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Security with Application Configuration Management

Configurability is one of the key application design aspect which enables applications to configure/setup important data fields without having code change in the application. Normally, configurations are stored into flat files and contains various key value pairs which is used for various purposes into the application. Normally, configuration files contain sensitive information like database credential, b2b user details, external system links etcetera as well. Therefore, it requires to be managed carefully so that sensitive information stored in it can be protected from any misuse. 

Consider a situation where application configuration file contains the sensitive data like database URL, username and password. In this case, if anyone gets access of configuration file, the credential of database can be easily obtained and can be used for unauthorized data access. Another case where an application hosted on server and configuration file placed with it. The server support engineers can easily obtain configuration file, read it and get the sensitive fields stored in it. Additionally, the applications designed for business domains like BFSI, e-Commerce etcetera perform financial transactions which involves personal data, debit/credit cards, bank account information etc. which are considered highly secure data. While designing such applications which involves sensitive data, the architects need to consider security perspectives for configuration management. 

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