During FY 2019, the state of Georgia continued to strengthen and expand the technology services state agencies rely on to provide information and services to their constituents.
Cybersecurity is a top technology concern for Georgia, and the state uses a multi-faceted approach to protecting sensitive citizen data and the IT enterprise. The Cybersecurity section outlines numerous activities that allows the state to deal with these threats.
The first line of cybersecurity defense in any organization, according to many experts, is the workforce. Accordingly, Governor Kemp issued an executive order in August 2019 mandating cybersecurity training for all state workers in executive branch agencies. Under the oversight of the State Government Systems Cybersecurity Board, the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) offers an enterprise training solution provided at no charge to executive branch agencies.
Cybersecurity training is among several new managed security services available to state agencies. Among the services are a Security Operations Center (SOC), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Vulnerability Management System (VMS), and Enterprise Governance, Risk, and Compliance (EGRC) services.
The Enterprise Cybersecurity Risk Register provides state agencies with a common framework for categorizing and responding to cybersecurity risks. State agencies rate their information systems as having a high, medium, or low impact, depending on the worst-case potential outcome of a cybersecurity incident. Ongoing IT security assessments help to determine the state’s overall cybersecurity risk posture.
The Georgia Cyber Center continues to support Georgia’s cybersecurity efforts. With two adjacent buildings totaling 332,000 square feet, the $100 million Cyber Center represents the single largest state government investment in a cybersecurity facility in the nation to date.
Updated in 2019, the Georgia Enterprise IT Strategic Plan 2025 captures Georgia’s vision for its use of technology. The plan aims to assist Georgia government leaders in making informed technology decisions for their agencies. It establishes IT focus areas and goals and sets the technology direction for the state’s IT enterprise. More information can be found in the Information Technology Vision and Strategy.
The Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act (SB 402), passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2018, calls for promoting and deploying broadband services to unserved areas throughout the state. Considerable progress has been made since the legislation’s passage. Most notably, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is developing a statewide map of over 5 million residential and business locations to determine the unserved locations and designate served and unserved census blocks. More information can be found in Georgia’s Approach to Rural Broadband.
Tracking IT expenditures is one of GTA’s statutory responsibilities. In FY 2019, agencies reported spending $752 million on IT infrastructure services, network services, application development and support, and related activities. The IT Investment Management section looks at these expenditures and the various ways in which the state manages its technology investments. Information on spending can also be found in the Appendix.
Since 2009, GTA has offered technology services through a public-private partnership. Using this somewhat unique approach, GTA provides a full range of managed network services and IT infrastructure services to 14 executive branch agencies, as well as a-la-carte services to many other agencies. Now in its 10th year, the partnership continues to meet its original goals of consolidating IT infrastructure; securing state data and systems; and ensuring a modern, reliable, and recoverable operating environment. Further, it has delivered 10-year savings of $379 million, more than double the original estimate. The Technology Services section includes information about the program. The section also describes the GTA Direct program, which offers Georgia agencies, local governments, colleges and universities, and boards of education quick access to a range of IT services from pre-qualified service providers.
The Digital Services Georgia section describes the April 2019 launch of GovHub, a digital platform for state agencies to use in creating a consistent online experience for citizens. As the state’s official web-publishing platform, GovHub aligns with the state’s digital compliance policy for ensuring accessibility for people with a range of disabilities affecting vision, hearing, mobility, and cognition; adhering to best practices and standards; and serving as a single source of consistent and accurate information across all of the state’s various communication channels.
The state of Georgia has taken bold steps to modernize its IT enterprise over the past decade. In doing so, it has earned a national reputation as a leader among states in the use of technology to transform government operations. Among the honors highlighted in the section titled Georgia’s Information Technology Excellence are the 2019 Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award from IAOP and finalist designations for two Georgia state government projects in the State IT Recognition Awards sponsored by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). In addition, Georgia earned a letter grade of A, the highest ranking possible, in the most recent Digital States Survey, which evaluates states’ use of technology to improve service delivery, increase capacity, streamline operations, and reach policy goals.
Innovative technology projects are adding value to Georgia government and accolades. Several of these projects are highlighted starting in the Georgia’s Information Technology Excellence. Here are a few examples:
- Following Hurricane Michael in October 2018, the Georgia Department of Agriculture Rapid Response Team used the agency’s GIS app for the first time to inspect food facilities affected by the storm, such as grocery stores and food-processing plants. The enhanced operational efficiency helped inspectors maintain the safety of Georgia’s food supply.
- The Department of Driver Services (DDS) deployed online appointment software that allows constituents to schedule their own appointment for road tests. Constituents can view and select available dates, times, and locations. The new system adds convenience for constituents while also freeing staff to respond to other types of calls.
- The Georgia Student Finance Commission deployed the College HOPE Eligibility Calculation Service (CHECS) which provides a central calculation system for Georgia’s Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) programs.
As this report demonstrates, GTA remains committed to working in partnership with state agencies to take full advantage of technology’s potential and to respond to the challenges it presents.