Outsourcing DO-178C Compliance: Pros and Cons


In the aviation industry, adhering to rigorous safety standards is paramount. DO-178C, the software standard set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), ensures that software used in airborne systems meets the highest level of safety and reliability. However, achieving compliance with DO-178C can be a complex and resource-intensive process. To streamline their operations and reduce costs, many aviation companies consider outsourcing their DO-178C compliance efforts. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of outsourcing DO-178C compliance and delve into the factors organizations should consider when making this decision.

Pros of Outsourcing DO-178C Compliance

Cost Savings:

Outsourcing DO-178C compliance can lead to significant cost savings for organizations. Compliance activities, such as software testing, verification, and documentation, require specialized skills and resources. By outsourcing these tasks to a qualified vendor, companies can avoid investing in expensive tools, infrastructure, and dedicated teams. Additionally, outsourcing allows businesses to benefit from economies of scale, as compliance service providers can spread their costs across multiple clients.

Access to Expertise:

DO-178C compliance demands a deep understanding of the standard’s requirements and industry best practices. Outsourcing to a specialized service provider grants organizations access to experts who possess extensive knowledge and experience in aviation software development and certification. These experts can guide companies through the compliance process, offer valuable insights, and ensure adherence to the latest industry guidelines.

Faster Time to Market:

Outsourcing DO-178C compliance can expedite the software development lifecycle, reducing the time to market for aviation products. Compliance service providers are well-versed in the necessary processes, tools, and techniques required for efficient compliance. By leveraging their expertise, organizations can accelerate the verification and validation phases, thereby shortening the overall development cycle without compromising safety.

Focus on Core Competencies:

Aviation companies often have limited resources and expertise to handle the intricacies of DO-178C compliance while simultaneously focusing on their core competencies. Outsourcing compliance activities allows organizations to redirect their internal resources towards their primary business objectives, such as designing and manufacturing innovative aircraft systems. This can enhance overall productivity and competitiveness in the industry.

Cons of Outsourcing DO-178C Compliance

Loss of Control:

When outsourcing DO-178C compliance, organizations relinquish direct control over critical compliance processes. Depending on the service provider’s location, there may be communication challenges, language barriers, or differences in time zones. This lack of control can result in misunderstandings, delays, and potential compliance gaps. It is crucial to establish clear communication channels and well-defined expectations to mitigate this risk.

Quality Concerns:

Maintaining software quality is vital to meet DO-178C compliance requirements. Outsourcing compliance activities introduces the risk of diminished quality control. Companies must ensure that the chosen service provider has a robust quality management system in place and follows rigorous software development and testing processes. Regular audits and inspections can help verify compliance and mitigate potential quality concerns.

Dependency on Third Parties:

Outsourcing DO-178C compliance means relying on third-party vendors for critical processes. Companies must carefully evaluate the reliability, reputation, and financial stability of service providers. Dependence on external entities introduces an element of risk, as the failure of the compliance vendor to deliver can have serious consequences on project timelines and overall business operations.

Potential Security Risks:

Outsourcing compliance activities involves sharing sensitive software and system information with external entities. Companies need to ensure that proper confidentiality agreements and security measures are in place to protect their intellectual property and sensitive data. Engaging with trustworthy vendors and implementing robust security protocols can help mitigate potential security risks.


Outsourcing DO-178C compliance can be a strategic decision for aviation companies, offering cost savings, access to expertise, and faster time to market. However, organizations must carefully consider the associated risks, such as loss of control, quality concerns, dependency on third parties, and potential security risks. Ultimately, the decision to outsource DO-178C compliance should be based on a thorough evaluation of the organization’s resources, risk tolerance, and long-term objectives. By striking the right balance between in-house capabilities and outsourced expertise, companies can achieve successful compliance while maintaining their competitive edge in the aviation industry.

Outsourcing DO-178C Compliance: Pros and Cons
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