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The Importance of OSI Model to Information Security

Jun 9, 2022 | Domains, Hosting, & Email, Tools & Services | 0 comments

In this day and age, when data is present in different forms and in an unlimited manner, protecting this data is more critical than ever. The threat of misused information is looming, and cybersecurity practitioners are responsible for securing data.

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Understanding the OSI model and its role in security

Security measures like firewalls and authentication control can only provide considerable protection standards. Likewise, network-based protection methods can only offer a basic level of security. People need a multi-tiered security approach to safeguard organizations’ data, and that is where the OSI model can be helpful.

What is the Open Systems Interconnection(OSI) model?

The Open Systems Interconnection(OSI) model is a reference model of how applications communicate with each other over a network. It is essentially a seven—layer model of computer networking. With the help of this model, many communications and networking systems can interact with each other using the same protocols as OSI. 

The purpose of the OSI model is to guide developers in creating the right kind of digital products and software products. This helps promote a clear framework in specifying the functions of the telecommunications or network system in use. However, the OSI model is theoretical and should be used for reference. 

The seven layers of the OSI model

The 7 layers of OSI model are created to ensure that the data flows smoothly through each layer, across the network, and finally up the layers of the receiving computer. The first three layers are called the media layers, and the subsequent four layers are called the host layers. 

1) The Physical Layer

The physical layer defines the technical qualifications of data connectivity. With the help of electrical, mechanical, and procedural interfaces, the data is transported across the network. All physical devices such as routers, modems, and power boxes are used in the first layer. Attackers coming through the first layer will resort to methods like power disruption, equipment damage, or theft to get through. 

2) The data—link layer

The data—link layer transports data pockets via the physical layer. Data breaches are commonly seen in this layer as the safety net is vulnerable. In addition, the data transmitted occurs at a pace that doesn’t overwhelm both sending and receiving devices. To protect the data at this level, one should apply methods like MAC address filtering and proper encryption standards. 

3) The network layer

The network layer is the last of the media layers directly dealing with the real world. It addresses and routes the media packets while managing a multi—node network. Therefore, the layer also needs the most securing methods, such as firm anti-spoofing, firewalls, routing filters, and secure routing protocols. 

4) The transport layer

The transport layer communicates with the lower layers in the OIS model to ensure that the communication between them is running smoothly. It also checks for any errors or proper data flow through all layers. In addition, this layer needs correct firewall settings, restrictive admission of transmission protocols, and an appropriate port number. 

5) The session layer

The session layer essentially manages the inter—system communications and systems at endpoints. This layer also authenticates and reconnects services after an interruption. Additionally, it determines the waiting time of the system before the application responds. Information leakage, session hijacking, and spoofing are the issues that one can encounter in this layer. 

6) The presentation layer

The presentation layer uses different conversion schemes to standardize data between a networking service and an application. Then, as the name suggests, it handles the presentation of the data to the end—users for data encryption. The data gets translated or formatted depending on the syntax or the semantics acceptable by the application. 

7) The application layer

The final layer, the application layer, is where the end—user, human or software, gets to interact with the application or the network. Unfortunately, it is also the layer most prone to the widest range of security breaches and cyberattacks. However, safety measures like regular malware scans, sandboxing, and application codes can secure the data. 

How is the OSI model still relevant today?

As systems become mobile and the Internet of Things takes over, there is a greater need to protect data to keep companies running successfully. Unfortunately, if the security measures you use aren’t upgraded as technology advances, you will have only yourself to blame in case of a security breach. Therefore, the OSI model still holds relevance because:

1 – OSI helps maintain a data-centric security posture

The OSI model provides a framework where you can check the inventory of your company’s assets. This checkup helps you notice areas where extra security measures are needed. Knowing where the most prominent data security risks lie, you can plan and adapt to information security policies ahead of time. 

You can use the analysis to invest in the needed tools that give you data visibility across different OSI layers. A data—centric model is required not only for visibility but also for compliance, as some environments require you to demonstrate that your controls for data protection are adequate. 

2 – OSI helps in identifying threats across your entire tech stack

The OSI model has been in use for many years by IT experts to understand and troubleshoot issues in the networking process. People still use the model to keep track of the inventory of their company’s data and assets. Additionally, the model regularly accesses systems to check for vulnerabilities and safety concerns. 

3 – OSI is essential for the development of a cloud—based mindset that prioritizes security

When migrating to a cloud-based system, the OSI model must always be considered. It conducts an accurate examination of your company’s assets and security resources. Furthermore, it helps understand the security concern you may be unknowingly inviting with the cloud system you integrate into your organization. 

Still, the digital era has some aces under the sleeves. Companies deem digitalization as something frightening until they work with professional agencies and benefit from managed IT services Alpharetta. These collaborations of companies and agencies stand mostly in providing safe navigation to all of those businesses who care about their sensitive data.

4 – OSI prevents cybersecurity issues

The OSI model’s biggest strength is pinpointing any incoming attacks and weakening of security systems. Since the entire system is spread out in seven different layers, one can identify the threat on the level and immediately applicable solutions to get rid of the attack. 

5 – OSI can be customized to secure your cloud infrastructure

Cyber experts can upgrade OSI depending on your company’s cloud infrastructure. The model is built to be versatile and can be applied in various forms to different system layers. Therefore, you can get a tailor-made OSI model that supports a secure environment for your own company.  

In closing

Information safety is something that will always be essential to companies. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate the best multi-tier cybersecurity system, similar to the OSI model, across your organization. Doing this will equip and safeguard all the stored information in your database. 

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