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IT Services & Support

CompuWorks began in 1987 in Pittsfield, MA to help businesses understand how computer systems impacted their workflow. Today we address ever-changing technological challenges while creating a positive business impact. Learn more about our IT services.

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For every industry we work with, we help elevate that organization’s IT readiness. Our IT solutions can be tailored to meet your needs and address sector-specific challenges. Learn more about the industries we serve.

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About CompuWorks

Since our humble beginnings, CompuWorks has grown into an award-winning Managed IT Services Provider, building a reputation of technical excellence. Learn more about the CompuWorks way of doing business.

About Us

Managed IT Glossary

Active X

Active X is a Microsoft software product used by web developers in the creation of certain websites. Active X gives developers pre-written reusable modules called Active X controls that can speed up and enhance the development process.

Alias

An alias is an e-mail address that disguises who the end recipient(s) are.  For example, a company might have an alias called Sales@companyxyz.com. This might route incoming messages to a sales manager perhaps.  The reason for using an alias is that they are generic and do not need to change even when the people connected to them do.

Anti-SPAM

A solution designed to keep unwanted, unsolicited and in some cases harmful e-mail messages out of your inbox.  Mail messages designated as SPAM are generally kept in a quarantine area and can be released if they turn out to be legitimate.

Bandwidth

The capacity of your Internet connection to both send and receive information.  Bandwidth is usually measure in bits per second and is stated using 2 numbers: Upload/download.  For example; a 500/50 Internet connection would provide 500mbps download speed and 50mbps upload speed.

Break/Fix

A style of IT service that is unmanaged and is focused on the IT provider mainly focused on problem resolution in an ad-hoc manner.  Results from Break/Fix arrangements vary widely and it is generally considered a less mature model than a fixed feed managed IT model.

Business Continuity Planning

A business continuity plan seeks to document the processes and procedures required to recover from any number of natural, technical, and other disasters that can occur. A business continuity plan would encompass plans for recovering lost data but would also look at items such as physical space.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

An approach that some organizations use with respect to allowing staff members to use their own personal devices to access company resources. Usually BYOD policies include requirements to allow these personal devices to be managed and monitored.

Cache

A temporary form of memory that allows for high speed data retrieval.

Cloud

When applied to the world of IT, Cloud has become a way  to signify that certain applications or data do not reside on in-house devices.  Microsoft’s one-drive and Azure can provide cloud data storage for example.

Cloud Computing

Is a model that utilizes both cloud storage and cloud processing capabilities that are located in a remote data center and generally managed by others. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are examples of cloud platforms. Advantages include the ability to easily scale up and scale down as needs change.

Cookies

Some websites store information on your computer or smartphone.   These small files-called cookies-contain the website address and an ID that identifies you as a returning user.   Cookies may also contain other information about your prior use of the site.  This could include the links you clicked on, items you put in a shopping cart, and which pages you visited.  Cookies can help improve your experience by allowing sites to tailor content to you.  But cookies are controversial. The storage of personal information is a concern for many who don’t want their personal browsing habits stored.

CPU

A Central Processing Unit is the “brains” of your computer. It is what processes all of the data flowing through a system and provides central control of other system resources.

Cybersecurity

A general term referring broadly to the processes, controls, and technologies that reduce the risk of attacks on computer systems and other devices.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Software that monitors for and detects a breach that could lead to data loss.

Database

A store of related data, databases are the underpinnings of software applications like account systems or CRM software.  Database design in is the process of defining the tables, fields and related processes that go into building a database application.

Decryption

The process of unencrypting data.  In order to decrypt data an encryption key is needed.  Without one decryption is impossible.

Disaster Recovery

A collection of tools, methods and documentation that forms a process for recovering from an IT disaster such as a ransomware attack or a failed piece of equipment.

Disaster Recovery Planning

The creation of the tools, methods and documentation that prepares you to recover from an IT disaster such as a ransomware attack or failed piece of equipment.

DNS (Domain Name System)

DNS helps users navigate the Internet by acting as a translater.  As a user, we want to be able to access a website via a common url, like tanglewood.org or compuworks.biz.  But browsers work with IP addresses.  So DNS is what connects the domain name to the IP address greatly simplifying navigation.

Domain

A domain designates the location of a website and provides a simpler way for users to access those sites.  Without domain names, users would need to now and enter tedious IP addresses to navigate the web.

Encryption

the conversion of readable data into an unreadable format. Encyrption has valid uses in computing.  It can help secure private information and as long as the decryption key is available that data can seamlessly be unencrypted when needed.  Malicious actors, however, have seized on this technique to encrypt data and hold it for ransom.

Ethernet

Is a communications protocol that has been around since the 1980s and is still widely used today.  Most local area networks route traffic over Ethernet networks connected to Ethernet switches.

Firewall

A firewall is a security device that monitors traffic in and out of a network.  Firewalls are like traffic cops that make decisions about what traffic to allow based on a set of rules.  A firewall might have a rule that limits traffic based on geography for example.

Gateway

A gateway is a device that allows two different networks to communicate with each other even if they are using different communication protocols.

Hardware

Computer hardware are the devices we can see and touch-servers, routers, workstatons, switches etc…

Internet of Everything

A phrase coined by Cisco, the Internet of Everything takes a broader look at connectivity than the Internet of Things (IOT) which tends to be more device-centric.

IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) address identifies devices either on a local network or on the Internet.  IP addresses allow us to find other connected resources.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

An ISP is the company you contract with to provide an internet connection.  Verizon, Comcast and others act as ISPs and are essentially providing service to your home or office that allows you to connect to rest of resources connected via the Internet.

LAN (Local Area Network)

Typically describes a network of computers, printers, server, switches that can be connected to each other without having to utilize an Internet connection.

MAC address

MAC addresses provide a unique identity to devices connected to a local area network.

Mail Server

Performing the functions of sending and receiving e-mail, mail servers have been around for many decades. And while some businesses still have mail servers on premise, it is common for this functionality to be moved to hosted resources such as those offered by Microsoft, Google, and others.

Malware

Malware is software specifically designed to harm, disrupt or gain unauthorized access to data or systems.

Managed IT Service

A service this is typically outsourced to an IT firm, managed IT services can refer to any service in which the IT partner is responsible for delivering a fixed scope of work on a recurring basis.  Services can include management of discrete functions such as backup and disaster recovery or can be combined into broader scopes that can include functions such as providing help desk resources, network administration, planning and strategy and security.  When an Managed Service Providers generally provide a fixed scope of work for a fixed fee under this model.

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

An organization with a focus on providing services that focus on the prevention of security incidents as well as to provide resources and expertise to offer assistance in remediating and recovering from a security breach.

Microsoft Exchange

An e-mail and calendaring platform that is offered by Microsoft as part of it’s 365 cloud suite and also as stand-alone software for deploying mail servers.

Modem

A device that translates digital information to analog and vice versa.  Modems are used to facilitate electronic communications.

MSP (Managed Service Provider)

A full service MSP generally functions as an outsourced IT department for it’s clients.  The model is based on a fixed fee for a fixed set of deliverables with individual MSPs interpreting this in a variety of ways.  most MSPs offer help desk support as well as a set of tools for managing their clients’ IT environments.  Depending on the MSP other services might include network administration, strategy and budgeting, backup and disaster recovery, and security services. The model has largely replaced the time and materials (or “break/fix”) model which was a time and materials approach.  the MSP model delivers a more predictable result at a predictable price and better aligns the interests of the client and the MSP.

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is a type of access control technology that requires multiple forms of authentication before a system can be accessed. Typically in addition to a login ID and password, the user will need to supply a one-time code that can be received on a smart phone, via e-mail or a dedicated device.  Implementing MFA is an effective way to guard against the loss of a password through a data breach as the password alone is not sufficient for gaining access.

Network

A generic term that is generally used interchangeably with Local Area Network (LAN) and refers to a group of computers, printers, servers, switches that can be connected to each other.

Network Adapter

An electronic component that is generally built into computers and servers to allow them to communicate with each other on a network.

Network Monitoring

the use of electronic systems that continuously monitors the health and activity on a network.  Network monitoring systems typically have the ability to generate trouble alerts which allow issues to be remediated earlier and more quickly.

Network Security

Network security is a broad term that refers to systems and processes designed to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to systems and data and to aid in recovering from a security incident.

Phishing

Phishing is a type of e-mail based security threat used to attempt to gain unauthorized access to a system or data. Phishing e-mail messages are made to look real and seek to get the recipient to click on a link that can result in malware being downloaded onto the device. Phishing attempts are the most common entry point for malware which is why a strong security awareness education program should be an important part of an overall security program.

Ransomware

A type of malicious attack that encrypts files on an infected device or network, preventing them from being accessed until a ransom is paid.

Remote Backup

a duplicated backup stored at a location physically distant from the source data.  A remote backup is considered best practice as it protects against site disasters that destroy a local data center.

Remote Desktop

A method of accessing and operating a computer from a remote location.  Remote Desktop technology allows a user to work directly on the computer being accessed with screen images being transferred to the connecting system.

Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)

RMM refers to tools and processes focused on monitoring the health of an environment as well as providing tools to help with the administration and management of that environment.  RMM tools generally are able to flag issues that could be cause for concern such as low disk space or high memory utilization, and report these to people for remediation.

Remote Support

Providing technical support from a location other than at the site where technology is located.  Remote support is common in help desk environments and is a more efficient and less costly method of supporting a group of technology users.

SAN (Storage Area Network)

A SAN is a type of shared storage that is accessible by multiple servers.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

An SLA is a term used to describe goals around specific service related metrics.  SLAs are used as a way of communicating expectations around things such as response and resolution times.

Software

The electronic code that runs on a computer.  Software can be built into operating systems or applications and allow us to interact with a computer or other device.

SPAM

Unwanted and unsolicited e-mail messages are referred to as SPAM.  Sometimes SPAM messages come from companies trying to sell you something.  In other cases a SPAM message may contain malware which could damage your system and put you at risk for data loss.   E-mail systems have SPAM filtering functions which seek to limit the amount of unwanted messages that land in your inbox.

Spyware

Another form of malicious software, the goal of spyware is to obtain information about you and then to use that information or transfer it to a third party without your knowledge or consent.

TCP/IP

The model for how network and Internet communications work.

Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO)

The vCIO role is focused on IT strategy, planning and budgeting under an outsourced IT model.  The role seeks to align technology with the broader business goals of the organization.  The term “virtual” refers to the fact that this person is not a direct employee of the company utilizing the services.  Generally the vCIO role is sometimes part of an MSPs managed IT program.

Virtual Chief Technology Officer (vCTO)

A vCTO is focused on overseeing the technology at an organization at the highest level.  This role seeks to maximize the health and utility of the technical environment. The term “virtual” refers to the fact that this person is not a direct employee of the organization utilizing the services. the vCTO role is sometimes part of an MSP’s managed IT program.

Virtualization

The ability to divide the resources of powerful computer hardware into multiple virtual computers.  Virtualization is commonly used in building server environments where one physical machine might be divided into several virtual machines.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

The use of a public network to extend a private network.  Encrypted VPN connections are often used to securely connect remote users to a centralized host.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

A WAN is a network that connects multiple local area networks.  This architecture is often used within organizations that have multiple locations and a main data center.

WAP (Wireless Access Point)

A device that allows a computer to be connected to a network via a wi-fi connection.

Wi-Fi

The ability for devices to connect wirelessly to other devices.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

A LAN that relies on wireless technology to connect devices.