Data is the lifeblood of every organization, providing information for data-driven analysis, operations adjustment, and optimization. Yet, behind all data is business logic, the custom rules that a business sets that govern how applications interact with and use data.

As businesses grow, they rely more on business logic to streamline processes and ensure that their applications follow specific rules. For example, business logic will define how a company interacts with data, how they store it, and what data is delivered to the client’s side.

Due to the widespread use of business logic and its necessity in data applications, it also creates an inherent risk – mismanagement of business logic can lead to procedure errors, malicious activity, and even data breaches.

What Are Business Logic Risks

Business logic risks are vulnerabilities in your company’s logic that a potential hacker could exploit to either gain entry into your systems or breach private records. The specific logic they take advantage of will depend on your business, the software you use, and the configurations you have in place.

When there are flaws in the structure and design of your systems, malicious actors can pinpoint these logic errors and then manipulate them. In response to these manipulations, your systems will react in an unexpected way. Leveraging this, hackers can push through your defenses without encountering your typical security defenses. What makes logic risks so difficult to manage is the fact that the employees who set these rules simply don’t realize they’ve created an error. That error then sits there, unknown to your company, until someone either corrects it or a hacker finds it and then exploits it.

Business logic risks aren’t the first security issue that humans accidentally create. In fact, upwards of 74% of data breaches stem from human errors and small, preventable mistakes in development. When a business scales its services, the number of total systems it employs will equally start to rise. As companies begin to have more complex systems in place, it becomes highly likely that there are business logic risks and vulnerabilities somewhere in the system.

Without a comprehensive strategy in place to identify and mitigate business logic risks, businesses may cause:

  • Privilege Issues: Accidentally cede a high level of privilege in their systems to a user without realizing it, allowing that person to access records and information that should be private.
  • Operations Errors: If a user is able to exploit flaws in your business logic, they could manipulate your systems to receive products for free or obtain special discounts which they shouldn’t have access to.
  • Opportunity for Further Exploits: If a user pinpoints errors in your system, they may be able to then execute further strategies to enter into your private data storage repositories. For example, they may disable your cybersecurity defenses or be able to execute SQL injection attacks.

The diverse nature of business logic risks is exactly what makes them so difficult to manage and track. But there is something you can do – invest in teaching your employees to spot and disable risks before they ever go live in your system.

The Benefits of Employee Training

In the vast majority of cases, employees are the ones that set, maintain, and monitor business logic. As your logic is completely personal to your business and what it offers, it’ll be your teams that set the rules and configurations that uphold your system.

With that in mind, additional employee training can be one of the most profoundly impactful methods of enhancing your cybersecurity. While those who set business logic may already understand that there is a risk, without knowledge of what a flaw may look like and its consequences, they may not completely understand what they’re dealing with.

Employee training has a whole host of benefits:

  • Enhance Baseline Cyber Knowledge: Beyond business logic understanding, education in cybersecurity can enhance your general cybersecurity posture. If your employees know, for example, what a phishing email looks like, they’re less likely to compromise your security in other ways.
  • Protect Against Business Logic Flaws: Even just reminding employees that double or triple checking logic before publishing will help reduce the number of flaws that enter into your system.
  • Enhance Monitoring: When you spend time teaching people what to look for in their own systems, they’re more aware of what a logic flaw may appear like in reality. With this knowledge, they can go through past systems they’ve interacted with and identify errors.

When your employees find and neutralize business logic flaws before malicious actors can get to them, your organization is able to continue to uphold a high level of cybersecurity protection.

Building a Multi-Layer Defense

When organizations think of cybersecurity, their mind often goes to flashy systems or complex defenses that constantly stand guard over their data. Less often, they think about the employees that man those defenses and exist within the system. Unfortunately, despite having the best cybersecurity systems in the world, one human error could be all it takes to undo all of your hard work and planning.

Building a multi-layer defense starts with teaching your employees the necessity of taking additional precautions. Especially with something as vulnerable and delicate as business logic, any one slip up could create a major problem. Investing in employee education and training will help solve the majority of these issues, decreasing the likelihood of an error leading to a logic flaw and increasing security vigilance in the face of a whole host of attack vectors.

In 2024, businesses need to look inward to protect themselves from external threats.