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.NET application SQL connection account password best practices

We have a number of .Net applications running which contain a SQL connection string within their web.config. to another server running SQL 2008 std.

The connection string specifys SQL credentials to a specific database - the password and username is directly in the connection string.

Note: Our production servers are not part of any domain and are stand alone.

Were looking more into security - is there any way we can easily change the password to these accounts on a regular basis while not having to update the web.config files directly.    ..or is my only option via a Windows account ?

Ideally we dont want the passwords directly in the web.config - it would be nice to change the passwords once a month automatically and not cause any errors for the connecting .Net applications, and not having to update any web.configs manually.

Currently these SQL accounts are excluded from any password expiry policy and we need to change that so they are changed on a regular basis.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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