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Security or Convenience? The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety Shows You Can Have Both

Ben Farrell
December 6, 2017

The modern enterprise is a difficult place. On one hand, businesses are constantly tasked with adjusting their customer-facing capabilities and internal workflows in response to a shifting market. On the other, companies are facing a steady spate of data breaches that create incredible fear that any technological change will disrupt the status quo and lead to major regulatory and security issues. How do businesses balance the need for steady innovation alongside the very real threat of data breaches?

The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety found an answer to this question by working with Appian. The Georgia Driver's Education Commission adopted Appian, The Digital Transformation Platformô to help it roll out a new app to better achieve its core mission. Through this process, the organization established a solution that could respond to new operational demands without sacrificing data protection.

Looking at the Georgia Driver's Education Commission's Mission

This may be a bit surprising, but Georgia is actually the eighth-largest state in the U.S., and the largest state east of the Mississippi. Managing driver's education programs over the course of such a geographically large constituency presents a variety of unique challenges, and the state is acutely aware of how important it is to train young drivers.

Automotive accidents are the single greatest cause of fatalities in adults aged less than 35 years, and the safety problem is even more acute for teens. In Georgia, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety Driver's Education Commission is responsible for addressing the driver fatality problem through coordinated, strategic education programming that helps prepares young people to be safe drivers.

The problem is that not everybody can afford to attend a formal driver's education program. This is where the commission's grant program comes into play. To better achieve its mission, the organization has established a grant and scholarship system that will award teens funding up to $500 to give them access to driver's education training. Within the state-approved system for driver training, that scholarship will cover 30 hours of classroom time and six hours for students to get behind the wheel with an approved teacher in the car.

"The state was dealing with an onerous timeline gathering and processing applications, holding back the commission's potential."

A scholarship program is great in theory, but in practice, the state was dealing with an onerous timeline gathering and processing applications, holding back the commission's potential. Initially, applicants had to fill out a paper form at home, stick it in an envelope and wait while it spent days in transit to the commission. From there, hundreds of applicants would arrive in close proximity, and employees would have to scramble to process, analyze and manage grants. Then, the training centers had to be brought into the equation. Switching to an in-person application doesn't work either, as today's teens aren't about to walk up to a service window, fill out a form and wait around to get results.

The commission needed to go digital, but it also couldn't afford to put personal student information or financial details at risk. This is where the modern enterprise balancing act we mentioned earlier comes into play. How do organizations transform around digital while minimizing risk. This is where Appian stepped in.

Our application development platform allowed the commission to complete an end-to-end application rollout in just nine weeks. A couple of weeks after that, the app had handled 500 applications. As of July 2017, 3,000 students were enrolled in the programs and everything from the initial application to get funds out to training centers was accelerated.

An application process that took days was reduced to a few quick digital transactions. What's more, the Appian platform met the state's needs for data controls and security, allowing the commission to go all in on digital transformation without worry.

"Controlling data and application access in a central platform works around the points of failure that a company can't control."

Managing the Balance Between Innovation and Security

Businesses don't have to let their mandate to keep data safe prevent them from deploying modern digital technologies. App platforms counter many core mobile-related security challenges by housing data in a secure, integrated cloud. Within the platform, IT leaders can create roles and relevant authorizations to mandate that only authorized individuals can access sensitive data. Furthermore, the workflow management systems within app platforms ensure that information is easily accessible and shareable, but automatically controlled within those digital transactions. As such, the system will recognize who can access data, how it can be shared and what authentication processes are needed for different activities.

In practice, the Appian platform automates many security processes by letting organizations establish clear best practices within the ecosystem and enforcing them automatically. From there, users can leverage and even create apps within the security protocols that are already in place, reducing the likelihood of human error or a lack of oversight causing cybersecurity problems. Furthermore, controlling data and application access in a central platform works around the points of failure that a company can't control.

The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety shows that organizations can embrace digital transformation without sacrificing security.