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What is Business Logic?

What is Business Logic?

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Key Takeaway

Business logic refers to the set of rules that govern the behavior of a business. At its core, business logic is used in making decisions based on what makes sense for your company. Despite these benefits, business logic doesn’t come without risk as vulnerabilities if your applications rely on business logic to function.

Business logic is the process of deciding what actions to take with collected data based on the given business requirements. Simply put, it’s a reflection of how the various parts of a business work together in real life. This data can come from a variety of sources, such as user input or external databases. Believe it or not, many applications with complex interconnected activities rely entirely on business logic in order to work correctly.

For example, let’s consider an application that allows users to purchase items from a catalog and pay using an existing payment method. If a customer tries to make a purchase using a payment method from another account, the transaction will be denied. This is because the application will not be able to verify the customer’s identity. Therefore, the application would need to contain logic that allows it to verify a user before attempting to complete a transaction.

Unlike more basic programming concepts, the concept of business logic is very flexible. You can even develop your own logic and apply it to your own applications with code. This code can be stored in an application or API, or it can be embedded into websites and other digital platforms. For example, a word processor might allow the user to format text and include images. The logic behind the formatting and appearance is defined in the code of the application itself.

Business logic vs business rules

Though the word ‘business’ is in both of these terms, business logic and business rules are no the same. The difference between these two terms is that business logic is about making decisions based on what makes sense for your company, while business rules are about following certain guidelines to make sure you’re operating within your company’s policies. In simpler terms, the collection of business rules are what make up business logic.

Business logic vs application logic

Similarly to the case with business rules, business logic is also often confused with application. Business logic is the logic that is used in a business. Essentially business logic is a collection of the real world business rules and regulations that are followed by a company to make sure that they are following their own rules and regulations.

Application logic, on the other hand, is the logic that helps an application to run smoothly and efficiently. It is the logic that helps an application to perform its tasks without any errors or crashes.

It’s important to remember however, that despite the differences, business logic and application logic work together. In order for an application to follow both native functionality and business parameters, both need to be used within the application.

Business logic vs business objects

As we’ve established thus far, business logic refers to the set of rules that govern the behavior of a business. Conversely, business objects are the physical representations of business logic.

Business objects are used to represent and manage data in a business. They can be anything from a customer, to an order, to an invoice. Business objects are also used as building blocks for other business objects.

The difference between business logic and business objects is that while business objects are physical representations of the rules, they don’t always have to be stored in databases. Business logic can also be implemented as code or as an algorithm. As you can see, from this description, business objects have a closer relationship with business rules than business logic.

Examples of business logic

Business logic examples are often used to make decisions about what to do next. For example, if you are deciding whether or not to hire someone, you would use business logic to decide whether or not they have the skills and experience that you need for your company.

The following are some examples of business logic:

  • If a person has a high salary but no experience, then they might be overqualified for the job.
  • If a person has experience but no salary, then they might be underqualified for the job.
  • If a person has both high salary and experience, then they might be qualified for the job.

Business logic an also involve decisions at the organizational level. For instance:

  • If you have more than $100,000, then you need to pay taxes on it
  • If you have less than $1,000, then you don’t need to pay taxes on it.

Business logic flaws

Despite these benefits, business logic doesn’t come without risk as vulnerabilities can be especially problematic. If your application relies on business logic to function, vulnerabilities in that code could allow an attacker access to sensitive data. It could also cause your system to act in ways that aren’t intended. It could even cause your entire system to crash.

These issues often occur as a result of human error, as they can be difficult to spot when testing your application. Sometimes these vulnerabilities stem from weaknesses in the software you use to develop your applications. Such as the programming language or development platform. In other cases, they can be the result of defects in the business logic itself.

But keep in mind, these vulnerabilities aren’t unique to applications. As we mentioned above, they also impact APIs as APIs can also be governed by business logic. The first 5 of the OWASP Top 10 API Security Threats are business logic related. One of the most common vulnerabilities is broken access control in the business logic. This means that the API failed at authenticating that the user was actually allowed to access the sensitive data.

Broken access control can also occur if a user is able to inject malicious code into the business logic. This could allow them to modify the behavior of your system or carry out unauthorized actions. These types of vulnerabilities can be hard to identify during testing. This is because they only occur when the attacker is logged in using the credentials of an authorized user. This means that they might only be identified once they have been exploited in the real world.

How to prevent business logic attacks

There are several ways to avoid developing business logic vulnerabilities in your APIs. First, make sure that all of your code is properly tested before it’s released. Test the code thoroughly to ensure that users will be able to complete their tasks without running into any bugs or errors. Second, use proper coding practices. This means using good software development standards and following guidelines for writing code that is easy to read and maintain.

Next, implement a good development process for updating and improving existing code. Always update your existing code rather than creating new versions of your software from scratch. This will help you avoid introducing new bugs and inconsistencies into your systems. An important step here is maintaining a complete, accurate, and current inventory of the APIs and what they’re capable of. You should also have visibility into where your code is stored and who has access.

Finally, evaluate which languages, libraries, and development platforms are most appropriate for the task at hand. When choosing your tools, consider how easy it will be to find developers and how quickly your code can be developed. By taking these steps, you can help to avoid developing business logic vulnerabilities in your APIs.

Improve your business logic with Noname Security

Luckily for you, Noname Security offers a proactive API security testing solution to identify flaws in your business logic. Active Testing will analyze the business logic of the API to understand how they operate and what their dependencies are. Once we understand this business logic, we can launch API-centric attacks against them to validate their security capabilities or lack thereof. The result is that you can stop vulnerabilities from ever reaching a production environment.

Active Testing automatically runs more than 100 dynamic tests that simulate malicious traffic. Which includes but is certainly not limited to the complete set of OWASP API Top 10. We also leverage knowledge we’ve gained from simulating real world attacks in numerous customer environments. The developer does not need to be a security expert, but can instead lean on our unique understanding of API security captured in our pre-configured test cases.


Harold Bell

Harold Bell is the Director of Content Marketing at Noname Security. He has over a decade of experience in the IT industry with leading organizations such as Cisco, Nutanix, and Rubrik, and has been featured as an executive ghostwriter in Forbes Technology Council and Hacker News.

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