Microsoft's trademarked directory service, an integral part of the Windows architecture. Like other directory services, such as Novell Directory Services (NDS), Active Directory is a centralized and standardized system that automates network management of user data, security, and distributed resources, and enables interoperation with other directories. Active Directory is designed especially for distributed networking environments.
The process of determining whether someone or something is, in fact, who or what it is declared to be. In private and public computer networks (including the Internet), authentication is commonly done through the use of logon passwords. Knowledge of the password is assumed to guarantee that the user is authentic. Each user registers initially (or is registered by someone else), using an assigned or self-declared password. On each subsequent use, the user must know and use the previously declared password.
In computer networks, bandwidth is often used as a synonym for data transfer rate - the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period (usually a second). This kind of bandwidth is usually expressed in bits (of data) per second (bps).
The informal name given by users to the Windows general protection fault error. Named in honor of the error's dreaded display image of white text on a blue background, the BSOD is generated by the operating system when it has suddenly terminated with an error. The system locks up and must be rebooted. The blue screen may include some hexadecimal values from a core dump that can potentially be used to determine what caused the crash.
In information technology, capacity planning is the science and art of estimating the space, computer hardware, software and connection infrastructure resources that will be needed over some future period of time. A typical capacity concern of many enterprises is whether resources will be in place to handle an increasing number of requests as the number of users or interactions increase.
In computers, clustering is the use of multiple computers, typically PCs or UNIX workstations, multiple storage devices, and redundant interconnections, to form what appears to users as a single highly available system. Cluster computing can be used for load balancing as well as for high availability. Advocates of clustering suggest that the approach can help an enterprise achieve 99.999% availability in some cases. One of the main ideas of cluster computing is that, to the outside world, the cluster appears to be a single system.
Describes the relationship between two computer programs in which one program, the client, makes a service request from another program, the server, which fulfills the request. Although the client/server idea can be used by programs within a single computer, it is a more important idea in a network. In a network, the client/server model provides a convenient way to interconnect programs that are distributed efficiently across different locations.
In the backup and recovery of a computer server, a cold server is a backup server whose purpose is solely to be there in case the main server is lost. The cold server is basically turned on once to have software installed and configured, and then is turned off until needed.
A warm server is a backup server that is turned on periodically to receive updates from the server being backed up. Warm servers are often used for replication and mirroring.
A hot server is a backup server that receives regular updates and is standing by ready (on hot standby) to take over immediately in the event of a failover.
A comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines. Independent accounting, security, or IT consultants evaluate the strength and thoroughness of compliance preparations. Auditors review security polices, user access controls, and risk management procedures over the course of a compliance audit.
The detailed recording and updating of information that describes an enterprise's computer systems and networks, including all hardware and software components. Such information typically includes the versions and updates that have been applied to installed software packages and the locations and network addresses of hardware devices. Special configuration management software is available. When a system needs a hardware or software upgrade, a computer technician can accesses the configuration management program and database to see what is currently installed. The technician can then make a more informed decision about the upgrade needed.
A coming together of two or more distinct entities or phenomena. Convergence is increasingly prevalent in the IT world; in this context the term refers to the combination of two or more different technologies in a single device.
Sometimes spelled datacenter, a centralized repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information organized around a particular body of knowledge or pertaining to a particular business.
An incident in which a user or organization is deprived of the services of a resource they would normally expect to have. In a distributed denial-of-service, large numbers of compromised systems (sometimes called a botnet) attack a single target.
A term is sometimes used when referring to moving down through a hierarchy of folders and files in a file system like that of Windows. It may also mean clicking through a series of dropdown menus in a graphical user interface.
Sometimes referred to as a business continuity plan (BCP) or business process contingency plan (BPCP), describes how an organization is to deal with potential disasters. Just as a disaster is an event that makes the continuation of normal functions impossible, a disaster recovery plan consists of the precautions taken so that the effects of a disaster will be minimized and the organization will be able to either maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions.
The conversion of data into a form, called a cipher text, which cannot be easily understood by unauthorized people. Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood.
In the computer industry, an enterprise is an organization that uses computers. A word was needed that would encompass corporations, small businesses, non-profit institutions, government bodies, and possibly other kinds of organizations. The term enterprise seemed to do the job. In practice, the term is applied much more often to larger organizations than smaller ones.
Describes a computer system or component designed so that, in the event that a component fails, a backup component or procedure can immediately take its place with no loss of service. Fault tolerance can be provided with software, or embedded in hardware, or provided by some combination.
A standard Internet protocol, and the simplest way to exchange files between computers on the Internet. Like the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which transfers displayable Web pages and related files, and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which transfers e-mail, FTP is an application protocol that uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocols. FTP is commonly used to transfer Web page files from their creator to the computer that acts as their server for everyone on the Internet. It's also commonly used to download programs and other files to your computer from other servers.
A set of related programs, located at a network gateway server that protects the resources of a private network from users from other networks.
The environmentally responsible use of computers and related resources. Such practices include the implementation of energy-efficient central processing units (CPUs), servers and peripherals as well as reduced resource consumption and proper disposal of electronic waste.
A federal law enacted in the United States, also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, to control the ways that financial institutions deal with the private information of individuals. The Act consists of three sections: The Financial Privacy Rule, which regulates the collection and disclosure of private financial information; the Safeguards Rule, which stipulates that financial institutions must implement security programs to protect such information; and the Pretexting provisions, which prohibit the practice of pretexting (accessing private information using false pretenses). The Act also requires financial institutions to give customers written privacy notices that explain their information-sharing practices.
Pronounced "eye-oh," describes any operation, program, or device that transfers data to or from a computer. Typical I/O devices are printers, hard disks, keyboards, and mouses. In fact, some devices are basically input-only devices (keyboards and mouses); others are primarily output-only devices (printers); and others provide both input and output of data (hard disks, diskettes, writable CD-ROMs).
In information technology, legacy applications and data are those that have been inherited from languages, platforms, and techniques earlier than current technology. Most enterprises that use computers have legacy applications and databases that serve critical business needs. Typically, the challenge is to keep the legacy application running while converting it to newer, more efficient code that makes use of new technology and programmer skills.
Indicates a specific extent of technical assistance in the total range of assistance that is provided by an information technology product (such as a software product) to its customers.
Dividing the amount of work that a computer has to do between two or more computers so that more work gets done in the same amount of time and, in general, all users get served faster. Load balancing can be implemented with hardware, software, or a combination of both.
Short for "malicious software", any program or file that is harmful to a computer user. Thus, malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and also spyware, programming that gathers information about a computer user without permission.
An open standard application programming interface (API) for accessing a database. By using ODBC statements in a program, you can access files in a number of different databases, including Access, dBase, DB2, Excel, and Text. In addition to the ODBC software, a separate module or driver is needed for each database to be accessed.
Also called domestic outsourcing, is the obtaining of services from someone outside a company but within the same country. Also see offshore outsourcing, the obtaining of services from people or companies outside the country.
A protocol (set of communication rules) that allows corporations to extend their own corporate network through private "tunnels" over the public Internet. Effectively, a corporation uses a wide-area network as a single large local area network. A company no longer needs to lease its own lines for wide-area communication but can securely use the public networks. This kind of interconnection is known as a virtual private network (VPN).
Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software. It is such a profitable "business" that it has caught the attention of organized crime groups in a number of countries. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), about 36% of all software in current use is stolen. Software piracy causes significant lost revenue for publishers, which in turn results in higher prices for the consumer. When you purchase a commercial software package, an end user license agreement (EULA) is included to protect that software program from copyright infringement. Typically, the license states that you can install the original copy of software you bought on one computer and that you can make a backup copy in case the original is lost or damaged. You agree to the licensing agreement when you open the software package (this is called a shrink wrap license), when you open the envelope that contains the software disks, or when you install the software.
An attribute of any computer-related component (software, or hardware, or a network, for example) that consistently performs according to its specifications.
How much profit or cost saving is realized for a given use of money in an enterprise. An ROI calculation is sometimes used along with other approaches to develop a business case for a given proposal. The overall ROI for an enterprise is sometimes used as a way to grade how well a company is managed.
Legislation, often shortened to SOX, enacted in response to the high-profile Enron and WorldCom financial scandals to protect shareholders and the general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in the enterprise. The act is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which sets deadlines for compliance and publishes rules on requirements. Sarbanes-Oxley is not a set of business practices and does not specify how a business should store records; rather, it defines which records are to be stored and for how long.
A set of ANSI standard electronic interfaces that allow personal computers to communicate with peripheral hardware such as disk drives, tape drives, CD-ROM drives, printers, and scanners faster and more flexibly than previous interfaces. Pronounced SKUH-zee and sometimes colloquially known as "scuzzy."
Colloquial term for Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), a set of ANSI standard electronic interfaces that allow personal computers to communicate with peripheral hardware such as disk drives, tape drives, CD-ROM drives, printers, and scanners faster and more flexibly than previous interfaces. Pronounced SKUH-zee.
A management philosophy developed by Motorola that emphasizes setting extremely high objectives, collecting data, and analyzing results to a fine degree as a way to reduce defects in products and services. The philosophy behind Six Sigma is that if you measure how many defects are in a process, you can figure out how to systematically eliminate them and get as close to perfection as possible.
An abbreviation for small and medium-sized business, sometimes seen as small and midsized business. A business with 100 or fewer employees is generally considered small, while one with 100-999 employees is considered to be medium-sized.
The protocol governing network management and the monitoring of network devices and their functions. It is not necessarily limited to TCP/IP networks. SNMP is described formally in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comment (RFC) 1157 and in a number of other related RFCs.
Electrical power that a device consumes when not in present use, but plugged in to a source of power and ready to be used. Standby power consumption is the amount of such power that is used even though the power drainage is not apparent.
Telework and telecommuting are synonyms for the use of telecommunication to work outside the traditional office or workplace, usually at home or in a mobile situation.
The name of a classified (secret) U.S. government project to study (probably for the purpose of both exploiting and guarding against) the susceptibility of some computer and telecommunications devices to emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in a manner that can be used to reconstruct intelligible data.
A computer industry term for the time during which a computer is operational. Downtime is the time when it isn't operational. Uptime is sometimes measured in terms of a percentile. For example, one standard for uptime that is sometimes discussed is a goal called five 9s — that is, a computer that is operational 99.999 percent of the time.
A network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network. A virtual private network can be contrasted with an expensive system of owned or leased lines that can only be used by one organization. The goal of a VPN is to provide the organization with the same capabilities, but at a much lower cost.
A security protocol, specified in the IEEE Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) standard, 802.11b, that is designed to provide a wireless local area network (WLAN) with a level of security and privacy comparable to what is usually expected of a wired LAN. A wired local area network (LAN) is generally protected by physical security mechanisms (controlled access to a building, for example) that are effective for a controlled physical environment, but may be ineffective for WLANs because radio waves are not necessarily bound by the walls containing the network. WEP seeks to establish similar protection to that offered by the wired network's physical security measures by encrypting data transmitted over the WLAN.
An article that states an organization's position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a not-too-detailed technical explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology. Typically, a white paper explains the results, conclusions, or construction resulting from some organized committee or research collaboration or design and development effort.