The speed and disruptive power of technological change are issues I often raise in discussions about the state’s approach to IT. The pace of change is only going to increase, and with it comes even greater potential for disruption. They present us with great opportunities but also significant challenges.

Cybersecurity and broadband access in unserved communities have been at the forefront of the state’s response to those challenges during the past year.

Georgia firmly established its leadership in cybersecurity with the opening of the Georgia Cyber Center in July 2018. The center is about partnerships and collaboration in training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and developing innovative solutions to combat cybercrime. No individual sector can address cybersecurity alone, and the center, located in Augusta, brings together government, academia, law enforcement, the military, and the private sector in a setting unlike any other in the nation and designed specially to facilitate seamless interaction. The significance of the center to the security of both our state and our nation cannot be overstated, and the Cybersecurity section of the IT Report provides information about its development, resources, and programs.

In a related effort, we completed an important procurement that will enable us to offer an array of managed cybersecurity services to state agencies beginning in July 2019. We rely on a public-private partnership to provide technology services to state agencies, and the Managed Security Services contract will enhance the cybersecurity services already available through the Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) program. The Technology Services section lists the new cybersecurity services and discusses other significant technology procurements from last year.

Technology and internet access have become essential to all aspects of modern life, including business and economic development, education, public safety and law enforcement, health care, agriculture, and our own personal interactions. However, many rural communities in Georgia lack broadband services, which provide high-speed connections to the internet. The Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative was established to promote broadband deployment in unserved communities, so they can participate fully in today’s society and enjoy all the economic, educational, cultural, and other benefits technology makes possible. The initiative also focuses on partnerships and collaboration in bringing together government at all levels and the private sector to address this important issue, and the section titled Georgia’s Approach to Rural Broadband includes an overview of the steps we’ve taken so far.

Georgia’s approach to technology received a great deal of national recognition during the past year. I’ve long championed our state’s use of technology to provide innovative services while enhancing government’s operational efficiency, and it’s gratifying to see our efforts acknowledged. Mostly notably, Georgia shared the number one spot with four other states in the 2018 Digital States Survey. We placed first in the nation in the category of Adaptive Leadership and were named among the top five states in the category of Collaboration. The survey is conducted every two years by the Center for Digital Government, an independent research and advisory institute. The CDG also named Georgia a finalist in its 2018 Government Experience Awards, which recognize states, cities, and counties for their use of technology to enhance service delivery.

Meanwhile, Georgia Gateway, the state’s consolidated system for determining eligibility for 10 public-assistance programs, received top honors in the State IT Recognition Awards in the category of Cross-boundary Collaboration and Partnerships. The awards are sponsored by the National Association of State CIOs.

The section titled Georgia’s Information Technology Excellence offers more information about these and other honors we accrued last year.

The Executive Summary features more highlights from the IT Report, which is carefully structured and thoughtfully written to serve as an ongoing resource for you. Any feedback you’d like to provide for future reports would be sincerely appreciated.

Calvin Rhodes