Technology professionals throughout state government have worked tirelessly over the years to position Georgia as a national leader. Our successes have established Georgia as a model for other states in using technology to make government more accessible, responsive, accountable, and secure. Maintaining our leadership position requires us to keep a steady eye on the future, and considering the pace of technological change, it’s a challenging task. The Annual State IT Report looks back at the significant activities and accomplishments of the past year that are strengthening the platform on which we are building the future. Everything we did yesterday and everything we do today prepares us for tomorrow, and this report offers one example after another.

One top priority is Governor Kemp’s strategic goal to streamline government and make it easier for individuals and businesses to access the information and services they need, and technology is playing a critical role in achieving his goal. Georgia GovHub launched in April 2019 as an enhanced digital platform for state agencies to use in creating a consistent online experience for citizens.

Ensuring the integrity of state information systems is critical to protecting citizens’ private information, and Governor Kemp’s executive order requiring cybersecurity training for all state workers in the executive branch is the latest in a series of actions undertaken to counter threats from cyber criminals. Ongoing cybersecurity training is helping workers sharpen their skills and test their ability to spot malicious links and email attachments, common tactics among cyber criminals attempting ransomware and phishing attacks. Cyber Dawg – a three-day, multi-agency security exercise – gives IT professionals a chance to practice their skills in real-world type scenarios.

Strengthening rural Georgia is another of Governor Kemp’s strategic goals, and technology is again playing an important role. In today’s world, high-speed internet access is essential to a community’s economic growth and the quality of life of its residents, but too many rural areas in Georgia lack broadband. Considerable progress was made last year in identifying areas of the state without broadband access and planning future steps to close the technology gap between urban and rural areas.

Georgia provides technology services to state agencies through a partnership with leading private-sector companies. The partnership makes it possible for state agencies to quickly and easily access proven technologies that greatly enhance their operations, such as the rapid provisioning of cloud-based services. At the same time, the partnership is credited with saving the state $379 million over 10 years, more than twice the original estimate. These savings have made it possible for us to afford additional services, most notably advanced cybersecurity protections.

I encourage you to look through this report and spend a few minutes learning more about those accomplishments and activities you find most relevant to your interests. The report is carefully structured and thoughtfully written to serve as an ongoing resource for you. Any feedback you’d like to provide would be sincerely appreciated.

Calvin Rhodes