Date of Conferral
Doctor of Information Technology (D.I.T.)
Information Systems and Technology
Successful attacks on critical infrastructure have increased in occurrence and sophistication. Many cybersecurity strategies incorporate conventional best practices but often do not consider organizational circumstances and nonstandard critical infrastructure protection needs. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore cybersecurity strategies used by information technology (IT) managers and compliance officers to mitigate cyber threats to critical infrastructure. The population for this study comprised IT managers and compliance officers of 4 case organizations in the Pacific Northwest United States. The routine activity theory developed by criminologist Cohen and Felson in 1979 was used as the conceptual framework. Data collection consisted of interviews with 2 IT managers, 3 compliance officers, and 25 documents related to cybersecurity and associated policy governance. A software tool was used in a thematic analysis approach against the data collected from the interviews and documentation. Data triangulation revealed 4 major themes: a robust workforce training program is crucial, make infrastructure resiliency a priority, importance of security awareness, and importance of organizational leadership support and investment. This study revealed key strategies that may help improve cybersecurity strategies used by IT and compliance professionals, which can mitigate successful attacks against critical infrastructure. The study findings will contribute to positive social change through an exploration and contextual analysis of cybersecurity strategy with situational awareness of IT practices to enhance cyber threat mitigation and inform business processes.