An Extensive Guide to Business Logic

The concept of business logic refers to the commands or rules which allow a database to exchange information between the database and end-user application. It is essential to learn the different aspects of business logic as it will help a company optimize data procedures and effectively manage daily production efforts. It is essential to learn the different aspects of business logic to optimize data procedures and manage daily production efforts. Moreover, business logic can be effectively integrated with your company’s IT system which will enhance your business agility and execute automated decisions.

Having automated decisions can be advantageous to your company as you can remove manual workflows from the decision processes. It also reduces your company’s IT reliance and enhances productivity. In this article, we will explain in detail business logic, its purpose, business logic software management, vulnerabilities, and why your company needs it.

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What is Business logic?

Business logic holds a special place in the system as it is the code that creates real-world business rules and determines how the data can be created and changed. Business logic can be defined as the portion of an enterprise that determines how the data can be transformed and routed to people in the form of workflows. The business logic is stuck between the user interface and database layers. It is the set of typical protocols followed for creating, storing, and processing data in a company’s internal server.

Business logic layer – 3-tier architecture

Now we will explore how these layers work with one another. The business logic layer is a 3-tiered architecture with each layer having unique functionality. It concentrates on grouping the related functionality into distinct layers within the application so that the layers are stacked properly. Each of these layers has unique namespaces and classes. There are several advantages of having a 3-tier architecture. They are as follows:

  • Precise coding allows separate coding for each layer, and each layer has its own responsibility. The queries can be singled out and can be easily handled.
  • Easy maintenance allows isolated modification for each layer and the modification will affect only that layer without affecting the entire program.
  • The data can be transferred effortlessly, and time is saved in moving the application to others using a standardized architecture.
  • The codes can be easily organized and can smoothly distribute to different layers and each member can write their codes individually. This helps developers control their workflow better.

Since business logic refers to the automation of business rules, it is essential to understand the business logic layer (BLL). In programming, the business logic layer refers to the layer which acts as an intermediary for exchanging data between the presentation layer and Data Access Layer (DAL). This business logic layer is responsible for handling business rules calculation and creating logic within an application. It further dictates how the specific instruction should behave and determines how the data from the database and what functions it can do and cannot do within the application itself.

The first layer is the presentation layer or the user interface layer (UI). This is where the data is displayed to the user and the interaction between user and presentation occurs. The user can also send and receive data in this layer. The business logic layer is the intermediate layer that deals with the flow of data between the DAL and the UI. It also facilitates data processing and coordinates with the layers. The final layer is the data access layer, where the data is managed through a database or a web service.

For instance, when a consumer views an insurance website, the consumer’s browser interacts with the application user interface layer code. It shows the policy data held in the data access layer. The BLL in the middle is the most crucial component containing all the critical calculations and logic needed for processing the consumer’s policy data and helping to get insurance on the website.

Another example of business logic is when a customer uses a credit card; the business logic may specify to the user that a transaction above a certain limit say $500 will be flagged as suspicious. The user will be contacted immediately to verify that he/she has made the transaction. Here the policy of flagging is the business rule and the actual process of the transaction getting flagged is the business logic.

Given that millions of credit card transactions are happening around the world on a single day, business logic checks each of the transactions efficiently and in a timely manner.

The purpose of business logic

There are many easier ways of publishing data. However, securing and managing your data needs special attention and is crucial for any organization. The very purpose of business logic is to connect, organize, and police your data. Client applications are made of business logic and user interface. Almost all the server applications come under business logic. All your business logic is made up of business rules. Each business rule is a constraint or a rule which is imposed to manage the functionality of the data in a real-world business setting.

The difference between business rules and business logic

Business rules Business logic
Business rules act as guidelines for businesses to help them outline their relationship between entities, such as consumer names and their orders. Business rules act as a foundation for automation systems Business logic comprises organizational business activities which allow business analysts and software engineers to apply these rules and enable process automation.
Business rules are typically formal expressions of business policies. Sometimes business logic is mistaken for business rules. Business logic determines how the procedures and business policies can be implemented as a process.
Business rules can be implemented across several tiers at any particular period of time. Business logic formalizes a multitier architecture and creates multiple logic later distinctive of each tier of layers such as service or access layers.

Importance of logic to businesses

Business logic is highly essential for API integration. Initially, the API integration involves client communication, customer experiences, and establishing how competent you are in using current technologies. Business logic can help you develop business-specific needs and determine what technologies you need for integration. A good software solution is often designed to efficiently enhance your business logic.

Use of business logic software

Business logic and software are integrated with one another, and software specialists focus on breaking down complex elements of the program into smaller and more manageable pieces that can be sent to other teams to finalize. A good platform should allow easy integration and flexible ways of implementing changes that you make in your business logic.

The standard method of using packaged software solutions is to use an Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) solution. For instance, a well-established Employee recruitment process can be assisted using an ERP solution and it proves to be efficient in many ways. Business logic works to maximize your organization’s profit by pertaining to the rules and processes established by your company. For instance, a customer can place an order of up to $5000 and the department manager can approve it. However, any orders above $5000 need the approval of the company’s CEO. This is an established process of business logic, and it can be done with or without the help of software.

Another important part where business logic is crucial is software reusability. It is an important part of object-oriented software development. The software systems which evolved using reusability have now transformed into a sophisticated technological domain. This is possible with the help of modifying business logic, where you can transform it into a legacy system as per your client’s requirements. The relation between software applications and business logic can be established through the requirements of design documentation and specifications. Business logic is constantly evolving and is becoming cost-effective.

Business logic management

Business logic is becoming an integral part of businesses in defining their global competitiveness and upgrading to the evolving complexity. Companies often use Business logic management systems (BLMS). The BLMS is modular and can be integrated effectively with your existing modules to enhance functionality. The modules can be inbuilt and have the ability to make automated decisions in addition to communicating with other systems. Business enterprise management software needs to undergo constant structural modifications. Business logic management engages with business process analysis software to manage business rules. This software is specifically designed to automatically discover errors, redundancies, and incompleteness in workflows. There are companies that offer basic business rule management facilities which help in extending the capability of managing both workflows and rules.

When the business rules are represented in terms of workflow processes, it enables a comprehensive and intuitive view of business processes. Therefore, BLMS helps business analysts to propagate both rules and workflows efficiently. This can be done using advanced business logic management which encompasses process elements to execute rules despite rule dependencies. In addition to this, using advanced business logic management can automatically detect the unused information in the process, identify the incompleteness in the model and potentially disconnect the contributors.

Having all the business rules under a centralized control system is a holistic approach as it leverages the power of management. A true business logic management repository should provide a wide range of management features regardless of the execution environment. A team of analysts will be monitoring and controlling versions, accessing and granting controls, and keeping track of the updates. The repository should have the power to translate and distribute business titles to other environments for easy execution and avoid duplication of rules and reduce maintenance costs. The repository should also provide data validation features for validating business rules across different interfaces such as phones, emails, and the web.

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Business logic vulnerabilities

Business logic vulnerabilities occur when the user behavior is wrongly assumed. Business logic vulnerabilities can be defined as the flaws in the design which allow potential attackers to engage in illicit activities. The flaws allow the attackers to manipulate legitimate functionality to achieve their malicious goals. These are not new but some of the vulnerabilities go unnoticed and untested. In today’s multifunctional web dynamics, it is indispensable to test for business logic vulnerabilities.

As mentioned earlier, these business logic flaws tend to remain in the shadows and are visible only to people who are explicitly looking for them. But an attacker might easily engage with flaws by interacting with the application in ways a developer never intended to. One of the main purposes of business logic is to define a function to perform in a particular way. Business rules dictate how the application needs to react when a consumer uses it. The rule includes preventing the user from interacting in a way that would have a negative impact on the application.

The logic in the flaws creates a pathway for attackers to exploit the application easily. These flaws can be extremely diverse and are unique to each application. Understanding these vulnerabilities needs basic knowledge of business domains and the targeted areas that an attacker might strike. Generally, these flaws arise when the developing team fails to make the correct assumptions about how users interact with their applications. Sometimes, they can be complicated which even confuses the developer team.

One of the common business logic vulnerabilities is coupon code reuse. The original functionality was to use the discount code once per customer. But a flaw in the system allowed the user to use the same coupon code multiple times, leading to the company’s financial loss. Another instance of a business logic vulnerability is when an E-Commerce application stores the products’ prices inside the hidden fields to prevent anyone from the front end from making changes in the prices. But an attacker was able to find out a flaw and manipulated the products’ price at the time of checkout by tampering with the price using a Burp proxy. This attack made the company’s website even allow the users to enter negative values in the product prices.

The impact of a business logic vulnerability can be trivial to severe, but the unintended behavior can severely impact security. Attackers might even potentially get their hands on sensitive information and functionality by bypassing authentications. This could lead to huge financial losses, fraud, and stolen funds, damaging the company’s productivity.

How can this be prevented from happening? You need to make sure developers and testers understand the business domains. Also, they need to think out of the box and think like an attacker to make all possible illicit assumptions and make the application strong enough to overcome such malicious processes.

Business logic plays an integral part in managing the business rules and workflows in the application. This article has covered in depth the purpose and importance of business logic, business logic management software, and the impact of business logic vulnerabilities.

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