Nohemi: Examining Cyber-Security Risk among Small Businesses

Nohemi Soza-Acevedo is a 2020 FSU Tech Fellow interning at Orlando’s StarterStudio.

A key element of being a part of FSU Tech Fellows isn’t just having a wide range of experiences within StarterStudio, but also the opportunity to conduct a research project that will be presented at the CRE’s annual Fall Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. To be specific, my research project examines cyber-security vulnerabilities among tech-based small businesses, along with the perspectives and preparations conducted by small business owners around cyber security risk. Being that this project will use qualitative research methods, I am responsible to identify individuals/professionals who have experience with cyber-security and business owners or entrepreneurs. As a Program Management Intern for StarterStudio, I am able to expand my network with the help of my supervisor Maralena Cruz. Along with her help and that of Executive Director Lilian Myers, I have been able to network with individuals and schedule interviews. In preparation for these interviews, I conducted interviews with current seed accelerators at StarterStudio.

Even though I will not be asking similar questions for the upcoming interview, I am prepared in the sense that I know the importance of introducing myself, setting the tone by letting the interviewee know the purpose behind the interview, and, of course, having a set of questions ready before the interview begins. However, reflecting back to when I first started with StarterStudio, I didn’t realize how different and difficult it would be to network remotely. Being that I am not physically in the incubator everyday, it isn’t as simple to walk up to someone and start a conversation, therefore, getting someone to interview has taken longer than expected. 

With that being said, although I was able to have one interviewee set and ready to go, I am still in search of more interviewees that has had the appropriate experiences with a cyber-security risk. For that reason, I am continuously exploring new connections via LinkedIn and friends who have started their tech-based business to hopefully to enhance my knowledge and support my cybersecurity research project. Furthermore, as far as the upcoming few weeks, I am planning to conduct at least two more interviews for the purposes of my project and explore more through the resources StarterStudio and FSU provides on cybersecurity research. Nonetheless, as my sixth week with StarterStudio has been nothing but great, I am continuously looking forward to learn new things every single day.

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