Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Update

AnchorVolume 11, Issue No. 1                                                                                               Jan-Feb, 2019    

No slowdown in sight -- technology change accelerates 
IT innovation isn't constrained by any flipping of the calendar. It's safe to predict the speed and disruptive power of technology change we live with will only increase in 2019. We have to stay alert. The state's needs are always changing, as are the technology options we can bring to bear to provide solutions. When big opportunities present themselves, we in the IT corner are expected to be ready.
Our collective successes leave me confident we will be ready. From the year just behind us, two examples build the case: the state's response to 1) cybersecurity challenges, and 2) broadband access in unserved communities.
First, cybersecurity. Georgia made a plain statement with the July 2018 opening of the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta. We firmly established the state as a leader in the security realm. The center's significance to the security of Georgia and beyond cannot be overstated. It opened strong last year, and as you'll read in an article below, the center expands its reach in the new year.
We also enhanced our cybersecurity capabilities in 2018 with a GETS procurement. It will bring to the state's shared IT services program a slate of augmented managed security services. Those cybersecurity offerings will become available to state agencies beginning in July 2019. See details (and news of other significant IT procurements) in the GETS procurement article in this newsletter.
Next, broadband access. High-speed connections to the internet are relied on in everything from business and economic development, to education, public safety, law enforcement, healthcare, agriculture, and our own personal interactions. But many rural Georgia communities lack broadband services, or adequate services. So, the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative was established to promote access in unserved areas. It put down a foundation in 2018, bringing together government at all levels and the private sector to address this important issue. We can expect that work to continue this year.
Our collective efforts earned national recognition in the past year. Mostly notably, Georgia shared the number one spot with four other states in the 2018 Digital States Survey   , which evaluates a state's use of technology to provide innovative services. We placed first in the nation in the category of adaptive leadership and were named among the top five states in collaboration. The Center for Digital Government, conductors of the survey, also named Georgia a finalist in its 2018 Government Experience Awards recognizing outstanding use of technology to enhance service delivery. Plus, for its new Georgia Gateway system that determines eligibility for an array of public-assistance programs, Georgia's Department of Human Services won a first-place State IT Recognition Award from the National Association of State CIOs.
It's good to be recognized. It's good to be able to point to successes. It builds confidence that Georgia state government IT is ready to meet the challenges the year ahead will bring. Here comes 2019
. Happy New Year.
Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Calvin Rhodes
State Chief Information Officer
GTA Executive Director
Cyber Center sharpens giant scissors to snip second ribbon 
GaCyberCtrWhen the scissors couldn't cut it, Governor Nathan Deal pulled out a pocket knife to finish the job. That was on a hot, humid night last summer at the Georgia Cyber Center's opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting.
Now, there's a second chance. On Thursday, January 10, the governor will join center leaders and other partners to cut the ribbon on another building at the center. This time it's the Shaffer MacCartney Building that will open its doors, adding 165,000 square feet of space and opportunity to the Cyber Center in Augusta.
Georgia Cyber Ctr logo  
This second building joins the Hull McKnight Building, which opened in July 2018, on the Nathan Deal Campus for Innovation. The newest facility will serve as an innovation and incubator hub for technology startups. It includes leasable space available to firms and organizations supporting the state's cybersecurity ecosystem. Much of the Shaffer MacCartney Building is build-to-suit space that is largely unfinished and will be customized to tenants' specifications.
Naming of the building honors Michael Shaffer, executive vice president of strategic partnerships and economic development for Augusta University, and Teresa MacCartney, Georgia's chief financial officer and director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. Both helped spearhead the Cyber Center project.
The $100 million Georgia Cyber Center is a first-of-its-kind public/private collaboration. It brings together academia, state and federal government, law enforcement, the U.S. Army and the private sector in a 332,000-square foot facility. The center is designed to facilitate teamwork and idea sharing to meet the growing need for cybersecurity talent, tactics and tools in Georgia, the nation and around the globe. It stands as the largest single investment in a state-owned cybersecurity facility in the nation to date.
Earlier in the afternoon of the January 10 ribbon-cutting, the center will also host a product pitch event. In a "Shark Tank"-type setting, several IT entrepreneurs will make brief business presentations to investors in hopes of earning capital support for their cybersecurity-related products. It will give a flavor of the innovation the center aims to encourage.
Cyber Ctr Oct2018  
See details about these and other developments on the Cyber Center website,
Three-year push renews GETS computing services       

GETSprocureThe computing services side of the state's shared IT services program (GETS) puts up big numbers:
  • 40,000 IT infrastructure end users
  • 54,000 email accounts
  • 1.8 petabytes of storage space (that's 1.8 million gigabytes)
  • 3,500 servers
That adds up to lots of systems, government services and people, all counting on the integrity of those IT services. So when GTA started a sweeping GETS infrastructure services re-procurement nearly three years ago, the pressure to get it right ran high. In November, GTA completed the fifth of five related procurements to round out the full complement of GETS computing services.
This most recent contract award went to Atos for GETS managed security services (MSS) that include: a centralized security operations center or SOC; a governance, risk management and compliance capability; and a security incident and event management function. Those enhanced security services are expected to become available to state agencies in July 2019. The MSS contract comes on the heels of an agreement struck last summer with Unisys for GETS server services. Before that it was end user computing services (awarded to NTT DATA), print to mail services (Xerox) and mainframe services (Atos).
Why all the re-procurements? A multi-year agreement with IBM for GETS computing services was nearing its contracted expiration. The new contracts do more than simply replace those earlier service offerings - they bring improved and expanded services to better serve GETS agencies' business needs today.
The work doesn't end with awarding a contract. That's followed by a carefully planned and executed transition to provision of services by the new provider. It must be a transition without interruption in that service - no easy trick. That kind of hand-off happened most recently when Unisys began providing server services on January 1. Success grew from collaboration across GTA, its multi-sourcing service integrator Capgemini, the incoming service provider, the former provider, and, importantly, GETS agency consumers of services.
This three-year push has renewed and enhanced GETS computing service offerings. GTA extends sincere thanks to all GETS agency participants, in particular, for their contributions throughout.  

  • Ringing in the new year last week coincided with welcoming a new provider to the GETS program. Unisys started provision of server services January 1, marking a smooth transition from former provider IBM. This covers IT disciplines including: data center services; backup and storage; disaster recovery; servers (in the state's North Atlanta Data Center or hosted elsewhere); plus, identity management and active directory management, which govern who has access to which tools and systems.
    In the coming months, Unisys will bring new offerings to the GETS program. Key among them, rapid server provisioning, new storage and backup options, and cloud broker services to capitalize on benefits of cloud computing. Unisys will also partner with GETS agencies to create a consolidated active directory and single sign-on capabilities. Single sign-on allows computer users to sign on once and then access multiple tools and systems (e.g., GETS network, Office 365 email).
  • The Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative, which began with 2018's passage of Senate Bill 402 by the Georgia General Assembly, provides for planning and deployment of broadband services to unserved areas of the state. An estimated 1.6 million Georgians lack broadband access, so central a part of much of modern life. GTA and the Department of Community Affairs are collaborating to accurately map broadband availability and develop grant programs to aid communities.


  • The Annual State IT Report from GTA for 2018 highlights cybersecurity initiatives that establish Georgia as a leader in innovating to defend against cyber threats. Key among those initiatives is creation of the first-of-its-kind Georgia Cyber Center, newly opened in Augusta. The report goes on to summarize efforts in the past year to expand broadband access across Georgia's unserved areas, Also addressed are procurements bringing new computing services through the state's GETS shared IT services program, and updates to the state's web portal and digital presence. The report provides information to state leaders to help them make informed decisions about the state's investments in technology. Report details will soon be accessible on the GTA website.
  • GTA is supporting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in implementing Criminal Justice E-filing to automate manual business processes and foster electronic exchange of information among state and local criminal justice agencies. After pilot projects with four counties in late 2018, an enterprise rollout of another 20 counties is planned for May 1 this year. GTA's enterprise service bus will facilitate data exchange from different systems.
  • GETS computer users, make it a New Year's resolution to register for and use the new Xpress Password Reset tool. It provides a quick and easy way to reset your network password or unlock your  account without having to call the GETS Service Desk for help. Self-service can mean easier service, and it happens on your schedule, not someone else's. GETS services integrator Capgemini worked with GTA to deploy Xpress to GETS agencies in 2018. Look for Xpress Password reminders (i.e., posters and decals) in state offices.
          Xpess Password Reset tool

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