Confused About Computing Terms? We're Here to Help, With Our Jargon-busting Guide
At Virtual Cabinet, we know that every one of our clients has a different level of computer literacy and varying comprehension of software and computing language. That's nothing to be ashamed of. We wouldn't necessarily understand every acronym you used at work either. Every niche industry has its own vernacular and the software and computing space is no different.
In case you've ever wondered what any of the following terms mean, we thought it would be useful to provide some plain English explanations for the jargon you might hear in relation to software, cyber security and cloud computing.
If you're not a software developer, you'd be forgiven for not understanding these but they are handy to know.
User Interface. The UI is the term for any part of the software that the user sees and interacts with. Also called the front-end of a program, in contrast with the back-end where the code and functionality are. The UI is like the frontage that you see when you're using the product which affects the user experience.
This is short for Application Programming Interface and refers to the interface through which computer programs, software, and applications integrate and interact with one another. Think of it as a two-way door that allows two programs to talk to each other and exchange information.
A Customer Relationship Manager is a system used to organise your business contacts to help you effectively communicate with them and track the lifecycle of sales and renewals. A CRM is what some industries call these software programs but in others, they are known as Practice Management (PM), Case Management (CM), or Contact Management tools.
Cyber Security Terms
Cyber security language can be tricky to decode, but there are a few terms you ought to know.
Encryption means scrambling information or data so that it is unreadable. This sounds counter-productive but it's incredibly useful for protecting sensitive data and disguising private information. Encryption typically happens when information leaves one secure platform and is then decoded when it safely reaches the intended recipient. This means that should anyone successfully intercept that data in transit who is not supposed to have visibility of it like a hacker, they won't be able to understand the data in its current state.
This stands for Multi-Factor Authentication and usually refers to a two-step process of gaining access to a secure site, application or platform. If you've ever logged into an account with your usual details and then been asked to input a code from your phone or email, then you have experienced MFA. It makes doubly sure that it is you that is trying to gain access, by adding another point of authentication.
Mal means "bad" in Latin so the name is most fitting since malware on your computer, browser, or system is indeed bad news for your security. The purpose of most types of malware is to illegally obtain and extract data and information. This could be email addresses, card details, or legal documentation and this is what antivirus software continuously tries to prevent. Some common types of malware are trojans, viruses, worms, ransomware, adware and spyware. Our recent article on cybersecurity advises how to protect your business against cyber attacks.
This is the action or process of a person or group of people attempting to force their way into your computer system with the intention of disruption or extraction of information, usually for their financial gain. Typically involving some form of malware, a successful cyber attack can result in your valuable data being corrupted and your business losing client trust and subsequent revenue. Unlawfully seeking to access information you have no right to is a form of cybercrime and can be a real threat to your business.
Cloud Computing Jargon
There are a lot of misconceptions about cloud computing so here's the lowdown on the cloud.
When people say it's "in the cloud" they're referring to a cloud server. This is a server (where pieces of software and applications are stored) like the one you might already have, which is not located in your office but is somewhere else and is accessed over an internet connection. Unlike an on-premise server, when you use a hosted cloud provider, you don't need to worry about maintaining and updating the server yourself.
When people talk about cloud apps or applications they typically mean programs that are accessible from anywhere such as on mobile devices or from remote locations and aren't limited to their office server and desktop. If you're interested in learning more about cloud technology, then our cloud myth-busting articleis a must-read.
SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service. SaaS products are the same as software installed on your own system or server, but they're stored on a cloud server instead and accessed through the internet. Just like how your email platform stores all of your past correspondence but it doesn't use your internal device storage to do it. The data is stored away from your devices and it can be retrieved whenever you need it as long as you have an internet connection.
Platform-as-a-Service is another cloud computing term. Whereas SaaS vendors offer an application, product, or service via the cloud, a Platform-as-a-Service product gives you the tools and raw materials you need to build your cloud-based platform, but the cloud provider still maintains the remote cloud server so you don't have to worry about maintaining it.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Infrastructure refers to an area of digital real estate provided by a vendor to you. This service is mostly restricted to simple storage space for whatever you and your company need to put there. Like an empty storage box for software and applications. Again, the cloud vendor will look after the remote cloud server for you and you'll pay for the virtual square footage of storage you need.
Function-as-a-Service. This is also known as "serverless computing" although it does still require a server. Essentially you only pay for the space you use rather than renting a constant block of storage space. If you only use one application on your remote server that day, you pay for that, not the space to store the applications you didn't use. It's like pay-as-you-go cloud technology and is especially great for start-ups and expanding businesses that don't know how much space they'll realistically need.
Hopefully, you feel more knowledgeable now about software, cybersecurity, and cloud terms than you were five minutes ago before reading our jargon-buster blog. Whether you were after the right term for a particular cloud solution or wanted to know what your IT people were talking about over lunch, you've found it here.
Fortunately, our intelligent Document Management System is suitable for people with any level of computer literacy. It seamlessly integrates with whichever CRM or other software you use as soon as it's installed and we take care of everything on the technical end so you don't have to worry. Why not visit our website or book a no-obligation, free demo of our Document Management Solutions so you can see for yourself how smart Document Management can make your work processes more efficient?
Does Virtual Cabinet Have a SaaS Solution?
We're so glad you asked. We certainly do. VC Cloud is Document Management re-imagined for the cloud computing age. It's our fully cloud-based SaaS solution - where documents, communication, and workflow interchange seamlessly in one place, with equal focus on internal and external collaboration.