Security Encyclopedia

Bit

In classical computing, today’s information technology, a bit is the basic unit of information. Bit comes from a blend of “binary” and “digit”.

In binary terms, a bit’s logical state is most often represented as either zero (0) or one (1). They are also commonly expressed as on/off, yes/no, +/?, or true/false.

Bits establish a necessary convention in IT that serves as a foundation for all computer languages and devices. In turn these values, as they correspond and interrelate, establish among other things how the storage and mobility of data is done. They also govern the interworking of our diverse ecosystem of software and hardware — its consistency, compatibility, and the like — so that, provided they act within these guardrails, they can all collaborate.

Example:

“In most computing systems, eight bits comprise a byte. In turn, a byte is translated into a number, letter, or other character. This convention helps provide a sensible user interface for programmers and other users to follow.”