Name That OSI Model Layer: Know Your Layers and Cybersecurity Vocab

Sean Byrne
5 min readApr 5, 2023

Relating all things to the OSI Model Layers is a handy exercise, not a ‘handsy exercise’ as the photo would suggest.

tsk tsk tsk… Getting too handsy is distracting these two from their cybersecurity studies. Photo by Dainis Graveris


This article is pretty straightforward. We have a list of vocabulary terms and then we define these terms. Then we explain how those terms relate to the layers within the OSI Model.

Anyway, let’s jump into the cybersecurity vocab before the photo triggers you to do something else.

Support more content like this by subscribing OR purchase some merch from my store on Redbubble.

Configuration Management


Configurations are basically options that can be changed within a system. Alterations to configurations can add functionality, remove functionality, and even completely change system functionality. Management of configurations is essential to secure the system using the specific configuration the implementation intended.

OSI Layer:

Layer 7 (Application Layer)

This is because configuration management involves managing the settings and configurations of specific applications and services that run on top of the network stack. While some aspects of configuration management may also involve lower layers of the OSI model, such as network and transport layers, the primary focus is on the application layer.

Data Protection


This includes the policies, procedures, tools, and architecture used to ensure proper control over the data in the enterprise.

OSI Layer:

Layers 2–7 (Data, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, and Application Layers)

The data protection policies, procedures, and tools are used to secure data at rest and in transit. This involves encrypting data, using access controls to restrict who can view or modify data, and ensuring the integrity of data through measures such as hashing and digital signatures.

At the Data Link Layer (Layer 2), data protection may involve MAC address filtering, which limits access to the network to specific devices.

At the Network Layer (Layer 3), data protection may involve using IPsec to encrypt and authenticate data as it is transmitted over the network.

At the Transport Layer (Layer 4), data protection may involve using SSL/TLS to secure communication between two endpoints.

At the Session Layer (Layer 5), data protection may involve using encryption to secure communication between different sessions.

At the Presentation Layer (Layer 6), data protection may involve encoding data in a format that is difficult to understand without proper decryption keys.

At the Application Layer (Layer 7), data protection may involve using access controls and encryption to secure data within specific applications or services.

Honey Pots


A server that is designed to act like a real server on a corporate network, but rather than having real data, the honeypot possesses fake data. They are set up to be an attractive target to attackers, but really they are just a trap for malicious traffic

OSI Layer:

Layer 7 (Application Layer)

Honeypots are a security mechanism that simulates vulnerable services or applications that an attacker would want to target, and are intended to attract and detect unauthorized access attempts.

At the Application Layer, honeypots can mimic a wide range of specific applications and services, such as web servers, FTP servers, and email servers. They can be configured to look like real systems by presenting common vulnerabilities and using standard protocols and ports to communicate with potential attackers.

While honeypots can involve other layers of the OSI model, such as the Network Layer for routing or the Data Link Layer for Ethernet protocols, their primary focus is on the application layer. Honeypots are used to gather information about attackers and their methods, and can be an effective tool for improving overall network security.

Site Resiliency


Connected to the idea of restoration sites and their availability. Incorporates the use off-site data storage in a location that includes the computing capabilities used for normal operations in the event the main facility is physically damaged.

OSI Layer:

Layer 1 and 2 (Physical and Data Layers)

At the Physical Layer, site resiliency involves physical measures to protect against disasters, such as fires, floods, and earthquakes. This may include redundant power and cooling systems, fire suppression systems, and backup generators.

At the Data Link Layer, site resiliency involves redundancy in networking equipment such as routers, switches, and cabling, to ensure that data can be transmitted and received even in the event of a failure. This may include redundant connections to the Internet, and redundant paths between network devices.

Additionally, site resiliency may involve Layer 3: Network Layer and higher layers, such as Layer 7: Application Layer, to ensure that data and applications are available and accessible in the event of a disaster. This may include replicating data to off-site locations, using load balancers to distribute traffic between redundant systems, and designing applications to operate across multiple locations.

API Considerations


A critical element is digital enterprises because they allow a method of integrating connections between different applications. However, with greater ease of connectivity comes greater risk. APIs are like the doors and windows of moderm applications. Insecure APIs are basically like malfunctioning doors and windows, which make protecting the valuable items in the house much more difficult.

OSI Layer:

Layer 7 (Application Layer)

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) would typically fall under Layer 7: Application Layer of the OSI model.

APIs provide a way for different software applications to communicate and exchange data with each other over a network. They are typically designed to operate at the application layer of the OSI model, and can be used to integrate different applications and services in a variety of ways. Attackers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in APIs to gain unauthorized access to data or systems.

Final Thoughts

When studying for a cybersecurity exam or certification, it’s good practice to always try to find a connection between any new words you encounter and the layers of the OSI model. This will train your mind to think fast and enable you to act quickly when an actual attack occurs.

To help support the creation of more content like this please subscribe and follow! OR you could purchase some merch from my shop on Redbubble.