With over 2,000 cyber hacks happening daily in 2023, it’s crystal clear that protecting the security of your content online has never been more crucial.
And you don’t have to be a professional broadcaster to recognize this fact. Whether you’re a mechanic providing a live stream to your customer of their car being repaired, a producer streaming a concert across the world or live streaming more sensitive and personal videos of any sort, password-protecting your video streaming doesn’t just put you in the driver’s seat.
It puts you in the driver’s seat of a reinforced vehicle. And in the growing minefield of digital piracy, that’s exactly what you need to stay safe.
Password-protected live streaming is one of the simplest and most effective strategies for making sure your content isn’t seen by anyone other than your target audience.
So today, we’re going to guide you through the four simple steps to safeguard your online video content. No matter your need for video privacy, we’ll show you how to keep it safe.
Why do you need to set up a password for live streams?
Before we get started, let’s take a closer look at why protecting your live streaming is so essential, whether you’re a broadcaster or a viewer.
Reason #1 – Piracy is booming
In 2022, it was reported that online piracy cost the film and television industry roughly $51.6 billion.
With well over 216.8 million monthly unique visitors to top video piracy sites, no content broadcaster can turn a blind eye to the realities of the situation. Piracy isn’t going anywhere.
And if your video streams can be easily shared via shady online channels to those who haven’t paid for it, you stand to lose a lot of money. You don’t need us to tell you that affects everyone involved in bringing that video to the masses.
The harsh reality is, it’s easier than ever before to steal and distribute content online. Your permission doesn’t even weigh into the equation.
Reason #2 – Privacy is paramount
Streaming statistics soared after the pandemic, that’s not news to anyone. But with those climbing numbers, we’ve also seen a dramatic uplift in sensitive content streaming.
From business to healthcare and beyond, the web is filling up with more personal videos that were never intended for public scrutiny. Highly confidential content means streams like this require significant security reinforcements to prevent unauthorized access.
Would you want your medical records or private treatment broadcast to the world, when they were only recorded for education and posterity? What about your remote HR meeting at work?
While these don’t seem likely targets for online piracy on the surface, it’s important to remember that knowledge is both power and currency. Content pirates hunt for both.
Naturally, this highlights the importance of strong content protection for the general public, too, not just the broadcasters of the world. Password-protecting your sensitive content makes it far harder to access, steal and distribute that content without your permission.
It’s also a boon for reviewing content within your organizational silos.
Reason #3 – Exclusivity and monetization
Many event organizers and broadcasters will be operating on a pay-per-view model, where viewers have purchased tickets (both physical and digital) to view the content.
Whether these circumstances include tiers of customers (e.g., VIPs and standard ticket holders) or not, it’s important for any publisher’s reputation and relationships with customers to respect those who have paid.
If you’re not doing everything you can to safeguard your live streams from piracy, you undervalue those people who pay for a ticket to view and risk them deciding not to bother paying next time.
After all, why pay if you can watch it for free? — you don’t want to encourage that kind of thinking.
4 steps to successfully protect your live stream
Pirates, cybercriminals and even your competitors are aware of and ready to exploit the opportunities of unprotected content.
These steps will help keep you one step ahead so they can’t gain access.
Step #1 – Password-protect your live stream
Password-protected live streaming generally requires you to invest in a dedicated streaming service platform like JWP. Free services like YouTube don’t typically offer this level of security.
Most video hosting software will include a set of privacy and security measures, but if you’re just getting started with a new provider then it’s worth checking that password-protection is part of their service.
The specific ways to create a password-protected live stream vary across platforms, however, the basic premise and processes are the same. As such, here are some general steps to follow:
- Setup your video content page
- Find the video publish settings and look for the “privacy” or “visibility” sections for your live stream
- Identify and activate any relevant privacy options (likely labeled “unlist,” “private” or “password protection”)
- Enter your desired PIN or password when prompted
- Your video content should now be guarded by a password-protected page
Every video hosting platform handles this in slightly different ways — for example, some might provide you with a code to enter that completes the protection process. If in doubt, refer to your chosen platform’s help articles and always remember to test that your published content cannot be accessed without that password.
Step #2 – Choose a password
Choosing the right password for a live-stream broadcast isn’t quite the same as penning a password for your personal accounts and subscriptions. The goal of those passwords is solely to keep everyone out, while the goal of a password for your live stream is that some people do gain access.
Remember, this password will be shared with select people. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help you choose the right password:
- Avoid using the same password or login credentials that you use personally
- Don’t include any personal information
- Consider the sensitivity of the content
The last point deserves an example: if you’re live streaming a pay-per-view event, say a concert with thousands of guests, a simple one-word password should be suitable. It’s not sensitive content, so there’s little need for a complex password. In fact, a complicated password might just cause confusion among your audience when they try to view the event.
If your stream includes sensitive content, however, you’ll want to consider using special characters, numbers and unexpected capitalizations and lowercase letters.
3. Step #3 – Manage and monitor passwords
Password sharing happens, and unless your protection method generates a unique password for each viewer, it’s something you’ll have to accept.
For the live event itself, most broadcasters will keep a watchful eye on forums, with a view to invalidating and replacing any shared passwords they discover, thereby removing any unwelcome viewers and maintaining the integrity of their password-protected live streams.
Many will opt for more advanced security options for future viewing of previous live streams, which we’ll explore briefly next.
Step #4 – Consider advanced security options
Password protection is generally only considered the first of many defenses a broadcaster will reinforce their video content with to protect against pirates. To fully protect your live stream, safeguard sensitive information and maximize profits, it’s worth exploring additional security options, too.
Here are three of the main options worth your consideration:
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
DRM creates individual one-time-use access “keys” for each user rather than one broad password for all. It’s a perfect way to protect a former live stream for future use as on-demand content and also protects against screen recording.
Encrypting your videos grants an extra layer of security against those who shouldn’t have access to it. Only those who access the right website can see the stream as intended, meaning unless a viewer has the proper encryption key, they won’t be able to see or distribute your content.
Video hosting sites like YouTube make it easy to embed your videos onto any website, but with a dedicated video hosting platform, you can stop this means of content sharing in its tracks.
Domain restrictions let you define which sites your video can be embedded on. This means you can create a white list that exclusively includes pages on your own website, so no other site can feature your video.
Geo-restrictions work similarly, but allow you to list physical locations and countries where your content can and can’t be viewed.
Password-protected streaming made simple
Password protection shouldn’t be an afterthought. There’s not just a lot of money to be made in general, but certain organizations’ content and sensitive data are worth a king’s ransom to the right black market buyers.
With more organizations than ever communicating with customers, partners and stakeholders via digital streaming, the chances of you not needing to take action to protect your content are slim.
Vultures are circling, waiting for their chance to strike — don’t be easy prey to them, especially when a password-protected live stream is such an easy shield to create.
Take steps today to safeguard your streams, content, customers, strategies and business plans. Sign up for JWP and we’ll help strengthen your security and shield your broadcasts behind the highest levels of security. That way, you can focus on the quality of your content and your business, the way it should be.