It\u2019s 2:00 p.m. on a Tuesday. As you round the corner, you (literally!) run into your CISO. He\u2019s been with the CIO preparing for the quarterly board meeting, and they need your help. The high profile-breaches that have occurred in the last year may cause the board to drill-in and ask questions. As Director of Information Security, you\u2019re supposed to know best, right? But, as you know, things aren\u2019t always so crisp and clear.\n\n\u201cI Don\u2019t Know\u201d Is Not an Option\n\nGiven the complexity of your IT infrastructure and all of the potential scenarios, you aren\u2019t sure you actually \u201cknow\u201d all of the answers. However, you also know that responding with \u201cI don\u2019t know\u201d is not an option.\n\n\nAdmitting that you \u201cdon\u2019t know\u201d means admitting that you haven\u2019t put in place the necessary operational intelligence you need to obtain real-time situational awareness. And without real-time situational awareness, you won\u2019t know:\n\n\nWhat your real-time security posture is\nWhen (not if) you are under attack\nHow long it takes you to respond to an attack or data breach\n\n\n\u201cFlying blind\u201d is simply not acceptable in today\u2019s high-stakes cybersecurity environment. Saying \u201cI don\u2019t know\u201d will also be unacceptable to your board, especially since, according to the 2015 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, \u201c$400 million in estimated financial loss from 700 million compromised records in 2014 shows the real importance in managing data breach risks.\u201d\n\nReal-Time Situational Awareness Is a Core Requirement\n\nReal-time (or near real-time) situational awareness helps you avoid saying \u201cI don\u2019t know.\u201d You can immediately respond to questions from senior management or regulators \u2013 without scrambling. You always know your IT inventory or assets, your network topology, system\/device configurations, unaddressed vulnerabilities and of course, you can continuously monitor the network and system for events that indicate a compromise.\n\nIt\u2019s Not a Matter of If, It\u2019s a Matter of When\n\nIn today\u2019s cybersecurity landscape, experienced security professionals accept that at some point, a breach will occur. Therefore, you must be able to:\n\n\nPredict attack paths and minimize gaps\nContinuously reduce the time it takes to effectively detect a breach\nSpeed up your incident response with actionable forensic analytics (according to the Verizon report, 75% of all attacks spread from Victim 0 to Victim 1 within one day\u201424 hours).\n\n\nReal-time or near-real time situational awareness ensures that you always know your security posture. It reduces the amount of time it takes for you to respond to a cyberattack. It also ensures you never have to say \u201cI don\u2019t know\u201d when the board, CIO, or CISO asks you tough questions about your organization\u2019s real-time security posture and how long it will take to respond to and recover from a cyberattack.