers and phones to refrigerators and manufacturing equipment.

Intranet: A private computer network within an organization that enables the sharing of information, resources, and collaboration among its members, typically accessed through web browsers and restricted to authorized users.

Low-Code Development: An approach to software development that utilizes platforms with visual interfaces and pre-built components, allowing developers to create applications with minimal hand-coding, accelerating the development process and reducing the need for specialized programming skills. Low-code applications can be used to improve customer service, internal processes, ordering, and much more. 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA): The use of software robots or virtual assistants to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks, mimicking human interactions with computer systems and improving process efficiency. (See also: Automation)

Roadmap: A strategic plan or visual representation that outlines the goals, timelines, milestones, and tasks required to achieve specific objectives, providing a clear direction and guiding decision-making.


Access Points: Any equipment that connects wireless devices within a technology infrastructure and provides access to a larger system.

Break/Fix: A reactive IT support model where services are provided on an as-needed basis to resolve specific issues or problems, typically charging for repairs or fixes when a system or equipment breaks down. The opposite of which is a fixed-fee model.

Business Continuity: The planning and implementation of strategies, processes, and technologies to ensure that critical business operations can continue or recover quickly in the event of disruptions, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, or system failures. 

Cloud: A network of remote servers that allows the storage, management, and processing of data over the internet, providing on-demand access to computing resources like company data, UCaaS software, and collaborative tools from any authorized device, anywhere in the world. With cloud technology, work can be done anywhere, with any device, at any time.

Database: A collection of data organized and stored in a computer system, allowing efficient storage, retrieval, manipulation, and analysis of information.

Data Storage Center: A facility or location that houses and manages large-scale data storage systems and infrastructure, often separated into tiers based on server performance and security, and typically equipped with redundant power supply, cooling, and security measures to ensure the safe storage and accessibility of data. Data centers are often separated into tiers (I-IV) based on server performance and security.

Domain Name System (DNS): A system that translates human-readable domain names (website addresses) into numeric IP addresses, enabling users to access websites and resources on the internet using easy-to-remember domain names instead of complex IP addresses.

Downtime: The period during which a system, service, or application is unavailable or not functioning properly, often due to maintenance, upgrades, or technical issues, resulting in losses in productivity, potentially lost customers, a worsened public image, and deletion of critical data.

Infrastructure: The underlying foundation or framework of hardware, software, and network components that support and enable IT systems, applications, and services to function effectively and reliably.

IP Address: Internet Protocol Address, a unique numerical identifier assigned to each device connected to a network, allowing devices to communicate and exchange data over the internet.

IT Assessment: An evaluation of an organization's current IT infrastructure, systems, and protocols to identify strengths, weaknesses, risks, and opportunities. IT assessments are used to guide decision-making, prioritize investments, and improve overall IT performance and strategy going forward.

Mobile Device Management (MDM): The administration and control of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, within an organization. It usually includes device provisioning, configuration, security, and monitoring to ensure data protection, compliance, and optimal usage.

Network: A collection of interconnected devices, systems, or computers that communicate with each other and share resources, enabling data transfer, collaboration, and information exchange.

Network Security: The practice of protecting computer networks and connected systems from unauthorized access, threats, or breaches, often involving the implementation of security measures such as firewalls, encryption, access controls, and intrusion detection systems.

Productivity Suites: Integrated software applications that provide a range of features to enhance productivity and streamline processes. Productivity suites help businesses by connecting teams using shared data storage, collaboration tools, communication (email, direct messaging), project management, and more.

Remote Desktop: A technology that allows users to access and control a computer or desktop environment remotely from another device or location, enabling remote work, technical support, or system administration. (See also: Workspace as a Service)

Server: A computer or device that provides resources, data storage, and services to other computers or devices on a network, typically delivering requested information, processing requests, and managing network resources.

Software as a Service (SaaS): A software delivery model where applications are hosted and provided over the internet, allowing users to use software applications without the need for local installation or infrastructure management.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS): A cloud-based communication solution that integrates various communication tools, such as voice, video, messaging, and collaboration, into a unified platform, enabling seamless and efficient communication and collaboration across devices and locations.

Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO): A vCIO is an expert in strategic guidance and technology who assists businesses with IT planning, management, and decision-making. They commonly oversee entire IT infrastructures and consult on technology strategy to help businesses stay ahead of the curve and operate efficiently.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A technology that allows voice communication and phone calls to be transmitted over the internet instead of traditional phone networks, offering cost savings, flexibility, and advanced features. (see also: Unified Communications as a Service) 

Workspace as a Service (WaaS): A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution delivered via the internet, providing users with access to their personalized workspaces, applications, and data from any device or location, while centralizing management and security.


A/B Testing: A method of comparing two versions (A and B) of a webpage, advertisement, or marketing asset with a different element to determine which performs better in terms of user engagement, conversion rates, or other predefined metrics.

Analytics: The systematic analysis of data, statistics, and patterns to gain insights, identify trends, and inform decision-making, often applied in marketing to measure performance, understand user behavior, and optimize strategies.

Bottom of the Funnel: The stage in the customer journey where prospects are close to making a purchasing decision, often characterized by actions such as interacting with product trials, demos, or salespeople.

Business-to-Business (B2B): Refers to commercial transactions or interactions between two businesses rather than involving individual consumers.

Business-to-Customer (B2C): Denoting commercial transactions or interactions between a business and individual consumers.

Buyer Persona: A fictional representation of an ideal customer or target audience segment, based on research, data, and insights, used to guide marketing and sales strategies by understanding customer needs, motivations, and behavior patterns.

Call to Action (CTA): A prompt or instruction that encourages the audience or visitors to a website, advertisement, or content to take a specific action, such as "Buy Now," "Sign Up," or "Learn More."

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on a specific link, advertisement, or call-to-action button out of the total number of individuals who view it, indicating the effectiveness and engagement level of the content or campaign.

Customer Journey: The entire process that a customer goes through, from the initial awareness of a brand or product to the final purchase and beyond, encompassing all touchpoints, interactions, and experiences along the way.

Customer Relationship Manager (CRM): A technology-driven strategy and system that enables businesses to manage interactions and relationships with customers, centralizing customer data, and facilitating sales, marketing, and customer service activities.

Content Management System (CMS): A software application or platform that allows the creation, management, and publishing of digital content, providing tools for content authoring, editing, organizing, and presentation, often used for websites, blogs, and document repositories.

Content Marketing: A marketing strategy that involves creating and distributing valuable and relevant blogs, ebooks, videos, checklists, and other forms of content to attract, engage, and retain a target audience, with the aim of driving profitable customer actions and building brand loyalty.

Conversion: The desired action taken by a visitor or user, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, or completing any other predefined goal, indicating a successful outcome of a marketing effort.

Impressions: The number of times an advertisement, webpage, or content is displayed or shown to users, representing the potential reach or exposure of that content and the brand that created it.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A measurable metric used to evaluate the success and performance of a business, department, or specific activity, providing insights into progress, effectiveness, and achievement of objectives.

Keyword/Keyphrase: A specific word or combination of words that represents the main topic or concept of a webpage, article, or content piece, used in search engine optimization (SEO) to improve visibility and relevance in search engine results.

Landing Page: A web page specifically designed to receive and convert traffic from a marketing or advertising campaign, typically focused on a single call to action and providing relevant information to encourage visitors to take a specific action.

Lead Nurturing: The process of building and maintaining relationships with potential customers (leads) through targeted and personalized communications at different stages of the customer journey, aiming to guide leads towards conversion and purchase.

Marketing Technology (MarTech): A term used to refer to the tools businesses use in their marketing efforts. These can be tools used for automation, data, research, content creation, communication, and more.

Middle of the Funnel: The stage in the customer journey where prospects have shown interest and are actively evaluating products or solutions, often engaging with content such as case studies, whitepapers, or webinars.

Omnichannel Marketing: An approach that uses data integrated with various communication channels (such as websites, social media, email, and/or physical stores) to deliver a seamless and consistent brand experience across all touchpoints, enabling customers to engage and transact with a company through their preferred channels.

Pay-Per-Click Ads (PPC Ads): A form of paid online advertising in which advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked, typically associated with search engine advertising platforms like Google Ads. 

Reach: The measurement of the people who have seen your content, marketing materials, ads, or campaigns.

Spam: Unsolicited and unwanted messages, typically sent via email, text messages, or online platforms, often for commercial or fraudulent purposes, and considered as disruptive or intrusive.

Top of the Funnel: The initial stage in the customer journey where potential customers become aware of a brand or a problem they may have, typically through marketing efforts like advertisements, social media content, or blog posts. 


Ink Cartridge: A replaceable plastic container holding ink for inkjet printers, ensuring continuous printing by when you regularly replace depleted cartridges with new ones.

Laser Printer: A type of printer that uses a stat charge and heated rollers to fuse dry powder (toner) to paper.

Managed Print Services (MPS): A complete service where experts manage your printing equipment (copiers, printers, fax machines, etc.), printing supplies (ink, toner, paper), and the maintenance and support required to keep them operating.

Paper Jam: Occurs when paper becomes stuck inside a printer, obstructing the printing process and requiring careful removal to resume normal operations without damage.

Plotters: Specialty printers utilized in engineering and design fields, employing pens to draw precise lines and create accurate technical drawings, maps, and diagrams.

Printer Fleet: A collection of managed printers within an organization, encompassing various types and models, requiring monitoring, maintenance, and supplies replenishment for optimized efficiency and cost control.

Printer Head: Essential inkjet printer component containing tiny nozzles that deposit ink in specific patterns, enabling the creation of text, images, and other content on paper.

Production Print: High-volume printing of professional-quality materials like brochures, catalogs, and promotional materials, often involving advanced finishing options such as binding, stapling, or folding, and utilizing specialized equipment to meet quality standards.

Toner: A power-based print medium. It is electrostatically charged to fuse with paper using a metal drum within the printer. Commonly found in laser printers.

Wide Format: Printers capable of handling larger paper sizes beyond standard dimensions, often used for producing posters, banners, blueprints, and large-format documents. 


Managed ITCybersecurityPrint ServicesMarketingDigital TransformationBusiness GrowthCustomer ExperienceBrand Reputation ManagementStreamline ProcessesEmployee ExperienceMitigate Cyber Risks


Impact Insights

Sign up for The Edge newsletter to receive our latest insights, articles, and videos delivered straight to your inbox.

More From Impact

View all Insights