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Blog » Secure Your Ministry: Elevating Data Protection with Optional Two-Step Verification in Realm

Secure Your Ministry: Elevating Data Protection with Optional Two-Step Verification in Realm

two step verification for realm

The importance of robust security options cannot be overstated in the digital era, where information is quickly exchanged online. As your trusted partner in ministry, we want to equip you with the tools that add a layer of security to your Realm and Realm Accounting site, even if someone were to get a hold of your password.

This blog will explore everything you need to know about two-step verification, including why it is so important, especially for the church.

Two-step verification is a security process that requires not just a password but an additional piece of information or verification method to access an account. For Realm and Realm Accounting, it includes:

  1. Something you know – your password
  2. Something you have – code sent via text message or email

Why is two-step verification important?

  • Enhances Security – Reduces the risk of unauthorized access to your Realm account.
  • Mitigates Password Vulnerability – An attacker can’t access your account without the second factor, even if your password is compromised.
  • Protection against Phishing – Provides an effective defense against phishing attempts, where cybercriminals can trick your congregants and staff into revealing their passwords.

When you enable two-step verification, you add an extra layer of protection to your Realm account. It makes it difficult for hackers to access your account, even if they get a hold of your password.

“Implementing MFA can make you 99% less likely to get hacked.” – Jen Easterly, Director of Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Why should your church care about two-step verification?

Churches and ministries frequently handle sensitive data, including congregant personal details and financial documentation. Additionally, they manage event coordination and community engagement efforts. Here’s why two-step verification should matter to your ministry:

  1. Data Protection – Your church stores sensitive information in Realm, including personal details and financial records. Two-step verification safeguards this information and reduces the risk of data breaches. We partner with you in protecting your data by providing a two-step verification solution that gives your ministry some authority in how it is used and launched.
  2. Communication – Your ministry relies on digital tools for communication, planning events, and coordinating volunteers. Implementing two-step verification helps protect these channels from unauthorized access and misuse.
  3. Financial Security – It helps secure financial transactions and online contributions, ensuring that funds are recorded accurately and used for their intended purposes. Additionally, operational funds are critical in keeping the organization running smoothly. Implementing two-step verification for Realm Accounting users or roles adds a second level of protection for bank information, vendor accounts, and payroll data.
  4. Congregational Trust – By implementing strong security measures like two-step verification, your ministry demonstrates a commitment to its congregants’ security, including their personal information.

How does two-step verification affect Realm?

Two-step verification is a powerful security measure that adds an extra layer of security to your Realm account. By default, it will not be required. Your church determines if it’s required to sign into Realm. You will only see a change in the login experience if you have turned on two-step verification or your church has required it to be on. If you choose to set up two-step verification or if your church requires it, you will need to use two-step verification the next time you log in.

Configuring your two-step verification settings.


The Realm Administrator chooses if they want to require two-step verification for your ministry. It is not turned on by default. The admin can decide the following regarding two-step verification:

  • By default, two-step verification is OFF for all users. When not required by the church, users can turn on two-step verification if they desire.
  • If you require two-step verification for all users, everyone in your church must configure a two-step verification method to log into their Realm account.

To make it required, go to your Realm ministry hub menu → SettingsSecurity & PrivacyTwo-Step Verification tab → check Required for all user accounts → click Save Settings.

Realm Accounting

To enable two-step verification within Realm Accounting, go to the Accounting users page and select one of the following:

  • For a single user, select Require Two-Step Verification when adding a user & assigning a role.
  • For a user role(s), select Manage in the box labeled Two-Step Verification.

Using Google or Apple Authentication

You can use a Google or Apple ID to log into Realm, which uses its two-step verification method, bypassing the need to set up two-step verification through Realm. This means that if you sign in with Google or your Apple ID, you will not need to set up two-step verification since Google and Apple have their authentication process.

Enabling two-step verification.

To enable two-step verification within Realm: 

  1. Click your name in the top right corner of the screen. 
  2. Select My Account from the drop-down menu. You will be prompted to sign in again for security reasons.
  3. Turn on two-step verification

Note: If your Realm Admin makes two-step verification required, users cannot turn off two-step verification. When they log in to Realm, they will be prompted to set up their verification methods.

You’ll need to click continue to begin setting up two-step verification.

You’ll be asked to enter your Realm password. Then, you’ll select the methods you’d like to use to sign into Realm.

To enable email verification:

  1. Click verification email. This will send an email to the address associated with your Realm Account.
  2. Go to your email account, open the Realm verification email, and copy the numeric code.
  3. Return to the Realm sign-in page, enter the verification code, then click Verify.
  4. Save the list of recovery codes somewhere safe but accessible. You can use these codes to sign into your account if you lose access to your second form of verification.
  5. Click Confirm.

Note: Setting up multiple two-step verification methods reduces the chances of needing to use recovery codes.

To enable text message verification:

  1. Click Text Message.
  2. Optional: If this is your first time enabling text verification, you must enter your mobile number to register it and continue.
  3. Return to the Realm sign-in page, enter the verification code, then click Verify.
  4. Save the list of recovery codes somewhere safe but accessible. You can use these codes to sign in.

Changing your verification method.

If you’ve already enabled a two-step verification method to sign in to Realm, you can add another method or remove a method by updating your verification methods. You can choose which verification method you use each time you log in.

To add another method:

  1. Sign in to Realm.
  2. Click Add/Update Method.
  3. Verify your account using the method you already use.
  4. Select a new method of verification from the available methods.
  5. Follow the instructions to add an email or text message method.

I set up two-step verification, but I want to opt out.

You may only opt out of two-step verification if your church hasn’t made it a requirement. If your church requires it, you must use two-step verification to access your account.

If two-step verification is optional for your church and you’ve previously opted in, here’s how you can opt out:

  1. Click your name in the upper-right corner and select My Account. You’ll need to enter your login information for security purposes.
  2. Change Two-step verification is currently ON to OFF. Then confirm.

Resources to help you get started with two-step verification.

We want to ensure you understand two-step verification, why it’s important, and why your church should enable it. We’ve created several resources to help:

Empowering Your Ministry with Enhanced Security: Launch Two-Step Verification Toolkit

This toolkit includes:

  • Ministry guide with educational material and tips for implementing two-step verification.
  • Promotional infographics and email templates to help educate your congregation.
  • Support resources, including links to Realm help documentation, videos, FAQs, and contact information for additional support.

Two-Step Verification FAQs

Use this to provide your staff and congregants with FAQs quickly.

Webinar Recording

In this recorded MinistrySmart webinar, you will learn how to enable two-step verification for your ministry.

Help Articles

Realm guides and quick answers for two-step verification.

Level Up Your Ministry Security with Realm’s Optional Two-Step Verification.

Adopting two-step verification represents a proactive step towards safeguarding the integrity and confidentiality of your ministry’s data. By embracing this security feature in Realm and Realm Accounting, your ministry fortifies its defense against potential cyber threats and upholds its commitment to trust, accountability, and stewardship.

At ACS Technologies, it’s essential that we keep you informed of industry best practices and provide you with tools to safeguard your ministry operations against the latest scams and cyber threats.

About Lily Oliver

Lily joined the ACST team in 2020. She worked six years at a large church in Atlanta, GA, as the Business Systems Analyst. Lily understands the mission and challenges of the church. She spent her time in ministry utilizing Realm to help solve those challenges. She is passionate about helping our Ministry Partners leverage technology to fulfill their mission and grow their ministry impact.

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