In the days leading up to the Hawaii outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, ETS and department IT staff worked tirelessly to prepare to provide extended remote IT capabilities to State employees. ETS supports many of the State’s most critical applications, including Disability Claims, Unemployment Insurance, Child Support Enforcement, Child Welfare, Human Resources, Payroll, and financial management systems of the Executive Branch and Department of Education, Department of Transportation (DOT)-Highways, just to name a few.
Additionally, ETS supports more than 100 websites that allow citizens to conduct business with the State online, rather than having to go physically to a state office.
Furthermore, ETS provides governance of all state IT projects to ensure projects are properly aligned with business needs and that they are well-engineered and designed to accomplish their intended purpose.
ETS' support to executive department employees in telework has been wide-ranging -- from providing communication platforms like Outlook and Teams, ensuring employeees could log in from a remote location using multi-factor authenticiation, providing training on tools being used to telework, to strengthening cyber security efforts. ETS updated its resource site for employees who are working remotely: Teleworking.
The following stats are from a few platforms, such as file sharing and collaboration tools, that employees are using to work from home. Gov. Ige issued a work from home directive for State employees on March 17th, directing as many State employees to telework as possible. Here's a snapshot of the stats taken from March 17 to May 12. It shows employees' expanded adoption of IT tools to work from home, compared to use in the pre-COVID period, from Jan. 12 to March 16.
More than 200-thousand people filed for unemployment insurance as a result of the pandemic, causing an unprecedented stress on the unemployment insurance system. Since the surge of claims, ETS has been working diligently to assist DLIR in making changes to the system to address extreme volume and changes to the unemployment insurance program. Here are highlights of the improvements ETS developed or recommended to assist the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) in expediting claims:
Online web application becomes available 24/7
Waiting week period removed from benefits system
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) implemented
Claims Status Check becomes available 24/7 off the mainframe
Cyber Security enhancements installed
In a joint effort organized by the House of Representatives, ETS, along with DLIR, the Department of Accounting and General Services, Hawaii Tourism Agency, DOT, the Department of Taxation, and a few more departments, installed 280 computer stations and phones at the processing and call center stood up at the Hawaii Convention Center to address thousands of backlogged unemployment insurance claims. ETS also created more than 600 user accounts for volunteers assisting with the processing of unemployment insurance claims at the convention center. Additionally, ETS staff joined many volunteers to process backlogged claims and assist claimants at the call center.
IN THE NEWS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND STATE WORKERS RESPOND TO CALL TO SUPPORT UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE
“I want to thank the volunteers, the unions, the State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, Department of Accounting & General Services, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, and Office of Enterprise Technology Services for helping to make this tremendous effort possible,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.
Since the COVID-19 response began in March, ETS has provided 24/7 IT & telecommunication staffing support for the State Emergency Operations Center at Diamond Head where they monitor operational status of statewide communications networks, assist with expanding state worker telework and teleconferencing capabilities, and provisioning Internet broadband and IT services for newly created State Law Enforcement Coalition (SLEC) command center.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO MEETINGS
With state government offices limiting public access during the COVID-19 disruption, ETS staff have been working with many state boards and commissions to evaluate virtual meeting platforms to safely convene their public meetings and continue to conduct business. Several pilot demonstrations and implementations continue to integrate new technologies into the state meeting processes.
ETS is also supporting in the State's economic recovery efforts by providing assistance in hosting a website which includes resources for businesses and residents. Additionally, the site includes information on reopening plans. You may visit the website here: https://recoverynavigator.hawaii.gov/
TECH TALK STRATEGIC PRIORITIES: PARTNER FOR SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES
TIME AND LEAVE PROJECT
Employees in the State Executive Branch recently added single sign on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to their HIP accounts, providing enhanced security and convenience by combining their existing Microsoft active directory credentials with the security of MFA, which uses different factors to verify a person’s identity.
Department of Accounting and General Services, the Office of the Governor, and the Office of the Lt. Governor are part of the first roll out of the new Time and Leave modernization project. Larger groups of employees will be subsequently brought on to the Time and Leave system throughout 2020 and 2021.
STRATEGIC PRIORITY: WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
ETS hosted a series of trainings, called Microsoft Teams Tidbit. This series was designed to provide helpful Teams knowledge in easily digestible chunks while minimizing information overload.
Between 260 and 400 state employees attended the virtual trainings. A virtual Live Event Training was also held, which more than 900 state employees attended.
An Adobe Acrobat Series online workshop was held, which discussed topics from creating documents to security. Between 470 to 970 employees attended the virtual sessions that lasted for 30 minutes each.
HACC Workshop #1
The Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) held its first virtual workshop, featuring Google’s Data Analytics and Visualization platform. More than 80 people attended the workshop, which Google’s own Daniel Liu gave an overview about data and the challenges in organizing them.
HACC Workshop #2
The Hawaii Annual Code Challenge's second workshop featured State Chief Information Security Officer Vincent Hoang and Dr. Cort Chambers of the Hawaii Fusion Center. They discussed the importance of cyber security and how to keep data secure. More than 60 participants joined the virtual workshop.
WORLD PASSWORD DAY
May 7 was World Password Day, which was created to emphasize the critical need for strong passwords. "Reusing your passwords between different sites is one of the most common ways to get your accounts compromised. For additional protection, enable multi-factor authentication where available." -- State Chief Information Security Officer Vince Hoang
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