Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Glossary of Information Technology Services (ITS) Terms

This is a glossary of ITS terms and acronyms often used at Queen's, many of which are specific to Queen's. If you are looking for a particular term that is not listed, please complete the issue form and we'll do our best to add it to the list.

Term Definition
AD Active Directory is Microsoft's version of a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)-based network directory service. AD allows administrators to define, arrange and manage objects, such as user data, printers and servers, so they are available to users and applications throughout the organization.
Application An application is software developed for a particular purpose to provide some sort of academic or administrative benefit. Examples: a room scheduling application; a course discussion board application; a purchase order tracking application; a web survey and data collection tool.
Authentication Authentication is the process of verifying the identify of a user seeking to access a computer, system or application. Typically, this is achieved with a username (such as a Queen's NetID) and a password, the latter being known only by the user associated with the username.
Authenticode Authenticode employs a process called code signing to certify that executable programs have not been altered or corrupted during deployment. Software developers use a unique key to "sign" the software they deploy and updates to that software over time.
Authorization Authorization is the process of determining the access permissions granted to a user of a system or application, and provisioning that user with the access or capabilities they are authorized to use. Increasingly, authorization and provisioning may be based on one or more roles that an individual may have within the organization (e.g. all "students" can access a system).
BI Query
Business Intelligence Query is an enterprise-strength query and reporting application that helps users ask questions about corporate data and visualize the answers for more effective decision-making. BI Query was used to access administrative systems in use prior to the implementation of PeopleSoft.  It is used to access historical data. Formerly known as GQL.
Computing Sites The computing sites around the Queen's Campus include all of the computer labs and computer kiosks. Public sites are open to all members of the Queen's community, while semi-public sites may have restrictions, such as being open only to members of certain faculties.
Critical Server A Critical Server is one which stores or provides access to personal and/or confidential data, or a server on which important University or department applications, services or databases are housed.
Cybersecurity Cybersecurity refers to the securing of computer systems against attack. It encompasses the practices and protocols necessary to protect information systems from hackers, malware, and other forms of electronic attack.
Drive-by Downloads A Drive-by Download happens when a webpage downloads and installs malware to a system through the web browser, often without the user's knowledge. Visiting malicious or compromised webpages, or following illegitimate web links, can expose a user to a drive-by download.
Degauss/Degaussing Degaussing is a process and a device which leaves the magnetic field representation of data on hard drives, floppy disks and magnetic tapes in random patterns, thereby rendering previous data unrecoverable. In most cases Degaussing renders the magnetic media completely unusable and damages the storage system. Degaussing and physical destruction are considered the only truly secure means of disposing of magnetic storage media and devices.
Encryption Encryption is the process of transforming information in plain text using a logical method called an algorithm, such that the information is unreadable to anyone who does not have the means to decrypt or un-encrypt it, often called the key.
FIPPA FIPPA, or the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, is Ontario legislation which was amended in 2005 to include Ontario Universities. This legislation requires organizations such as Queen's to take the necessary steps to safeguard the privacy of personal information pertaining to our employees and our students.
A Firewall is computer hardware and/or software which protects systems or applications "behind" the firewall from unauthorized external (outside the firewall) access. A firewall provides an added layer of protection to block access to entire system or application, or to non-approved system ports or services.
GQL Graphical Query Language. See also BI Query.
A Hacker is an individual who gains or attempts to gain unauthorized or illegal access to a computer system or application. The term Hacker may also be used to refer to an individual who develops and/or distributes computer viruses, or initiates denial of service attacks.
Hosted Web Application A Hosted Web Application is a software application that provide some academic, administrative or other benefit but does not operate on a system or server within the Queen's IT infrastructure (central or departmental). Members of the Queen's community may use such applications that are hosted on servers external to the University. Also referred to as "Software as a Service".
HTML HyperText Markup Language is the programming language used to create documents for display on the World Wide Web.
IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol. This successor of the POP protocol is used to retrieve email messages from a central email server. Email stored on an IMAP server can be accessed from more than one computer without the need to transfer messages or files back and forth between those computers.
Intrusive Software Intrusive software is a surreptitious program which imbeds itself in other programs, is able to self-replicate, and seizes some level of control of a computer. Such programs are able to delete or modify data, change settings, and harvest sensitive data and internet usage history, among other malevolent actions. Also called "malware". Examples are software viruses, spyware, and trojan horses.
IP address An IP address is the numeric location of a computer system or network on the Internet. Each system connected to the Internet must have a unique one of these to differentiate it from other systems.
The ITAdmin Rep program was created to form a partnership between Information Technology Services (ITS) and all the departments of Queen's University to facilitate the sharing of computing information. ITAdmin reps serve as liaisons between their department and ITS, assist other department members with basic computer use issues, coordinate the configuration of telephones, and the payment of service charges for telephones.
ITSC The Queen's Information Technology Support Centre (ITSC) is located in Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Rm B205. Home to most of the ITS technical support services, it is available to all staff, faculty and students of Queen's.
ITSS Information Technology Support Services. The sector of Queen's ITS that provides first- and second-level technical support for microcomputers and widely used systems and software such as email, web browsers, antivirus software, etc. Manages the public computing sites. Provides departmental server administration and support. Negotiates and manages various site and volume license agreements for software used at the University. Provides ListServ mailing list service. Provides consulting and support for adaptive technology.
JAWS JAWS (Job Access With Speech) for Windows (JFW) is the Windows screen reader supported by ITS. Its affordable price, ability to work with all of the voice synthesizers and refreshable Braille displays available today, and its many supported Windows operating systems make it an attractive solution for people who are blind or visually impaired.
ListServ ListServ is a way of reaching multiple email addresses quickly and easily. The program will send a message to a specified list of email addresses, which can easily be modified by the "owner" of the mailing list. ListServs can be set up for any staff or faculty member, as well as for some student organizations (for example, ASUS has been granted use of the Queen's ListServ).
Malware, or malicious software, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the user's consent or knowledge. Malware includes viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. The risks of a computer being infected with malware can range from merely reducing the overall performance of the computer to intercepting passwords, deletion of valuable data, and/or harvesting of sensitive information. Computers can be protected from malware infiltration using anti-virus utilities and firewalls.
NetID You may know it as your UserID or log on. NetID is the UserID you need to sign on to the applications and services that are operated by ITS such as email, onQ, wireless internet and more. A NetID is the first part of a Queen's email address. It is all of the letters and numbers before the @ sign.
Obfuscation Obfuscation is the concealment of meaning in communication of information, making it confusing and more difficult to interpret. It is a process whereby information is encoded using some sort of encryption scheme to protect it during transmission.
Office 365 Microsoft Office 365 is a web-based suite of applications. Microsoft Office 365 is delivered to users through the cloud.  Applications currently available at Queen's include Exchange Online for email and calendar, Skype for Business (formerly Lync) unified communications (messaging and video conferencing), OneDrive for BusinessOffice Online and the traditional Microsoft Office software for your desktop computer. 
OnQ OnQ is a Queen's-specific implementation of Brightspace/Desire2Learn, and is the primary learning management system of the university. OnQ is used to deliver and manage academic courses, and to facilitate collaborative research and project-based group work.
Penetration Testing
Penetration Testing is a process used to probe the security of a system or application to determine if there are any security vulnerabilities which could be exploited by an attacker or stumbled upon by a person not authorized to access that system or application. Penetration testing often involves the use of the same tools an attacker might use to find "holes" in a system's security, but with improving rather than exploiting the system's security as a goal. Penetration testing usually yields a list of potential vulnerabilities and recommendations for how the associated risks might be mitigated.
Phishing is a form of identity theft where victims are "lured" into giving away sensitive information, usually through email. Messages are designed to look like they are coming from trusted businesses, like banks or government agencies. Often they are trying to steal your identity or login credentials to gain access to your accounts and to use them to commit other crimes.
PHIPA PHIPA, or the Personal Health Information Protection Act, is Ontario Legislation which requires organizations such as Queen's to ensure that health information about individuals remains private.
Principal Investigator
The individual recognized by the University as having lead responsibility for a research project or area. In the context of information security, the Principal Investigator has the same responsibilities as a Department Head, but typically on a smaller scale and/or with narrower scope.
A proxy server acts as a diversion between a local computer and a remote system that you are trying to connect to. If set up, all data will be sent through the proxy server on its way to or from the local computer. Queen's uses a proxy server to allow users who are off campus to connect to Queen's resources, such as Exambank and QCAT.
QLC The Queen's Learning Commons is an inviting, collaborative learning space where people pursue and share ideas. Centrally located in Stauffer Library, this enriched learning environment brings together for the first time a comprehensive, integrated set of academic support services and resources for Queen's students. The QLC partners are the Library, ITS, Learning Strategies Development, Library Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Writing Centre.
Ransomware Ransomware is a form of Malware designed to hold the user's computer system or data for ransom. Once installed, a ransomware program will encrypt or otherwise block access to data, and demand payment from the user in order to retrieve the locked files. Ransomware is often delivered by means of a Trojan.
Reimage Reimaging is the process of formatting a drive and reinstalling the base software. This will include the operating system and any other software that was on the computer when it was first turned on. All documents and settings will be lost during this process.
ResNet ResNet is the Queen's network in residence. It connects all of the computers in residence to each other and to the Internet. ResNet also allows all of the computers to be protected by the Queen's firewall, while also giving the systems access to all of Queen's online resources, such as Exambank and onQ.
RSS Rich Site Summary is a technology that allows web users to receive (ongoing, constantly updated) information collected from many sources through a simple reader. This is supplied through an RSS feed that users can subscribe to.
SCEP System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) is a real-time antivirus scanner used to stop viruses, Trojans and worms before they infect a computer, and removes infections from computers that have already been infected. SCEP is licensed by Queen's University and is distributed for free to all Queen's faculty members and staff members through MyQueen'sU Software Centre. 
Software Virus
A Software Virus or Computer Virus is a program designed to install itself on a computer without the approval or knowledge of the person using that system, in order to disrupt the operation of the system, take control of it, or harvest what might be sensitive information stored on the system. In the realm of information technology, a virus is often used as a general term for more specific malevolent program more accurately classified as a Trojan or worm. In some cases, a software virus will establish itself in one computer, and then attempt to propagate (spread) to other computers, such as those in the same branch of a network, or by sending itself to everyone in the user's address book.
Queen's Student On-Line University System is the information system used at Queen's for checking marks, registering for courses, ordering transcripts, checking the status of paid fees and many other services relating to academics and the University.
Spyware is computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a computer to intercept or take partial control over the user's interaction with the computer without the user's consent. Anti-Spyware utilities can be installed to detect the presence of Spyware or to prevent it from being installed on the computer.
SSL SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, are cryptographic protocols that provide security and data integrity for transmission of information over the Internet, including passwords. Secure Sockets Layer protocols are being replaced by Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols as the Internet evolves.
System Assessment A System Assessment is a process which reviews the physical and electronic security of a system or application to identify potential risks to the security and integrity of the system and information stored on or accessed through that system. Many of the risks that these Electronic Information Security Guidelines are meant to address and mitigate are evaluated during a system assessment, which may involve penetration testing using tools which try to exploit common vulnerabilities.
The Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, which are also known as the Internet Protocol Suite, is the basic communication language of the Internet.
Trojan (or Trojan Horse)
A Trojan (or Trojan Horse) is a form of Malware which is purported to provide some benefit or desirable function, but secretly carries out malevolent or unauthorized actions such as opening up access to a system or information stored on it, or passing control of the system to an attacker or hacker. Trojans can come hidden in what are advertised to be computer games, electronic greeting cards, or even anti-virus software tools, and the user may unwittingly active the Trojan merely by clicking on a link and agreeing to download an "important browser extension" or "software update".
User An individual who, by virtue of their role(s) at the University, needs to access and use a defined range of systems, applications, and information to fulfill their duties or pursue their studies.
VPN Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a form of communication over networks that are public in ownership, but emulate a private network in terms of security.
Web Proxy See Proxy Server.
WebPublish WebPublish is the primary web content management system used by Queen's University. It is available, through ITS, to any interested faculties, departments, or labs. WebPublish is a Queen's-specific implementation of the Drupal web platform.
WPA2 WPA2, or Wi-Fi Protected Access, is a certification protocol for securing information for transmission over wireless networks which employ that protocol. Information transmitted over open or unsecure wireless networks which do not use the WPA2 protocol is vulnerable to eavesdropping by others using the wireless network, and thus should not be used to transmit passwords or access sensitive information.

Last Updated: December 07, 2017