22 IT Terms and Acronyms Every Executive Should Know    

common IT acronyms for C-level executives

If you work with an IT team, whether internal or external, you’ve likely heard them tossing around terms and acronyms that sound like alphabet soup. You may be familiar with some of them and may even use some without really knowing what they stand for.  

To better communicate with your IT teams about day-to-day system management, cyber insurance, regulatory requirements, and other technical topics that are sure to arise, it’s useful to understand common IT terms and acronyms.  

Here’s a 2-minute read defining some common IT acronyms that C-level executives should be familiar with.  

Terms around IT people and teams:  

  1. CTO (chief technology officer): The executive responsible for overseeing technology use and development within an organization. 
  2. CISO (chief information security officer): The executive in charge of developing and implementing an organization’s information security strategy and policies. 
  3. MSP (managed service provider): A company that offers outsourced IT services, including desktop support, infrastructure management, and general IT management.
  4. MSSP (managed security service provider): A company that provides managed security services, specifically focused on cybersecurity.  

General IT industry terms: 

  1. IT (information technology): The use of computers, networks, and other technologies to store, process, and manage data. 
  2. Endpoint: The devices that connect to a network, including PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones, and servers.  
  3. ERP (enterprise resource planning): A platform that integrates digital business systems like HR, finance, or medical records.
  4. CRM (customer relationship management): The system used to manage and analyze the data and interactions of customers and prospects.
  5. VPN (virtual private network): A secure network connection that enables private access to data and resources and data remotely over the internet.
  6. SaaS (software as a service): A software model where applications are hosted and delivered by a third-party provider and accessed over the internet.
  7. BYOD (bring your own device): The practice of allowing employees to use their personal devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone) for work.        
  8. AI (artificial intelligence): Technologies that simulate human intelligence to perform tasks that require learning, decision-making, and problem-solving.
  9. ML (machine learning): A subset of AI that develops algorithms and statistical models that continuously learn and improve on tasks using data, without explicit programming.   

Cybersecurity and privacy-related terms:  

  1. MFA (multi-factor authentication): A security measure that requires users to provide two or more proofs of identity before they can access a system, application, or account. 
  2. GDPR (general data protection regulation): European Union privacy regulations designed to protect personal data for individuals within the EU and European Economic Area, though its reach impacts the U.S. and elsewhere. 
  3. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): U.S. legislation that sets the standards for protecting sensitive patient health information.
  4. PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard): Standards established for the secure transmission, processing, and storage of credit card information.  
  5. PHI (protected health information): The personal, identifiable information about a person’s health, healthcare, or payments that is created or maintained by a healthcare entity. 
  6. EMR (electronic medical records): Digital versions of patient health charts that contain medical history, diagnoses, prescriptions, treatments, test results, and more. 
  7. PII (personally identifiable information): Data that can be used to determine a person’s identity.  
  8. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology): A non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce that supports innovation by developing standards and best practices for IT and other technology systems.  
  9. EDR (endpoint detection and response): A term for the next-generation class of antivirus software that includes additional response and remediation options.  

Good communication with your IT team is important, but it’s okay to leave the most technical aspects of your business to them. If you have questions about how to improve the management of your IT systems and cybersecurity, we’re happy to provide answers.  

Talk to a UTOT expert