Acronym, Glossary and Definition of Terms

ACLs       Access Control Lists are used to specify who is authorized to access what resources and how. For example, an ACL may specify that Sam is authorized to access the payroll database for read only but Julie, his boss, is authorized to update the payroll database.

API       Application Programming Interface. An API specifies how an application program can be invoked from another program, e.g., how an order processing system can invoke an inventory management system. APIs are mainly of interest to programmers.   

ASP       Application Service Provider. An ASP provides application services, typically  on a rental basis. For example, a company can rent payroll services from ADP. ASPs are similar to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) – they provide application services instead of Internet services. 

ASP       Active Server Pages. An ASP is a Microsoft technology for building server side code. This is usually of interest to programmers who build ASP pages and store them on Web Servers. 

B2B       Business to Business. This includes supply chain management and all other B2B activities between businesses (business partners, component suppliers, etc.). 

B2C       Business to Consumer. This includes online purchasing that allows customers to buy items (e.g., over the Internet.  

B2E       Business to Employee. This includes payroll and all other systems between  a business and its employees. B2E systems are internal focused (within a business) as compared to B2B and B2C systems.   

B2G       Business to Government.  This includes paying taxes online and all other business to government activities.  

BF         Business Function. A BF is a high level business functional area such as marketing, sales, finance, accounting, production, corporate management, etc. All businesses have some common BFs (e.g., sales) and some BFs that are industry specific (e.g., manufacturing). 

BP         Business Process. A BP represents a business activity within a BF.  For example, sales report generation, order processing, purchasing, and customer payment are considered part of sales BF. Similarly, corporate planning, enterprise purchasing, and business intelligence are BPs within the corporate management BF. 

BSP       Business System Planning. BSP is an information system planning methodology, introduced by IBM in the 1970s, that has been used very heavily over the years. The methodology helps the users to identify the data and the applications needed to support business processes (BPs).   

CACIT    Computer Aided Consulting for IT. CACIT is the code name that was used by NGE Solutions to develop the PISA (Planning, Integration, Security, and Administration) Environment. Basically: CACIT = PISA.

CAD      Computer Aided Design. CAD software is used by engineers to design systems by using graphics and visualization techniques. AutoCAD is an example of CAD software. 

CAM      Computer Aided Manufacture. CAM uses computerized systems (e.g., robots) to manufacture systems. CAM systems are used heavily in assembly lines of auto companies. 

CCMP    Counter-Mode-CBC-MAC Protocol is a long-range solution that replaces WEP instead of adapting it. This long-range solution uses the Advanced Encryption System (AES) that provides a much stronger encryption and integrity for users.  AES uses 128-, 192-, and 256-bit keys and thus is hard to break. It also uses dynamic negotiation of authentication and encryption algorithms between access points and mobile devices, thus making it more secure. The bad news is that AES requires much more processing power – in some cases a separate processor is needed for AES processing.

COTS     Commercial Off-The-Shelf. COTS is commercially available software that  can be bought by the users to fulfill their computing needs. For example, a user can buy commercially available payroll packages from a wide range of suppliers such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.  

CPU       Central Processing Unit. This is the main processor of a computer. In most desktops/laptops, the CPU is an Intel chip. 

CRM      Customer Relationship Management. CRM deals with all aspects of existing and potential new customers. CRM uses information systems to integrate all of the business processes surrounding the firm's interactions with its customers in sales, marketing, and service.  

DSL       Digital Subscriber Loop. DSL is a technology developed by telephone companies to provide high data rates (around 700 Kbps) over regular telephone lines.  DSL services compete with cable modems – the users can get almost the same data rates over telephone lines by using a DSL modem. 

EAI       Enterprise Application Integration. EAI is concerned with integrating multiple enterprise applications (e.g., order processing, payment, shipping, inventory) across an enterprise. EAI projects are typically large scale projects involving multiple applications, business units, system integrators, and software packages. Specialized software systems, called EAI platforms, have been built by vendors such as Tibco, Vitria, and IBM to facilitate EAI projects.

EB         Electronic Business (eBusiness). eBusiness goes beyond ecommerce and supports all other business activities over the Internet. Basically, eBusiness = eCommerce +  customer relationship management + supply chain management +  video-conferencing + other business activities. 

EC         Electronic Commerce (eCommerce). eCommerce systems concentrate on buying and selling over the Internet. They support online purchasing, payment and other capabilities. Specialized eCommerce Servers have been developed by Microsoft and other vendors to facilitate ecommerce.

EDI       Electronic Data Interchange. EDI,  developed in the 1960s,  is a standard that specifies the encoding of transactions between business partners. EDI has been used extensively for payment, billing, and invoicing. In addition, electronic fund transfer, inventory control and material management are supported by EDI.  EDI is facing tough competition from newer standards based on XML (e.g., ebXML).

ERP       Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP applications support common business processes including inventory, supply chain management, order processing, and financial reporting and management. In reality, ERP is not one application. Instead, it is a collection of applications, integrated around commonly shared databases. Examples of ERP systems are SAP Manufacturing and Peoplesoft Human Resource application suites.

ESB     Enterprise Service Bus provides the main mechanism for  enterprises applications by using SOA. An ESB provides a collection of technologies (middleware such as Web Services, adapters/gateways for protocol conversion, data transformers, transaction managers, and work/process flow systems) that allow diverse applications to talk to each other. At their best, ESB platforms hide all the complexity needed to enable interactions between applications that were developed at different times by using different middleware technologies.

FRS     Fragmentation-Redundancy-Scattering scheme is a good approach to increase availability plus security of a system. The FRS technique consists of three activities:

§       Fragmentation: Cutting all the sensitive information into several fragments such that no significant information is contained in any isolated fragment.

§       Redundancy: Multiple copies might be introduced by copying the fragments to tolerate accidental or purposeful destruction or alteration of fragments.

§       Scattering: The fragments along with their copies may be scattered amongst the different sites of the distributed system.

 For example, a sensitive file could be split into fragments F1, F2,,, Fn where no fragment has complete information. Then three copies, say, of each fragment can be created so that if one copy is destroyed, the other two can be used instead. The copies of the fragments can be further scattered around a network of computers in such a manner so that an intruder finds it extremely difficult to develop a complete picture of the document.  

FSO       Free-Space Optics uses high-intensity optical waves (lasers) to transmit information. FSO is an attractive and cost-effective option for high speed connectivity between LANs in metropolitan settings. The main advantage of FSO transmission is that it is among the most secure connectivity solutions. It is virtually impossible to intercept FSO networks at the physical layer. Eavesdropping and physical interception are extraordinarily difficult, and the chance of an attempted intercept being discovered is very high. However, FSO has distance limitations (less than a mile) and poses some health hazard (dangerous for human eye). Thus it is typically used between buildings instead of in-building networks.   

FTP       File Transfer Protocol. FTP is used to transfer (download and upload) files between remotely located computers. Many FTP packages are commercially available. WS-FTP is an example. 

GUI       Graphical User Interface. GUI systems are easy and natural to use by the users. Instead of text-based screens, GUI systems use icons and other graphic artifacts to interact with the user. Microsoft Windows environment is a well known example of GUIs.  

Honeypots are fake resources developed especially to be probed, attacked or compromised by the intruders. These devices are called honeypots because they are expected to attract the bees, flies, and worms – the hackers and intruders. The idea is to have attackers spend time and resource attacking honeypots, as opposed to attacking corporate systems. The attacker is deceived into attacking the honeypot, thus protecting the production resources from attack. Honeypots basically cheat the cheaters.

I/O       Input/Output. I/O capabilities are used by systems to read, write and transfer information.   

IP         Internet Protocol. IP is used to route the messages between millions of computers that are connected to the Internet. Technically, IP is built on top of physical network communications (e.g., dialup, DSL, cable modems, wireless links) and routes messages between IP addresses – it hides the communication details from the users. IP is the backbone of Internet. 

ISP        Internet Service Provider. An ISP provides the Internet services to its users. Simply stated, an ISP provides an IP address to its users and connects its users to the vast resources of the Internet. AOL is a popular example of ISP.  

IT          Information Technology. IT consists of computers, networks, application software, databases and other computer-communication capabilities. 

LAN       Local Area Network. A LAN is a privately owned network, typically within a building. The owner of a LAN can configure and install a LAN to fit owner’s needs.   

MAN      Metropolitan Area Network. A MAN is owned by a local agency (e.g., a cable company) and spans a metropolitan area (several miles). MANs are typically used to connect several buildings of a campus.

Mbps     Million bits per second. Mbps, and Kbps (Kilo bits per second), is used to indicate the data rate of communication lines.  

MOM     Message Oriented Middleware. MOM is used at application level to transfer information between remotely located applications. MOM is asynchronous, i.e., the sender keeps sending the messages that are stored in a message queue; the messages are picked up from the queue by the receiver, processed and stored back on the queue; the receiver picks the answers later. eMail systems use MOM style exchanges.

NGE       Next Generation Enterprises.  NGEs conduct business by fully exploiting at least four capabilities: a) automation of internal as well as external business activities through ebusiness, ecommerce and other “e-initiatives”, b) mobility support for the mobile customers and workforce, c) distribution of operations to widely dispersed sites due to outsourcing and rentals, and d) agility (on-demand services) to quickly respond to changing business conditions.

OS         Operating System. An OS is basically a scheduling system that makes sure that the computing resources (CPU, disk, main memory) are used efficiently by different programs running in the computing systems.. It receives the user commands, runs the commands, schedules the needed programs, etc. Linux, Unix, and Microsoft Windows XP are examples of different operating systems. 

PGP       Pretty Good Privacy. PGP is a security package that provides encryption and digital signature services. PGP is used commonly to protect email.  Free and commercial versions of PGP are available.

PISA      Planning, Integration, Security and Administration. NGE-PISA Environment, development by NGE Solutions, is an intelligent decision support environment that helps small to medium businesses (SMBs) plan, integrate and secure their IT (information technology) systems.  PISA provides a set of advisors that collaborate with each other to recommend application plans, platform plans, network plans, security plans, requirements documents, architecture documents, and project plans.  

PKI        Public Key Infrastructure. is a collection of technologies for authentication. PKI systems include authentication mechanisms such as user ID and password, one-time pass-tokens, digital certificates, and biometrics. PKI packages from companies such as Verisign and Entrust help create and manage asymmetric cryptographic keys or public/private key pairs required by applications. The PKI components provide the necessary capabilities to establish, maintain, and protect trusted relationships.

QoS       Quality of Service. QoS is a user defined parameter that indicates some desirable features in a service. For example, in a telephone call (regular or voice over IP) the clarity of call is a QoS parameter and in a real-time system (such as air traffic control) performance is an important QoS parameter.   

SCM      Supply Chain Management. A supply chain is a network of facilities and distribution options for procurement of materials, transformation of these materials into intermediate and finished products, and the distribution of these finished products to customers. In large scale manufacturing industries, the supply chain may involve dozens and even hundreds of partners. An SCM is a software system that manages supply chains.

SET       Secure Electronic Transaction. SET is a security standard for credit card processing. SET was developed jointly by Visa, MasterCard, IBM, and other technology providers to protect the transfer of bankcard payment information over open networks like the Internet. SET is highly specific to credit card processing and contains logic that is based on the exchanges between four players: consumer, merchant, merchant bank, and consumer bank.

SMB      Small to Medium Business. An SMB typically consists of 100 to 300 employees. At present, there is a great deal of growth in SMBs. 

SOA       Service Oriented Architecture defines a loosely coupled architecture in which services are provided by components (mostly business components that provide business services) that are invoked by users (service consumers) through well defined interfaces. SOA relies on an infrastructure that allows the service providers to publish services over the Web so that they can be discovered, selected and invoked by a wide range of service consumers. At present, Web Services are the key enablers of SOA because they support the description, publication, discovery, selection, and invocation of services over standard Web protocols.  

SOAP     Simple Object Access Protocol. SOAP is a protocol that is part of Web Services. Web Service consumers and providers use SOAP to send and receive messages to each other. SOAP messages are in XML. 

SQL       Structured Query Language. SQL is a standard query language used in all relational database management systems. SQL is used in Oracle, MySQL, MS Access, and IBM DB2 database systems, among others.

SSL       Secure Socket Layer. also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS), is the most heavily used security technology for the World Wide Web. It is also used in wireless systems and is packaged with almost all Web browsers (Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and FireFox) and servers (Apache, IIS). SSL runs on top of TCP/IP and manages secure messaging through data encryption, server authentication, message integrity, and optional client authentication for a connection. SSL consists of software installed in browsers and on servers. All major browsers and servers today are “SSL capable.”

TCP       Transmission Control Protocol. TCP, also part of the Internet, resides above the IP layer (see IP above). TCP is responsible for end to end connections and routing as compared to IP that works between any two IP addresses. For example, if you access a Web server in London from Dallas, then a TCP connection is established between Dallas and London but the IP is responsible to shuffle the messages between Dallas and London through routers that may be located in Chicago, Detroit or even Paris. TCP does not know about the intermediaries, IP does.   

TCP/IP  Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. TCP/IP is used to refer to the Internet technical stack. As stated above, TCP resides above IP to make end to end connections in the Internet. .  

TKIP      Temporal Key Integrity Protocol is a protocol and algorithm to improve security of keys used with WEP for 802.11 LANs. TKIP is an interim solution because it does not replace WEP – it adapts WEP protocols to address well-known WEP problems. Users of this short-range solution go through a firmware/driver upgrade to include the TKIP algorithms. 

UDDI     Universal Description, Discovery and Integration. UDDI is a registry for Web Services (see Web Services below). UDDI is very much like a Yellow Pages directory that contains the addresses and the services provided by the service providers. UDDI is used by the Web Services users to locate the needed service providers. UDDI directories are available from different providers.

UWB    Ultra Wideband communications is a very specialized communications technology that provides very high data rates but at very small distances (only a few feet). The main advantage of UWB is that it is extremely secure because it is very hard to intercept (UWB sends millions of pulses per second thus cannot be intercepted and understood by common devices).

VAN      Value-added Network. A VAN is a network that provides additional capabilities, such as higher security, better QoS, for a fee (of course). 

VPN       Virtual Private Network. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides dedicated, secure paths, or tunnels, over a network that is shared by other users. VPN networks consist of authenticated and encrypted paths over a shared data network (typically, the Public Internet). The tunnels are set up between a point of presence (POP), also called a network access point (NAP), and a tunnel terminating device on the destination network.  The VPN users logon to a VPN by using a secure ID card with a key that changes frequently. This key, plus user ID, is used to encrypt the messages.  IPSec (IP Security) is a standard for VPNS so that VPNs from different providers can interoperate.   

VXML     Voice Extensible Markup Language. Voice XML is a standard developed by several large companies (IBM, Microsoft and others) to support voice-based applications.  

WAN      Wide Area Network. A WAN is a long-haul network (e.g., between Chicago and Atlanta) that is typically provided by a set of telecom companies. WANs are usually regulated by government agencies such as FCC (Federal Communications Commission). 

WAP      Wireless Application Protocol. is a set of protocols to enable the presentation and delivery of wireless information and telephony services on mobile phones and other wireless devices. WAP is a standard and is available freely for developing mobile applications.

WEP     Wired Equivalent Privacy algorithm, part of the IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless LANs, is designed to protect wireless communication from eavesdropping. WEP is also intended to prevent unauthorized access to a wireless network. A number of weaknesses in the WEP algorithm have been found which could seriously undermine the security claims of the system (see Due to this reason WEP is used for minimal security and is compensated with better security measures at higher levels.

WLL      Wireless Local Loop.  A WLL is a metropolitan area network that is based on wireless technology. WLLs are used to transmit information to houses and offices that are not mobile. Thus WLLs are fixed wireless networks where the devices being connected are stationary.

WML      Wireless Markup Language. WML is a markup language that is similar to XML but has been optimized for wireless links and devices.  WML is processed by a microbrowser that resides in the wireless device. A microbrowser is analogous to the standard Web browser – it interprets WML in the handset and controls presentation to the user.

WS        Web Services. Web Services allows applications to be integrated by using the Internet facilities. The core of Web services is XML messages over standard Web protocols such as HTTP. The main idea of Web Services is that service providers specify their services by using WSDL (see below) and register these services into UDDI directories. Service consumers on the other side discover these services by browsing through the UDDI directories, read these WSDL descriptions to understand these Web Services, and then invoke them by using SOAP or other protocols.  

WSDL    Web Services Definition Language. WSDL, part of Web Services, describes the location and interfaces of a particular service. For example, provider of an inventory service can specify this service in WSDL. The WSDL specification is used by the consumers of this service to discover this service and then invoke it.

WSN      Wireless Sensor Network. A WSN is a short-range wireless network  that is  formed between small, low-powered sensor devices mainly for monitoring and data collection purposes.  Each sensor has a very small transmitter/receiver (transceiver)  that can send and receive information from closely located sensors.  

XML       eXtensible Markup Language. XML is a specification created by World Wide Web Consortium ( to specify structured information. XML is a markup language, similar to HTML, to represent wide rage of information such as customers, orders, bills, airline schedules, TV programs, bank statements, catalogs, etc. XML is very popular at present with applications ranging from e-commerce to music and is at the core of Web Services.