As IT becomes an integral part of each business function, it’s increasingly important for non-IT professionals to gain a top-level understanding of technical terms, in order to better execute their own responsibilities. If your business is considering moving to the cloud, one of the biggest challenges that you will face is your ability to understand all the terms that cloud vendors and “techies” throw around.

Below are some of the most commonly used cloud terms, starting with Amazon’s most popular Compute, Storage and Database offerings in the Cloud, followed by some other generic, but seemingly confusing terms. For those of us who don’t have a technical background, this list should help to get you started and give you a clearer understanding of cloud computing, so you’ll be ready for your next chat with IT.

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A project to move NASA websites and applications to the cloud has successfully migrated over 1 million pieces of content, completing its first phase, managers announced.

NASA.gov was among more than 100 sites and apps that made it to the Amazon Web Services-powered cloud in the project’s first 22 weeks, according to InfoZen, the company managing the migration. The environment uses the open-source cloud-based Drupal content management system.

“We like to think it was done in a record time,” InfoZen CEO Raj Ananthanpillai told Nextgov. “It’s saying that once you have your act together, you can do this in a short amount of time. It doesn’t require years of implementation.”

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With the almost ubiquitous use of wireless devices for communication, it is essential that first responders be able to respond to calls for assistance in the correct location, and it is equally important that people in need of help have reliable access to wireless coverage, even within buildings or other structures.

One way to make both possible is to enable public-safety communications indoors by requiring that new structures be fully able to provide reliable wireless access. The problem is establishing how to do it and determining whose responsibility it is to do it—and pay for it. Industry leaders recently discussed these challenges during a session on the subject at APCO 2014 in New Orleans.

Getting from technology to deployment is a huge hurdle, particularly as it pertains to establishing responsibility, even in the age of the FirstNet, according to speakers on the panel.

The job of FirstNet is to “build a nationwide public safety broadband network,” FirstNet board member Jeff Johnson said.

“It is daunting challenge to build a wireless corporation within the sphere of public safety within the federal government, [and] not the least of our challenges is providing in-building coverage on a nationwide basis,” Johnson said.

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Relocating IT applications to the cloud can be a complex process for government agencies. Before making the jump, IT managers need to lay some groundwork, ensuring they have the right technology and security protocols in place, as well as a complete understanding of the regulatory issues affecting the project. The following are some key tactics to keep in mind when developing a cloud-hosting strategy.

1. Virtualization first. Before an agency can consider itself ready to move to the cloud, it should first embrace virtualization technology – software that acts as a virtual replacement for hardware, significantly reducing the hardware needed to run applications. Virtualization can put an organization in the right mindset for cloud services, and agencies that are comfortable with these tools will be in a better position to expand to the cloud.

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The Federal Communications Commission has approved the rules for it. The four major wireless carriers already support it. The manufacturers are fine-tuning the technologies to enable it.

But, when more public-safety answering points (PSAPs) start accepting text-to-911 calls, will call-takers be able to understand the content of the messages?

A commonly stated concern about text-to-911 service is that the messages will be so packed with text abbreviations that they will be rendered unintelligible to call-takers in PSAPs.

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Inclusion approves InterAct for use in all U.S. Navy and Marine Corps information technology systems

Winston-Salem, NC (August 21, 2014) – InterAct Federal Systems, a leading provider of incident response and emergency management software and solutions to the U.S. Government, today announced that InterAct’s suite of force protection solutions, including InterAct’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management System (RMS), have been added to the Department of Navy’s Application and Database Management System (DADMS).  DADMS is an authoritative list of software applications that are approved for use in all U.S. Navy and Marine Corps information technology systems.  Each application on the DADMS list has been examined and put into compliance with the Navy’s application reduction initiative.

“Achieving DADMS approval is an important step in our efforts to deliver modern, cost-effective force protection solutions to the U.S. Navy,” said G. Cliff Veale, InterAct’s Senior Director of Federal Solutions.  “InterAct CAD and RMS provide the mission-critical functions our DoD customers need today, with a foundation to expand their capabilities in the future.”

Delivered as components of a fully integrated, end-to-end incident command and control platform, InterAct CAD and RMS provide critical resource management, decision support, documentation, case management, and reporting capabilities to dispatchers, first responders, and command staff.  Built on a powerful framework for distributed, multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency data sharing and integration, InterAct solutions are already in use with the U.S. Navy, Army, and other Department of Defense locations.

InterAct Federal Systems was established to focus on the specialized needs of the U.S. Federal Civilian and DoD markets.  “We understand the unique challenges associated with securing our nation’s Navy and Marine Corps installations,” said Jeff Jones, Vice President, InterAct Federal.  “Our inclusion in DADMS demonstrates InterAct’s commitment to the Navy’s IT policies and further validates our investment in helping Navy and Marine Corps personnel protect and save lives at installations around the world. “

“InterAct is honored to be associated with the U.S. Navy, and its mission to enable emergency management personnel to better protect our Naval installations,” said InterAct CEO John McNulty.  “InterAct is proud to support the Navy’s requirements, and we are working diligently to ensure that the needs of the Navy remain paramount in the design and implementation of the solutions we deliver.”

About InterAct®

InterAct creates public safety software products that support dispatchers, incident responders and correctional officers worldwide.  We bring the benefits of cloud computing to public safety. Our cloud applications connect public safety practitioners to each other and the information they need anywhere, anytime. Our cloud options are more reliable, less costly, easier to use, and more secure.  We believe the benefits of cloud computing are so great that its adoption has become a key success factor in accomplishing the mission that we share with our customers: ensuring the safety and well-being of citizens and their communities.  To learn more about InterAct’s solutions, please visit us at: http://www.interact911.com.

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Cloud computing is becoming mainstream and a familiar concept at all levels of society. A recent survey by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) estimated that approximately 55 percent of the adult population had heard of the term.

However cloud computing has not yet reached the stage in Australia where mainstream newspapers devote entire supplements to the topic, as that august UK journal, The Times, did recently with the publication of its 25 page ‘Cloud for Business’ report.

It’s full of useful stuff. There’s a two page spread “Understanding the Cloud Ecosystem” that explains the distinctions and the interplay between public, private and hybrid cloud. Another looks at the role of the cloud integrator: an organisation that manages a business’ multiple private and public cloud services.

There’s a list of 10 ways that cloud can “brighten up your business” And, perhaps most importantly, Gartner research director Gregor Petri looks at the importance of cloud for the ‘digital business’ of the future. According got Petri “Digital has taken the business community by storm. After decades of IT lingering at the bottom of the annual chief executive top ten priority list and cost reduction becoming the most discussed aspect of IT in boardrooms across the world, the idea of gaining competitive advantage through digital capabilities is back with a vengeance.”

And, he says “Perception of the cloud phenomenon is shifting from merely a smarter way to facilitate ‘business as usual’ to the best way of moving companies into the new age of digital business.”

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The cloud is not only being adopted by small businesses, it is changing the nature of small business, according to a report from Emergent Research and Intuit. By 2020, 78 percent of small businesses will be fully adapted to cloud computing, up from 37 percent in 2014, according to the report, called Small Business Success in the Cloud.

The report points to the convergence of four sets of factors: socio-economic; technology and infrastructure; platforms and ecosystems; and customer needs. These factors are creating a different kind of workforce serving different markets with different tools, and changing some of the basic patterns of small business.

“This report paints a detailed picture of how small businesses will increasingly use cloud technology not only for efficiency gains, but also in more transformative ways that redefine the rules for achieving long-term success,” Terry Hicks, vice president and general manager, QuickBooks Online Ecosystem at Intuit said.

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FCC commissioners approved an order requiring all wireless carriers and providers of interconnected over-the-top text messaging services—those using phone numbers to let users send and receive messages—support text-to-911 functionality by the end of the year, if requested by a public-safety answering point (PSAP).

Commissioners reiterated the fact that voice calls to 911 are more efficient, more reliable and provide better information to first responders—and, therefore, should be the first option when seeking emergency help—but the value of text-to-911 capability is clear, especially to those who are hearing- or speech-impaired or are in a situation in which speaking could endanger their lives.

“Texting is now as important a function on a mobile device as talking, and some of those text messages are cries for help,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said during the meeting, which was webcast. “Some of those cries for help are from individuals who can’t hear or speak.

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While government IT network managers may debate whether software-defined networking (SDN) is more sizzle than steak, two recent surveys show similar growth expectations for the technology, with about half of respondents reporting they’ll soon have it in production.

Infonetics Research’s SDN Strategies: North American Enterprise Survey reported that 45 percent of respondents – who now use SDN or expect to evaluate it – anticipate having SDN in production in their data centers by end of next year, jumping to 87 percent by end of 2016. Meanwhile, Juniper Networks Inc. announced its own Software-Defined Networking Progress Report that found some 53 percent of respondents plan to adopt SDN, with 74 percent of those saying that will happen within the next year. Juniper, however, said its survey also revealed “two distinct camps,” with about 47 percent of respondents saying they had no plans whatsoever to adopt SDN.

While much-hyped in the networking and virtualization industries, SDN is a loosely defined phenomenon with no exact definition and – some say – very few compelling use cases. Major tenets of SDN include open standards and increased programmability of network functions via centralized commands from a control plane that’s decoupled from the data – or forwarding – plane.

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