October is Cyber Security Awareness month! And we’re all aware by now of the multitude of scams, hacks, and hijacks plaguing an ever-more-online world. Private streaming is about not leaving yourself exposed. It can be as simple as creating private videos, but how do you know you’re getting quality security that blocks bad actors from accessing sensitive content?
- What is Private Streaming?
- Common Reasons for Private Streaming
- Private Streaming the Right Way, a “How To” Guide
- Key Security Features for a Private Streaming Platform
- 5 Top Private Live Streaming Platforms
- Kaltura Private Live Streaming Solution for Enterprises
What is Private Streaming?
Private streaming is a departure from some types of live streaming practice as its intent is not to accumulate as large an audience as possible, but rather to keep uninvited viewers out. In other words, it’s a video stream intended for a selected group of people and not the general public. Rather than following the logic of appealing to a mass audience, what distinguishes private streaming is how secure, reliable, and, well, private, your live streaming platform can be. Private streaming can include live streams of virtual events, personal streams to friends and family, and especially business content like internal company meetings. Necessary features for a private stream are completely dependent on its use, anywhere from a highly interactive ticketed event for a large audience, to a streamlined video meeting between a small group of people.
There are different ways to set a private stream, from password protection to supplying private links to viewers. The main concern, as we noted above, is to use an effective live streaming platform with adequate capabilities, tools and features to ensure secure private streaming. As we’ve pointed out before you’ll want a current platform with technology being regularly updated; hanging on to outdated platforms and software are a surefire way to make your streams vulnerable to snooping or break-ins.
Common Reasons for Private Streaming
The primary reason for private streaming is safety! By several estimates cybercrime is expected to have cost the world $6 trillion by the end of this year (2021). 2020 was also a banner year for cyberattacks, breaking records in sheer number of attacks as well as the amount of data lost in breaches. In this kind of environment, you can take security as a self-evident good, just like putting a lock on a door in real life. Beyond that, the requirements and criteria for using private streaming depend a lot on what you want to do.
Private Events and Communication
There are numerous reasons to want private communication for either your business or organization or personal reasons. Even mundane “work conversations” between staff located in different physical locations deserve to be free from eavesdropping!
–Business: Business meetings, training sessions, working groups, governance meetings, and many other types of live meetings or conferencing related to your business or organization. Suffice it to say you want to have a high-quality live stream for real-time communication, but private streaming is also a must as there’s likely to be confidential information being discussed. You want to keep your business … YOUR business.
–Personal: While this could be outside the scope of an enterprise platform, for example, you still might want to livestream only for certain family members, friends, or other groups. Events falling in this category could be things like weddings, funerals, holiday gatherings, and other content targeted to a small group. This type of content can be very private or sensitive, so it stands to reason to restrict viewing access.
Not every virtual event is being broadcast on the open web! Many ticketed performances, trade conferences, enthusiast meetups, seminars, and other formerly-in-person events went virtual in 2020-21, and these are exactly the kind of cases that warrant private streaming. Just like in real life, you’ll want to make sure all the viewers on a livestream paid the asking price to see the event live in real-time so you’re hitting your expense and profit metrics.
Like ticketed events, these are streams for a reserved group of people: employees, fans of your brand or business, VIPs, etc. Examples of this could include classes, webinars for employees or subscribers, or other types of bonus content. It’s not “exclusive” if people other than the intended audience are able to watch it!
Private Streaming the Right Way, a “How To” Guide
There are a few additional steps you need to take for private streaming, although for the most part, it’s nearly the same process as any live stream. The key to private streaming is having a platform that can fill your needs.
- Plan your stream Planning is always the go-to. Understand your goals, your audience, and what kind of content you want to provide them, and make your decisions from there. Schedule your content production, prep time, stream destination and release date, and determine other particulars.
- Choose your platform As mentioned, this is a big concern. The type of platform that’s right for you depends on the needs of your stream; we’ll run down some good choices below.
- Configure your stream The bridge between the planning stage and the actual streaming: this is where the technical decisions are being made and digital equipment and tools are being set up with the streaming platform. Many broadcasters need professional streaming support if it’s large enough scale.
- Promote the stream Even though it’s a private event it doesn’t mean you don’t have to promote. In fact, in many cases (meetings, virtual events, etc.) it’s important to get an RSVP from attendees so you can send them sign-in credentials.
- Set security settings for private streaming. We’ll go into detail about security measures just below, but this is the step where you secure your stream. Passwords are a must, likely connected to RSVPs as we note above. Check your platform’s settings and available tools and run a tight ship. Further controls such as geographical controls and domain restrictions can help.
- Run the stream! At this point, you’re all set, although it’s advisable to both try a test run if possible, and to have someone on hand to monitor the stream.
Key Security Features for a Private Streaming Platform
This is really the most basic form of security for private streaming. Not infallible, but the fact that we’re still using passwords means they’re still an effective first line of defense. Obviously, a password feature allows a broadcaster to set a password, and viewers will have to enter it to watch the stream. If the platform you’re using doesn’t come with password protection, it’s probably a bad sign.
Geographic and Referrer Restrictions
These kinds of features allow a broadcaster to restrict who can access their content. For example, commercial movie-streaming services might restrict certain content to US or EU users based on licensing. This is an example of geographic restrictions, which limit who can access an online video via the real-world location of their IP address. Some areas are “whitelisted” to view content, blocking hackers or unauthorized viewers residing in other countries.
Referrer restrictions places a limitation based on the website from which a user came to access your video content. Without getting too far into technical detail, this kind of tool is meant to prevent users from illegally embedding your stream on another site–it’s essentially an anti-piracy measure.
Speaking of “first line of defense”, paywalling exclusive content is a time-honored solution. Basically, to watch the content, users must pay for access. But keep in mind when money is being exchanged, secure payment is also extremely important. Your private streaming platform should use SSL encryption for accepting payment information. And as it goes, online payment systems have become ubiquitous in the modern day, so they’re now stronger than ever.
5 Top Private Live Streaming Platforms
We pride ourselves on our advanced video platforms and products. Whichever one is best suited to your needs, we’ll ensure it’s a vehicle for high-quality private streaming and comes with best-in-class security and privacy features.
IBM Cloud Video
IBM Cloud Video provides three main packages: free, paid, and enterprise. It debuted as UStream more than a decade ago as technology to connect overseas military personnel with loved ones at home, so it has a unique built-in content delivery network (CDN) that’s well known and reliable.
Vimeo is one of the largest streaming platforms on the internet and offers a wide range of privacy and security settings. Premium plans especially support private streaming and video hosting.
JW Player is a technical ancestor of the YouTube player and is a user-friendly platform for live streaming and hosting. As it expanded in more recent years to support live streaming, it also incorporated private streaming features.
Brightcove is one of the oldest private streaming platforms on the market, and over its long lifespan has developed powerful privacy and security features. The downside: its custom, high-end plans are much stronger than more basic plans.
Kaltura Private Live Streaming Solution for Enterprises
As you’re now aware if you followed along from the last section, Kaltura’s platform offers strong security features for private streaming across several of our products.
Where security and privacy are concerned, a range of authentication and authorization options are available on our platform, including single-sign-on (SSO) support. The Kaltura SaaS platform supports two-factor authentication and encrypts data at rest with AES-256 encryption. It’s deployed in AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Amazon’s worldwide cloud computing resources, with VPC security provided by AWS security groups. The VPC acts as a virtual firewall on every Kaltura instance and controls inbound and outbound traffic. The Kaltura platform additionally offers robust storage and hosting services operating from state-of-the-art data centers with high levels of stability, redundancy, and security.
Kaltura’s Virtual Town Halls and Live Events webcasting solution has the capacity for unlimited viewers but is also equipped for private streaming in the event of business video hosting, internal training and/or departmental meetings, or any other situation where sensitive content needs to be protected. It’s always a priority to keep your data, reputation, and staff safe! Click through the links for a deeper dive into our features.
Thinking of private streaming your next event? Kaltura can help!