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  • Writer's pictureCraig Thomas

Demystifying OSCAL: How C2 Labs Empowers Your Security Posture with Streamlined Control Management

In the ever-escalating arms race of cybersecurity, staying on top of evolving threats and the sprawl of security controls feels like wrangling an army. OSCAL offers much-needed automation and simplification, empowering businesses to efficiently manage their defenses and maintain a strong security posture. Enter the Open Security Controls Assessment Language (OSCAL): a game-changer that offers a standardized language for documenting and assessing security controls. Navigating OSCAL adoption can be daunting. That's where C2 Labs comes in – your partner in simplifying and maximizing the benefits of OSCAL.

A Brief History of OSCAL: A Collaborative Effort for a Common Goal

C2 Labs spearheaded the drive for standardized security control management. Recognizing the long-standing Challenge, we collaborated Closely with NIST to develop OSCAL in June 2021. This industry-changing framework transcends mere documentation. OSCAL presents critical security information in a machine-readable format, Allowing for automation in tasks like monitoring and compliance reporting. This empowers organizations to achieve new levels of security efficiency.

Understanding OSCAL: Beyond Standardization, A Shift in Security Management

Imagine a universal language for describing your security controls. That's the essence of OSCAL. It leverages standardized formats like XML, JSON, and YAML to create machine-readable representations of crucial security documents. This translates to significant benefits across various aspects of your security posture:

  • Control Catalogs: Build comprehensive libraries of security controls that computers can understand. This enables a streamlined approach to security control management and supports the rapid deployment of new catalogs.

  • Control Baselines: Define the specific security controls chosen for a system or environment. OSCAL empowers you to establish and share these baselines in a machine-readable way, enabling automated compliance checks and streamlining adherence to security best practices.

  • System Security Plans & Assessment Plans & Results: Document your security plans and record the outcomes of security assessments using OSCAL's machine-readable formats. This simplifies searching, importing, and exporting of outputs from security tools providing capabilities such as hardware asset management, software asset management and vulnerability management. This facilitates automated analysis and enables continuous controls assessment.

Risks Addressed by OSCAL

Compliance Gaps: Trying to juggle different security frameworks often leads to missed requirements or inconsistencies. OSCAL allows mapping controls across frameworks, reducing the risk of missing crucial compliance elements.

Rework Due to Inconsistency: Inconsistently implemented controls require rework and slow down security processes. OSCAL promotes standardization, minimizing the need for rework and ensuring controls are applied uniformly.

Inefficient Resource Allocation: Manual tasks like generating reports and audits consume valuable security expertise. OSCAL enables automation, freeing up security professionals to focus on more strategic security initiatives.

Incomplete or Outdated Security Controls: Keeping security controls up-to-date can be a challenge. OSCAL allows for easier integration with security control catalogs that are automatically updated with the latest best practices.

Vendor Lock-in: Security solutions from different vendors might use incompatible control formats. OSCAL promotes interoperability, reducing the risk of being locked into a specific vendor's security tools.

Limited Visibility into Security Posture: Manually tracking the effectiveness of security controls is cumbersome. OSCAL allows for easier automation of control assessments, providing a more comprehensive view of your overall security posture. 

The ROI of OSCAL Adoption: Measurable Benefits for a Secure Future

While adopting OSCAL may require an initial investment, the long-term benefits translate to a significant return on investment (ROI). Here's how:

  • Improved Efficiency: The standardized format of OSCAL streamlines compliance processes. Mapping controls across multiple frameworks becomes easier, reducing time spent on managing different sets of requirements.

  • Minimized Errors: Human error in configuring security controls is a significant risk. OSCAL's machine-readable format ensures consistent and precise control implementation, reducing the need for rework and troubleshooting.

  • Faster Compliance Audits: OSCAL's standardized formats make it easier to generate reports that demonstrate compliance. This can significantly reduce the time and resources required for security audits.

  • Reduced Vendor Management Costs: OSCAL promotes interoperability between security tools from different vendors. This can potentially reduce the need for custom integrations and simplify vendor management, lowering overall costs.


C2 Labs isn't just OSCAL-savvy, we're pioneers. Our expertise empowered a Cloud Service Provider to achieve day-one FedRAMP compliance for their SaaS offering using the NIST 800-53 Rev 5 catalog. Leveraging OSCAL's automation, they achieved faster time to market, streamlined security management, and gained a competitive edge. Partner with C2 Labs to unlock the power of OSCAL for your FedRAMP journey.

C2 Labs: Your Trusted Partner for Navigating OSCAL Adoption

C2 Labs understands the complexities of security control management and the potential hurdles associated with OSCAL adoption. We have been involved since the inception of OSCAL and provided contractor support to NIST to develop the standard. We offer a comprehensive suite of services designed to help businesses seamlessly integrate OSCAL into their security practices, overcoming the common pain points:

  • Tailored solutions based on security best practices: C2 Labs goes beyond off-the-shelf solutions. We create a security shield custom-fit for your organization. Our experts use industry best practices to assess your vulnerabilities, understand your goals, and leverage OSCAL for automated control management. We then recommend a tailored set of controls to address your specific threats while seamlessly integrating with your existing infrastructure. This results in reduced risk, improved efficiency, enhanced compliance with regulations, and cost savings through optimized security practices.

  • Integrated tools and automation: C2 Labs doesn't just implement OSCAL, we turn it into a powerful security engine. By integrating OSCAL with your existing security infrastructure, we leverage automation to streamline the entire process. This means your security controls are not only standardized and machine-readable, but also actively monitored and managed through automated tasks. This frees up your IT team and allows for continuous improvement through efficient reporting and vulnerability detection.

Knowledge and Partnership powering your security through OSCAL: Forget cookie-cutter OSCAL implementations. C2 Labs co-developed the standard with NIST, offering unmatched expertise. We don't just deploy OSCAL, we partner with you, providing ongoing support to unlock its full potential and empower your security posture.

Useful Resources

Empower Your Security Posture with OSCAL

Ready to leverage the power of OSCAL for streamlined security control management and enhanced compliance?

Our team of OSCAL experts can help you unlock the full potential of this innovative standard.

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