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Glossary of IT Terms

Information Security

Glossary A


This glossary contains industry standard and City specific IT terminology. The glossary should be consulted when policy, issue papers, etc. are drafted to ensure consistent use of terms across the City.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Uninterruptible Power Supplies - UPS
URL
Usenet
Users
Utility


Uninterruptible Power Supplies - UPS
A UPS is a vital piece of hardware that should not be overlooked. Without it, a power 'outage' or even a surge, can shut down your systems within seconds. If this happens on a Windows PC, the consequences are unlikely to be more than annoying and perhaps the loss of the work you were currently working on. However, if your server, running Windows NT, 2000 or UNIX, suddenly has the power cut, the consequences can be more serious, as (potentially) hundreds of files can be left in an "open" state which, in the worst scenario, could prevent the system from rebooting properly - or even at all.

Therefore, the purchase and installation of a suitable sized UPS is vital. Because it contains its own battery(ies) it can not only prevent damage from sudden power surges, but it can continue to run your systems for between 15 minutes and 1 hour (or more), thus allowing an orderly, but speedy, close down.

However, a UPS is not supposed to allow the system to be operated for any length of time and, to provide a greater degree of protection against power cuts, a Backup Power Generator should be considered.


URL
URL or Uniform Resource Locator is the techie term for the location of a file or resource on the Internet. The URL will always include the type of protocol being used e.g. http for a Web page or ftp for the address of a specific file which is to be downloaded. An example of an URL is: http://www.seattle.gov.


Usenet
The part of the Internet populated by Newsgroups. The term 'news' is a little misleading since these groups are more in the nature of discussion groups. Usenet is relatively harmless, but access to newsgroups, as opposed to E-mail, is largely unnecessary for organization users, except possibly for some of the groups dedicated to technical computer matters.


Users
The term 'User', whilst not being totally complimentary, (in the USA it suggests being a user of illegal drugs), means anyone who is using a system or computer. Users are not considered to be technically competent (otherwise they would be in IT!) and most problems are blamed on the users! In contrast, those who administer systems and networks would never consider themselves as users; despite the fact that they too have to write reports and use office programs like the rest of us!


Utility
A specialized program designed for more technical users as a tool, or set of tools, for checking the system, housekeeping, monitoring system health/status, repairing files, etc. Access to utility programs by non-technical users should be restricted.