Open Certification Framework

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Streamlining Vendor IT Security and Risk Assessments
Streamlining Vendor IT Security and Risk Assessments


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Open Certification Framework
The Cloud Security Alliance has identified gaps within the IT ecosystem that are inhibiting market adoption of secure and reliable cloud services. Consumers do not have simple, cost effective ways to evaluate and compare their providers’ resilience, data protection and privacy capabilities and service portability. 

The CSA Open Certification Framework (OCF) is an industry initiative to allow global, trusted independent evaluation of cloud providers. It is a program for flexible, incremental and multi-layered cloud provider certification and/or attestation according to the Cloud Security Alliance’s industry leading security guidance and control framework. The program will integrate with popular third-party assessment and attestation statements developed within the public accounting community to avoid duplication of effort and cost.

As a critical step toward securing the digital foundation of our economy, we recommend that businesses reduce their reliance on proprietary, in-house security assessment programs related to cloud computing. Instead, we recommend leveraging the CSA’s Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR) program and its associated assurance tools as core components of vetting and procuring cloud providers and services. We believe this emphasis on consistent, uniform cloud security standards will increase the security baseline for all participants in our economy.

You can view the CSA STAR Registry here.→

Help CSA move from “point-in-time” assurance to continuous assurance.
This change requires moving away from manual audits and moving to the world of security metrics.While the idea of security metrics is not new, there is no standard reference in the industry that supports security metrics in a way that is comparable to what the CSA CCM or ISO/IEC 27002 does for security controls. To address this gap, CSA launched the Continuous Audit Metrics Working Group in early 2020 to build the first catalog of security metrics for the cloud. The first version of this catalog is now available to comment on. It contains an initial set of 33 security metrics, each mapped to the CSA CCMv4. We invite the community to provide feedback by directly providing comments in the document or sending them to [email protected] Please share this work as widely as possible.

Open Certification FrameworkEnterprise ArchitectureCAIQCCAKSecurity Guidance

The CSA Open Certification working group is an industry initiative to allow global, accredited, trusted certification of cloud providers.

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Working Group Leadership

Andrew Williams Headshot

Andrew Williams

Ryan Mackie Headshot

Ryan Mackie

Ronald Tse Headshot

Ronald Tse

Andreas Fuchsberger Headshot

Andreas Fuchsberger

John DiMaria Headshot

John DiMaria

Daniele Catteddu Headshot

Daniele Catteddu

Join this working group

Open Certification Framework

CSA Research crowd-sources the knowledge and expertise of security experts and helps address the challenges and needs they’ve experienced, or seen others experience, within the cybersecurity field. Each publication is vendor-neutral and follows the peer review process outlined in the CSA Research Lifecycle. We recommend getting started by reading the following documents.

Streamlining Vendor IT Security and Risk Assessments

Streamlining Vendor IT Security and Risk Assessments

Vendor security assessments generally consume a lot of time and cost while resulting in a limited understanding of a vendor’s risk profile. These inefficient assessments have trouble keeping up with the growing ecosystem of technology vendors—and especially the increased reliance on cloud security vendors. In such an ecosystem, technology leaders must redouble their efforts to improve vendor security oversight, risk assessment, and risk management activities. In this paper, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and the National Technology Security Coalition (NTSC) are advocating for a new approach to how organizations manage risks, achieve assurance, and enable trust in the cloud.

CSA STAR Program & Open Certification Framework in 2016 and Beyond

CSA STAR Program & Open Certification Framework in 2016 and Beyond

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) program is the industry’s leading trust mark for cloud security. The CSA Open Certification Framework (OCF) is a program for flexible, incremental and multi-layered CSP certifications according to the CSA’s industry leading security guidance. The OCF/STAR program comprises a global cloud computing assurance framework with a scope of capabilities, flexibility of execution, and completeness of vision that far exceeds the risk and compliance objectives of other security audit and certification programs.

STAR Continuous Technical Guidance

STAR Continuous Technical Guidance

 STAR Continuous specifies the necessary activities and conditions for the continuous auditing of the cloud service over a defined set of security requirements, covering aspects from governance to infrastructure, and requiring the cloud service to define necessary processes that will be executed during the validation of controls within the scope of assessment. The program promotes trust by ensuring that a cloud service’s necessary activities and conditions are continuously met by through continuous auditing, such as through the operationalization of security and privacy requirements. This document explains the program and how to achieve STAR Continuous for an organization. 

Blog Posts

What an Auditor Should Know about Cloud Computing Part 3
​CSA STAR Attestation and STAR Certification Case Studies
Using CSA STAR to Improve Cloud Governance and Compliance