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That's a technical term ...

18 Jun 2019 11:22 AM | Anonymous member

If you don’t work in the IT sector, you really should be aware of what’s going on out there, especially when it comes to technology that’s relevant for the administrative profession.

Fairly often, I will use an inappropriate way to describe what’s happened with a programme I’m using, or my laptop and then follow it up with the phrase “That’s a technical term”. For instance: “Hi Helpdesk! My email connection is totally munted (or worse language). That’s a technical term”. Recently, whilst reading the May/June 2019 issue of the Associations Now newsletter, from ASAE: the Center for Association Leadership, I came across some acronyms which actually are technical terms! I thought I would share the ones that seem most relevant for administrators.




Bring Your Own Device

Allowing employees to bring personally owned devices (eg laptops, tablets, smartphones) to the office and use those to do their work and access company information, data and applications. Because of the security risks this may pose, many businesses are implementing BYOD policies.

Source: Webopedia, Wikipedia


Business Intelligence

An umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure, tools and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to help organisations improve and optimise decisions and performance.

Source: Gartner


General Data Protection Regulation

In effect since May 2018, GDPR encompasses a set of rules that harmonises data and privacy protection laws for individuals across 31 countries (all 28 European Union member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) known collectively as the European Economic Area.

      GDPR’s 99 articles apply not only to EU businesses but also to any company or organisation which personal information about individuals located in the EEA. Under the new regulations, EU residents have the right to access their personal data, the right to rectify incomplete or inaccurate data, the right to be forgotten, and the right to restrict the processing of their data.

      Organisations have about 30 days to respond to individual requests about whether personal data is being processed and, if so, to provide access to that data. And if an organisation experiences a data breach, it has 72 hours to notify EU data protection agencies. Failure to do so could be costly: violators are subject to fines up to €20 million or four per cent of a company’s annual global revenue, whichever is greater.

Source: TechTerms, Wikipedia

Shadow IT

The use of systems, devices, software, applications and services without explicit approval from an organisation’s internal IT department. It has grown exponentially in recent years with the adoption of cloud-based applications and services (eg Dropbox, Skype etc). While shadow IT can improve employee productivity and drive innovation, it can also introduce serious security risks to organisations through data leaks, potential compliance violations and more.

Source: Gartner

Single Sign-On

A service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials (eg name and password) to access multiple applications. The service authenticates the end user for all the applications the user has been given rights to and eliminates further prompts when the user switches applications during the same session.

Source: TechTarget


A type of scam where an intruder attempts to gain unauthorised access to a user’s system or information by pretending to be the user. The main purpose is to trick the user into releasing sensitive information in order to gain access to his/her bank account or computer system or to steal personal information like passwords.

Source: TechTerms, Investopedia

Two-Factor Authentication

Also referred to as 2FA, this verification process typically requires a correct login plus another verification check. For example, if 2FA is enabled on an online bank account, users may be required to enter a temporary code sent to their phone or email address to complete the login process.

Source: TechTerms


Artificial Intelligence

Machine or software technology that mimics human intelligence. Rather than the computer following preset commands, AI can learn, recognise speech, plan, solve problems and self-correct. Most AI used today is classified as weak or narrow AI, in that it is focused on a single or narrow set of tasks (a virtual assistant, for example). Strong AI, which is theoretical today, would be able to use its intelligence in a broad range of situations and perform well in all of them.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Skymind, Techopedia


Natural Language Processing

A subset of AI, NLP allows machines to understand human language as it is spoken. NLP is used in both systems that understand human commands, like Alexa or Siri, and in systems that read text.

Source: TechTarget, Techopedia


Machine Learning

A subset of AI, ML is the use of algorithms to help machines “learn” new information without having to be programmed. Machine learning guides things like product recommendations a user gets based on past purchases.

Source: TechTarget, Techopedia

Augmented Reality

An overlay of digital imagery or content on the real world. Examples include the Pokemon Go! game and pop-up displays on cars that show information like driver speed.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget


Enterprise Resource Planning

Software designed to integrate the different systems used to run a business so that data can easily flow between them. These business systems might include human resources, accounting, procurement and project management.

Source: TechTarget, Oracle

Marketing Automation

Software that lets marketers build better relationships with customers by automating messages to them including emails, social media and website communications.

Source: TechTarget, Hubspot

Open Source

Software whose source code is open to the public. This means others can modify it and it is often designed communally. Open-source software is typically free.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Merriam-Webster


Software as a Service

A form of cloud computing that allows users to access software housed on a server elsewhere via the internet, unlike the traditional model that requires software be installed on that device.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Software Advice

Virtual Machine

The process of running another operating system on a machine using virtualisation software. The virtual system is segregated from the main system. Reasons to run a virtual machine include trying a new operating system before installing it, running old or incompatible software and testing suspicious files.

Source: TechTerms, Techopedia


Application Programming Interface

A protocol that programmers use when writing code to enable different systems to communicate with each other. It provides developers with standard commands for performing common operations.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget


A computer’s way of storing information, often temporarily, so it can be quickly accessed.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget, Merriam-Webster


A broad term to describe a system of storing data on a different server and accessing it via a network. The server could be offsite or onsite.

Source: TechTerms, Merriam-Webster

Public cloud: using cloud services that open to the public to store applications or files and access them via the internet.

Private cloud: cloud-computing services that are provided for an individual organisation or company to serve its users.

Hybrid cloud: a combination of the public and private cloud. Businesses use a hybrid method for flexibility.

Source: TechTarget


A small file left on a user’s machine by a website. The file stores information sent by the website, and each time the user returns to the site, the site can access the file and add information.

Source: TechTarget, Merriam-Webster


Data about other data. For example, image file metadata might include the creation date, image resolution and file size. Some types of metadata, like file size, are created automatically, while others are created by the user, such as keywords used for website metadata.

Source: TechTarget, Merriam-Webster


Search Engine Optimisation

The practice of trying to get a website to appear atop the results list when a person searches for a topic via a search engine (eg Google, Bing). Developers input various forms of metadata to get the search engine to believe their site is most relevant.

Source: TechTerms, TechTarget



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