What’s the difference between Cyber Situational Awareness and Cyber Awareness?

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Cyberspace is constantly evolving, with new threats, tools, techniques, bad actors and more emerging every day. Just as major advancements have been made in the technology industry, cybercriminals have also made advancements, evolving the cyber threat landscape like never before.
In this day and age, it is essential that everyone, especially organizations must arm themselves with knowledge about the current activities in cyberspace. It is highly recommended that organizations must adopt and foster cyber awareness and cyber situational awareness.
While most may assume that cyber awareness and cyber situational awareness are the same, there are, in fact, salient differences between the two terms that alter not just the information pertained to them but also the perspective they offer.
Cyber awareness
Cyber awareness refers to the overall awareness of the cyber landscape - a more generalized knowledge of the current threats, technologies, mitigation efforts and research efforts within the infosec community.
Cyber awareness is essential for one to gain a basic understanding of how the industry functions. In fact, cyber awareness is the key to inculcating a culture of knowledge that can be leveraged by entities to improve their security posture. Cyber awareness also includes data awareness - the ability to recognize how sensitive the data is being handled and how to go about storing and/or communicating it in a secure manner.
However, cyber awareness alone is not enough to stay safe from and defend against the growing arsenal of cyber threats.
Cyber situational awareness
Cyber awareness must be fostered alongside cyber situational awareness. The latter provides not only a holistic view of cyberspace but, also offers specific threat information and threat intelligence about the cyber threat landscape.
Cyber situational awareness bolsters an organization’s ability to detect and comprehend real-time information about emerging cyber threats such as malware, vulnerabilities, phishing attacks and threat actors. Cyber situational awareness should incorporate real-time role-based, location-based and business unit-based threat intelligence and information - all of which can empower the SecOps and the incident response and management teams to make better-informed decisions on how best to respond to potential threats.

There is a fairly thin line between cyber awareness and cyber situational awareness. Both are interdependent and go hand-in-hand in ensuring the security posture of an organization and its ability to gauge its risk status, as well as its overall incident response strategies. Both cyber awareness and cyber situational awareness must be leveraged by organizations as tools to improve the health of their firm’s security.

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