Cloud Glossary of Terms

Acronyms, abbreviations, tech jargon… mostly you don’t need to know them. When researching the cloud the same words keep cropping up and it’s hard to put your finger on the terms, which can often be quite abstract. We’ve put together a glossary to aid you in your quest for the perfect cloud solution.

APPLICATION AS A SERVICE (AAAS)

This is solely one or more applications hosted in the cloud, not in connection with our desktop. Very handy for 3D and graphic heavy software as that’s normally not available in the cloud.

BIG DATA

A very large volume of data that is typically difficult to manage or manipulate. It encompasses the 3 V’s: Volume, Velocity and Variety, and occasionally a fourth; veracity.

BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE (BYOD)

The practice of employees using their own computers and other devices in the organisation for work purposes.

CLOUD COMPUTING

The process of delivering IT services in which resources (data, applications) are stored, managed and processed in remote servers hosted on the Internet, rather than on a local server or personal computer. Data and software packages are stored on remote servers in secure data centres. Cloud computing provides access to this information as long as an electronic device has access to the web, allowing employees to work remotely.

CLOUD PROVIDER

A company that provides cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application or storage services to other organisations and/or individuals.

DATA CENTRE

A facility built for the purpose of housing cloud-based resources such as servers and other service-based equipment. Many companies operate multiple data centres in different geographic locations to ensure redundancies against data centre failures, thus allowing an always-online service offering.

DESKTOP AS A SERVICE (DAAS)

A form of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in which the VDI is outsourced and handled by a third party. Also called hosted desktop services, Desktop as a Service is frequently delivered as a cloud service along with the apps needed for use on the virtual desktop.

DISASTER RECOVERY AS A SERVICE (DRAAS)

In event of disaster, DRaaS means a business has access to a hosted desktop with Office, Skype for Business and their chosen data and apps. This ensures minimum downtime and maximum business continuity by allowing employees to keep working without an office, for example.

DESKTOP VIRTUALISATION

The separation of the personal computer desktop environment from a physical machine using a client-server model.

ENCRYPTION

The conversion of electronic data into another form, which is only understood by authorised parties. It protects the confidentiality of digital data stored on computer systems.

FOG COMPUTING

Fog computing extends cloud computing’s services to the edge of the network, in other words closer to the end user. This provides a better quality of service, reduced latency and increased mobility. By better distributing data, fog computing enables the effective use of Internet of Things applications that demand real-time service.

HOSTED DESKTOP

A virtualisation technique that provides a local desktop instance remotely from a server through the Internet. A hosted desktop is a virtual machine that hosts the operating system, applications, data and other system configurations of a physical desktop. A hosted desktop provides similar functionality and capabilities as a physical desktop. It can be accessed through a client-end browser or in some cases, a thin client utility.

INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE (IAAS)

Cloud infrastructure services, whereby a virtualised environment is delivered as a service over the internet by the provider. The infrastructure can include servers, network equipment, and software.

INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)

A ‘thing’ refers to any natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP (Internet Protocol) address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network. For instance, a person with a heart monitor implant or a vehicle that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low are all examples of ‘things’.

LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN)

A computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings, connecting a number of work stations at much greater speeds than over a traditional telephone line.

PAY-AS-YOU-GO

A cost model for cloud services that encompasses both subscription-based and consumption-based models, in contrast to traditional IT cost models that requires up-front capital expenditures for hardware and software.

PERSONAL CLOUD

A form of cloud storage that applies to storing an individual’s data in the cloud and providing the individual with access to the data from anywhere. Personal cloud storage also often enables syncing and sharing stored data across multiple devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers.

PLATFORM AS A SERVICE (PAAS)

Cloud platform services, whereby the computing platform (operating system and associated services) is delivered as a service over the internet by the provider.

PRIVATE CLOUD

The phrase used to describe a cloud computing platform that is implemented within the corporate firewall, under the control of the IT department. A private cloud is designed to offer the same features and benefits of cloud systems, but removes a number of objections to the cloud computing model including control over enterprise and customer data, worries about security, and issues connected to regulatory compliance.

REMOTE WORKING

Remote working/telecommuting is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work. They use the cloud as a method of accessing their work system and files from anywhere at any time. A person who telecommutes is known as a “telecommuter”, “teleworker”, and sometimes as a “home-sourced,” or “work-at-home” employee.

SCALABILITY

The cloud is elastic, meaning that resource allocation can get bigger or smaller depending on demand. Elasticity enables scalability, which means that the cloud can scale upward for peak demand and downward for lighter demand. Scalability also means that an application can scale when adding users and when application requirements change.

SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE (SAAS)

A software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a web-based service. This allows organisations to access business functionality at a cost typically less than paying for licensed applications since SaaS pricing is based on a monthly fee.

TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (2FA)

Cloud-based strong authentication service that enables enterprises to secure access to networks and applications while preventing access by malicious unauthorised attackers. “Multi-Factor Authentication” requires not only a password and username but also something that only that user has on them, i.e. a piece of information only they should know or have immediately to hand – such as a physical token.

VIRTUAL PROJECT OFFICE (VPO)

An Atlas hosted desktop accessible from anywhere, anytime, for the duration of a project. It removes the need for businesses to set up temporary project offices at the project location (involves office space, hardware, recruiting talent etc.) and means businesses can deploy their best talent, with minimum wastage of time and resources.

VIRTUALISATION

The creation of a virtual version of something, including an operating system, a server, network resources or a storage device.

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

Electronic technologies that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which are worn on the body, often related to health and fitness. Examples include glasses, watched, caps, jewellery and smart fabrics.