Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework-How to Standardize New Cyber-Protection? 


An Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework (OCSF) might sound complicated, but it is a standard schema format for different everyday security events. An OCSF framework allows a standardized way of describing and sharing cyber-security-related data across other platforms. The primary purpose of this Framework is to allow for the normalization of cybersecurity data, making it easy to respond to cybersecurity threats. 

This initiative aims to standardize cybersecurity data exchange between different systems and applications. It is a vendor-neutral framework that provides a set of specifications for representing and exchanging cybersecurity-related information in a structured and standardized format.  

The OCSF framework enables different cybersecurity tools and systems to communicate with each other seamlessly, allowing for better collaboration and information sharing between security teams. This, in turn, can help improve cybersecurity defense and response and streamline security operations.  

To implement the OCSF framework, organizations can begin by mapping their existing cybersecurity tools and systems and identifying where data exchange and standardization can be improved. They can then implement the OCSF specifications and integrate their systems accordingly.

Key benefits of using the OCSF framework include:  

    Improved collaboration and information sharing between different cybersecurity systems and tools.  

    Streamlined security operations and improved response times.  

    Better visibility and situational awareness of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.  

    Reduced complexity and costs associated with integrating different security tools and systems.  

    The Open Cybersecurity Schema framework provides a vendor-neutral and standardized approach to cybersecurity data exchange. It enables organizations to improve collaboration, streamline operations, and enhance their overall cybersecurity posture.  

    How can an OCSF do this? 

    By providing a standard schema for describing cybersecurity data (data types, attributes, categories, profiles, or extensions), this Framework allows organizations to define their data models while remaining compatible with other organizations using OSCF. 

    This standard schema for describing cybersecurity data is essential to remember as they are the six tiers that go into making up the entire Framework. 

    Data types include strings, integers, floating point numbers, and Booleans. Data types are used to define the structure and format of the data used in the Framework.

    Attributes – Event class Attributes are unique identifiers for a specific field. They describe the fields within a cyber-security-related event and can include IP addresses and file hashes. Attributes ensure that different organizations can describe the same types of events similarly.

    An attribute dictionary is a centralized repository that stores all available attributes and their types. The attribute dictionary serves as the building block of the Framework.

    Category – In the OCSF, events are represented by event classes that structure attributes and have unique IDs within the Framework. These event classes are grouped into categories and identified by an exceptional category attribute value, which serves as the category identifier. Categories typically have name captions such as System Activity, Network Activity, or Findings to make them easier to find.

    Profiles provide additional context to event classes by overlaying related attributes into event classes, allowing for cross-category event class filtering.

    Extensions allow the schema to be extended without modifying the core schema to build the Framework to meet business needs. With extensions, organizations can create new event classes, attributes, and categories unique to their environment without disrupting the integrity of the core schema.   

    Did You Know  

    You may have heard of creating personas to understand a customer segment better, but personas can be made to better realize the OCSF’s workings. 

    There are four types of personas:

    The ‘Author’ persona creates or extends the schema.

    The ‘Producer’ persona generates events into the schema.

    The ‘Mapper’ persona translates or creates events from another source to the schema.

    The ‘Analyst’ persona (the ‘Consumer’ persona) is the end user who searches the data, writes rules or analytics against the schema, or creates reports from the schema. What is the Framework?

    The OCSF is a standardized format for organizing cyber-security data to make sharing easier. The schema supports various profiles, including the cloud profile, which deals with securing DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure; the file security profile, which aims to ensure file systems and prevent data exfiltration; the host profile, which focuses on securing endpoints, the malware profile, which deals with detecting and mitigating malware attacks, the reputation profile, which is used to track and manage the reputation of IP addresses, domains, and URLs, and the user profile which deals with securing user accounts and access. Additionally, using this Framework helps reduce errors or inconsistencies when using disparate data sources.  

    This Framework offers a universal schema for typical security events, established guidelines for versioning to facilitate schema advancement, and integrates a self-governing mechanism for security log procedures and consumers. The OCSF is open source and available on GitHub, which allows developers to easily access and contribute to it, ensuring the schema is transparent and accessible to a broader community, which allows for innovation in cybersecurity. The OCSF’s self-governance process ensures that the Framework remains relevant and valuable to the community by enabling feedback and updates from procedures and consumers of security logs. Using versioning criteria also allows the Framework to evolve and adapt to new security challenges over time.   

    OCSF & Splunk  

    The OCSF has gained significant traction in the cybersecurity industry, with many participating vendors recognizing its benefits and supporting adoption. Some notable vendors include Amazon, CrowdStrike, zScaler, Okta, and, of course, Splunk.    

    In a report titled “Technology Perspectives from Cybersecurity Professionals,” Job Oltsik, a senior principal analyst and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) fellow, found that “77% of respondents would like to see more industry and technology cooperation in the form of open standards support” and “85% of respondents believe that a product’s integration capabilities are important.”   

    This is why it is no surprise that Splunk participates in the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework, which will deliver a way to develop schemas faster and easier. Splunk has been a strong proponent of implanting the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework to quickly parse and interpret data from various sources and provide prominent threat detection and analysis—Splunk integration.   

    Splunk users can now use the schema and data models defined by the OCSF to improve data ingestion and normalization. Implementing this Framework allows users to quickly move data between any two platforms if the OCS Framework is implemented. With the Framework’s support, Splunk can now promptly ingest and process security data from various sources, including cloud environments, endpoint devices, and network devices, and apply common metadata tags to facilitate search, correlation, and analysis. Splunk’s adoption of the OCSF demonstrates its commitment to providing its users with a more efficient and effective way to manage security.    

    Splunk will work towards providing an open standard that can be adopted in any environment while ensuring it can continue complementing existing security standards and processes.  

    Future of OCSF   

    With well-known platforms such as Splunk and AWS (Amazon Web Services) implementing the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework, its’ future looks promising. One of the key benefits of the OCSF is its flexibility and ability to evolve as new types of security events and data sources emerge. As the threat landscape evolves, the Framework can adapt to include new event types and fields, making it the tool for threat detection.   

    Data normalization before ingestion is one of the inconveniences for security professionals, but OCSF simplifies this time-consuming step. Now, more than a dozen companies are implementing this Framework, as there are no prominent cons to adopting this new way of cybersecurity protection.   


    The Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework is growing because of its reliability, ease of use, self-governance process, and high threat scanning ability. Using standardization of cyber security data, an organization can ensure consistency and reduce errors.  

    As a partner of Splunk, Prudent can help your organization better understand the workings of the Open Cybersecurity Framework, how Splunk implements it, and how it can benefit your organization to stay ahead of potential cybersecurity threats. 

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