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.


  • What to Expect in the initial FedRAMP briefing with your Agency Sponsor and the PMO

    Nick Peters, Senior Manager, FedRAMP Assurance Services, Coalfire

    Most people who have spent any time researching the FedRAMP authorization process know there are two routes for a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to become FedRAMP authorized: Agency and Joint Authorization Board (JAB). Because of the limited number of CSPs selected each quarter for the JAB authorization process (FedRAMP Connect), many CSPs follow the agency authorization path. In fact, 77% of authorized CSPs have an Agency Authorization to Operate (ATO).

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  • So Your Company has decided to do FedRAMP - What does that mean?

    Nick Peters, Senior Manager, FedRAMP Assurance Services, Coalfire

    The exponential increase in cloud adoption in recent years has led to a dramatic increase in technology companies evolving from software and application companies to Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers. The 2011 release of the Cloud First Initiative in the Federal government launched the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). To sell cloud services to the Federal government, FedRAMP requires Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) to have their multi-tenant Cloud Service Offering (CSO) assessed and authorized, and then they must maintain compliance via continuous monitoring and annual assessments.

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  • Should Cloud Service Providers be Concerned with FIPS 140-3?

    Christine Biggs, Principal, FedRAMP & Assurance Services, Coalfire

    If you’ve dealt with FedRAMP, you may already know that FIPS 140-2 is the standard for cryptographic modules published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). All cloud service providers (CSPs) who wish to be FedRAMP compliant must use only crypto modules that have been validated by NIST in their Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) to ensure they comply with FIPS 140-2.

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  • 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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  • FedRAMP and Its Applicability to ISVs Hosted on FedRAMP-Authorized IaaS

    Karen Laughton, Managing Principal, FedRAMP & Assurance Services, Coalfire

    Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) often ask Coalfire about the FedRAMP compliance framework and how it applies to them. They hear that all software procured by the U.S. federal government must be FedRAMP authorized, and they come to the experts to help them navigate the process. The good news is that the FedRAMP program is not directly applicable to most ISVs. An ISV cannot get their native product listed in the FedRAMP marketplace because it is a “software,” not a “service,” and the FedRAMP program was designed for Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers that provide multi-tenant cloud solutions to the U.S. federal government. 

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