Hello and welcome back to our series on the most important, common, and frequently-used abbreviations that business owners need to know in 2024. In our previous article on this topic, we covered 12 acronyms that business owners absolutely must be familiar with in order to not only survive in 2024 but to thrive.

Do you need to know the ins and outs of IT, down to the bits and bytes? No, of course not! But you do need to at least know the basics, so you can analyze your business needs and communicate those to your IT team, whether they’re an internal business unit, an outsourced partner, or a series of partners.

Without further ado, here are 12 more IT-related abbreviations that you absolutely should know as a business owner in 2024.

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): IaaS, as we’ve covered before in previous articles is a cloud computing service model that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. Basically, it allows you to leverage the infrastructure put in place by the likes of Microsoft and Amazon. IaaS is important for business owners to access scalable infrastructure, reduce capital expenses, and increase operational flexibility as it allows you to use a bigger resource pool without having to directly invest in the fixed cost such infrastructure would entail.
  • MSP (Managed Service Provider): Everybody should know what a Managed Service Provider is in 2024. An MSP (like us!) is an IT company comprised of IT experts that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure, either piecemeal or comprehensively. Like IaaS, partnering with an MSP can help business owners offload IT management tasks, reduce costs, and access expert support without taking on huge fixed costs.
  • MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication): MFA or multi-factor authentication is an essential IT security protocol in 2024. You’ve definitely used MFA to sign into a vendor website or to transfer money between bank accounts. MFA strengthens security by requiring more than one method of authentication to verify user identity, usually via email or text. Considering how common remote and hybrid work schedules have become, MFA is crucial for business owners with in-house and external staff to enhance security, protect against unauthorized access, and safeguard sensitive data. 81% of breaches are caused by weak or stolen passwords – stopping these breaches is the reason MFA exists.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): Like IaaS, PaaS is a computing service model that provides a platform for developing, running, and managing applications by utilizing an existing platform to build applications on top of. PaaS is beneficial as it allows business owners to streamline application development, reduce time-to-market, and lower infrastructure costs.
  • RPA (Robotic Process Automation): Robots are everywhere – we just don’t notice them that much. RPA is the utilization and deployment of software robots to automate repetitive tasks – kind of like AI. RPA is vital for business owners to increase efficiency, reduce errors, and free up employees to focus on higher-value activities. It basically gives your humans more time and energy to do more important things.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): If you’re unfamiliar with SaaS in 2024 as a business owner, you’re in big trouble. SaaS (like PaaS and IaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a service provider and accessed over the internet, allowing businesses to leverage larger infrastructure and more complex software without investing in the creation of said software. SaaS is essential for business owners to access software applications easily anywhere on Earth, reduce upfront costs of software development, and improve collaboration between disparate teams and business units across the globe.
  • SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle): A bit more of a niche term, but still relevant to many businesses, SDLC is a formalized process for planning, creating, testing, and deploying software. Considering how many companies have some mobile application or other software-specific product related to their business, SDLC is important for business owners to manage software development projects effectively, ensure quality, and minimize risks by creating an easily understood, easily measured process. Implementing SDLC can lead to a 60% reduction in software defects, saving tons of resources that would be deployed to fix issues.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): How does Google determine who shows up at the top of the page? That’s SEO, baby. SEO is the optimizing of a website to increase its visibility in search engine results pages. SEO knowledge is crucial for business owners to improve website rankings, attract organic traffic, and enhance online visibility. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, which really shows just how important SEO is to winning new customers online.
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing): Similar to SEO, but more direct. SEM is a form of direct marketing where you market your company through paid advertising via search engines like Google or Bing. The sponsored results you get when you search for a product is SEM. SEM is absolutely essential for business owners – without SEM you’ll have lower website visibility, less targeted traffic, and generate fewer leads through paid advertising campaigns. Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on Google Ads, so yeah, it’s worth it.
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement): An SLA is simply the agreement between a service provider and a customer that specifies the exact level of service expected. They usually involve very specific language that outlines exactly what the responsibilities of the service provider have with regard to the client. SLAs are crucial for business owners to define service expectations, ensure accountability, and manage vendor relationships. A study found that companies with formal SLAs in place have a 286% higher success rate in service delivery sources. Check out our article on this topic if you want to learn more about SLAs and what should be in them.
  • SOC (Security Operations Center): An SOC is a unit that deals with security issues on an organizational and technical level. Establishing a robust SOC is vital for business owners to monitor, detect, and respond to cybersecurity incidents, protecting their business from threats. The average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million, so having a SOC to handle your organization’s security all from one place is crucial for a successful business these days.
  • SSO (Single Sign-On): SSO is a process that allows a user to access multiple applications with one set of credentials, essentially unifying all of your users’ accounts through one sign-on. Anyone who has had employees knows how important it is to make it easy for your workers to be able to easily access all the important applications relevant to their success. SSO is important for business owners to simplify user access, improve security, and enhance user experience. Implementing SSO can reduce password-related help desk calls by up to 50% – so it’s pretty obvious that it’s worth implementing for organizations of any size.

Check-in with us next time as we go deeper on our list and delve into even more arcane areas of IT that you still need to know about if you want your business to succeed in a world that gets more competitive by the day.