Sometimes IT can feel like a whole new language, and those three-letter acronyms can have you pulling your hair out. To help you decipher what it all means, we have put together a quick IT A-Z acronym guide for you.


Access Control List
An access control list is a list of rules that specify which users or systems are granted or denied access to a particular object or system resource. Access control lists are also installed in routers or switches, where they function as filters, managing which traffic can access the network.


Australian Cyber Security Centre
The Australian Cyber Security Centre is an Australian Government cyber security organisation based in Canberra. They were established to increase awareness of cyber threats to Australia, lead the government’s operational response to incidents, provide cyber security resources and drive high levels of cyber attack reporting. They’re the people who published the Essential 8, a set of strategies to mitigate cyber security incidents.


Application Programming Interface
An application programming interface is a language and message format that allows two or more of your computer programs to communicate with each other. Some applications come with ready-built APIs that simply plug one program into another and hey presto, they’re talking and sharing data, while others require custom development.


Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management is a secure software platform (typical in the cloud) where you can store and organise all your digital assets like photos, files, videos, and any other media you need to keep, search for, and share with your team and even partners. It’s pretty much a digital library!


Data Centre
A data centre is a dedicated space built to house computer and telecommunication systems such as servers, networking, and storage equipment. It’s designed to ensure optimal temperature, security, and resilience. Modern data centres support business continuity, and so generally include redundant/backup components and power supply.


Domain Name System
The Domain Name System is the address book of the internet. People access information online through domain names, like When you type in a domain name, DNS translates it to an IP address which allows your browser to load the appropriate internet resource onto your device.


Disaster Recovery as a Service
Disaster recovery as a service allows companies to outsource their backup and disaster recovery orchestration to a third party. This third party is then in charge of getting you back up and running in the case of a cyber-attack, flood, mouse plague or equipment failure.


End of Life
The term end of life in the IT hardware and software space refers to the time when the developer or manufacturer will no longer support that product or service. EOL software won’t be updated, replacement parts won’t be available, and developers won’t create patches to protect users from any vulnerabilities that are uncovered. In other words, it’s time to move on.


HyperText Transfer Protocol
HyperText Transfer Protocol is a standard application-level protocol used for exchanging files such as text, images, sound, video, and all sorts of other multimedia files on the web. As soon as you open your web browser, you’re using HTTP. Websites that use HHTP these days are generally marked by your browser as ‘not ‘secure. Unlike HTTPS (see below).


HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is basically HTTP on safety steroids. It’s used for secure encrypted communication over a computer network and is widely used on the internet. A website that uses HTTPS is more trustworthy, as it has an extra layer of protection from cyber attackers and prevents them from impersonating or spoofing a reputable website.


Infrastructure as a Service
Infrastructure as a Service is a ‘user pays’ cloud computing service model. All the services you’d have traditionally used in the good old days from your on-premises server are in the cloud, and you pay a subscription to access them on demand, from wherever you are working. All you need is an internet connection.


Local Area Network
A local area network is a group of devices connected to one another via a network within one physical location, such as an office, school, building or house. A LAN could comprise of one user in a home network, or thousands of users within an enterprise network. Whatever the size, the key difference between a LAN and a WAN (see below) is that a LAN connects devices within one limited area.


Managed Service Provider
A managed service provider is a company (like us!) that delivers services such as security, infrastructure, network, and application, via ongoing and proactive support. You generally pay a subscription-style fee to have this active and regular support.


(Mail Exchange) Records
Mail Exchange records need to be set up in the DNS (see above) to direct incoming emails to the right mail server. When someone goes to send an email, the email servers check the Mail Exchange record of your exchange before sending the email. If the MX record isn’t found, the email will fail to send.


Platform as a Service
Platform as a Service is a cloud computing platform where a third party offers you use of all the necessary software and hardware resources you need. This helps you to reduce the business costs associated with the complexities of buying, installing, and managing (and upgrading) in-house hardware and software and makes sure you are always on the latest versions.


Personal computer (host)
Also called a host PC, this is a standard computer or workstation running a standard version of Windows. While it acts like a server, it doesn’t actually run server software. A host PC is typically used on a peer-to-peer network (a network without a centralised server) and has multiple users connecting to it at the same time.


Random Access Memory
Random-access memory is a type of computer memory that can be read and changed in any order (hence, the term random). It’s typically used to store working data and machine code and takes the form of integrated circuit chips.


Software as a service
Software as a Service is on-demand, online software available on a subscription model via a cloud provider. The concept of SaaS replaces buying, installing, and maintaining it software on individual computers.


Service Level Agreement
A service level agreement lays out what’s included and excluded in your supplier/customer agreement. For example, what Colton Computers promises to supply you under a managed services contract. It may include things like up-time of your internet or frequency of backups.


Uniform Resource Locator
This one’s easy. It’s a web address. The URL specifies where a web resource can be found on a on the internet.


Universal Serial Bus
Universal Serial Bus is an industry standard that establishes the specs for cables, connectors and protocols that allow your computers, power supplies and other peripheral devices like printers to connect and communicate with one another.


Virtual Private Networks
A virtual private network creates a private network while you are using a public internet connection. A VPN can mask your internet protocol (IP) address to protect your browsing history, location, devices, and web history by encrypting the data to make it unreadable. It’s a great way to protect against identity theft and theft of sensitive company information.


Wide Area Network
A wide area network is a large computer network that isn’t tied to a single location and connects groups of computers over large distances. Large organisations often use WANs to connect their office networks, using a LAN (see above) for each office, with all the LANs connected via a WAN.


Wireless Fidelity
Wi-Fi is a radio signal sent from a wireless router to your device. It translates the signal into data you can see and use (think TV, radio etc.). It allows your computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area. Without cables, like magic.

Can you think of any other acronyms that we should add to the list? Send us an email at and we’ll be sure to make an update!