Situational awareness is the process of being aware of all the elements in a given environment and their potential interactions. Security professionals use situational awareness to identify threats and vulnerabilities and make informed decisions about how to best protect an organization’s assets.
One fundamental way to improve your situational awareness is by knowing your infrastructure: what systems are in place, their dependencies, and how could they be compromised. Understanding how your systems work and identifying potential weak points will help you make better decisions about how to protect them from attack. Threats increasingly target critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, telecommunications, and transportation, so organizations need robust security measures to protect their vital systems.
Factors That Affect Situational Awareness
Effective situational awareness of security staff can be adversely affected by the following:
- Poor communication
- Poorly implemented Information management
Stages of Situational Awareness
There are four primary stages of situational awareness:
- Perception – noticing something that is out of the ordinary or doesn’t seem to fit in the current environment.
- Interpretation – putting together what you’ve noticed and trying to understand why it’s relevant or poses a potential threat.
- Evaluation – assessing whether or not the situation represents a threat and what action if any, needs to be taken.
- Response – taking whatever steps are necessary to deal with the threat, including proactively changing your surroundings or fleeing if necessary.