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, Restaurants, and Utilities.

The Coalfire blog is written by the company's leadership team and our highly-credentialed security assessment experts. We look forward to your comments, so please join the conversation.


  • What You Should Know About the Changing Nature of Telephone-Based Payments

    December 10, 2018, Karl Steinkamp, Director, PCI Product and Quality Assurance

    In March 2011, the PCI SSC released the initial version of the “Protecting Telephone-Based Payments Card Data” Information Supplement as a guide to help assessors assess environments where cardholder data was stored, processed, and/or transmitted over the telephone. It was a pivotal guidance document at the time that set the stage for a broader focus on telephony technologies. As of November 2018, that time has finally arrived. The revised document provides a comprehensive dive into various telephony architectures (specifically VoIP, ISDN, and PSTN) and related people and processes that are required to be considered within scope for PCI DSS compliance.

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  • An Analysis of PCI DSS Requirement 11.3.4.1 and the Compliance Expectations

    October 13, 2017, Jason Pieters, Product Director, PCI, Coalfire

    For some organizations, understanding, navigating, and complying with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS), especially after the release of the latest version (v3.2) released in April 2016, has become confusing and/or challenging because of the inclusion of phased-in applicability of requirements. The most common questions that Coalfire receives from clients are regarding requirement 11.3.4.1

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  • New PCI DSS Scoping Guidance Corroborates Coalfire’s Approach

    December 30, 2016, Shawn Shifflett, CISSP, QSA, Senior Practice Director, PCI

    On Friday, December 6th 2016, the PCI Security Standards Council released their formal information supplement titled, Guidance for PCI DSS Scoping and Network Segmentation. This particular information supplement has been eagerly anticipated in the PCI DSS industry for several years. The document seeks to address some of the numerous, and often extremely varying, interpretations of scoping and segmentation requirements across the QSA population. These scoping choices have immediate impact on near-term costs and attainment of compliance, but ultimately they significantly impact a company’s security posture. How does this affect Coalfire customers? The impact should be fairly limited if you have worked with Coalfire and accepted our recommendations to align with the information that we had from our involvement in the PCI Community.

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  • Optimizing your PCI Compliance Investments

    November 11, 2016, Sam Pfanstiel, Solution Principal, PCI, Coalfire

    Everybody knows that the cost of a breach is high. Given the fact that the chance of a data breach for all merchants is nearly 1-in-4, it’s important to not only have PCI compliance in place, but also the right solutions to optimize your compliance spend.

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  • PCI Council Gives Merchants Reprieve on PCI 3.1 Updates

    January 07, 2016, Shawn Shifflett, CISSP, QSA, Senior Practice Director, PCI

    The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) released an update to its vulnerability standards and is giving merchants until June 2018 to migrate their security protocols, even though waiting is not recommended.

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