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New Minimum Password Requirements [UPDATED]

UPDATE 2: We have released an update where you can now configure your minimum password requirements. Simply head to your Settings page and you’ll now see a Passwords & Security link under Account. We’ve also reverted back to our original minimum password requirements to keep things simple. If you were happy about the new requirements below, feel free to configure your account back to suit. Another addition is that we now have a list of over 400,000 bad passwords that Elvanto will not allow your users to set. This is helpful if you’d prefer not to have strict password requirements. For example, ‘password’ and ‘abcd1234’ are considered bad passwords. If your user tries to use these, we’ll let them know and kindly ask them to create a better password. I’d love to hear your feedback!

UPDATE: We want to help churches have more autonomy over their accounts password complexity. With the varying opinions from security frameworks as to what a secure password is, this can be tricky if we enforce what we think is best. Thanks to feedback, we will be releasing an update soon that will allow you to configure your own password requirements. Stay tuned!

As part of our continuing commitment to improving security, as of today, we have updated our minimum password requirements.

The new minimum password requirements are as follows:

  • Must be at least 10 characters in length
  • Must contain at least 1 digit (0-9)
  • Must contain one upper case character (A-Z)
  • Must contain one lower case character (a-z)
  • Must not contain a character repeated more than twice (aa in your password is fine, aaa is not)

We have taken these requirements from the OWASP Password Complexity recommendations.

Will I need to update my existing password?

No, existing passwords will continue to work fine. If you attempt to change your password though these new requirements will be considered then.

Why don’t you require a special character?

We may update this in the future to include this, but decided that using just 3 complexity requirements was sufficient for now (as covered in the OWASP recommendations).

10 characters is long, how will I remember that!?

We strongly recommend using a password manager. These will remember your passwords for you and help generate better passwords in the long run.

When will these requirements take effect?

They are live as of right now.

Will we be able to disable these requirements for our account?

No. Security in this day and age is more important than ever so we hope that you see this change as a positive, not a negative as we continue to enhance our security.

When will you offer multi-factor authentication?

We plan to add this in the not too distant future to help take security to another level. We will give you greater control over this allowing you not to require it for some and to force it on others depending on their access.

10 Reasons Why Your Church Should Consider Streaming

To stream or not to stream? That is the question that so many churches are asking these days. Though there may not be one answer that fits every ministry context, below you’ll find 10 practical reasons why your church should strongly consider streaming.

Only a Few Make it to All 52

Many of us have come to know the encouragement and sweet fellowship from believers who have been reliably present when it comes to church attendance Sunday after Sunday. Yet even in the midst of such faithful devotion, only a seemingly random selection of Christians are able to make it to worship all 52 weeks of the year.

Whether they’re occasionally homesick, traveling on business, in the hospital due to illness, or even stuck at home due to severe weather or a broken down car, only a few make it to all 52.

So what is your ministry doing to serve these faithful believers who might miss church just 7, 4, or even just 2 Sundays a year? These men and women still need your ministry, and in most cases, if they’re unable to make it to worship due to a trying circumstance, they are in even greater need of encouragement from your ministry than normal.

Unreached Missionaries & Soldiers

When churches begin seeking to use video streaming as a ministry tool, they normally have one or two applications in mind. Perhaps they want to use video to reach college students in their area or folks that are ill with extended stays in the hospital. A few months into streaming, however, I have gotten used to regularly hearing from pastors who excitedly share with me that streaming has not only reached their original target audiences but a global gathering as well.

Specifically, they’ll regularly tell me how their new ministry tool has been reaching both soldiers and missionaries.

Soldiers and missionaries have both chosen to live extreme and sacrificial lives for the safety and betterment of others. They are typically strong and courageous individuals, however, even those who are the strongest still experience regular loneliness and discouragement while away on mission. Live and archived video of your Sunday morning service consistently provides these men and women the opportunity to connect not only to home on a regular basis, but to God, as well.

SEO and Streaming

How easily can someone find your church online if they’re looking for you? Even more importantly, how easily can someone find your church online if they’re not looking for you? That’s the heart of what Search Engine Optimization is all about. For instance, if someone submits the word “church” followed by your City and State into a search engine, where will your church fall on the list of results?

One of the most significant determinants of whether your church is first or 45th on that list comes down to whether or not your ministry is live streaming or not.

The internet is flooded with content. Search engines are constructed to instantly seek out and compile relevant lists of websites that contain the highest quality content relating to the subject searched. The presence of embedded live video on your website tells search engines that your website aggregates top of the line content and thus pushes you up to the top of the list when someone is searching for churches in your area. This reality alone might be the difference between someone finding your church and faithfully plugging into it for a number of years or not ever finding your church at all.

Teach Them to Serve

Are young people serving in your church? Asked differently, have you provided opportunity for the young person in your church to serve? Perhaps they’re not musical and thus can’t sing on the worship team. Maybe they’re extremely introverted and wouldn’t ever feel comfortable standing up in front of your congregation to read Scripture or pray.

Live Video streaming is a match made in heaven for the Christian young person to learn to develop a heart for service in the church in 2017.

More and more our world is becoming a video culture, and whether it’s running the cameras or monitoring the stream, such tasks provide you the opportunity to teach the young person in your midst about serving others according to something that better fits with their gifts, their world, and their interests.

A Special Time to Reach People

We live in a busy world and I personally feel like it’s getting busier and busier by the day. In the midst of all of the craziness, though, vacation can truly be a special time. For many folks, a week or two of quiet and uninterrupted vacationing can foster thoughts of personal reflection and self evaluation that rarely occur in the midst of our overbooked day to day schedules.

In light of this reality, it’s not surprising that people often make important decisions while on vacation.

Perhaps they’re evaluating changing careers, having children, or maybe even leaving their spouse. Don’t you want to be close to them and have a voice to speak into their lives during these periodic week long seasons of deep reevaluation? Allowing your congregants to take your ministry with them on vacation through something like live video streaming will allow God’s Word to have a voice in their lives even when they’re away from your physical building and their regular routine.

Take a Look at Yourself

Remember those days back in Bible College and Seminary? Ah, yes… Preaching Class. Was anything more nerve wracking than preparing one of your first sermons, speaking in front of a classroom of students who were evaluating you, and then being required to watch yourself on video later on in order to perform a self-evaluation of your message?

I remember watching myself preach for the first time with my mouth literally hanging open. I couldn’t believe that I leaned on the podium the whole time or that I spoke so fast and never even smiled. I had no idea how I was presenting myself? Thus, though it was a somewhat painful process it was invaluable to watch myself in order to know the areas where I needed to work on improving at.

When was the last time that you watched yourself teach, give announcements, or lead worship? Perhaps years or perhaps never, I’d venture to guess. There is great value in regularly streaming for those within your ministry who are regularly on stage. Even watching yourself on video briefly on a quarterly basis can greatly improve the effectiveness of your communication and overall service for your King.

Give Them a Chance to Give

Plain and simple, giving is an act of worship. That’s why most churches incorporate a time of offertory into their Sunday morning services. Such a conviction belongs to most within our congregations, as well. Even in 2017, there are still men and women within our churches that have only ever given to a church during the passing of the plate during a worship service.

In essence, people want to give while they participate in worship.

Thus, one of the most effective ways to encourage online giving is to embed your giving option directly beside your live stream. This way, people are able to worship from the hospital or form just as if they were attending in person, as well as give to the church in the midst of their time of worship. Live video streaming can therefore be used to give those within your church (and even those without) a chance to give to your ministry during the worship service, even if they can’t always make it in person.

They’ll Always Have Runny Noses

No need for a handful of paragraphs here; we all know that kids will always have runny noses from time to time. Most parents wind up missing church at least a few times year because a child get sick and they don’t want to infect the rest of the preschool ministry by bringing them. Bless these mom and dads by giving them a chance to tune into a stream and watch your service live on these occasions.

The Best Outreach Tool in 2017

Missions trips are expensive. Community barbeques require a ton of volunteer effort. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck in the world of community outreach nothing quite compares to live video streaming. Many folks in your community wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to an outreach event at your church.

They’re much more likely to stop scrolling on their facebook timeline to get a look into what your church is like, though.

It sounds crazy, but we’re only a few months away from 2018. Reaching your community in 2018 looks very different than it did in 2016 because our world is changing rapidly into an ever increasing video world. Investing less than $100/month into a premium live and archived video streaming ministry will accomplish legitimate community outreach in your neighborhood week after week, and do so in a way that is highly relevant in today’s day and age.

The Most Compelling Reason of All

God’s Word is efficacious. It’s unlike any other book. The Bible changes lives and has been doing so since it’s inception. Live Video streaming at it’s very core is just another tool in the arsenal of the church to widely distribute the Word of God so that it can go out and keep changing lives.

If your ministry isn’t streaming your services then God’s Word can only reach those within your four walls on Sunday morning.

On the contrary, if your ministry is streaming, then the reading of the Word, the singing of the Word, the praying of the Word, and the preaching of the Word can be distributed to anyone in the world. The most compelling reason why your ministry should consider broadcasting your services comes down to the reality that doing so can change lives eternally.

About the Author

Above all, Brett Bzdafka is passionate about Christian discipleship. Throughout the years, Brett has served as an Associate Pastor, a Theology Professor, and now as the Church Development Manager at BoxCast. If you’d like to get in touch with Brett to pick his brain about church technology, feel free to reach him anytime at brett@boxcast.com.

Upcoming Security Enhancements

Hi everyone!

We have recently had some specialised security testing done and, based on recommendations, we are making some improvements to our security.

Ensuring the privacy and security of your data is of utmost importance to us and we are always looking to ensure we are using the latest security standards available to keep your data safe.

Whilst most of these enhancements are behind the scenes and will be invisible to users, browsers that do not support the modern security protocols will no longer be supported.

On Tuesday, 3rd of October, these protocols will come into effect and these browsers may no longer be able to access Elvanto:

  • Chrome 30 and below
  • Firefox 27 and below
  • Internet Explorer 9 and below
  • Internet Explorer 10 (May be enabled with configuration)
  • Safari (macOS) 6 and below
  • Safari (iOS) 4 and below

At the time of writing, less than 1% of your users will be affected in any way by these changes, and those that are can swap to Chrome or Firefox moving forward!
We just love to keep you informed and minimise your impact as much as possible.

If you are unsure what your options are, please get in touch with us at support@elvanto.com, we would love to help!

Have a great weekend,
Aaron

New Media Player and More!

Hi Everyone!

Last week we released an update to the Member Roster page. While on the surface it looks similar, we have made lots of small improvements under the hood and a completely new media player that we’d love to tell you about!

Media Player 1

The media player now launches at the bottom of the page so you can continue using it when viewing the current service or browsing other services.

Media Player 2

Whilst we previously had some video integration with the player, it was limited in what it could play. Exciting to us (and hopefully to you too), we have added YouTube and Vimeo integration into the player and these will play in the playlist alongside your other audio and video files.

Media Player 3

Video is too small? Click ‘Expand’ Expand and voila, nice and big for your viewing/learning/listening pleasure! Or, click ‘minimize’ Expand to tuck the media player completely to hide it but keep playing!

Song Files

We’ve also taken great care in improving the ease of access to song charts & lyrics. We now include all relevant files, whether attached to the song, arrangement or key, in both the service plan and the songs box. This also now includes the generated number/roman numeral charts.

What’s next?

We are working on improving the integration of swap and replace in both the member area and in the upcoming version 2 of the mobile app. This will make creating, and responding to, swaps and replaces easier than ever.

The mobile app version 2 will also include a brand new media player supporting playlists and background controls from your device.

Anything else?

For all those ‘techies’ or if you just like to read the fine-print, our releases website has had facelift. And if you’re really ‘bleeding edge’ it now offers the page feed in the new (and hugely popular) JSON Feed format!

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do, we’d love to hear your feedback!
Aaron

Volunteer Swap & Replace is out of BETA!

Good news! Volunteer Swap & Replace is now out of BETA!

You can view the original announcement here which contains details on how to get set-up. We also have a help article you can send to your volunteers on how to create a swap or replace once you’re live.

Some features we will be working on soon to make this feature better:

  • Choose positions that do not conflict with each other.
  • Disable declining and force volunteers to swap or replace.

Enjoy and make sure you send feedback on how we can improve!

Ben

What next?

Find out more about what we do!