The cloud can be a confusing place. It seems like every other week we hear about some new cloud-based or a cloud-powered application. But what does the 'Cloud' actually mean?
The list of ever-growing and evolving cloud tech and services can be tough to keep on top of, so we caught up with Shayne Grove, Director of Education Services at Coconnect, to help us decipher some of the most commonly used terms and acronyms.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and administering applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centres. It provides a range of services (Software as a Service, SaaS; Platform as a Service, PaaS; and Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS;) and supports numerous tools, programming languages and frameworks for both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.
Amazon Web Service – a subsidiary of Amazon, offering similar, but more robust services than those provided by Microsoft Azure. They have been the market leader in cloud services for 10 years.
Bring Your Own Device. A policy that permits students and teachers to connect their own computers or other devices to the school network. Flexible and low cost to the school. However due tothe school IT and network managers not controlling the users device enhanced levels of security are generally required in the network to manage the safeguarding and security risks.
Cloud servers, are a virtual servers (rather than physical) which run in a cloud computing environment. They are built, hosted and delivered via a cloud computing platform (such as those provided by the likes of Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Services) via the internet, and can be accessed remotely.
Cloud Desktops, also known as Virtual Desktops, operate on the same premise as cloud servers – they are desktops which are run on remote hardware which can then be “dialled into” by a user, who only needs a device and an internet connection to use them. See also VDI
Cloud backup refers to the process of saving data to cloud storage. This works on the same premise as other cloud services, where the physical hardware is located and managed by the provider, whilst the user accesses the storage remotely via the internet. It is also possible to use Private Cloud Backup too, if you require sensitive data to be stored in on-site servers.
Cloud service providers are third-party companies that offer cloud-based platforms, infrastructures or storage services. Besides removing the need for physical hardware and office estate, the idea is to give companies the flexibility to scale the service as per their requirements, meaning they only pay for what they need, when they need it.
Data can sometimes become corrupted or inaccessible, as the result of either software or hardware errors. In certain cases, it is possible to recover some or all of this data, and this process is simply referred to as data recovery.
A broad term for the remote computer, tablet, phone or other device at the end of the network. Endpoint security is a security system applied to lock down the endpoint device.
E-safety is a catch-all term encompassing the ideas surrounding the protection of children and young people online, through proper education, bringing awareness to the use and misuse of the internet, and seeking to build an understanding of personal privacy, safety and security online.
Content filtering, sometimes referred to as “Appropriate Filtering and Monitoring,” is the monitoring and filtering of content online, in order to prevent children and young people from coming into contact with inappropriate, extremist or harmful material.
Firewalls are a form of network security that allow or restrict access to a network using predetermined security protocols, protecting private or trusted networks from untrusted sources and networks, such as the internet.
A Gigabit is a unit of measurement that stands for one billion bits, and is commonly used in the form of Gbps (Gigabits-per-second) when measuring bandwidth in data transmission mediums, such as fibre optic lines.
Another alternative to Azure and AWS, owned by Google and therefore offering greater compatibility and integration to other products and services within the Google Ecosystem. Offers free trials for businesses.
Hybrid cloud refers to a mixed environment of computing, storage, and services, consisting of on-site infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud (e.g., Azure, AWS, Google Cloud) with coordination among the various platforms.
Whenever a device accesses the internet, it is assigned a unique numerical address known as an IP Address which identifies the device. This is required in order for data packets to be sent between one another. The current method for assigning these addresses is known as IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4), and will eventually be replaced by IPv6.
Malware is a broad term used to describe software that is designed to damage or gain access to a computer to do bad things.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a term used to describe the managing of multiple mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. It is usually implemented using third-party products or services which offer administrators a range of features and control. This allows for monitoring, managing and limiting functionality of devices, enhancing security by reducing the risk of unauthorised access to sensitive data.
Multi-protocol Label Switching is not a service, but rather a technique that can be used to optimise the distribution of data packets by routers in your network. Think of a non-MPLS network as being a postal service where mail is sorted by hand into pigeon holes, which are then hand carried by multiple employees to the vans that are waiting to deliver those letters. On the contrary, an MLPS optimised network is the fully-automated postal service, where letters are “labelled” by hand, but then placed into an automated conveyor system which filters that mail into the correct postal zones and carries them directly to the van.
Sending emails appearing to come from reputable sources that attempt to get the recipient to reveal sensitive information such as user credentials or financial details
Simply refers to the direct connection between two “points” on a network. It can provide connection authentication, transmission encryption, and data compression, offering increased security for the two communicating “points.”
A private cloud consists of cloud computing resources used exclusively by one business or organisation. Unlike public clouds, a private cloud can be physically located on-site, rather than exclusively hosted by a third-party service provider, though this can also be the case. The primary difference between a private and public cloud however, is that the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network, with hardware and software being solely dedicated to your organisation.
Quality Of Service. Describes the delivered performance across a network, time or bandwidth critical data streams like video require a minimum QOS to run effectively. Many networks offer QOS guarantees
Routers are a physical device used for the sorting and sending of data packets over a Local Area Network (LAN). As the name suggests, these devices act like a filtration system, and send data only from authorised machines to others connected to the network.
KCSIE (Keeping Children Safe in Education) describes the statutory guidance on the safeguarding of children in education.
Software Defined Wide Area Network – A form of WAN which allows the network to be managed and controlled by software.
Similar to VOIP, SIP Trunking allows for the same method of voice communication and multimedia session delivery, with the key difference being SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX), which allows for internal communication via specific telephone extensions.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Cloud based software that allows a connected device to behave as if it were a fully featured desktop computer. Sometimes also called Cloud Desktop
Voice Over Internet Protocol refers to the method of using relevant technologies for the delivery of voice communication and multimedia sessions over the internet.
Virtual Private Network. A network connection, made over a public network, which is secured so that traffic across the VPN cannot be intercepted or read by third parties. VPN connections offer enhanced security and may also be used to anonymise the location of the VPN network
Whereas LAN refers to a local network, such as those used in homes, small offices or groups of buildings, WAN (Wide Area Network) refers to a network spanning a much larger geographical location, such as entire cities or countries.
Wi Fi 6 is another name for the 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard, this standard has a theoretical limit of 11Gb/s per connected device. It is backwards compatible, meaning that devices using earlier versions of the 802.11 Wi-Fi standards will operate with Wi-Fi 6 but only to the performance of the lowest performance device.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully, you've found some of this helpful. This is by no means a complete list (it'd be much, much longer if it was!). If you have any questions or feel like we've missed something important, then please drop us a comment below.