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Why Does the OSI Reference Model Matter?

  • Last Updated : 24 Nov, 2021

OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model is a reference model that describes the movement of information between software applications in different computer systems. It is a seven-layered model used in computer networking. It is useful for developing new standards while considering the existing networking standards. With dynamically changing needs in the field of networking, the TCP/IP model has become more popular but the OSI model remains a fundamental framework for network engineers. OSI model layers can be related to TCP/IP layers to understand the TCP/IP model.

Relation between OSI and TCP/IP model

Relation between OSI and TCP/IP model 

Nowadays, the TCP/IP model is more common than the OSI model but still, it is used as a theoretical concept used to relate different technologies in computer networks. Following are the reasons of OSI model still being relevant:

  1. Identify threats: OSI model helps to identify threats across the entire network. It helps IT experts, to detect network issues occurring at any stage of the networking process and troubleshoot such issues. It is also used to conduct asset inventory and categorize assets and data of organizations using layers of the model and address vulnerabilities and security incidents within the network based on the layers that are being affected by these issues.
  2. Data-centric security posture: It provides a framework for conducting an inventory of the organization’s resources and hence has a data-centric perspective that helps to identify the areas of data security risks within the network. It provides detailed information about each layer of the model and this information plays a critical role in choosing correct tools which give better data visibility within the right OSI layer. OSI model is also important for compliance within the network as it ensures controls within the network are developed according to the environment of the data.
  3. Secure cloud adoption: The popularity of cloud computing has increased significantly over the past few years and many organizations are migrating to the cloud because of its benefits but cloud systems have certain security issues like data breaches, malware injection, insecure APIs, data loss, etc. OSI model is useful while migrating to the cloud as its data-centric perspective helps in understanding the data security risks that cloud adoption might bring to the network. This allows organizations to develop better strategies to decide about the types of cloud systems to adopt which can reduce these security concerns.
  4. Secure cloud infrastructure:  OSI model prioritize the security of the network and hence can be used within cloud systems that are prone to different security issues like a data breach, malware injection, insecure APIs, data loss, etc. OSI model is versatile and can be applied in different ways to cloud infrastructure. It conducts an inventory of security resources and assets of the organization and is modified in such a way that it benefits the security program of the network.

Hence, the OSI model is important because it forms the basis for the development of standards for systems interconnection while considering existing standards within the overall reference model. Also, it helps in understanding other network models and technologies efficiently. It lays down a clear framework to be followed by developers so the digital communications products and software programs they create can interoperate.

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