Go to USC home page USC Logo University Technology Services
RSS Feed Twitter Facebook
1244 Blossom St.
Office Hours:
M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Service Desk Hours:
M-F 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

iCARE Center Hours:
M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.



Glossary of Terms

The following is a list of terms used within UTS. For additional questions, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800.

A  |  B  |  C  |   D |   E  |  F   |  G  |  H  |  I   |   L  |  M  |  N  |  O  |  P  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |   V  |  W


802.11 network: USC's wireless network

Abend: An abnormal end to a system or application. This can also refer to a system crash in some cases.

ACL (Access Control List): This is a method for limiting the use of a specific resource to authorized users. This is the usual means by which access to network services is controlled. Most network security systems operate by allowing selective use of services.

Active Directory: This is an implementation of LDAP directory services by Microsoft for use in Windows environments. Active Directory allows administrators to assign enterprise wide policies, deploy programs to many computers, and apply critical updates to an entire organization. Active Directory stores information about its users and can act in a similar manner to a phone book.

ActiveX: Technology used to link desktop applications to the web.

Ad-hoc network: A direct computer-to-computer wireless connection, which does not use a wireless access point or other network infrastructure such as switches and routers. Never connect to a computer-to-computer network unless you know whose computer it is!

Adware: A type of malware that is designed to force the display of advertisements on the computer.

Alerts: Messages seen by the University community that include important information about changes, outages and messages that happen with University Technology Services that affect areas, groups or people within the USC campus (includes the main campus and regional campuses).

Antivirus: Software taht can detect viruses, malware, and other malicious threats to your computer.

ATM: (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) A networking technology which is well-suited to wide-area networks such as those connecting USC's campuses in different areas.


Back Door: Some form of unauthorized access to a computer system or network. A back door might be a special user account, or special software designed to give a computer criminal illegal access to the system.

Bandwidth: The data transfer capacity the network can handle.

The application used by University Technology Services for telephone call monitoring.

BGP: (Border Gateway Protocol)
A protocol which establishes routes between systems on the Internet, so that information can be transferred between them. This is important to USC's connections with its network connectivity providers, to ensure that the best route is used for a given destination.

Bot: (a short form of "robot) A type of malicious software program that permits a computer criminal to have remote control of a computer (a "back door"). Once in control of the robot computer, the criminal can use it for email spam distribution, Internet attacks, or to steal information from the computer.

Break/Fix: An immediate change that is required to fix a critical situation (customer is down and cannot work). All break fixes are to be ticketed for the UTS Service Desk and will automatically trigger a root cause analysis.


Change ManagementA way of managing changes in order to avoid new errors and minimize the impact of “changes” being introduced. This method includes careful control and scheduling of activities, such as planning, communicating, testing, coordinating, monitoring of processes. Change Management ensures that the required steps are followed to reduce risks and minimize the impact of the changes on existing systems.

Change Request: Any hardware or software (new or modified) alteration that could impact any customer in the production environment.

Chassis: The physical framework of the computer system that houses modules, wiring, and power supplies.

Client: In software terminology, this is a program that acts as the interface for the application system. In hardware terminology, a client is any device that is requesting services, such as network access, data transfers, or access to other devices on the network.

Client-Server Network: One method of connecting computers for communication and shared resources. In a client-server network a group of "server" computers store files to be shared on the network. "Client" computers can then connect to the server systems through a network, and access the shared files. Compare to peer-to-peer network.

Content Manager: Software available for University employees who need access to specific data and enterprise content management. This software manages data stored within selected University systems. For more information, visit our Content Manager page.

CPU: (Central Processing Unit) The main data and processing unit for your computer.


Darsweb: DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) is the application used by University admissions offices. Darsweb usually refers to the web application used by admissions staff.

Data: Usually refers to any information that is stored on a computer or memory storage device (disk, CD, DVD, etc.). Examples of data are documents, records, spreadsheets, emails, lists, databases, as well as digitized movies, music, and photos.

Data Warehouse: The application used for University employees to access data within the USC system, including financial, human resources, payroll, course, student advisement, and enrolled student data, as well as Monthly Recurring Charges (telephone and voice mail), Work Order and Long Distance billing data. For more information, visit our Data Warehouse page.

Decryption: For an explanation of this term, see encryption below.

Department file server: A computer system provides access to files for specific workstations connected to the University network.

DHCP: (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) A network system that assigns IP addresses to networked computers.

Directory Harvesting Attack: This is a data security incident in which someone tries to obtain e-mail and directory information by guessing at possible e-mail addresses. The addresses are then used for sending email spam and malicious software.

Documents: As it pertains to the Windows 7 operating system, this is the traditional "Dcouments" folder available to users of Windows operating systems which has been enhanced by being automatically synchronized, backed up, encrypted and is available without a network connection.

DNS: (Domain Name Service) This is a system of computers on the Internet that translate an easy-to-read Internet site name into numeric form. For example, DNS will translate a typed in address of "www.sc.edu" into the IP address that computer systems can use as identifiers. This makes it possible for a user to access a website simply by typing in the name, rather than the IP address number.

Domain Controller: This is responsible for coordinating and maintaining activities in the domain. It is also a server on a Mircrosoft Windows network that is responsible for allowing host access to a Windows domain's resources.

Domain name: Name that identifies an Web site.


Emergency Change: A change that was not planned, but is necessary to stabilize a system, application, or hardware. This is used only if there is a valid reason for not waiting for the normal weekly change cycle. Approval for an emergency change must be approved by the Deputy CIO, CIO or Operations Director respectively.

Encryption: Computer data can be coded so that only a user or system with an "encryption key" can read it. Encryption is generally used to increase data security, making it difficult for data thieves to access or read information, even if they have stolen it.

Encryption Key: An encryption key is generally a password, a special file, or other access requirements that are needed to unlock the data encryption system and access the secured data.

Enterprise Backup System: This is a disaster prevention data management system with proven reliability and high security. A duplicate of Server data is backed up and stored in a highly secure, off-site location.

External (or Public) View: In website terminology, this is the view that the general public will see whenever they visit a website. This view usually contains general information, and will not allow the site visitor to see any secure information. In order for a visitor to go beyond the public view, they will usually need a secure access user name and password.

EVM: (Enabled Voicemail): Voicemail services that are delivered to your e-mail inbox. A media file is inserted into the message that is an exact replica of what is stored in your voicemail system. For more information, visit our Telephone Service Features page.


Firewall: Software or hardware used to protect network systems and computers from unauthorized users. Some firewall software will also attempt to prevent malware or spyware from sending stolen information. A firewall can also be a hardware device that protects systems from malicious attacks and data theft.

Firmware: Software (programs or data) that has been written onto read-only memory (ROM). Firmware is a combination of software and hardware: ROMs, PROMs and EPROMs that have data or programs recorded on them are firmware.

FTP: (File Transfer Protocol) The way files are transferred via the Internet from one computer to another.


Generic Message: These are pre-generated messages within the IT Connection outage system that give messages stating a problem is known … or technicians are continuing to work on the problem.


Hosts File: A file residing on a computer that will override the DNS process. When a user types in an Internet Address, the Host File will capture it first and see if it matches a numeric address in its database. If it does, then the host file will not allow the normal DNS process to route the address, and will use it's own address table to route the Internet request to another site.

HTML: (Hyper-Text Markup Language) This is the computer language used to create Web pages. With HTML, web creators can ensure that a user's web browser will correctly display web pages as they have been designed.


IMAP clients: (Internet Message Access Protocol) A software protocol used to access e-mail messages on your computer without having to download them from a server or view them online.

Information Alert:
UTS uses Information Alerts to communicate messages that are not a part of change management, scheduled maintenance or outages. This includes information about virus patches or other non-critical announcements.

Internal (or Private) View: This is the information available only to designated UTS and Division of IT staff along with network managers. Network managers will have “read-only” rights; This information can and should include the technical and specific information about the message, if applicable.

Internet Email: This is the email delivered or sent outside the University email system. For example, mail coming to you from @yahoo.com or when you send a message to @gmail.com is Internet Email.

IP Address:
A code made up of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet.

IPSec: Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) is a protocol suite for securing Internet Protocol (IP) communications by authenticating and encrypting each IP packet of a data stream.


Key File: (read Encryption before proceding) A special type of file that can be used in the process of encryption or decryption. Key files are createdas a pair of files: a "public key file", and a "private key file". The public key file is used to encrypt data, which can then only bedecrypted using the matching private key file. Even the same public key that was used to encrypt the data cannot be used to decrypt it. Because of this, the public key can be shared openly and used an unlimited number of times without revealing any previously encrypted data.


LAN: (Local Area Network) The computer network that covers most of the USC Columbia campus

(Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) This system is used within USC to gain access to many electronic resources. This is also used to locate people, organizations, and other resources in an Internet directory or intranet directory.

Local User Cache: An offline copy of the network filing system.


Mainframe: The backbone of the University infrastructure that allows select users to access multiple systems within USC.

Malware: (short form of "malicious software") Any type of program that is created with the intent to cause damage, steal data, or abuse computer system resources. Malware can be classified into several categories: virus, worm, trojan horse, bot, adware, and spyware (all defined in this glossary).

Mbps: (Megabytes per second) Measures network and computer speeds.

Millennium: A system used by the University to manage donations. This system is used primarily within University Advancement. (Note: Millennium is also used in within the University Libraries but is a separate application from University Advancement).

MPLS: (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) Technology that enables customers to connect with each other and provides more efficient, speedier communication

MTA: (Mailk Transfer Agent) A specialized server program that delivers/transports e-mail messages between machines on the network.

MUA: (Mail User Agent) A program which enables the user to read, compose, reply to, dispose of, or otherwise process e-mail messages


Name Server: A computer server that is dedicated to translating domain names into IP addresses. This makes it possible for a user to access a website by typing in the domain name of a website (www.yahoo.com) instead of the website's actual IP address. (See DNS)

Network router: A computer networking device that forwards data (signals or transmissions) toward their destinations.

Novell Netware: NetWare is a network operating system developed by Novell, Inc. It is used within the University of South Carolina in many departments on campus.


Outage: University Technology Services communicates network changes or disruptions by posting an Outage message to the IT Connection at: http://itc.sc.edu. At IT Connection you can also sign up to receive outage messages as emails, which can be sent to you as soon as an Outage has been posted.


Password or Passphrase: A string of letters, numbers, and other symbols used to secure access to computers, data, and systems, or to encrypt data. A password/passphrase is considered to be "weak" if it is short (less than 8 characters) or is a dictionary word. This is because such weak passwords are easier to figure out. Computer criminals may use specially crafted "password-guessing" programs that can guess weak passwords. A "strong" password will be at least 8 characters in length, and contain upper and lower case letters, numbers, and/or symbols.

Peer-to-Peer Network or P2P: A method of connecting computers for communication or shared resources. In this configuration, computers are linked via a network, and all are treated as equals. Any computer in a peer-to-peer network can be used to send and store files. This is the usual configuration for anonymous file sharing. Compare to Client-Server network.

Phishing or Spear-Phishing: (pronounced "fishing") Any email or communication intended to trick the recipient into disclosing secret or sensitive information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, user names, or bank account numbers. Frequently, the message pretends to be from a known institution, such as a bank or company IT department. These communications will often ask the recipient to reply to the email with their personal information. If the user replies, the criminal can then use their information for identity theft: accessing computer networks, bank accounts, and other personal information. If the phishing attempt is targeted to a small group of people, it is called "spear fishing".

Ping: A signal sent to a device to receive information.

Planned Change: This involves any change that happens through the Change Management process. It may or may not cause an outage, but is still routed through the appropriate change management process. A planned change will be posted to the IT Connection as a planned outage.

Planned Outage: This is a planned change that has gone through the appropriate change management procedures. It is not an emergency or break/fix change. A planned outage will appear on the public-view calendar in the IT Connection, and inform customers of an upcoming change.

POP: (Post Office Protocol) A method of delivering e-mail messages. When a user connects to their mail system to retrieve mail, the messages are downloaded from mail server to the computer’s hard drive using POP protocols.


Reseating memory: A technical process where memory cards in a device are taken out and put back in. This can sometimes resolve computer problems if the memory modules have become loose, or are not making a good connection. If you decide to reseat memory yourself, contact the device's vendor or consult your user's manual. Otherwise, you should seek qualified technical help.

Resolved Outage:
When University Technology Services resolves an outage situation, the resolution will be posted to the IT Connection.

Ruffalo Cody: Software used specifically by University Advancement


SAN: (Storage Area Network) A large group of hard drives that can be connectedto increase a server's storage capacity. For University organizations, UTS offers Storage Area Network services.

Security patches:
Data that is downloaded to fix a potential security problem that could pose a risk to your computer.

Sensitive Information:
This is information that should be restricted. The University of South Carolina is committed to keeping sensitive information - such as personal information, network features, and record data - secured from theft by computer criminals. For more information on how you can keep sensitive personal and University information secure, visit the UTS IT Security page.

A computer system that can operate on and maintain a computer network, store and transmit data for multiple computers, route information, provide applications to users, and manage peripherals such as printers.

SLA: (Service Level Agreement) University Technology Services offers a number of support and service options to organizations at the University of South Carolina. A Service Level Agreement can ensure that you receive regular, professional IT service for computer systems. We also provide hosting for computer server systems, large volume data storage, regular data backup and retrieval, mass email services, and hosting for your website or SharePoint collaborative worksite. A UTS SLA allows you to set fixed IT costs for easier budgeting. For more information, visit our Service Level Agreement page.

(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) A protocal most commonly used to transmit email over the Internet

Social Engineering: Any psychological technique used by computer criminals to manipulate people into doing something they would not ordinarily do. Examples: 1. In an email or on the telephone, a person may pose as someone in authority and attempt to convince the recipient to give out secret information. This is called phishing. 2. A hacker might drop a bot-infected flash drive in the parking lot of a high-security data facility, so that an employee with access to the facility will find it and use it on a computer inside. The drive can install a bot program, thereby giving back door access into the facility's computer system.

The University's vendor-supported software that handles firewall, virus and spam management.

Spyware: A type of malware that can secretly collect computer usage habits (such as Internet sites visited), and report that information back by Internet to a central database.

System Tray: A part of the Windows desktop. It is located at the right end of the Windows Taskbar, and is slightly indented. It usually displays the date and time, anda few miniature icons for access to some of the currently running programs.


Tandberg: This is a manufacturer of videoconferencing systems used by some areas on the USC campus.

Taskbar: This is found in Microsoft Windows operating systems. The Taskbar is on the Windows desktop, and contains the Start button, the System Tray, and displays currently running programs.

TCP/IP: (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) A protocol that allows computers to communicate over networks.

Thick client: Full-featured computers that are connected to a Client-Server network, but retain their full functionality as stand-alone computers.

Thin client: Computer terminals that usually lack hard drives and do not have any software installed on them. Thin Clients are connected to a network and run programs, store and retrieve data, and pull services a server.

Traffic shaping: Limiting the amount of bandwidth an interface will allow to pass through to a network or access point.

Trojan Horse: A type of malware that spreads to computers by posing as a desirable program or data file. End users may download the program thinking it will do a particular task. But once loaded, the Trojan Horse will perform malicious activities on the computer, such as stealing user information.

TSO (Time Sharing Option): An operation on the System/370 operating system that provides interactive processing time for remote terminals.


Updated Outage: This is an update to an existing outage or notification; Updates will be posted every 2 hours unless otherwise noted by a group administrator.

URL: (Uniform Resource Locator) The address of a specific Web site or file on the Internet. A URL is the address you type into a browser, such as www.yahoo.com.


Vector: This is a part of University telephone call systems.

Virus: Commonly used to mean "any bad software." Technically, a virus only refers to atype of malware that spreads by attaching itself to other programs. Viruses can replicate themselves on your system, pass themselves on to other computers, and cause operational slow-downs and even damage to the computer operating system.

VM: (Virtual Machine) Also known as ZSeries Virtual Machine Facility or Z/VM for short; This is a convenient name for three different mainframe operating systems - Control Program (CP), Conversational Monitor System (CMS), and the Remote Spooling and Communications Subsystem (RSCS). Together, these form a set of general purpose tools for the delivery of computing resources of IBM ZSeries mainframe computers to a wide variety of computer users.

Virtual Server: A virtual server is a network server that resides in a memory area of a computer system. Virtual servers require less hardware to run, because multiple "virtual" servers can run on a single hardware platform. University Technology Services offers virtual server technology to University organizations at a fraction of the cost of traditional server systems. For more information, visit our Service Level Agreement page.

VOIP: (Voice Over IP) A telephone service that uses the Internet as a global telephone network.

Volume: (file volume) A collection of files stored under a particular drive letter, such as C: (in Windows), or in a file system (Apple, Unix, or Linux). A file volume must be "mounted" (recognized and loaded by the operating system) in order to access it, although mounting normally occurs automatically. Volumes located on hard drives in a computer typically mount when you boot your computer. CDs, DVDs, external drives, and memory sticks may need to be manually directed to start up and mount their information.


Web based e-mail: Accessing e-mail from the Internet instead of through a program on an individual computer. University of South Carolina students can access their email by visiting http://www.sc.edu/studentemail. University faculty and staff may access their email by visitinghttp://webmail.sc.edu.

Web services: Piece of software that makes itself available over the Internet and uses a standardized XML messaging system.

Wiki - A wiki is a website designed to allow multiple authors to add, remove, and edit content. The multiple author capability of wikis makes them effective tools for mass collaborative authoring.

Worm: A type of malware that spreads by copying itself onto other computers, disks, or memory cards.

WSUS: The way in which many departments receive Windows Updates from University Technology Services. Theseupdates are automatically downloaded on a monthly basis to computers that are connected to the University network.

XML: Allows information and services to be encoded with meaningful structure and semantics that can be recognized and understand by people.

Safety/Emergency Information Directory: Find People        Map: Find Places        Calendar: Find Events        VIP        my.sc.edu Contact and Site Information
Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777-1800 • Webmaster © University of South Carolina Board of Trustees