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How Open System Adapter Express (OSA-E) Secures Your Organization From Network Security Threats?

Secure data sharing over an enterprise network is a constant challenge for organizations as it involves dealing with many potential threats during data transfers. If any critical or confidential data is stolen or misplaced while sharing, it can cost a fortune for an organization to cope up with it. So, organizations should be aware of the threats associated with the data transfers over the network and the countermeasures in order to secure the data.

Open System Adapter Express (OSA-E) is associated with mainframe system that helps you share information across the network securely. In this article, we discuss the possible threats to the data that is being transmitted in a network and how OSA-E handles them and enables secure data transmission across the network.

Possible threats to organizational network

Intrusion: Intrusion refers to an unauthorized entry into a network and accessing the files and directories of the network. By intruding one system, attacker will be able to access the data and files from other devices that are connected to the same network.

Denial of service: Denial of service or DoS means not allowing a user or a system to get connected with the network. Thus, sharing and communication is not possible without connection to network.

Message modification: Message modification means manipulating the message or data while it is being transmitted. The data received by the receiver is not the same that was sent by the sender.

Traffic monitoring: This refers to the attackers monitoring the events that are taking place in the network. They get to know all the information of the network, including confidential data.

Impersonation: Impersonation refers to changing the sender's address in the packet (data is usually transmitted in the form of packets in a network) and misleading the receiver/receivers.

The above mentioned are the five possible and the most common threats to any network. Some of these threats can be avoided by using individual physical connections between every communicating system; but it will be very expensive, even for big organizations.

Securing organizational network using OSA Express
Open System Adapter Express (OSA-E) is a physical part of mainframe that helps your organization from possible network threats. OSA-E of a mainframe system connects the system to external LANs (Local Area Networks) and it can be shared among the systems in the network. It acts as internal VLAN between the devices that are sharing the same OSA-E. VLAN – one physical LAN connection is divided into number of virtual connections.

OSA prevents network threats by supporting VLAN (Virtual Local Area Networks) technology. It secures data in a network by securing virtual networks and maintaining network integrity.

Securing virtual networks
First, LAN is divided into number of virtual connections or VLANs and each VLAN contains an ID. Switch, which is used to set up LAN network knows all VLAN IDs. So, whenever a data is sent from one device to another in the network, OSA attaches that ID and switch directs it strictly to that receiver, it is meant to.

In this way, OSA-E regulates the transactions across the network properly based on the VLAN IDs.

Maintaining network integrity
Data packets contain "Header checksums" that are used to verify data integrity. Header checksums are nothing but values that are assigned to data packet depending on the contents of the packet.

OSA-E helps TCP/IP stack on the sending side to calculate the header checksum value and attaches it to the data packet that should be sent to the receiver.

On the other hand, OSA-E helps TCP/IP stack on the receiving side to validate the header checksum of the data packet and compares it with the checksum value when it was sent. If both are matching, then no data is lost.

This way, OSA Express secures the data from being lost, unauthorized access and manipulation of data that is being transmitted in the network.
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  Published Date - September 20 2013
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  Mr. Williams J Peterson
Since 1982, Software Diversified Services (SDS) is providing first-quality software and technical support for IBM mainframes and VM, VSE, and mainframe. SSH SFTP from SDS secures ftp transactions on the mainframe network. At you can find product trials and webcasts of other mainframe software tools from Software Diversified Services.
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