Date of Conferral







Patricia Fusch


Cybercriminal activity may be a relatively new concern to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but it has the potential to create financial and liability issues for SME organizations. The problem is that SMEs are a future growth target for cybercrime activity as larger corporations begin to address security issues to reduce cybercriminal risks and vulnerabilities. The purpose of this study was to explore a small business owner's knowledge about to the principal elements of decision making for SME investment into cybersecurity education for employees with respect to internet access and employee vulnerabilities. The theoretical framework consisted of the psychological studies by Bandura and Jaishankar that might affect individual decision making in terms of employee risks created through internet use. This qualitative case study involved a participant interview and workplace observations to solicit a small rural business owner's knowledge of cybercriminal exploitation of employees through internet activities such as social media and the potential exploitation of workers by social engineers. Word frequency analysis of the collected data concluded that SME owners are ill equipped to combat employee exploitation of their business through social engineering. Qualitative research is consistent with understanding the decision factors for cost, technical support, and security threat prevention SME organizational leadership use and is the focus of this study as emergent themes. The expectation is that this study will aid in the prevention of social engineering tactics against SME employees and provide a platform for future research for SMEs and cybercriminal activity prevention.