Most recreation professionals work with some sort of software. And if they don’t, they could be looking for a software provider or working with an IT team on some solutions. But with words like the cloud, SaaS, and hybrid, software  talk can turn into a different language. To be prepared for your next software talk, here are ten important terms to know:

1. Hosted, on-demand, cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS): These all mean the same thing. Organizations host their software and data externally with a provider and can access it over the internet from anywhere at any time. The software provider is responsible for new releases, security, maintenance and up time.

2. Firewall: The system by which providers prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing your data and procedures.

3. Flexibility: Ability to adapt your software package based on your changing needs. Hosted technology is built in pieces, making it more flexible than non-hosted systems.

4. Hosted Servers: Hosted software providers store data in servers managed in a secure physical location that is remotely accessible by only you and those that you assign privileges to.

5. Up time: The time in which your software system is operational.

6. Non-hosted, desktop software, traditional software: These all mean the same thing: organizations buy servers, infrastructure, and software to carry out tasks internally. The internal IT department is responsible for upkeep and security.

7. Hardware: The tangible aspects of your IT system and computers. In some cases, if software needs to be updated, more hardware add-ons will be required.

8. Non-hosted servers: Store your information and data. Non-hosted servers are typically stored in your office or on your campus and managed by an in-house/contracted IT team.

9. Hybrid: A hybrid solution combines elements of non-hosted and hosted technologies. For campus organizations specifically, this means that you will basically have a non-hosted system and desktop software but with the ability to offer some online services and transactions to your students and staff.

10. Online registration: The ability to securely capture sign up information online through hosted technology (a common feature of hybrid packages).

What would you add to the list? Comment below.