To successfully deliver live and on-demand video services and content, your first step is deciding on a secure video streaming platform. However, if you’re not sure what that involves and why it’s so important, this post can serve as your primer on various tools and features of secure video streaming.
- What is secure video streaming?
- The importance of secure video streaming for your business
- Understanding video streaming security risks
- Methods for securing your content and video streaming encryption
- Comparison of the top 5 secure video platforms
- Kaltura solutions for the security of video streaming
- Final thoughts
What is secure video streaming?
Secure video streaming means providing a platform and unified video streaming solution that can prioritize security and privacy while streaming content. End-to-end encryption will protect both your content and intellectual property as well as the data and sensitive information of your viewers. Additionally, password protection will prevent “hop on” viewers from accessing your stream. Uninvited stream viewers can clutter your bandwidth and may have malicious intent.
The importance of secure video streaming for your business
Online presence has become essential for virtually all businesses and organizations, and online content has increasingly pivoted to video. Secure video streaming is something to be concerned about as there are risks to your online videos just like any other asset. Whether you’re using video for marketing content, communication, employee training, or customer education, it’s important to understand the basics of security and which platforms stack up.
Understanding video streaming security risks
In the digital and networked world, there are complex security issues as well as hacking and piracy, so it’s important that your video platform is secure and a safe business environment.
First, the increase in remote work, streamed video communication, and overall internet traffic has had a corresponding rise in cyberattacks/cybercrime whether by sophisticated criminals or simply malicious individuals.
Second, while every video meeting might not contain trade secrets it’s safe to assume that enterprise video communication and broadcasting will nonetheless involve sensitive information.
Third, while reports and statistics about cybercrimes can often conflict, it’s safe to say losses to a business victimized by cyberattacks or content piracy can easily run into millions of US dollars. At least one fairly reliable source notes that small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are both frequently targeted and only about 50% likely to have a cybersecurity plan.
Secure your business assets and communications as you would your home –don’t leave the door unlocked and open and just hope no one happens by who has bad intentions!
Methods for securing your content and video streaming encryption
● Password-Protected Video
Password protection is the most basic security measure for all computing and networking. It’s simple, but passwords are still used because they’re often effective. Password protection sometimes even works as a deterrent for malicious users not because it’s impossible to beat, but simply because it creates an additional obstacle to get around.
Password-protected video works exactly how you expect: you set a password on the videos you choose to protect. Viewers can’t watch unless they know and enter the correct password.
However, as mentioned password protection is the most basic type of security. Passwords may be leaked or stolen and typically need to be changed frequently. Malicious hackers “phish” for password information or can find ways to defeat password protection. Genuinely secure video streaming will require password protection in combination with other security features.
● HTTPS Delivery
HTTPS, that is “Hyper Text Transport Protocol Secure,” is an extension of the widely used HTTP protocol providing the foundation for data communication on the web. These days we tend to take HTTP communication protocol as a given (just like the web), but HTTP can be vulnerable to hacking, especially on open networks. HTTPS uses encryption to provide more secure communication. It utilizes digital certificates, encryption keys, and HLS encryption to mask a user’s connection to a website and prevent data (like content, passwords, and more) from being intercepted and stolen. In video streaming, HTTPS provides a layer of secure encryption over all communication between a server sending videos and a viewer.
● SSL / TLS Encrypted Paywall
By now, we’re probably all familiar with the concept of a “paywall” for online content. TLS, i.e., “Transport Layer Security” works in conjunction with HTTPS to encrypt data moving through networks. When you use a paywall to monetize your video content, TLS (sometimes referred to by the older name SSL) ensures data security as passwords and payment information are entered into your website. Banks use the same style of encryption to protect online financial data. If you’re requiring viewers to pay, make sure you keep them and their payment data safe!
● Geographic (IP) Restrictions
If your “authorized” viewers should be located in specific regions or countries, geographical or IP restrictions could be useful to you. These types of tools block specific IP addresses, up to and including entire physical regions, from accessing your videos. Not to point fingers, but there are specific places in the world that are notorious for having a high rate of online piracy. A tool or platform able to restrict IP addresses (including from specific geographical locations) should include the following features:
This is the method of setting the actual restrictions to keep a geographic region from viewing your content. This creates a layer of security where you can cast a fairly wide net for your audience, but “blacklist” problematic regions. However, one drawback is that by blocking an entire country or area from access to your video, it could also block some legitimate viewers.
IP whitelisting is something like the opposite of geo-blocking. Whitelisting gives access to your content only to specific IP addresses. If you have content that requires close restriction, or a very narrow target audience, you can block everyone else.
● AES Encryption
Encryption, as many of us have become aware in recent years, is the process of encoding information so that only users with the appropriate key can view it. AES, a.k.a. “Advanced Encryption Standard” is a particular cipher standardized by the US government for encrypting sensitive data. AES is also a great fit for secure video streaming. Its encryption key scrambles outgoing video and only viewers with the correct access key can decrypt the data to watch the video. Additionally, anyone intercepting the stream will only see scrambled data. AES works alongside HTTPS, secure password protection, and a web browser practically invisibly to provide secure video streaming. Users only need to be concerned with logging in correctly.
Comparison of the top 5 secure video platforms
We feel confident enough in the Kaltura Streaming Platform and our line of video streaming products overall to place it at the top of any list,
In fact, our entire offering of solutions from our video portal and video management console to our virtual events platform provides enterprise-grade secure video streaming. With a range of capabilities for encryption, SSO, and access permissions, whether live or on-demand, Kaltura’s video services are built to keep you secure. Whatever your industry or use case you’ll have a hard time finding a better overall option for secure video streaming. However, we’re also going to compare with some other leading platforms.
For additional information about Kaltura’s security features, jump down below where we’ll go into more detail. For now, we’ll look at some other top offerings in the field.
Dacast is a platform that is narrowly focused on providing live streaming for enterprise. Initially, Dacast only existed to provide live streaming service, however, it built its services up through development and acquisitions and now offers a more holistic online video platform. How does it stack up for secure video streaming?
–Solid choice for external streaming
-SSL/TLS encrypted paywall and password protected video
-Ability to set location, domain and other IP restrictions
-Not well designed for internal use cases
-Platform itself lacks some basic functionality such as live chat and backup streams
-Limited security administration capabilities; admins cannot customize security policies, set role-based access controls for users or user groups, or create multiple autonomous video portals with different security policies
-Doesn’t allow you to store or host videos in a cloud provider or region that you choose
Vidyard is a platform that’s strongly geared towards marketing and lead generation, to the extent of including tools designed to improve viewer engagement and extend audience reach. Essentially Vidyard is a great choice when you need a platform that is set up for converting viewers into customers. But how does it stack up as far as security and other types of use cases?
-Comprehensive professional broadcasting platform with excellent content management and video organization
-Strong security features and technical support
-Specialized marketing and analytical tools
-Much weaker features for use cases outside the marketing niche
-Inconclusive user reviews
-Unable to deliver video in China
Brightcove is a software as a service (SaaS) platform catering to creative industries where companies’ video use is centered around broadcast and entertainment. It provides secure video streaming for customers, but its features are essentially designed in line with its intent to be an OTT (i.e., “streaming service”) platform.
-Geo-filtering and blocking to restrict playback to specific locations. Also offers whitelisting for domains and IPs
-Logs for monitoring user activity
-DRM content protection available
-Encryption aligning with AES 128 standard available
-Cannot password-protect individual videos
-Only Brightcove’s ready-made SaaS application is available; this means access controls, user roles, and other security features are impossible to customize.
-Additionally, it’s not possible to deploy Brightcove on any other secure commercial or private cloud (AWS, etc.) or to deploy on-premises for content streaming
● IBM Video Cloud
IBM Video Cloud/IBM Cloud Video launched in 2017, following IBM’s acquisition of well-reputed live interactive broadcast Ustream. IBM Video Cloud now provides on-demand video streaming and overall platform capabilities. However, it’s focused mainly on the media sector, entertainment, and enterprise–use cases for corporate communication and training are not as well supported.
-Enterprise-grade content delivery network
-User actions can be limited using 3 default user roles available
-Ensures secure video streaming with end-to-end encryption
-Another good-quality platform that’s much weaker for internal use cases
-Limits product deployments to the IBM cloud only
-Does not provide audit logs for monitoring user activity
-Administrators are unable to customize security policies or set retention period
Kaltura solutions for the security of video streaming
As we may have implied, Kaltura would love to be your platform of choice for secure video streaming. We take security very seriously on our platform and products! We provide a long list of best-in-class for securing your content and can offer either a full On-Premise Edition or a variety of SaaS or hybrid deployments letting you control every aspect of security. Our access control features make it easy for authorized users to access content and protect it from anyone else.
Whether your business is internal communications or external broadcasting, your administrators control who’s viewing, downloading, or editing content and playlists on a detailed level. Secure video streaming access can be based on user ID and coordinated with other single sign-on methods and professional-grade video rights management. Access can also be limited or whitelisted based on domain, geo-location, IP, time limits, session limits, and much more. We have more in-depth details on our security features right here for you to check out, and you’re also welcome to try out a demo.
There are many ways to keep your online video safe–the most important thing is to educate yourself on techniques, products, and options. The “best” secure video streaming platform is really “the platform that best fits YOUR business needs”. Running down a thorough checklist of required features and choosing a high-quality video platform will definitely go a long way toward both providing best-class secure video streaming for your users and the success of your video operation.
Check out Kaltura’s full suite of pro-grade and secure video solutions for every use case!