During FY 2020, the state of Georgia continued to strengthen and expand the technology services state agencies rely on to provide information and services to their constituents. As noted in the message from the State Chief Information Officer, these capabilities took on added importance and utility as the state responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cybersecurity remains 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 efforts to address increasing threats.
More than 146,000 state employees and contractors are participating in ongoing cybersecurity awareness training. In support of the executive order issued by Governor Kemp in August 2019 and 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.
GTA’s Office of Information Security (OIS) facilitated responses for state and local government agencies that suffered ransomware attacks in 2020. In cooperation with the Georgia Emergency and Homeland Security Agency and the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center, OIS continues to facilitate evaluation of local reported incidents and provide recommendations. When appropriate, OIS facilitates the hand-off to the Georgia National Guard Cyber Protection Team and partners with them to improve incident response processes.
GTA’s OIS also coordinated the second annual Cyber Dawg exercise in cooperation with the Georgia Cyber Center. Although held as a virtual event due to COVID-19 restrictions, this three-day, multi-agency security training exercise aimed to sharpen cybersecurity skills across a multitude of tools agencies can use in their IT environments.
Even with all the pressing business brought by the pandemic, the Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) teams resolved to proceed with preparations for the 2020 annual live disaster recovery exercise. In early October, a week-long exercise was completed, ensuring that DR continues to be a GETS priority.
GTA continues to advance information technology governance and strategic planning processes for the state. GTA updated the exemption process for technology, with the primary goal of assuring that investments in IT generate business value while mitigating the risks that are associated with IT implementations. More information can be found in the Information Technology Vision and Strategy.
The section also highlights the, which captures Georgia’s vision for its use of technology. Updated in FY 2020, the plan aims to assist Georgia government leaders in making informed technology decisions for their agencies. It establishes IT focus areas and goals as it sets the technology direction for the state’s IT enterprise.
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. This year, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), with assistance from GTA and other agencies and providers, developed a statewide broadband map of more than 5 million residential and business locations. This map also proved invaluable as a resource for locating public Wi-Fi locations during the pandemic. More information can be found in Georgia’s Approach to Rural Broadband.
Tracking IT expenditures is one of GTA’s statutory responsibilities. In FY 2020, agencies reported spending $686 million on IT infrastructure services, network services, application development and support, and related activities. The IT Investment Management section on page 25 looks at these expenditures and the various ways in which the state manages its technology investments. Information on spending also appears 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. After more than a decade, 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 delivered cost reductions of $379 million in its first 10 years, more than double the original estimate. The Technology Services section on page 31 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 highlights the completion 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 and serving as a single source of consistent and accurate information across all of the state’s various communication channels. Since the start of the pandemic, GovHub has assisted state agencies in making information related to COVID-19 available and accessible to Georgians.
Georgia’s bold steps to modernize its IT enterprise over the past decade have earned the state a national reputation as a leader in the use of technology to transform government operations. Several honors are highlighted in the section titled Georgia’s Information Technology Excellence beginning on page 37. In 2020, Georgia earned its second consecutive letter grade of A, the highest ranking possible, in the Digital States Survey, which evaluates states’ use of technology to improve service delivery, increase capacity, streamline operations, and reach policy goals. Georgia also earned a prestigious State IT Recognition Award from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers for Cyber Dawg, the state’s live-action cybersecurity training exercise.
Innovative technology projects are adding value to Georgia government and receiving accolades. Several of these projects are highlighted starting on page 38. Here are a few examples:
- The Department of Revenue (DOR) sought a solution for its aging Georgia Registration and Title Information System (GRATIS). DOR found a solution with the Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System (DRIVES), a multi-year effort between DOR and the Department of Driver Services. The project modernized and combined two of Georgia's largest and most complex legacy software systems.
- The Department of Driver Services (DDS) sought to replace its digital licensing system with the latest in security and constituent service efficiencies. After a competitive state bidding process and a contract award, DDS began implementing a new digitized driver's license and identification card system. The new system includes data management improvements and quicker transaction times for constituents.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) modernized its systems, automating tax and wage reports via the secure file transfer protocol (SFTP). Written in Java, SFTP allows payroll service providers and large single employers to transmit quarterly tax and wage reports electronically instead of mailing them on magnetic media as they had before.
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.