A Call for Participation in a Research Study

The research topic:

Cybersecurity of Internet of Things devices within an industrial environment

The research problem:

The systems that make up every level of the Internet of Things (IoT) have rapidly been assimilated into critical and essential roles in daily lives. As the entire ecosystem of the IoT evolves and expands, the wide range of functions and supporting components involved are resulting in significant security and ultimately privacy challenges that need to be addressed. The Industrial applications of IoT (IIoT) also referred as Industry 4.0 (Schwab, 2017) suffer from very similar security and privacy concerns as implementations that expand existing Operational Technologies (OT) networks through the interconnection of smart sensors and actuators with integrations into cloud computing platforms to create intelligent infrastructures create vital links within energy, transportation, manufacturing, and automation.

The Research Purpose:

The purpose of the proposed qualitative study is to explore, the experiences of cyber-security professionals who have practical knowledge in implementing Industrial Internet of Things systems and devices and their perceptions of the security risks to these systems, giving rise to a better understanding of the security and privacy concerns that must be overcome.

The research question:

What are the experiences of cyber-security professionals who have implemented Industrial Internet of Things systems and their perceptions of the security risks to these systems? This exploration may lead to a better understanding of the security implications of a technology that is rapidly growing but is overlooked within Industrial Control Systems due to a false sense of security.

Research study participation:

For data collection, this research study needs at least 10 participants for semi-structured interviews with an additional 2 for a pilot phase to fine-tune the questions. The interviews will be conducted via Skype video conference calls in a nationwide scope. The primary focus of participants will be individuals who currently work within the manufacturing industries. Additionally, participants should be identifiable cybersecurity professionals. Each participant will answer about 10 interview questions. Interviews will likely be no longer than one hour.

Benefits of Participation:

There may or may not be a direct benefit to participants in the study, but we hope to further the knowledge required to implement IoT Devices into industrial settings that will help organizations to improve their security posture that could indirectly benefit everyone. Your contribution will be recognized and acknowledged in the dissertation. You will receive the following payment/reimbursement: $25 Amazon Gift Card for participation, presentable upon completion of the interview.

Confidentiality:

During the data collection and data analysis, every effort will be made to ensure that participants of the study will in no way be able to correlate their responses to their identity; the information will be coded to mask participants identities and ensure the confidentiality of the respondents. The data and records will be stored within an encrypted offline medium, and this will be stored in a locked container. Only the researcher will be allowed access to the data and the records, and once the study is complete, the data and records will be securely destroyed.

Contact information: If you would like to participate in this research study or functions as a pilot for the questions or have any other questions regarding this study, you may contact Patrick Butler at – Cell phone number: 201-873-4938 – Email address: patrick.butler1@student.ctuonline.edu or patrick.butler@gmail.com – Linkedin social media network: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickmbutler/

For questions regarding the rights of research subjects, any complaints or comments regarding the manner in which the study is being conducted, you may contact Colorado Technical University – Doctoral Programs at 719-598-0200.

References Schwab, K. (2017). The fourth industrial revolution. New York: Crown Business.

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