Not sure what a word or encryption term means? You might find it here. If that isn’t enough, check our white papers and fact sheets for more information. Of course, you are always welcome to contact us and one of our technical experts will be happy to help you.

The following glossary of terms is provided to help clarify the meaning of key data transmission security, data networks and data encryption terms.

Encryption Terms Explained

AES 256

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is an encryption algorithm for securing sensitive but unclassified material by US Government agencies, and may eventually become the default encryption standard for commercial transactions.

The number ‘256’ refers to the key size, the highest used with AES which implies the highest level of security.


A security measure designed to verify the identity of a transmission, user, user device, entity or data.


A positive declaration to inspire confidence or certainty in ability.

Big Data

Large amounts of structured and unstructured data that require machine-based systems and technologies in order to be fully analysed.


The classification of data for which unauthorised disclosure/use could cause serious damage to an organisation or individual.


The science of information security. A method of making information secure, also known as the art of writing and/or solving codes.


The quantities, characters, or symbols on which operations are performed by a computer, which may be stored and transmitted in the form of electrical signals and recorded on magnetic, optical, or mechanical recording media.

Data Encryption Keys

Keys (see ‘Key’) used with encryption algorithms to apply confidentiality protection to information. See ‘Encryption’.

Data in motion

Data in motion (also known as data in transit) is literally information that is moving through a telecommunications network.

For example, if you’re sending an e-mail, that e-mail is classified as data in motion between the time it leaves the computers’ Local Area network (LAN) and the time the recipient receives it at a remote location in the Wide Area Network (WAN).


Term for extracting original information that has been encrypted back to its original un-encrypted form.


The process of converting data into a cipher or code in order to prevent unauthorised use. Encryption obfuscates data in such a manner that a specific algorithm and key are required to interpret the cipher or code. See ‘Key’.


A physical and data link layer technology for local area networks (LANs). Higher level network protocols like Internet Protocol (IP) use Ethernet as their transmission medium.

Fibre Channel

A highly-reliable, gigabit interconnect technology that allows concurrent communications among workstations, mainframes, servers, data storage systems, and other peripherals using SCSI and IP protocols. It provides interconnect systems for multiple topologies that can scale to a total system bandwidth at a terabit per second.

Fibre Optic

Refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmissions of information as light impulses along a glass or plastic wire or fibre. Fibre optic wire carries much more information than conventional copper wire and is far less subject to electromagnetic interference.


A security protocol that provides authentication and encryption over the Internet. IPsec works at layer 3 and secures everything in the network, and has wide industry support for virtual private networks (VPNs) on the Internet.


The accuracy and completeness of information and assets and the authenticity of transactions.


A special piece of data used for encryption and/or decryption. Due to modern encryption automation, keys are not humanly readable and typically look like alphanumeric gibberish to people.

A computerised random number generator chooses the bits of the key in such a way that it cannot be predicted. The keys are binary values that may be interpretable as the codes for text strings, or they may be arbitrary numbers.

The purpose of encryption is to prevent unauthorised access to data while it is either in storage or being transmitted.

Key Management

The activities involving the handling of encryption keys and other related security parameters (e.g., passwords) during the entire life cycle of the encryption keys, including their generation, storage, establishment, entry and output, and destruction. For more information, visit our key management page.


Stands for ‘Local Area Network’, a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link.

Layer 2

Also known as the ‘data link layer’ in the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model of computer networking.

The data link layer is the protocol layer that transfers data between adjacent network nodes in a wide area network or between nodes on the same local area network segment.

The data link layer provides the functional and procedural means to transfer data between network entities, and might provide the means to detect and possibly correct errors that may occur in the physical layer.

Examples of data link protocols include Ethernet for local area networks.


All associated information technology equipment and media creating electronic transmission between and among any information sources and resource(s), such as wired, optical, wireless, IP, synchronous serial, telephony, etc. devices.


To render indistinct, to obscure, to perplex or bewilder.


Stands for ‘Storage Area Network’. A high-speed special-purpose network (or sub-network) that interconnects different kinds of data storage devices with associated data servers on behalf of a larger network of users.


Small Computer System Interface. A set of standard electronic interfaces that allow personal computers to communicate with peripheral hardware such as disk drives, CD-ROM drives, printers etc. more quickly and flexibly than previous interfaces.

Sensitive Information

Information that requires special precautions to protect it from unauthorised access, modification, use or deletion. Sensitive information may be either public or confidential.

It is information that requires a higher than normal assurance of accuracy, privacy and completeness.

Sensitivity is also related to how the information could be exploited by an unauthorised party. The controlling factor for sensitive information is that of integrity.


Simple Network Management Protocol. A widely-used network monitoring and control protocol.


Synchronous Optical networks. A fibre-optic transmission system for high-speed digital traffic. Employed by telephone companies and common carriers, speeds range from 51 Mbps to 40 Gbps.


Secure Socket Layer. The leading security protocol on the Internet. Developed by Netscape, SSL is widely used to do two things: to validate the identity of a web site and to create an encrypted connection for sending credit card and other personal data.

Look for a lock icon at the top or bottom of your browser when you order merchandise on the Web. If the lock is closed, you are on a secure SSL or TLS connection. See ‘TLS’.


Transmission Control Protocol. A set of rules (protocol) used along with the Internet Protocol (IP) to send data in the form of message units between computers over the Internet.

While IP takes care of handling the actual delivery of the data, TCP takes care of keeping track of the individual units of data (called packets) that a message is divided into for efficient routing through the Internet.


Transport Layer Security. A protocol that ensures privacy between communicating applications and their users on the Internet.

When a server and client communicate, TLS ensures that no third party may eavesdrop or tamper with any message.

TLS is the successor to the Secure Sockets Layer. See ‘SSL’.

Virtual Encryption

Virtual network encryption allows encryption of virtual network traffic between virtual machines that communicate with each other within sub-nets marked as ‘Encryption Enabled.’ For more details, visit our virtual encryption product page.


Virtual Local Area Network. A local area network with a definition that maps workstations on some other basis than geographic location (for example, by department, type of user, or primary application).


Voice over Internet Protocol. An IP telephony term for a set of facilities used to manage the delivery of voice information over the Internet. VoIP involves sending voice information in digital form in discrete packets rather than by using the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the public switched telephone network.


Virtual Private Local Area Network Service. A technology that makes it possible to connect local area networks (LANs) over the Internet, so that they appear to subscribers like a single Ethernet LAN.


Virtual Private Network. A network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organisation’s network.


Stands for Wide Area Network. A geographically dispersed telecommunications network. The term distinguishes a broader telecommunication structure from a local area network. See ‘LAN’.