Information technology (IT) is the use of any computer, storage, networks, and other physical devices, infrastructure, and processes to create, process, store, protect, and exchange all forms of electronic data. Information technology is typically used in the context of corporate operations rather than personal or entertainment technology. Business use of IT encompasses both computer technology and telephony.
The term “information technology” was coined by the Harvard Business Review to distinguish between specialized machines designed to perform a limited set of functions and general-purpose computers that could be programmed for a variety of tasks. As the IT industry has evolved since the mid-20th century, computing power has expanded, and device costs and power consumption have declined, a cycle that continues today as new technologies emerge.
IT includes multiple layers of physical hardware (hardware), virtualization and management or automation tools, operating systems, and applications (software) that are used to perform basic functions. User devices, peripherals, and software such as laptops, smartphones, or even recording equipment can be brought into the IT domain. IT can also refer to architectures, methodologies, and rules governing the use and storage of data.