The Coalfire Blog

Welcome to the Coalfire Blog, a resource covering the most important issues in IT security and compliance. You'll also find information on Coalfire's insights into the unique cybersecurity issues that impact the industries we serve, including Cloud Service Providers, RetailFinancial Services, Healthcare, Higher Education, Payments, Government.

The Coalfire blog is written by the company's leadership team and our highly-credentialed security assessment experts.


  • Minimize Business Disruption and Move Forward with Solid Assessment Guidance

    Dixon Wright, VP SOC, ISO, and Healthcare Services, Coalfire

    COVID-19 has seized the world’s attention by disrupting the economy, the workforce, and our personal lives. While no one knows when this pandemic is going to end or its lasting impact, Coalfire is listening closely to our customers and doing everything we can to minimize disruption to their businesses. We are keenly aware that businesses must move forward with selling products and services and still have a need – albeit not “mission critical” – for third-party assurance.

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  • Clearing the Clouds: Comparing CMMC to other Frameworks

    Jim Masella, Director, FedRAMP & Assurance Services, Coalfire

    These days, I spend a lot of time talking to our cloud-based clients about Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC): what it is, why it’s important, and how they can prepare.  As one of the leading cybersecurity consulting firms and third-party assessment organizations (3PAO), Coalfire’s clients range from small businesses to the largest technology companies in the world; many of whom are offering essential services to the Department of Defense (DoD).  Our firm conducts compliance assessments across multiple frameworks such as SOC, ISO, HIPAA, HITRUST, PCI, FedRAMP, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, DFARS, DoD SRG, and many others.  Many of our customers are cloud services providers (CSPs) that undergo multiple audits every year to maintain their security posture and the compliance certifications required to offer services in their various markets. To them, the DoD’s new CMMC may just seem like another framework.

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  • Establishing Remote Data Center Assessment Standards

    Saree Costa, Senior Consultant, Payments Assurance, Coalfire

    For the foreseeable future, the COVID-19 crisis has changed the very nature of on-site cybersecurity compliance assessments and testing. Leading the way, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) quickly recognized that its requirements for physical, on-site data center assessments needed rapid modification due to travel restrictions and health concerns. Though assessors may be temporarily prevented from testing on location, data center security is essential and must continue.

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  • The Cloud is Beige - The demise of black box testing

    Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs

    Black-box penetration testing is dead. I’d question why it is even a consideration. It’s of limited and dubious value in almost any context. Wait, wait… I didn’t mean that. Put down the pitchforks and torches, development and QA teams, I’m only talking about black-box penetration testing. Yes, traditional software functional or regression testing in a black-box manner does have a purpose. Validating the functional requirements of the code has a place, and it’s valuable. Non-functional black-box testing has a place as well, when evaluating the sturdiness of an application such as load testing and the like. Settle down. Read more
  • Developing COVID-19 Outbreak Communication and Adjustment to Planned Assessment Activities

    Aaron Reynolds, VP, Cyber Assurance – Payments, Coalfire

    As the coronavirus outbreak continues and safety concerns relating to travel and large meeting groups increase globally, Coalfire’s Payments Assurance Practice has been monitoring the effect of this crisis on both its customers and its employees. As a Qualified Security Assessor Company (QSAC), Coalfire maintains certifications with the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). Our remote assessment approach is intended to follow a “safety first” mindset, but also ensure compliance deadlines are not put at risk. Coalfire has been in communication with the PCI SSC via recent Global Executive Assessor Roundtable (GEAR) meetings and has received guidance around this developing, worldwide event and have released guidance pertaining to COVID-19 referenced below.

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