When describing the IT systems they build and manage, IT professionals use three words to describe their systems (or at least they try to build systems that can be described with these three):
Reliable systems are available whenever users need them. Internet services providers, web hosting companies, and similar network vendors will describe their “up time” and report it as a percentage. A company that claims 99% up time suggest their system is more reliable than one with 98% up time. User who find they can always connect their devices to the school network wherever they are on campus and whenever they attempt to connect with conclude the network is reliable.
Robust networks are those that have sufficient data rate or bandwidth so that packets are delivered so that users experience no latency. Latency is “slowness” of network services. While latency can sometimes result from the nature of users’ devices, it is most often the result of users requesting more data than can be delivered by the network in the time available.
Secure networks will allow users to access the information and use the services for which they are authorized, and restrict them from information and services they are not authorized. Secure network also prevent threats (from physical threats to malware threats) from accessing and damaging data. Security also includes plans for restoring information and service when threats do interfere with access.