ITIL Terminology

Our Growing List of ITIL Related Terms

It is early days, but we have started with a selection of terms beginning with the letter H:

An electronic exchange of signals between items of equipment (computers, fax machines, etc.,) to establish that each has the necessary protocols installed to allow communication. A handshake is sometimes used to also confirm identities so that transmissions are routed to the correct destination. An extension of this is the 'Challenge Handshake' that is a demand for proof of identity and authorization. 

Hose and Close 
An off-putting practice of some Help Desk staff. In response to a question from a user, the staff member responds with a deluge of technobabble nonsense (which the user cannot understand), issues a series of abstruse command instructions (which the user cannot follow), and then hangs up before the user can request for a more simple explanation. The staff can then mark another tick on the 'support provided' sheet. Happily, there are a growing number of help desks which do communicate in plain language. 

Routine care of a computer or IT system to ensure that it is kept running in the most efficient manner. Housekeeping will normally include: routines to delete items such as temporary files, identify and remove duplicates, check the integrity of the disks and so on. Housekeeping should not be restricted to just the main computer system, but is useful for PCs and laptops.

Hot Desking 
An approach to working whereby staff do not have their own dedicated facilities, but share them with others. In other words, there are fewer desks and computers than there are staff. Two kinds of scenario are common :- 
1. Call centers and similar functions which run 24x7 on shifts. As one staff member logs off and leaves, another takes over, logging on with a new ID.
2. Field staff such as sales representatives check in to base to complete paperwork, upload files, and so on. Such staff will use any desk that happens to be free. 

Hardware Inventory 
A 'Master Hardware Inventory' is a detailed list of all hardware owned by the organization, showing, amongst other things make, model, specifications, cost, location, and asset reference number. 
A 'Unit Hardware Inventory' is a detailed list of hardware in order of user. This sheet may be used for audit checks to confirm that any given user still has the equipment detailed and no unauthorized additions or removals have been made. 


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  • This Journal is produced by a small group of unpaid enthusiasts, from the US, UK and Europe. Our plans focus upon the creation of a hub for technical newsletters across the whole spectrum of topics within our scope (which includes ITSM and IT Governance). This section is dedicated to ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library.

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