In our increasingly digital lives, privacy is under assault. Over the past decade, digital technology has expanded the reach of information worldwide. However, it has also exposed all of us to more online vulnerabilities. By 2021, cybercrime damages are forecast to reach $6 trillion annually. In this blog post, we’ll focus on key security considerations for broadcasting live private events. In particular, we’ll review 7 top live streaming solutions that deliver tools and functions for privacy and security.
First, we’ll review the essential features broadcasters need to stay digitally safe. Next, we’ll introduce 7 streaming platforms that provide secure live streaming solutions. We’ll also compare the privacy and security features of each streaming platform. Here are the platforms we’ll discuss later in this post: IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream), Vimeo (formerly Livestream), JW Player, Wowza, Dacast, Brightcove, and Kaltura.
Essential features for privacy and security
Whether you are broadcasting TV shows, movies, sports, corporate events, or any other private material, you need the right tools to keep you or your business safe. Three key security features include password protection, geographic and referrer restrictions, and payment security.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how each of these tools applies to the online video industry.
First up, password protection is one of the most basic forms of security for private event streaming. Generally, this setting allows users to set a password. Then, visitors to your website can only access the stream if they can enter the password. Otherwise, they’re out of luck. This can be an ideal solution for smaller events among trusted individuals or groups.
Many live streaming solutions now offer this feature, which we’ll review in more detail in our OVP comparison below.
Geographic and referrer restrictions
Beyond password protection, there are more complex security tools available, such as restrictions. As the name implies, restrictions allow broadcasters to restrict who can access your content. Also, you can set these restrictions based on various factors.
There are two types of restrictions in common use. Geographic restrictions allow you to restrict who can access your online video via IP address. Unless someone is using a VPN, IP corresponds to geographic location. Therefore, this tool works by “whitelisting” countries from which your audience can view your content. That way, you can bypass hackers or unauthorized people who reside in other countries.
The second type is referrer restrictions. A referrer describes the website from which a visitor came before accessing your video content. Thus, a referrer restriction allows you to only allow users who came from pages on your domain (for example, https://dacast.com/*). The * symbol in that example indicates that any page on your site is acceptable for users. This restriction effectively prevents users from illegally embedding your stream on another site. And if even the embed does work, the video won’t play.
Finally, one of the best ways to keep content secure is to require viewers to pay for access. Even better, this also provides a revenue stream for your live broadcasts. However, it’s crucial to manage this payment process securely.
Luckily, online payment systems are more robust than ever. For example, a tokenized security system can support these authorization schemes. This prevents anyone without prior authorization from accessing your stream. Note: make sure that the live streaming solutions you choose do use SSL encryption for payment information.
7 best live streaming solutions for private events
We’ve covered three integral security and privacy features for broadcasters today. Now, let’s review and compare seven top live streaming solutions for private events. All seven services are long-standing, robust competitors that offer a variety of compelling features. As you know, however, different users have different needs. By taking a closer look at each of these live streaming solutions, you can make an informed decision about the right OVP for you.
IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)
Introduction to IBM Cloud Video (UStream)
Former streaming service UStream first launched in 2007. IBM Cloud Video came into play after IBM acquired Ustream in early 2016. Today, the IBM Cloud Video platform provides live streaming solutions along with other OTT video services. This service primarily caters to live events, corporate communication, marketing, media & entertainment.
The core platform is the IBM Streaming Manager. Like most online video platforms, users can manage their accounts via an online dashboard. The platform includes analytics and a variety of other features, including following security options:
- Payment security: IBM Cloud Video only includes a paywall feature at the highest custom-priced plan level.
- Password protection: Available at all plan levels.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: Referrer restrictions and geographic restrictions are available for all pro accounts.
IBM Cloud Video streaming services range from $99 to $999 per month for pro accounts. These plans include a basic live streaming platform supporting (up to) full 1080p HD broadcasting resolution. However, this service does not yet support 4K broadcasting. Additionally, customized packages are available for larger clients with large-scale budgets.
Vimeo (formerly Livestream)
Introduction to Vimeo (Livestream)
Livestream was founded in 2007 and is based in New York. Vimeo acquired Livestream in 2017 and integrated those services into the Vimeo company. Today, Vimeo caters to a broad range of clients, including enterprises, churches, TV & radio, sports, government, etc. Video streaming and hosting is the main business offering. In terms of content security, the platform supports the following options:
- Payment security: Monetization features come only with custom-priced Enterprise plans; these include SSL payment security.
- Password protection: Similarly, password protection is only available on the Enterprise plans.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: Geographic and IP restrictions are also available only on Enterprise plans.
Vimeo (Livestream) caters toward high-budget clients. Last year, the service dropped the basic plan. Now, the only priced plan starts at $75 per month (billed annually, $199/month billed monthly). Many of Vimeo’s key security and other professional live streaming features, however, are only available to larger clients willing to pay for custom-priced Enterprise plans.
Introduction to JW Player
JW Player has operated mainly as a video player since its founding in 2005. However, the service now also provides video hosting and delivery for publishers, broadcasters, marketers, developers. Recently, JW Player added live streaming solutions to its offerings. JW Player is a great video player, but its video hosting/streaming platform is still relatively basic— especially in terms of live streaming features. As far as stream security, this service includes the following:
- Payment security: JW Player supports advertising features; it does not support direct payments from viewers.
- Password protection: The JW platform offers password-protected sharing at all plan levels.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: Geo-blocking is available for JW Player users; referrer and IP restrictions are not available at this time.
JW Player is available at three pricing levels, all of which offer full 1080p HD broadcasting. The Starter Plan ($5/mo) includes a basic platform for hosting only (up to 500 videos). Custom-priced plans add live-streaming functionality for a higher price.
Introduction to Wowza
Also founded in 2005, the next live streaming solutions provider we’ll introduce here is Wowza. Today, Wowza offers two main products and targets education service providers, enterprises, government, and churches. Its cloud-based video streaming service is known as Wowza Streaming Cloud. The security features of this service are minimal in comparison to other OVPs:
- Payment security: Wowza doesn’t have any built-in functionality for monetizing video.
- Password protection: Wowza plans don’t offer built-in features for password protection.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: All Wowza plans support geographic restrictions. Referrer restrictions are available via Wowza’s token authorization system, but users must configure these manually.
Pricing for Wowza Streaming Cloud is either monthly or usage-based (for API plans). Monthly plans now start at $49 per month. This basic live streaming plan includes 50 processing hours and no VOD functionality. The Standard plan ($499/month) and Event-Plus plan ($999/month) provide increased bandwidth and processing hours.
Introduction to Dacast
Next up, let’s take a look at our own live streaming platform. Based in San Francisco, Dacast launched in 2010. Today, this OVP provides video live streaming services and video hosting services for business users, including China video hosting and other enterprise-level features. In 2018 and 2019, Dacast was selected as the best video platform for small and medium businesses. And in 2019, Dacast acquired video hosting platform vzaar.
To date, more than 155,000 broadcasters have used the Dacast service to deliver their video content via a white-label platform or video API. In terms of security, Dacast includes the following features:
- Payment security: Integrated paywall for pay-per-view or subscriptions protected by SSL security, and available at the Premium plan level ($125/month) and above.
- Password protection: Included on all accounts.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: Included on all accounts.
Dacast live streaming pricing plans are either monthly or via “event” pricing. All plans offer 1080p full HD broadcasting, as well as 4K broadcasting.
Monthly plans start at $19 per month for 100 GB of bandwidth and 20GB of storage. The Premium plan ($125/month) adds API support and paywall monetization and reduces bandwidth costs. The Enterprise plan ($289/month) reduces bandwidth costs further and is ideal for business and OTT media users with high-volume streaming needs.
Event pricing is ideal for one-time or occasional events. With this model, you can purchase a “bucket” of bandwidth that doesn’t expire for 12 months.
Introduction to Brightcove
Founded in 2004, Brightcove is a live streaming solutions provider targeted at large businesses. Its Video Cloud streaming solution hosts on-demand and live streaming video. In particular, Brightcove targets publishers & broadcasters, marketers, enterprises, and sports. As far as security functionality, their platform includes:
- Payment security: Brightcove includes a range of tools aimed at advertising monetization, as well as a paywall feature.
- Password protection: Brightcove offers SSO.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: Brightcove supports geographic and referrer (domain) restrictions on all plan levels.
In the past, Brightcove offered custom-pricing only and didn’t list its pricing plans online. Recently, however, the OVP has added some pricing details to its website. Today, annual plans start at $499 per month. Custom Enterprise plans are still available.
Introduction to Kaltura
Last up, Kaltura is the final live streaming solutions provider we’ll introduce in this article. Founded in 2006, Kaltura operates out of New York City and provides a range of video services, including a VPaaS—Video Platform as a Service. This service centers on a set of APIs. Kaltura services primarily target businesses, the education sector, and cloud tv customers. In terms of hosting private events, Kaltura’s offerings include the following:
- Payment security: Kaltura supports subscriptions and pay-per-view; the service uses standard SSL encryption for payment processing.
- Password protection: No built-in password-protection included on any plan; it is available via an extension.
- Geographic / Referrer restrictions: Both of these security options are available to Kaltura users.
Kaltura VPaaS prices video hosting and streaming based on usage.
- Outbound bandwidth: $0.17 per GB
- Storage: $0.25 per GB
- Transcoding:$2.25 per GB
- Live streaming: $0.25 per minute streamed
So there you have it! We hope this review of seven popular live streaming solutions and their privacy and security features has helped you to narrow down your options. And of course, we do hope you’ll give the Dacast live streaming solutions a try!
There’s one easy way to start streaming live risk-free today: take advantage of Dacast’s free 30-day trial (no credit card required)! That way, you can test out all the platform features for yourself to see if our streaming solutions are a good fit for you. When you’re ready, just click the link below to start streaming live in a matter of minutes.
For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, you’re also welcome to join our LinkedIn group. We’d love to connect with you! And feel free to contact our team with specific questions; we’re here to help!
Lastly, do you have further questions, thoughts, or feedback about this article? If you do, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and we will get back to you.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your events.
By Max Wilbert.
Note to our readers: We’ve updated this article to reflect the most up-to-date information as of February 2020.