Technology Terms, Simplified. Part I – What’s In Small Business Server Rooms?

Just like technology itself, technology terminology is always changing. So, we made a list of the tech terms and acronyms we think business owners, administrators, and employees should know. This is the first installment of a multi-part series we are calling Technology Terms, Simplified. This series will cover terms that we hope will educate, enlighten, and even pull back the curtain on how an MSP like The Purple Guys provides world-class support to its partners. In Part I, we take a look at what most small businesses have in their IT rooms & closets.

A server is a powerful device (physical server) or program (virtual server) that provides a service to other computers or devices over a local network or the internet. A few examples common examples of small business servers are file servers that provide communal access to company files, print servers that direct printing commands to specific devices, and web servers that provide access to your organization’s website.

A network switch is most often a piece of hardware that connects multiple devices to each other on a business network using ethernet cables. A switch provides wired connections to desktop computers, desk phones, and access points that provide Wi-Fi.

 A Traditional firewall is a security tool that establishes a barrier between your organization’s trusted network and the public internet. A traditional firewall monitors your network’s traffic and restricts communication based on preconfigure rules and from sources on its “block list.” This configuration is very static, leaving it vulnerable to modern styles of cyberattack.

An improved version of the traditional firewall, a next-gen firewall can inspect traffic at a much deeper level and prevent threats from entering the network thanks to intrusion prevention systems and regular security updates from their manufacturers. This type of firewall can also restrict applications access,

A router connects your devices to your business network. In most business cases, a firewall serves a dual purpose as a security tool and a router.  A router does not connect you directly to the internet, for that you need a modem. See below.

A modem is hardware device that connects your business network to the internet. This device is commonly provided by your Internet Service Provider and should not be confused with a Router. See graphic below to see how all of the above work together.


Keep an eye on our social media channels for Part II coming next week. Make sure to follow our LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube channels for frequent news, tips, guides, and offers on all things IT for small businesses.


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