Workforce Planning in Cybersecurity

  • December 10, 2023

In cybersecurity, having a team that's not only equipped to handle current threats but also anticipates future vulnerabilities is essential. Effective workforce planning is the key to building such a team, requiring a nuanced approach that extends beyond traditional skill mapping. 

Strategic Workforce Planning for Cybersecurity Teams

Building a cybersecurity team that can protect your organisation against emerging threats involves careful planning, foresight, and a commitment to continuous learning and development.

Current Capabilities

Firstly, assess how your team's expertise aligns with your organisation's cybersecurity goals. Are you primarily focused on network security, cloud security, or endpoint protection? Understanding this alignment is crucial.

Skills Inventory and Competency Matrix

Use the Competency Matrix to catalogue your team's current skills and proficiencies. In cybersecurity, this might include:

  • Technical Skills: Knowledge of firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS); proficiency in security information and event management (SIEM) systems like Splunk or IBM QRadar; experience with encryption technologies and secure coding practices.
  • Cybersecurity Frameworks and Standards: Familiarity with NIST, ISO 27001, and CIS Controls.
  • Programming and Scripting: Ability to script in Python, PowerShell, or Bash to automate security tasks and understand secure coding practices.
  • Soft Skills: Critical thinking, problem-solving, ethical judgment, and strong communication skills for translating technical risks to non-technical stakeholders.

Planning for the Future

Identifying Emerging Threats and Technologies

Stay abreast of emerging cybersecurity threats and the technologies developed to counteract them. For example, with the rise of cloud computing, skills in cloud security and familiarity with platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud become increasingly important.

Balancing Recruitment and Skill Development

Determine the blend of recruiting new talent and developing existing team members. Specialised recruitment might be necessary for niche areas like threat intelligence analysis or forensic investigation. Conversely, upskilling existing staff in areas like ethical hacking or the latest compliance standards can be highly effective.

Workforce Planning Tools and Techniques

To effectively implement strategic workforce planning in cybersecurity, consider the following:

Professional Development

Develop a program that encourages continuous skill enhancement. For instance, team members experienced in traditional network security might pursue advanced training in cloud security certifications like CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional) or AWS Certified Security.

Succession Planning

Utilise insights from your Competency Matrix to identify potential leadership within your cybersecurity team and ensure critical roles are covered. This planning is vital for maintaining operational continuity in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Performance and Objective Alignment

Align performance management with your organisation's strategic cybersecurity goals and individual career aspirations. Establish clear, measurable objectives encouraging skill development and innovation in security practices.


Effective workforce planning in cybersecurity is about more than just assembling a skilled team; it's about fostering an environment of continuous learning, adaptability, and strategic foresight. By evaluating current capabilities, planning for future challenges, and embedding flexibility and ongoing development into your team's culture, you can ensure your cybersecurity workforce is prepared for today's threats and ahead of tomorrow's vulnerabilities.