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Acronym Glossary

Plus other technology-related terms you might come across

Welcome to the Division of Information Technology acronym glossary!

This glossary is intended to help newbies and experts alike navigate the acronym-filled world of information technology. Included are acronyms from the IT world at large as well as those specific to Virginia Tech, plus a handful of IT-related terms that technically aren't acronyms but are helpful to know.

If you have technology-related terms or acronyms you'd like to add (or edits to an existing entry), or if you’ve encountered an acronym and have no idea what it means, email us at - we will get it posted!

# - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X


2FA - stands for 'Two-Factor Authentication,' a procedure which requires two different factors of authentication to access a protected resource. The three possible factors are: 'Something You Know,' 'Something You Have,' and 'Something You Are.' An example of 2FA would be authentication using a username/password credential (Something You Know), followed by a code sent to your mobile phone via text message (Something You Have).

4Help - is a resource for the Virginia Tech community, including a service desk for computing-related questions, knowledge base with university software and technology help, and a service catalog. 4Help is available at or by phone at 540-231-4357.

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AAR - stands for 'After Action Review' and is a structured review or de-brief (debriefing) process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better by the participants and those responsible for the project or event.

ABD - stands for 'Authorized Budget Document,' which displays and describes all the components of the consolidated budget for a given fiscal year. At Virginia Tech, the ABD is the official document that tells us which of our critical needs requests have been approved.

ACCS - stands for ‘Association of Collegiate Computing Services’ – a Virginia-based group dedicated to facilitating the sharing of common interests in information technology and its implementation in the higher education environment.

ACR - stands for 'Administrative Computer Refresh' - this is a computer replacement program, funded by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), for Virginia Tech employees in departments that receive Educational and General 208 funding. ACR requests can be made by authorized departmental requesters through the Service Catalog.

ADA -  stands for ‘Americans with Disabilities Act.’ Enacted in 1990, the ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the bases of disability.

ADFS - stands for 'Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS),' a software component developed by Microsoft that can run on Windows Server operating systems. ADFS provides users with single sign-on access to systems and applications located across organizational boundaries.

ADRMS - stands for 'Active Directory Rights Management Services,' which is a service software for information rights management shipped with Windows products. It uses encryption and a form of selective functionality denial to limit access to documents such as corporate emails, Microsoft Word Documents, and web pages.

AEM - stands for 'Adobe Experience Manager.' Virginia Tech's new content management system (CMS), Ensemble, is powered by Adobe Experience Manager. It allows users to update their Web content without worrying about the technical details of creating, editing, and maintaining websites. The 'old' Ensemble (Percussion Rhythmyx) was turned off in March 2017. 

A&P - stands for 'Administration & Planning’ – A&P group plays a variety of roles for the Information Technology organization (IT). Areas of responsibility include strategic planning for IT; policy development for information technology; communications within IT and with the university community; project coordination between elements of IT; project management; personnel services for IT; administrative requests; computer purchasing and software distribution (Information Technology Acquisitions); and coordination with the commonwealth's information technology agency.

API - stands for 'Application Programming Interface.' APIs are types of software interfaces that let two or more other computer programs (i.e., web applications, operating systems, software libraries, programming languages) communicate with one another. APIs pass specific pieces of information back and forth between the involved programs so they will work together correctly to perform a function, such as sending and receiving email.  

ARIA - stands for ‘Accessible Rich Internet Applications.’ ARIA is a set of attributes that define ways to help make web content and applications accessible to people with disabilities. ARIA attributes are used to supplement certain HTML elements, changing the semantics for a screen reader or other assistive technology to properly communicate the function and state of that element.

ARC - stands for 'Advanced Research Computing’ARC at Virginia Tech is an innovative and interdisciplinary environment advancing computational science, engineering and technology. Not to be confused with 'VT-ARC' which is the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (see definition below).

ASP - stands for 'Application Service Provider,' a company that offers access to applications and related services, or, more commonly, Active Server Page, an HTML page including one or more scripts processed on a Microsoft Web server before the page is sent to the user, making it possible to customize the page on the fly.

ATused to stand for 'Assistive Technologies,' but now stands for 'Accessible Technologies,' the group within TLOS that supports technology-mediated accessibility solutions, and promotes the use of Universal Design principles. Assistive Technologies, a group within TLOS, but also a term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technologies (also referred to sometimes as AT) may be defined as any product, system, or service that is used by an individual to increase, enhance, or maintain functional capabilities. The Assistive Technologies group provides AT Services in Newman Library, the AT Lab in Torgersen Hall, Braille Services, Teaching and Outreach activities, and Web accessibility consulting and testing services.

ATAG - stands for ‘Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines.’ Like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the ATAG establishes accessibility guidelines for developers to follow. However, with ATAG, the guidelines apply to website authoring tools (e.g., content management systems, learning management systems, blogging platforms, etc.), as opposed to the content within a website.

AWS - stands for 'Amazon Web Services,' a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies, and governments.

AXFR - stands for 'DNS zone transfer.' If that sounds strange, that is because AFXR is technically the query type for a DNS zone transfer. In a DNS zone transfer, a portion of a database (a.k.a. a 'zone') on one DNS server is replicated onto one or more other DNS servers. The AXFR function might be useful to edit data consistently across multiple servers.

Azul Openjdk Zulu - might look like something my cat would type, but it really stands for something. 'Azul' is a company that supports Java-based applications. 'OpenJDK' stands for 'open Java Development Kit,' which is an open source tool used to collaborate on development of Java applications. To close the circle of this term, 'Zulu' refers to builds of OpenJDK made by Azul, which are available on a subscription basis.

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BAIS - stands for 'Business Application and Integration Services,' one of the ten subunits of Enterprise Systems. BAIS works to enhance business and academic business processes by providing information technology support for the systems that securely store and deliver digital documents and resources.

BMC - stands for 'Baseboard Management Controller,' a specialized service processor that monitors the physical state of a computer, network server, or other hardware device using sensors, and alerts the system administrator of any irregularities that occur, such as unexpected changes in temperature, humidity, voltage, fan speed, etc.

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CAT - stands for 'CCS Admin Tool,' an application developed by CCS to help IT administrators at the unversity better manage user cloud service provisions within their department. A simliar tool, MyCAT (My Collaborative Accounts Tool) allows users to view a snapshot of their cloud services.

CAWG - stands for 'Campus Accessibility Working Group,' a cross-departmental group at Virginia Tech who strives to identify opportunities and solutions that advance university accessibility in a collaborative and coordinated manner across multiple divisions and workstreams.

CCS - stands for 'Collaborative Computing Solutions’ – CCS provides the Virginia Tech community with stable, scalable and secure customer-focused systems, services and solutions.

CEMP - stands for 'Crisis and Emergency Management Plan,' which provides guidance for all university departments and personnel when responding to an emergency situation. Virginia Tech's CEMP addresses requirements set forth in Section 23-9.2:9, Code of Virginia, as well as in campus-wide continuity of operation plans and departmental emergency action plans. The current version of Virginia Tech's CEMP is located here.  

CI/CD - stands for 'Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery (or Deployment).' CI is the software engineering practice of regularly merging all developer working copies to a shared mainline, with a goal of catching problems early, and preventing massive integration headaches right before launch. CD is an approach where teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time. It aims at building, testing, and releasing software faster and more frequently. The difference between Delivery and Deployment is that in Continuous Delivery, pushing things up to PROD is a manual step, whereas in Continuous Deployment it is an automated step.

CMDB - stands for 'Configuration Management Database,' a software that contains all relevant information regarding the relationship between software components used in organizations IT infrastructure. 

CNR - stands for 'Critical Needs Request,' the university budgeting process that allows units of the university to request additional funds from Virginia Tech to support new and ongoing programs and initiatives. CNR requests are typically submitted each spring, and are then considered by Virginia Tech's executive leadership, eventually appearing (or not appearing) in the ABD.

CPACC - stands for ‘Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies.’ CPACC is a credential issued by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). The CPACC is IAAP’s fundamental certification, representing broad, cross-disciplinary conceptual knowledge about disabilities, accessibility and universal design, and accessibility-related standards, laws, and management strategies.

CPWA - stands for ‘Certified Professional in Web Accessibility,’ and is an IAAP credential for individuals who pass both the Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) and the Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS) exams.

CREST - stands for ‘Comprehensive Research Enterprise Solutions Team.' ­ CREST is a collaboration between the Office of Research and Innovation and the Division of Information Technology. Recently they worked to develop Summit, a new process for development of research proposals.

CRM - stands for 'Customer Relationship Management,' a type of software designed to help businesses manage customer data and interaction, access business information, and marketing and customer support and also manage employee vendor and partner relationships. Blackbaud CRM is currently being implemented by Enterprise Systems; in Advancement, Blackbaud is known as AIMS (the Advancement Information Management System).

CSG - stands for 'Common Solutions Group,' an organization formed in 1993 to bring together leaders of regional and national networks with ties to academia, and CIOs from leading academic institutions. The work of the group focused on defining next generation network applications and overcoming potential stumbling blocks to implementing those applications. Today, CSG includes representatives from nearly 500 U.S. institutions of higher education, university groups, and education-focused technology providers.

CUI - stands for ‘Controlled Unclassified Information’ - a category of unclassified categories issued in a directive on May 9, 2008, by President George W. Bush. CUI replaces categories such as For Official Use Only (FOUO), Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) and Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) categories.

CX - stands for 'Customer Experience.' When a company looks at CX, they are looking at how a customer percieves their brand and companhy as a whole. CX can be useful for strategic planning in business.

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DA - stands for 'Destination Areas' at Virginia Tech. An initiative of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, DAs are defined as transdisciplinary communities that work collaboratively to address complex problems that impact the human condition. These teams cross disciplinary boundaries to address challenges in rural health, infectious disease, coastal mitigation, brain health and development, and security.

DAS - stands for ‘Distributed Antenna System'; a network of antennas on campus that boost cellular signal strength to high-density areas on campus.

DBAA - stands for 'Database & Application Administration,' one of the ten subunits of Enterprise Systems. DBAA provides administration for various database technologies, enterprise vendor and VT-developed applications, web hosting, cloud services, and deployment technology.

DC - stands for 'Domain Controller.' It is a special server that acts as a gatekeeper to determine who can access which systems, applications, and data within a network, based on that user's credentials. You might compare the DC to a bouncer, verifying who is on 'the list' for various systems. Windows domain networks commonly use a DC within their Active Directory services.

DCSS - stands for ‘Departmental Computing Support Symposium’ – a biannual meeting hosted by the Division of IT and intended for sharing of information on a variety of IT initiatives taking place both within and outside the division.

DLP - stands for 'Data Loss Prevention,' and refers to a Microsoft 365 (M365) DLP Policy designed to prevent sensitive data from being sent or received without protection. A DLP policy might require sensitive data to be encrypted before it is sent, or just notify users about potentially sensitive content. For example, the Exchange DLP used at Virginia Tech provides Microsoft Outlook users with a warning message if it detects potentially sensitive data such as social security numbers or credit card information in the body of an email. 

DSAAP - stands for 'Data and System Access Automation Program,' the new name for the program which seeks to use identified job roles and functions combined with other data like department and relevant job attributes to automatically add or subtract user permissions.

DTR - stands for 'Docker Trusted Registry,' and is a resource in the Docker app development platform that allows users to store and manage Docker images securely, either on-premises or in a VPC (virtual private cloud, see below).

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EAP - stands for 'Emergency Action Plan,' and is a plan to address immediate life safety during an emergency. EAPs include instructions for evacuation, shelter-in-place, contacting first responders, and basic emergency procedures. All Virginia Tech departments have an EAP, which is managed and maintained by a designated EAP Coordinator.

EDR - stands for 'Endpoint Detection and Response,' a cybersecurity technique that monitors what has happened and what is currently happening on a desktop or laptop computer (a.k.a an "endpoint."). Cybersecurity staff use EDR to detect and mitigate threats.

EKS - stands for 'Elastic Kubernetes Service,' which is Amazon's managed service for running Kubernetes on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform. Kubernetes is an open-source system for orchestrating containers in a cloud environment. Containers are best described as a standardized package (little virtual computers) that contain an application and all its supporting files.

EO - stands for 'Exchange Online.' Exchange Online is Microsoft's cloud-based email service, and the email service provided to Virginia Tech students and employees.

EPO - stands for 'Emergency Power Off.' An Emergency Power Off (EPO) system is a control mechanism intended to power down a single piece of electronic equipment or up to an entire installation from a single point.

ERP - stands for 'Enterprise Resource Planning,' a class of software that helps in the management of business processes, and allows an organization to customize a system of integrated applications to automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources. For Virginia Tech, the ERP is Banner.

ES - stands for 'Enterprise Systems’ – Application Information Systems/Banner, Information Warehousing, Document Management Systems, Integration & Portal Services/My VT, Database Administration, Application Administration, Web Hosting.

ETF - stands for ‘equipment trust fund’ – short for the Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund, an annually allocated funding resource from the Virginia General Assembly. ETF funds are often used to purchase computers and equipment costing more than $500. ETF funds are for the purpose of supporting technology for research and discovery. The ETF is allocated by Virginia Tech's Office of Budget and Financial Planning through a request process that repeats on an annual basis.

EVPCOO - stands for 'executive vice president and chief operating officer' at Virginia Tech. The EVPCOO is responsible for the financial, administrative, physical, technological, and operational infrastructure of the university and leads these areas in support of its teaching, research, and outreach missions.

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FASTR - stands for 'Faculty and Staff Technology Resources.' This group within ITEE is responsible for serving the desktop support needs of personnel in NI&S, VPIT, STUNET, 4Help, ITEE, and users in AISB.

FERPA - stands for 'Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act' of 1974. This Federal law protects the privacy of student education records.

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GAE - stands for 'Google Auxiliary Email,' a second Google account that can be requested as a role account by a department for business reasons. This account must be sponsored by an existing GSFE user. Often confused with Google Apps for Education (GAFE).

GAFE - stands for 'Google Apps for Education,' but don't call it that anymore - and don't call it 'G Suite for Education' either, as Google changed the name yet again in early 2021 to 'Google Workspace for Education.' Google Workspace for Education includes Gmail, Meet (née Hangouts), Calendar, Groups, Google Plus, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, and Sites, and Classroom, and is available for all faculty, staff, and students at Virginia Tech.

GAL - stands for 'Global Address List.' The GAL is a searchable active directory containing all of the Outlook/Exchange email addresses within an organization. When users want to find a person in Outlook within the organization (e.g., Virginia Tech), they usually search the GAL. The list is created as a result of an LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol, see below) query to search for all mail-enabled objects.

GCP - stands for 'Google Cloud Platform,' which is Google's cloud computing environment, and one of three cloud environments availalbe to Virginia Tech uses, along wiht Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. 

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HIPAA - stands for the 'Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act' of 1996, which states that any information regarding a patient’s health cannot be shared without their permission.

HDMI - stands for 'High Definition Multimedia Interface,' which connects video and digital audio data from a source device (e.g., video display controller) to an output device (e.g., PC monitor, TV, etc.).

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IAAP - stands for ‘International Association of Accessibility Professionals.’ IAAP’s mission is to define, promote, improve, and diversify the accessibility profession globally through certification, education, and networking in order to enable the creation of accessible products, content, services, and environments. The IAAP website is at

IAM - means 'Identity and Access Management.' The purpose of IAM is to ensure that users have the right access to the right assets in an enterprise at the right time, according to that user's role with the organization. As such, IAM involves defining the access privileges for different roles, defining the roles of different users, and assigning/reassigning access based on changes to users' statuses, roles, and relationships with the organization.

IC - the 'Information Center' is the internal name for Virginia Tech’s 24/7/365 Information Center that serves as a point of contact for end users within and outside the university.

ICR - stands for 'Interdepartmental Communications Request,' the online form used by departmental communications liaisons to submit new telephone and network service requests to NI&S. Only authorized users can submit an ICR.

ICS - stands for 'Incident Command System,' and is a standardized, all-hazards management tool used by Virginia Tech Emergency Management to efficiently respond to and recover from a campus incident.

IMCS - stands for 'Identity Management Customer Support,' the group within SIS (Secure Identity Services) that manages Virginia Tech's digital identities and associated information for Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students (including but not limited to name, date of birth, ID number, PID, and affiliations).

IMT - stands for 'Incident Management Team' at Virginia Tech. The IMT consists of experts and leaders across the university who are tasked with and trained to address emergency incidents that affect the campus community, disrupt operations, and/or require innovative and novel solutions. The VT IMT has existed in its current format since 2014, and meets as needed to address incidents. The IMT has been meeting continuously since March 2020 to address the university's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

INB - stands for 'Internet Native Banner,' and refers to the parts of the Banner ERP that are used exclusively by certain employees to manage administrative functions at the university and to provide services to the university community. This is in contrast to the SSB (self-service banner, see below), which is used by students and other members of the campus community to access services and account information. INB was based on Oracle Forms and Java Applets and has been replaced by Banner Admin Pages within Banner 9.

IOC - stands for 'Indicator of Compromise' in a cybersecurity context. An IOC is the piece of evidence or forensic data on a machine or network that indicates a security breach. An IOC may be a file, IP address, change in the usual pattern of activity, or another artifact that points to the attack or attempted attack. 

ITC - stands for 'IT Council,' the group of distributed IT directors and leads that meets regularly to discuss ideas and needs and to interface with the Division of IT in a coordinated fashion. Not to be confused with ITAC, which stands for IT Advisory Council, the committee within the Division that is dedicated to receiving and sharing employee feedback.

ITEE - stands for 'IT Experience & Engagement' – ITEE is focused on collaboratively evolving and actively ensuring a high quality user experience when interacting with the Division of Information Technology. ITEE serves as the “front door” for users across the university, providing support and coordination of activities. ITEE also works closely with Division units to continuously review and improve the user experience. Previously referred to as 'ITE²'.

ITRA - stands for ‘IT Risk Assessment’ – a tool provided by the IT Security Office to enable departments to correlate IT resources with mission critical processes and services. They can then use that information to suss out the consequences of potential disruptions, as well as to generate plans to eliminate or ameliorate risks.

ITIL - stands for the 'Information Technology Infrastructure Library,' an initiative for providing best practices across all university IT services.

ITSM - stands for 'IT Service Management' and refers to all the activities involved in designing, creating, delivering, supporting and managing IT services.

ITSO - stands for 'Information Technology Security Office’ – The Information Technology Security Office and Lab focus on education and research in computer and network security. We provide tools and services, awareness, and guidance to help Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students to work towards a safe and secure IT environment for teaching, learning, research, outreach, and the conduct of university business.

ITT - stands for 'IT Transformation,' which is a program focused on strengthening IT across Virginia Tech. Launched in February of 2022, the program aims to increase alignment of core IT organizations, processes, and services; build a stronger culture of collaboration; foster innovation and efficiency across the university; enable comprehensive shared governance; reduce cybersecurity-related risks; and improve career pathways and support for IT professionals.

ITTPO - stands for 'IT Transformation Program Office.' The ITTPO leads the day-to-day activities of the IT Transformation initiative and has members from several units across Virginia Tech's administrative enterprise.

ITTSC - stands for 'IT Transformation Steering Committee.' The ITTSC provides guidance and strategic direction to the ITT program,and members of the committee serve as program advocates within their respective college, unit, or university areas.

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JNDI - stands for 'Java Naming and Directory Interface,' a Java API for a directory service that allows Java software clients to find and look up data and resources (in the form of Java objects) by name. JNDI is frequently used to connect Java applications to external databases or servers.

JSON - stands for 'Java Script Object Notation,' – a plain-text format for storing and sending data between computers and/or web servers.

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KPI - stands for 'Key Performance Indicator,' a quantitative measure used to evaluate project performance against expected results.

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LAA - stands for the 'Log Archiving and Analysis' project. It will provide a comprehensive, university-wide, service for collecting, analyzing, and archiving log events.

LDAP - stands for 'Lightweight Directory Access Protocol,' an open, vendor-neutral application protocol that is an industry standard for accessing and maintaining distributed directory information services over an IP (internet protocol) network.

LED – stands for 'Learning Experience Design,' a group within TLOS that offers services and support for course design and development to faculty.

LMS - stands for 'Learning Management System,' and refers to any number of software applications designed to administer, deliver, and track educational or training courses. Virginia Tech has used the Canvas LMS since 2015 for student and professional development courses. The PageUp LMS was added in 2020 for human resources-related employee training and development.

LOA - stands for 'Level of Assurance' and refers to the degree of confidence that a credential used to access an account, information, or other asset is being presented by the authentic user. In other words, LOA tells us how sure we are that you are who you say you are. Different LOAs are required to access different assets. For example, entering a brewery's website will require a low LOA (just tell us you're 21 and you're in), whereas accounts with access to highly consequential information (e.g., HIPAA or FERPA protected data) require a high LOA, including but not limited to multi-factor authentication, hardware tokens, or other measures.

LTI - stands for 'Learning Tools Interoperability,' and is a specification developed by the IMS (Instructional Management System) Global Consortium to standardize the way external learning tools (apps) integrate with an LMS (learning management system, see above) such as Canvas. One example of an LTI app is iClicker, which when used can send clicker scores directly into a Canvas gradebook.

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M365 - stands for 'Microsoft 365,' and is the new name for what used to be Office 365. According to Microsoft, they changed the name "to be more reflective of the range of features and benefits in the subscription, to meet the unique needs of individuals and businesses."

MFA - stands for 'Multifactor Authentication," which includes 2-factor authentication but also can include more than 2 factors.

MVP - stands for Minimum Viable Product, an approach to product development that aims to maximize return on investment by releasing a product with the minimum amount or level of features necessary to provide value to early adopters. The idea is that early adopters will benefit from the product while providing feedback that the creator can use to improve subsequent versions of the product. Meanwhile, the creator is able to put a product to market more quickly at a lower initial cost.

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NFT - stands for 'Non-Fungible Token.' An NFT is a special kind of cryptocurrency that serves as a unique identifier to another digital artifact, such as a piece of art, music file, or video game. An NFT is meant to add a level of scarcity, uniqueness, or authenticity to the item, similar to a certificate of authenticity from an art appraiser, or the label inside a violin. NFTs are by design non-interchangeable and resistant to modification.

NI&S - stands for 'Network Infrastructure and Services’ – NI&S exists to enable Virginia Tech to succeed in its overall mission by providing and managing the university's information technology infrastructure and services

NLI – stands for 'Networked Learning Initiatives,' a group within TLOS that offers professional development and training opportunities designed to foster technology integration and increase digital fluency for faculty, staff, and students. NLI also administers the Faculty Computer Refresh Program. 

NOC - 'Network Operations Center' took calls to 231-6780 for network issues, university telephony, and campus cable television - this center operated under the Information Center, however, it is no longer active.

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OCIO - stands for 'Office of the Chief Information Officer,' and is the new name for the Division of IT group formerly known as 'Administration and Planning,' or A&P.  

OCSP - stands for 'Online Certificate Status Protocol,' an internet protocol used for obtaining the revocation status of an X.509 digital certificate. It is described in Request for Comments (RFC) 6960 and is on the Internet standards track.

OEA - stands for the 'Office for Equity and Accessibility,' which houses the offices of ADA and Accessibility Services, Affirmative Action, Conflict Resolution, Harassment and Discrimination, and Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act. Collectively, these units coordinate and support civil rights compliance and offer resources to address workplace conflicts.

OTR - stands for 'Off-the-Record Messaging,' a cryptographic protocol that provides encryption for instant messaging conversations.

OST - stands for 'Operations and Services Team,' within the Virginia Tech Division of Information Technology. The OST is a subset of the SLT (senior leadership team) that includes the directors of the ten Division of IT units, plus the VPIT & CIO (see below).

OU - stands for ‘Organizational Unit’ - a subdivision within the Microsoft Active Directory into which you can place users, groups, computers, and other organizational units. Organizational units at Virginia Tech usually mirror the organization's functional/business structure.

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PAM - stands for 'privileged access management.' In an enterprise environment, PAM is a term used to designate systems that grant special access or abilities above and beyond that of a standard user. It is based upon the “principle of least privilege,” where users are given the absolute minimum access necessary to complete their responsibilities.

PDN - stands for 'Professional Development Network,' a professional development program administered by TLOS, which offers Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and graduate students access to technology, knowledge, and resources for enhancing digital fluency and improving teaching and learning. 

PHI - stands for 'Protected Health Information,' which includes any past, present and future information generated or received by a healthcare provider, employer, school, or life insurance/health insurance company. This information is protected under HIPAA. 

PKCE -  (pronounced 'pixie') stands for 'Proof Key for Code Exchange,' a method that can be combined with OAuth2 and OIDC (OpenID Connect) to authenticate users without an application key.

PKIX - stands for 'Public Key Infrastructure' (X.509), which defines the framework for the processes and collaborations used to support public key technology on the Internet. The framework has been coordinated by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

PSAPs - stands for 'Public Safety Answering (or Access) Points.' These are call centers that answer calls made to emergency services and dispatch the appropriate response team based on information provided by the caller. 

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RACI - stands for ‘responsible, accountable, consulted, informed’ – this mnemonic is helpful in clarifying responsibilities in cross-functional/departmental projects, and describes participation by people in various roles.

RBAC - stands for 'Role-Based Access Control,' a method of regulating access to computer/network resources based on the roles of individual users within an enterprise. 

RBTC - stands for 'Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council,' a membership-based association working to promote the growth of the Roanoke-Blacksburg technology community.

Red team/blue team - in cybersecurity defense testing, the 'red team' is charged with trying to penetrate a system to expose its vulnerabilities. The 'blue team' fortifies and maintains the system's defenses to protect against would-be attackers. Red teams and blue teams will work together to identify potential weaknesses and develop appropriate solutions to minimize security risk.

RDP - stands for 'Remote Desktop Protocol,' and is one technical standard used to access one computer from another. It allows a user to operate a desktop or laptop machine (client) from a separate machine over a network. Using RDP can allow authorized individuals to access an organization's resources while off-site.

RFO - stands for 'Reason For Outage' and is an incident report that attempts to briefly outline the timeline of the outage, the root cause of failure, a description of what happened, actions taken toward resolution, and future prevention.

RITM - stands for 'Request Item' in ServiceNow. Each distinct requestable item in our ServiceNow interface gets a stable RITM number that allows usage of the item to be tracked and connects users with information specific to that request.

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SAML2 - stands for 'Security Assertion Markup Language,' an XML-based standard for communicating identity information between organizations. It is used to enable secure transmittal of authentication tokens and other user attributes across Internet domains.

SAMS - stands for 'Scheduling and Maintenance of Services,' a group collaboration by service owners in the Division of IT to identify synergies and conflicts in service maintenance, and to populate a calendar for scheduled maintenance of IT systems and services at Virginia Tech. Division of IT employees can see what’s on the SAMS calendar here

SIS - stands for 'Secure Identity Services. 'SIS is responsible for supporting Virginia Tech’s online identity management and authentication processes. SIS provides secure access to information resources, and supports robust web applications, middleware, online directories, and authentication technologies that integrate with teaching, learning, research, and outreach services throughout the university.

SLA - stands for 'Service Level Agreement,' an official commitment or contract between service providers and clients. In an SLA, aspects of a service like uptime, quality, availability, service and communication responsibilities are described and agreed upon.

SNI - stands for 'Server Name Identification,' an extension to the Transport Layer Security (TSL) protocol that ensures that a client connects to the correct domain (website) on a server that hosts multiple domains.

SOC - stands for 'Security Operations Center,' a centralized unit that deals with security issues on an organizational and technical level.

SPA- stands for 'Student Personal Access' as in the "SPA" part of Hokie SPA. This is the SSB (self-service banner, see below) portion of our ERP (enterprise resource planning, see above), in which students can access course registration, Hokie Passport services, Hokie Wallet, financial aid information, etc;, and employees can access W-2s, paystubs, and other personal information.

SRAR - stands for 'Self Reported Academic Record,' a tool that puts VT applicants in the "driver's seat" during the application process. Allows applicants to self-report their coursework, grades, and test scores and it replaces transcripts in the application review process.  

SRE - stands for 'site reliability engineering,' or a set of principles and practices that incorporates aspects of software engineering and applies them to IT infrastructure and operations. The main objectives are to create highly reliable and scalable software systems.

SRS - stands for 'Software Requirements Specification,' a document that describes the functional and user interface requirements of a software under development. An SRS helps to ensure that new software is designed and developed in a usable, functional, and cost-effective manner. The SRS can also serve as a communication tool between developers and the customer or users by providing guidelines for design, testing, and ongoing refinement of the software.

SSB - stands for 'Self-service Banner' and refers to parts of the Banner ERP available to those using or receiving services at the university, i.e., most of the members of the campus community. This is the side of Banner opposite to INB (internet native Banner, see above), which is used by those providing services and/ or managing business operations at the university. Hokie SPA is an example of SSB. 

SSD - stands for 'Services for Students with Disabilities,' the department provides numerous accommodations, services, and resources for students with disabilities and temporary injuries or illnesses.

SVG - stands for 'Scalable Vector Graphics,' an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation.

SWOT - stands for ‘Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats’ – a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of a project or business venture. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a company, product, place, industry, or person.

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TLOS - stands for 'Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies' – TLOS serves the Virginia Tech community by working with faculty to design effective learning experiences, providing training to enhance digital fluency, and supporting innovative learning environments in traditional, distance, and hybrid courses.

TL;DR - 'Too long, didn’t read.'..often prefaces a summary of the key points in a long explanation.

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UAS - stands for 'Unix Administration Services' which supports UNIX/Linux-based hardware and operating systems for administrative applications (such as Banner and the Enterprise Data Warehouse), instructional applications (such as Scholar), and research applications within ARC and other university organizations.

UD - stands for ‘Universal Design.’ The term coined by Ronald Mace is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities.

UDL - stands for 'Universal Design for Learning.'  UDL is a research-based and proactive approach to teaching and learning offering flexibility in supporting learner variability. The UDL framework fosters flexible methods, materials, and assessments to achieve individualized instructional goals.

UEM - stands for 'Unified Endpoint Management.' UEM allows us to configure, manage and monitor devices of different types while also technically applying critical security controls in a centralized, standardized fashion.

UID - stands for a 'Unique Identifier.' It is a numeric or alphanumeric string that is associated with a single entity within a given system.

UPN - stands for ‘User Principal Name’ – in Windows, the User Principal Name (UPN) is the name of a system user in an e-mail address format. The username is followed by the ‘@’ sign followed by the name of the Internet domain with which the user is associated. 

UX - stands for 'User Experience,' a design concept that focuses on developing a deep understanding of user needs, abilities, limitations, and what they value, while also taking into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project.

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VFI - stands for 'Video for Instruction,' which is the name of the TLOS project that rolled out Zoom and Kaltura as replacements for WebEx and Echo360 in 2018.

VPC - stands for 'Virtual Private Cloud,' which refers to a network or set of shared resources that are stored on the public cloud, but that are only accessible by authorized users, as though that network or set of shared resources resides in its own isolated, private cloud. 

VPIT & CIO - stands for 'Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer,' who is the person who leads the Division of IT at Virginia Tech, and is the primary person responsible for advising and supporting the Office of the President on information technology matters. The current VPIT & CIO is Sharon Pitt, who has served in this role since 2024.

VPPG - stands for 'Vice President for Policy and Governance.' The VPPG's office provides strategic guidance and direct support to the university’s Board of Visitors, administers the university-wide system of shared governance, oversees a coordinated enterprise-wide policy management program that supports Virginia Tech and its missions, and is the official repository for all university policies.

VME - stands for 'Virtual Machine Environments' - it provides the Virginia Tech community with stable, scalable and secure Windows and Linux virtualized customer-facing systems.

VT-ARC - stands for 'Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation,' which is a non-profit organization affiliated with the university that conducts research focused on national security, technological innovation, and advancing global welfare. Not to be confused with 'ARC,' which is the Advanced Research Computing unit within the Division of IT.

VTOC - the 'Virginia Tech Operations Center' was a call center where operators took initial calls to 231-4357/4Help - this center operated under the Information Center, however, it is no longer active.

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W3C - stands for ‘World Wide Web Consortium.’ W3C is an international community that works together to develop and update standards for all things that function on the web. These include standards for web design, languages such as HTML and CSS, audiovisual elements of the web, and standards for accessibility and privacy.

WAI - stands for ‘Web Accessibility Initiative,’ a W3C initiative that produces standards, guidelines, and support materials to help web developers and designers build and update their websites, apps, and tools to be accessible by all users, including those who use assistive technologies.

WAS - stands for ‘Web Accessibility Specialist.’ The WAS, like the Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC), is a credential issued by the IAAP; however, the WAS is geared towards web developers and other individuals who have more detailed technical knowledge about the WCAG guidelines and other related web accessibility topics.

WCAG - stands for ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.’ Developed through the W3C with contributions from other organizations and individuals, the WCAG contains a series of documents that explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.

WFH - stands for 'work(ing) from home.'

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XACML - (pronounced "Zack MAAL") stands for 'Extensible Access Control Markup Language,' which is a general-purpose access control policy language that organizations use to define, describe, and control how their systems can be accessed.

XMPP - stands for 'Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol,' a communications protocol for near-real-time exchange of message-oriented middleware between network entities.

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