Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security system used to reduce the likelihood that a hacker will gain unauthorized access to your account. Essentially, MFA requires that you prove your identity using another means in addition to your password. As a result, in the (relatively likely, unfortunately) event that your password is compromised or guessed by a hacker, MFA will still keep your account and the information it protects secure. There are a number of different ways MFA can be implemented. We're using Microsoft's MFA tools, which you will interact with in the form of the "Microsoft Authenticator" app you'll be installing on your smartphone.

Using MFA does mean that you'll need to take an additional step to sign in to your CWC or MCS account in certain scenarios. This can absolutely be an inconvenience. However, it is imperative that we take appropriate measures to protect the information secured by our CWC and MCS accounts. Like every other organization with a digital footprint, CWC and MCS see thousands of unauthorized attempts to access CWC and MCS accounts--including yours--every day. It might not seem like a big deal if a hacker got access to your account. After all, what to you have to hide? But, consider that, even if your account doesn't have access to any sensitive or private information (and almost all do), your account could be used as a springboard to gain access to sensitive information protected by someone else's account. Or, a hacker could use your account as a means of impersonating the church to scam congregation members with fake donation requests or steal congregation member, student, or employee personal information.

We're increasingly making changes to move our data so it can be accessible online from any device at any time. With this change, we need to continue to implement appropriate industry-standard security measures to ensure private information about the church and school, their employees, congregation members, and students is protected. As a result, we're starting to require MFA for all individuals with remote access to the CWC/MCS network or access to particularly sensitive information. Turning on MFA guarantees that your account will be unaffected by whole classes of potential security problems. In the future, we will expand the MFA requirement to all CWC and MCS staff members.

Accessing the Additional Security Verification Page

Setting up multi-factor authentication is easiest if you have access to both your CWC or MCS-issued computer and your smartphone. As such, we've prepared instructions below assuming this is the case. At minimum, you need to have your smartphone available. If you don't have a smartphone, please contact Information Services so we can help you make alternative arrangements.

1. Navigate to the Additional Security Verification Page (👈 click the link) on your CWC or MCS-issued computer. If you are not using your CWC or MCS-issued computer, you will be prompted to sign in.

2. If you see the "More information required" prompt as shown below, you have not yet provided information for MFA. Continue under the Option A: First-time Setup section below. If your screen does not look like this, continue under the Option B: Update Existing MFA Information section below.

Option A: First-time Setup

1. If this is your first time providing MFA information, you'll see the screen shown below. Choose the Next button to begin.

2. On the "Additional security verification" screen, choose Mobile app under the "How should we contact you?" section, and select the Receive notifications for verification option. Then click Set up.

3. Next, you'll be prompted to set up the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app on your device. Skip down to the instructions below under the Configure mobile app heading to continue.

Option B: Update Existing MFA Information

If you've already entered MFA information (such as your cell phone number when you received your Windows 10 computer), you may already have MFA information registered with your CWC or MCS account. If this is the case, you'll want update your MFA information to use verification notifications via the Microsoft Authenticator app on your smart phone. Verification Notifications from the Microsoft Authenticator app are the only MFA method supported by all CWC and MCS systems. Here, we show you how to update your information to use Microsoft Authenticator if you've already provided other authentication information. If you already have information registered, this is the screen you'll see when you access the Additional Security Verification page.

1. Update your Additional security verification settings. Change the preferred verification option to Notify me through app, and check the Authenticator app or Token box. Then, click Set up Authenticator app.

2. Next, you'll be prompted to set up the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app on your device. Continue to the instructions below under the Configure mobile app heading.

Configure mobile app

With Microsoft MFA, the Microsoft Authenticator app is used as a secondary means of proving your identity. Specifically, using this app guarantees that only someone who knows your password and also has access to your smart phone is able to access your CWC or MCS account. The app verifies you are in possession of your smart phone by sending you notifications. Here, we'll show you how to set up the app.

1. To proceed with setting up the app, you need to have the window shown below visible on your computer screen. If you followed the instructions above, this window should be visible for you. This "Configure mobile app" window will show a QR code (similar to a bar code) that you will scan with the Authenticator app on your device to associate your device with your CWC or MCS account.

2. With the above screen visible, you're ready to download the Microsoft Authenticator app to your Apple or Android smartphone. Please use the appropriate link for your device below to view instructions. These instructions will show you how to install the app on your device and scan the on-screen QR code to register the device to your account.

👉 Apple Smartphones (iOS)

👉 Android Smartphones

3. Once you've downloaded the Authenticator app to your smartphone and scanned the QR code as described in the articles at the link above, click the Next button on your computer screen.

4. After a few moments, you'll receive a test verification notification your your phone. Follow the on-screen instructions on your device to Approve the prompt, and your computer will move to the next screen automatically.

5. If you haven't already provided your cell phone number, you'll be prompted on your computer to enter it as a backup. Select United States, enter your cell phone number, and then click Done. If you've entered a phone number in the past, you'll be able to skip this step.

6. You'll now be taken to the Additional security verification screen, which will show your registered Authenticator app and the cell phone number you've just entered. At this point, you've successfully set up MFA and can close Additional security verification screen if desired. Going forward, you'll want to be sure to have your smartphone handy whenever you sign into your CWC or MCS account so that you can respond to authentication prompts if needed.