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What is Remote Configuration?

Remote configuration – a software development technique which allows to modify particular features of an app (mostly mobile) remotely without the necessity to launch a huge update or deploy a new version of it.

For that goal, a special interface is used. It allows to define parameters and then to set new values for these parameters in the app itself. At the end of the process, the new parameters of app’s configuration are changed from a remote server. The new values may be automatically added the next time a user starts working with an app.

The remote configuration is very useful as it allows you to make changes in the app without going through the long process of approval of online app stores such as App Store or Google Play.

One of the main features of remote configuration is that it can limit access to an app according to some user’s criteria such as age or location.

Moreover, this technique affords to change accessibility of app’s functionality by delivering different values to different users. That means that some users can have data or additional content while others keep working with the old version of the app.

All these manipulations are made with the help of so-called feature flags. Feature flags help to save new content and then on and off it remotely according to the user’s data and profile. Feature flags are one of the most widespread tools in the mobile development industry.

Remote configuration can also be useful for providing customized content as it can give new content according to customers’ preferences very quickly.

Remote configuration technique uses cloud-based services. The most famous and reliable of them are:

  • WhatsApp;
  • Salesforce;
  • NetSuite;
  • Namely.

All these services are engaged in different areas, from messaging to business and human resources management and allow to make changes in the app without a large-scale update.

And is remote configuration secure?

Security of these techniques depends on the system a developer or administrator uses. One of the most popular tools of remote config is Firebase which is very friendly in the way of an opportunity to change any information very quickly. But even Google says that the developer and customer as well shall not store data in the Remote Config as it may be dangerous for the app’s security as addresses and keys of Firebase may be changed, and information may be in any way stolen by a side user.

That’s why there is a practice in remote configuration management when some additional levels of security for user’s authorization are set.

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