Curious if "cybersecurity" should be one word or two? Want to know how we feel about ordinal numbers? Are your fingers crossed that we are very much against using "utilize"? Look no further than our Varonis glossary.
affect: Affect is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change. Effect is usually a noun — an effect is the result of a change. For example:
- Congress will pass a law that will greatly affect the cybersecurity industry.
- The new law will go into effect tomorrow.
all-hands meeting: “All-hands meeting” or “all-hands” upon second use is acceptable for internal use only. Do not capitalize in copy unless at the beginning of a sentence. Always hyphenate “all-hands”.
ampersand (&): The preferred use in copy is “and” rather than “&” because ampersands attract attention to the least important part of the sentence. Exceptions can be made for headers, social media posts, email subject lines or instances in which character counts are limited. Do use ampersands when they are part of a company’s name.
antivirus: One word, lowercased.
around: Not a synonym for “about.” Example: “We had about 25 participants” is correct.
battlecard: One word, lowercased.
black hat: Two words, lowercased. Capitalize only when referring to the Black Hat conference.
blast radius: Two words, lowercase, unless it’s used at the beginning of a sentence.
bitcoin: One word, lowercase. Only capitalize if it is in the title of a webinar or the first word to start a sentence.
bullets: Begin each bullet with a capital letter. If a bullet is a complete sentence, end with a period. If the bullet is a fragment, do not punctuate. Please be consistent and use either all sentences within a bullet structure or all fragments.
citations: When referencing industry articles, research, journals, etc. in product content (e.g., whitepapers, data sheets, blog posts), please follow The Chicago Manual of Style rules for citations.
composition titles: Rather than italicizing the titles of books, movies, or other compositions, use quotation marks.
compound words: The words below do not need a hyphen and should be spelled as one word:
co- prefix: When using this prefix for the following, treat the word as one single word:
When using this prefix for the following, treat the words as one word, hyphenated:
copy edit: Two words for both noun and verb forms, no hyphen required.
COVID-19: When referring specifically to the virus, the COVID-19 virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are acceptable, as is simply the coronavirus.
But, because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a virus called COVID-19.
Also incorrect are usages such as COVID-19 spreads through the air; scientists are investigating how long COVID-19 may remain on surfaces; she worries about catching COVID-19. In each of those, it should be the coronavirus, not COVID-19.
The shortened form COVID is acceptable if necessary for space in headlines, and in direct quotations and proper names.
CRUDS: Our permissions acronym meaning “create, read, update, delete, share.”
cryptocurrency: One word, lowercase.
cryptomining: One word, lowercase. Only capitalize if it is in the title of a webinar or the first word to start a sentence.
cyberattack: One word, lowercase. Only capitalize if it is in the title of a webinar or the first word to start a sentence.
cybercrime/cybercriminal: One word, lowercase. Only capitalize if it is in the title of a webinar or the first word to start a sentence.
cyber insurance: Two lowercased words. Only capitalize if it is in the title of a webinar or the first word to start a sentence.
cyber kill chain: Three separate words. Example: “The cyber kill chain is a series of steps that trace stages of a cyberattack from the early reconnaissance stages to the exfiltration of data. The kill chain helps us understand and combat ransomware, security breaches and advanced persistent attacks (APTs).”
cybersecurity: One word, lowercase c unless it’s used at the beginning of a sentence.
cyberspace: One word, lowercase c unless it’s used at the beginning of a sentence.
cyber threat: Two lowercased words.
data-centric: One hyphenated word.
data first: Two words, no hyphen unless it functions as a modifier. Example: “We take a data-first approach.”
datasheet: One word, lowercased.
deep dive: Always two words.
Data Privacy Day: Data Privacy Day is an international event that occurs every January 28. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. It is currently observed in the United States, Canada, Israel and 47 European countries. Capitalize all three words.
directions and regions: Follow the AP style guide format: lowercase compass directions and capitalize regions. For example:
- The hurricane moved north toward the Gulf Coast.
- I live to the west of Detroit Michigan.
- The West Coast has beautiful scenery.
- Settlers moved into the West.
ecosystem: Always one word.
email: Always one word, lowercase. Not “e-mail.”
exciting: Try to limit the number of times the word “exciting” is used in content. Typically an overused word, “thrilling,” “new,” “interesting,” etc. can all be used as sporadic synonyms.
exclamation points: Use sparingly. Ask yourself if they are needed. Never use double exclamation points in copy.
Read our latest threat research on an MFA bypass technique on a major cloud platform.
Read our latest threat research! It’s about an MFA bypass technique on a major cloud platform!!
farther/further: Use “farther” when referring to something tangibly measurable. Example: “We walked farther down the street to the park.” Use “further” when referring to something non-measurable. Example: “We are further along in our process than expected.”
formulate: Preference is to use the word “form” rather than “formulate” for easier readability.
healthcare: Always one word.
incident response: Lowercase unless it is part of someone’s job title or the name of a team. Example: The Varonis Incident Response Team.
IaaS: Stands for “infrastructure as a service.”
internet: Always lowercase.
Kerberos: A computer network security protocol that authenticates service requests between two or more trusted hosts across an untrusted network, such as the internet. Kerberos should be capitalized.
knowledge base: Two words, not one.
like: Like: Avoid using as a synonym for “such as” in sentences.
“Varonis works with SaaS applications such as Salesforce and OneDrive” would be preferable.
Like can be used when comparing similar items or describing affection:
“The ease of implementing Varonis was like the ease of flipping on a light switch.” is correct.
“I like how easy it is to navigate the Varonis Data Security Platform.” is correct.
least privilege: Two lowercase words, never hyphenated.
Example: “Varonis helps you manage your data to a least privilege model.”
“The principle of least privilege states that only the minimum access necessary to perform an operation should be granted.”
MITRE ATT&CK: Is a globally-accessible knowledge base of adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations. The ATT&CK knowledge base is used as a foundation for the development of specific threat models and methodologies in the private sector, in government, and in the cybersecurity product and service community. Always use all capital letters and the ampersand when writing MITRE ATT&CK.
multi-factor authentication: All lowercase, three words with “multi-factor” hyphenated. Also known as MFA.
My Varonis: Our customer-facing portal should be capitalized and two words. Not “MyVaronis.” When referring to a My Varonis account or the app, lowercase “account” and “app.”
nation-state: One hyphenated, lowercase word.
numbers: Spell out numbers zero through nine and use figures for numbers 10 and above. Also spell out the word “number” rather than “#” with the exception of social media posts, subject lines or ranking lists – use No. 1 or No. 2 for example.
If the number is less than one, start with a 0, such as: 0.25. Additionally, you should not start a sentence with numerals, but instead spell it out. If that number is unwieldy, it might be best to rewrite the sentence to avoid starting with it.
You also want to try to limit the proximity between numbers in content to avoid your writing becoming a soup of digits. AP Stylebook recommends keeping it to eight to 10 in a single paragraph, but read it for yourself and decide what makes sense for your audience.
on-prem, on-premises: Either option is acceptable and should be hyphenated and lowercase.
ordinal numbers: Do not use. The only exception is when used in ranking numbers 11 and higher.
- “Third-party” is correct, not “3rd party”
- “January 1,” is correct, not “January 1st”
- “Data first,” is correct, not “data 1st”
- “They came in sixth place,” is correct, not “They came in 6th place”
- “They came in 19th place,” is correct, not “They came in nineteenth place”
over: Physically means higher than another object. Do not use as a synonym for “more than.”
Example: “We had over 1,000 attendees at our webinar” is not correct. “We had more than 1,000 attendees at our webinar,” is correct.
overexposure: One word (not over-exposure).
When modifying a word such as “data,” over-exposed would be two words, hyphenated.
pentest: One word (short for penetration test).
percent: Use the % sign when paired with a number, with no space, in most cases. Example: “Her mortgage rate is 4.75% annually.”
For amounts less than 1%, precede the decimal with a zero. Example: “The cost of living rose 0.6%.”
In casual uses, use words rather than figures and numbers. Example: “She said he has a zero percent chance of winning.”
phishing/spear-phishing: Spear-phishing is a targeted phishing attack. While phishing emails are sent en masse, spear-phishing emails are sent to just one person or organization. Lowercase each word and note that spear-phishing should be hyphenated.
proof of concept (POC): An exercise in which work is focused on determining whether an idea can be turned into a reality. For example, at Varonis, we use the term POC when performing an evaluation of a potential customer's security system. POC is also a Microsoft product (see partner products).
ransomware: Names of specific ransomware or ransomware groups should be capitalized (ex: Conti, CryptoLocker, WannaCry) but the word “ransomware” should be lowercase. Generic terms such as “virus,” “attacker,” etc. should also be lowercase.
Example: “Varonis automatically detects early signs of ransomware with behavior-based threat models.”
Follow the established convention for the ransomware group or strain.
Example: writing log4j instead of Log4J.
real time/real-time: Use a hyphen when it modifies a noun, such as “real-time alerts.” Skip the hyphen when it comes after the noun it describes, such as “detect in real time.”
RSA Conference: The RSA Conference is a series of IT security conferences. It was founded in 1991 as a small cryptography conference. RSA conferences take place in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the United Arab Emirates each year.
The abbreviation stands for Rivest, Shamir and Adleman, the cofounders of the company.
SaaS: not SAAS, Saas or saas. Stands for “software as a service.”
seasons: do not capitalize spring, summer, fall, or winter unless part of a proper name.
security operations center: Three separate words, all lowercase. Abbreviate as SOC.
serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma: We use the serial comma at Varonis.
Example: “DatAdvantage allows you to locate sensitive data, determine who can access data and view where the sensitive data is most exposed,” would be incorrect but “DatAdvantage allows you to locate sensitive data, determine who can access data, and view where the sensitive data is most exposed,” is correct.
since: Only use when referring to a time period that has passed from an event (ex: “It has been two weeks since we last spoke.” is correct. Do not use as a synonym for “because” (ex: “Since we were unable to connect, I will try you again tomorrow.” would be incorrect.)
state names: The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story when standing alone or with a city.
Use “New York state” when necessary to distinguish the state from New York City.
Use “state of Washington” or “Washington state” within a story when it's necessary to differentiate the state name from the U.S. capital, Washington. It's written Washington, D.C., with the added abbreviation only if the city might be confused with the state.
Only abbreviate states when using lists, tabular material, or in short-form listings of party affiliation: D-Ala., R-Mont. If you must abbreviate a state, use postal code abbreviations below.
Some cities are so widely known that they are capable of standing alone in copy, without the name of a state included for additional reference:
third-party: Not 3rd-party or 3rd party. Hyphenate when used as a modifier (“third-party vendors”).
toward: Not towards.
use: Not utilize.
username: One word, lowercased.
U.S.: Use periods in body copy. Example: U.S. Manufacturer.
Varonis: Always capitalize Varonis, and when using a possessive form, it should be written as Varonis’ not Varonis’s.
well-being: One hyphenated, lowercase word.
white hat: Two words, lowercased.
Wi-Fi: Capital W and F with a hyphen.
zero-day: Hyphenate and spell out “zero.” Not “0-day.” Lowercase unless the beginning of a sentence.
Zero Trust: Capitalize. Zero Trust is a security model developed by former Forrester analyst John Kindervag in 2010. Since then, Zero Trust has become one of the more popular frameworks in cybersecurity.
We hyphenate Zero Trust when it complements or modifies another word, as in the Zero-Trust model.