Decoding the Alphabet Soup of Information Technology Acronyms (Part 1)

Posted by Stefanie Kober Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:11:00 GMT

What is SSO? Are SSL and TLS interchangeable? The information technology industry constantly creates acronyms to denote programs, protocols, and products – to help you out we’ve compiled a list of some of the more common abbreviations.

VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol
This is an alternative to traditional telephone systems (Public Service Telephone Network systems, PSTN). VoIP converts a voice-signal into data packets (IP) and uses the Internet to transmit the data. In contrast to PSTN, VoIP is cost-effective, has higher flexibility, more features, an intuitive interface, and better security.

IPsec: Internet Protocol security
Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) is a protocol suite for securing Internet Protocol (IP) communications by means of cryptographic security services. IPsec authenticates and encrypts each IP packet of a communication session. IPsec supports network-level peer authentication, data origin authentication, data integrity, data confidentiality (encryption), and replay protection.

SSL/TLS: Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security
The Internet security protocol Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and its successor, Transport Layer Security, TLS, are used by Internet browsers and Web servers to transmit sensitive information. For example, Web browsers use the SSL/TLS protocol over TCP connections via port 443. There are many cryptographic features provided by SSL/TLS, including confidentiality, integrity and authenticity. SSL/TLS uses cipher suites to define the set of cryptographic functions for the communication between a client and server.

SSH: Secure Shell protocol
The Secure Shell protocol (SSH) is a powerful software-based approach to network security. SSH automatically encrypts data sent by a computer to a network, and when the data reaches its intended recipient, SSH automatically decrypts it. Secure Shell protocol has a client/server architecture – SSH clients communicate with SSH servers on an application level, like SSL. SSH uses modern, secure encryption algorithms, which can be found within mission-critical applications of major corporations. The SSH protocol covers authentication, encryption, and the integrity of data transmitted over a network.

SSO: Single sign-on

Single sign-on (SSO) allows a user’s single authentication action to a server to provide access to connected computers and systems without having to log in to each of them again. One protocol SSO is built on is Kerberos. From the user’s perspective, SSO reduces the number of passwords they are required to memorize, thereby reducing the burden and effort – creating the option of one strong password as opposed to many weak ones. It also reduces time wasted by users guessing their password, and the cost and time of customer service employees.

We hope that this has helped you understand these acronyms. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we continue decoding popular technology abbreviations!

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