Cracking the MSP Jargon: 50 Key Managed IT Support Services (MSP) Terms Explained

Welcome to our comprehensive glossary of technical terms and jargon in managed IT support services!  

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses rely heavily on technology to thrive. But navigating the world of IT support can sometimes feel like speaking a different language. That’s where this glossary comes in. 

Whether you’re a business owner, an office manager, or simply curious about the intricacies of managed IT support services, this glossary is your key to unlocking the mysteries of technical jargon.  

We’ve handpicked the 50 most commonly used terms and translated them into plain, non-technical language that anyone can understand. 

From data backup and recovery to network security, from cloud computing to vulnerability assessment, we’ve got you covered. Each term is explained thoroughly and concisely, free from confusing technical jargon. We want to empower you with knowledge so you can confidently navigate the world of IT support and make informed decisions for your business. 

So, whether you’re looking to enhance your understanding, communicate more effectively with IT professionals, or simply satisfy your curiosity, this glossary is your trusted companion.  

Let’s demystify the world of managed IT support services together and take your tech knowledge to the next level! 


Active Directory: It’s a technology developed by Microsoft that helps manage and organize users, computers, and other resources in a network. Think of it as a digital directory for a company or organisation, where you can find information about all the employees, computers, printers, and other devices on the network. It makes it easier for an organisation to control and secure access to resources like files, applications, and services. 

Antivirus/Antimalware: It’s software designed to detect, prevent, and remove malicious software (viruses, malware, etc.) from your computer. It acts as a digital shield, scanning files and websites for potential threats and keeping your device safe.  


Bandwidth: refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over a network connection in a given time. It determines how quickly data can be transferred. It’s like the width of a water pipe, where a wider pipe allows more water to flow through, enabling faster and smoother communication.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): It’s a policy that allows employees to use their personal devices, like smartphones or laptops, for work purposes. It enables flexibility and convenience but requires security measures to protect company data. It’s like allowing employees to use their own tools or equipment to complete their tasks at work.


Change management: is a structured approach to making changes to your IT systems or processes in a controlled and organised manner. It involves planning, testing, and implementing changes to reduce risks and ensure smooth transitions. It’s like having a protocol in place for introducing new ingredients or modifying a recipe in a restaurant’s kitchen.  

Cloud computing: is a way of using remote servers over the internet to store and access data, run applications, and perform computing tasks. Instead of relying on your local computer or server, you use the power and storage of servers located elsewhere. It’s like renting storage space in a warehouse to keep your belongings safe, accessible, and scalable.  


Data Backup and Recovery: It’s the process of creating copies of your important files and information to protect them from loss. If something happens to your computer or data, like a hardware failure or accidental deletion, you can restore the backed-up data to get it back. It’s like making a spare copy of your important documents and storing it in a safe place.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol): It’s a technology used in computer networks to automatically assign IP addresses to devices like computers, smartphones, and printers. It’s like a “network address allocator” that ensures every device on the network gets a unique address, so they can communicate with each other and access the internet. 

Disaster Recovery Planning: It’s the process of creating a plan to restore and recover critical business operations after a major disruption, such as a natural disaster or cyberattack. It involves identifying risks, implementing backup systems, and establishing procedures to minimise downtime. It’s like having an emergency plan in place to quickly get your business back up and running after a major setback. 

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): It’s a security feature that helps ensure that emails you receive are actually from the sender they claim to be from. It works like a digital signature for emails, allowing the recipient to verify that the email hasn’t been tampered with during transmission. 

DLP (Data Loss Prevention): It’s a strategy and technology to protect sensitive or confidential data from being lost, stolen, or leaked. It involves monitoring and controlling how data is stored, accessed, and shared to prevent unauthorised disclosure. It’s like having a safe with locks and access controls to store valuable documents securely.  

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): It’s another email security measure. It helps prevent email spoofing and phishing attacks by providing guidelines for email servers to follow when they receive emails from your domain. In simple terms, it helps ensure that your emails are more trustworthy and less likely to be used for scams.

DNS (Domain Name System): It’s like the phonebook of the internet. When you type a website’s name in your browser, the DNS translates that name into an IP address, which is the unique numerical identifier of the website’s server. It’s like looking up someone’s phone number in a phone book by searching for their name.  

DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions): It’s a set of security measures that adds an extra layer of protection to the Domain Name System (DNS). It ensures that the information provided by DNS, such as website addresses, is accurate and hasn’t been tampered with. It’s like having a tamper-proof seal on a product’s packaging to guarantee its authenticity.  

Domain controller: It’s a specialised server in an Active Directory network. It acts as the “boss” of the network and manages user accounts, permissions, and security policies. It authenticates users when they log in and makes sure they have the right permissions to access the resources they need. 

E, F, H

Encryption: is the process of encoding information to make it unreadable to unauthorised users. Encryption uses algorithms and keys to convert data into a format that can only be deciphered with the correct key. It ensures that even if someone intercepts the data, they can’t understand it. It’s like writing a secret message in a code that only those who know the decoding key can understand.

Endpoint protection: is a security measure that focuses on protecting individual devices, like computers, laptops, or smartphones, from malware and unauthorised access. It involves using antivirus software, firewalls, and other security tools to keep endpoints safe. It’s like having security guards stationed at each entrance of a building to ensure only authorised people enter.

Firewall: It’s a security device or software that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predefined rules. It acts like a gatekeeper, allowing safe data to pass through and blocking potentially harmful data from entering your network.  

Helpdesk: It’s a support service that assists users with their technical issues. Think of it like a hotline where you can call or email when you have a problem with your computer or software, and the helpdesk team provides guidance or resolves the issue for you


IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection System/Intrusion Prevention System): An IDS monitors your network for suspicious activity or signs of potential attacks. It alerts you when it detects something unusual. An IPS goes a step further and actively blocks or prevents unauthorised access or attacks. It’s like having a security guard monitor the entrance of a building and stopping anyone who seems suspicious from entering.

Incident Management: It’s the process of responding to and resolving unexpected issues or problems with your computer systems or network. It involves identifying, assessing, and resolving incidents to minimise disruptions. It’s like having a dedicated team that quickly responds to and fixes any malfunctions in a factory’s production line.

Incident Response: It’s the process of handling and mitigating the impact of a security incident or breach. It involves identifying and containing the incident, conducting investigations, and implementing measures to prevent future incidents. It’s like having a team of responders who take immediate action when there’s a security breach to limit the damage and restore normal operations.  

IP Address: It’s a unique numerical identifier assigned to every device connected to a network. It allows devices to communicate and find each other on the internet. It’s like a home address that helps mail carriers know where to deliver packages, except in this case, it’s used by computers to locate and connect to each other.  

IP telephony: refers to making phone calls over the internet instead of traditional telephone lines. It converts voice into data packets and sends them over the internet. It’s like using an app on your smartphone to make calls using a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection, eliminating the need for a physical phone line.

ISP (Internet Service Provider): the company that provides you with access to the internet. They are like the “middleman” that connects your home or business to the global network, allowing you to browse websites, send emails, and do all the things we typically do online. 

IT Asset Management: It’s the process of keeping track of all the technology devices and software in your organisation. It involves monitoring and organising information about computers, laptops, servers, and software licences. It’s like maintaining an inventory of all the tools and equipment in a workshop.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library): It’s a framework of best practises for IT service management. It helps organisations align their IT services with business needs and provides guidelines for managing IT processes effectively.

L, M

LAN (Local Area Network): It’s a network that connects devices within a limited area, like an office building or home. It allows devices to communicate with each other, share resources like printers or files, and access the internet. It’s like having a private road connecting houses in a neighbourhood, enabling residents to interact and share resources.  

Malware: is malicious software designed to harm your computer or steal your information. It can come in various forms, such as viruses, worms, or ransomware. Once it infects your system, it can cause damage or grant unauthorised access to hackers. It’s like a digital virus that can corrupt files, slow down your computer, or even lock your data until you pay a ransom.

MAM (Mobile Application Management): It’s a set of tools and techniques used to manage and secure applications on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. It allows organisations to control which apps can be installed, set up security policies for those apps, and remotely manage or wipe the apps if needed. Essentially, it helps organisations keep their mobile devices and the data on them safe and under control.

MDM (Mobile Device Management): It’s a system or software that helps organisations manage and secure mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, used by employees. It allows remote configuration, monitoring, and enforcement of security policies on mobile devices. It’s like having a control panel to manage and protect all the mobile phones used by a team of field technicians.

MSP (Managed Service Provider): It’s a company that remotely manages and supports a client’s IT infrastructure and services. Think of it like having an IT team that takes care of your technology needs without being physically present at your location.  


Network latency: is the delay or lag in the time it takes for data to travel between two points in a network. It’s influenced by factors like distance, congestion, and processing time. It’s like the time it takes for a message to reach its destination, with lower latency meaning quicker delivery. 

Network security: refers to protecting your computer network from unauthorised access, attacks, and data breaches. It involves using tools and practises to secure your network, such as firewalls, encryption, and user authentication. It’s like having strong locks and security cameras to keep intruders out of your office building. 

Network segmentation: is the practise of dividing a computer network into smaller, isolated segments to enhance security and control network traffic. It helps prevent unauthorised access and limits the impact of breaches. It’s like dividing an office building into different sections with restricted access to protect sensitive areas.  

NOC (Network Operations Centre): It’s a central location where IT professionals monitor, manage, and maintain an organisation’s network infrastructure. They keep an eye on network performance, troubleshoot issues, and ensure smooth network operations.


Patch management: is the process of regularly applying software updates and patches to fix security vulnerabilities and improve performance. It’s like updating your computer’s operating system or applications to ensure they have the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.  

Penetration testing: is a controlled attempt to simulate a cyberattack on your systems to identify vulnerabilities. Ethical hackers use different techniques to find weaknesses and provide recommendations for improving security. It’s like hiring someone to try to break into your house, but they’re doing it to help you reinforce your home’s security.

Phishing is a fraudulent techniquewhere attackers try to trick you into revealing sensitive information by impersonating a trustworthy source. They may send fake emails or create fake websites that look legitimate. It’s like someone pretending to be your bank and asking for your account details through an email or a fake website. 

PKI (Public Key Infrastructure): It’s a system that uses cryptographic keys to secure communication and verify the identity of users or devices. It involves two types of keys: a public key for encryption and a private key for decryption. It’s like having a lock and a unique key to securely send and receive messages. 


RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management): It’s a system that allows IT support providers to monitor and manage clients’ computers, networks, and systems remotely. It helps them proactively identify issues, apply updates, and ensure smooth operation. 

Root Cause Analysis: It’s a systematic process of investigating and identifying the underlying cause of a problem or failure. It aims to understand what went wrong and prevent similar issues in the future. It’s like being a detective and uncovering the real reason behind a problem instead of just addressing its symptoms. 


SaaS (Software as a Service): It’s a way of using software applications over the internet without needing to install them on your own computer. Instead of buying and installing software, you access it through a web browser. It’s like streaming a movie online without having to download it to your device.  

Server virtualisation: is a technology that allows multiple virtual servers to run on a single physical server. It maximises server efficiency, reduces hardware costs, and improves resource utilisation. It’s like having multiple compartments within a single box, where each compartment functions as an independent server.

SIEM (Security Information and Event Management): It’s a system that collects and analyses information from various security sources to identify and respond to potential security incidents. It combines data from different security tools and generates alerts or reports to help detect and manage security events. It’s like having a security control centre that monitors multiple cameras and sensors to identify any unusual activities in a shopping mall. 

SLA (Service Level Agreement): A contract between a service provider and their customer. For IT providers this is instead used for targets around response times and resolution of issues.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): It’s the standard protocol used for sending and receiving emails over the internet. It handles the transmission of emails between mail servers. It’s like a postal service that ensures your emails are correctly addressed and delivered to the intended recipients.

SOC (Security Operations Centre): It’s a central hub where cybersecurity experts monitor and respond to potential security threats in real-time. They analyse security alerts, investigate incidents, and coordinate the response to keep your systems safe. It’s like having a 24/7 security control room that detects and neutralises any security breaches in a building.  

SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security): It’s a security protocol that encrypts the communication between your device and a website or server. It ensures that data transmitted over the internet remains private and secure, protecting it from interception or tampering. It’s like sending a message into a locked box that only the intended recipient can open.

T, U

Two-Factor Authentication: It’s a security method that requires two different forms of verification to access an account or system. It typically combines something you know (like a password) with something you have (like a unique code sent to your phone). It adds an extra layer of security beyond just using a password. It’s like needing both a key and a PIN to access a safe deposit box.  

UTM (Unified Threat Management): It’s an all-in-one security solution that combines various security features into a single system. It includes functions like firewall, antivirus, intrusion detection, and content filtering. It’s like having a security guard, surveillance cameras, and access control all in one package to protect your home.  

V, W

Virtualisation: is a technology that allows you to run multiple operating systems or applications on a single physical computer. It creates virtual machines (VMs) that behave like separate computers, but they share the resources of the physical computer. It’s like having multiple houses built within one building, each with its own residents and resources.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): is a technology that allows you to make phone calls over the internet instead of traditional phone lines. Instead of using physical wires, voice data is converted into digital packets and transmitted over the internet. It’s like making a phone call using a messaging app on your smartphone instead of a traditional landline.

VPN (Virtual Private Network): It’s a secure and encrypted connection that allows users to access a private network over the internet. It’s like having a private tunnel between your device and a remote network, ensuring your data remains protected even on public Wi-Fi networks.  

Vulnerability Assessment: It’s the process of identifying weaknesses or vulnerabilities in your computer systems or network that could be exploited by attackers. It involves scanning and testing for security flaws to determine potential risks. It’s like having a home inspector assess your house for potential entry points that burglars could exploit. 

WAN (Wide Area Network): It’s a network that connects multiple LANs across a large geographic area, such as connecting multiple office locations in different cities. It enables communication and data sharing between remote locations. It’s like a network of highways connecting different cities, allowing people and goods to travel between them. 

We hope this glossary has shed light on the complex world of managed IT support services. But knowledge is just the beginning. That’s why at our core, we strive to make things crystal clear and easily understood at Sereno IT. 

If you are ready to take your IT infrastructure to the next level and identify issues before they become bigger problems and disrupt your business, Take action now! 

We’re offering a limited-time opportunity for a free IT consultation or audit of your IT environment.  

Our team of experts will assess your systems, identify potential vulnerabilities, and provide recommendations to enhance security, streamline operations, and improve efficiency. Our friendly engineers will explain everything clearly and jargon-free, ensuring you’re in the know every step of the way. 

Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to gain insights and ensure your business stays ahead in today’s technology-driven world. 

Reach out to us today to schedule your free consultation or audit. Together, let’s proactively address any IT challenges and build a solid foundation for your business’s success. Don’t wait for problems to arise – act now and experience the benefits of a robust IT infrastructure that supports your growth and secures your future. 

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