Auditors have again cautioned a computer system handling more than 2 million driver’s licenses may not be ready to go live in early January because of missed deadlines and security concerns.
Kansas is working to replace its aging mainframe system for processing driver’s licenses and identification cards with a more advanced system, called KanLicense, but the project has been delayed multiple times. It was supposed to launch in early 2012, but still isn’t online. It’s now expected to launch Jan. 2, but the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit has placed the project on “caution” status in its last three quarterly reports.
“We think there is a significant risk the project will not meet its January 2018 completion date without affecting the quality of the project,” the audit says.
The audit, released earlier this month, took issue with several deadlines in building and testing the system, and it cautioned the system’s security may be lacking. The Kansas Department of Revenue has said it’s monitoring and testing the project, but it’s unclear whether it will go live on Jan. 2.
KanLicense was supposed to launch in January 2012 following a new system replacing the state’s system for issuing vehicle titles and registrations. Both systems have been rife with difficulties. The title and registration system was scheduled to launch in July 2011, but didn’t come online until May 2012 when it spurred long lines at county treasurers’ offices. KanLicense has been delayed several times, and the state severed its contract with 3M, which was originally supposed to build the system.
Rachel Whitten, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenue, said in an email the KanLicense team had been meeting with auditors weekly.
“The audit presented to the committee is three months out of date, and now the focus is on the homestretch and the launch,” Whitten said. “We are monitoring and evaluating the system daily and will not go live until we are comfortable with the status of the program.”
Whitten said earlier this month the program looked like it would be ready to launch Jan. 2, but she did not respond to questions asking whether that was still the case.
“We are gauging that day to day between now and then and will only go live if it’s ready,” Whitten said.
Auditors downgraded the project’s ability to stay on schedule between audits released in September and December. It says KDOR delayed multiple project milestones that may be difficult to complete simultaneously in the weeks leading up to the program’s launch.
“We think it is unlikely the project can be deployed without delaying the go-live date in January 2018 or experiencing quality issues,” the audit says.
Auditors also took issue with KDOR’s ability to track the status of the program. According to the report, some milestones were marked “on track” despite being delayed and others were marked “completed” despite still needing some work.
Some of those missed targets included security-related tasks. Auditors also downgraded the project’s status on meeting its security requirements.
“We think that there is significant risk that the KanLicense project will not meet the security requirements, thus jeopardizing the security of the driver’s license data,” the audit says.
According to the report, the project still has several security deliverables that have not been met, and officials said only “high vulnerability” parts of the system will be addressed prior to the launch.
In a letter replying to auditors’ concerns, the department said the project is being closely monitored and had made significant progress since the last audit report.