Video Encryption – How to Secure Your Digital Content
If you are uploading your music video on the internet, you want others to view it. But if your video pertains to corporate training, you don’t want unauthorized people to access your confidential company information. Video encryption can protect your content from unauthorized viewing.
Data breaches, unauthorized sharing and data theft are risks for everyone doing business these days. To survive in this fiercely competitive world, you need to rely on content security to keep your company information safe and secure.
Encrypting your videos is one way of protecting your corporate information. Once your video content is encrypted, you can safely share the information with your staff, customers, partners and prospects.
There are three options for securing your videos from prying eyes: encrypting the video, protecting the video or doing both of them together.
What is encryption?
While encryption pertains to masking or manipulating the data, protection means securing the file through codecs, passwords, container formats, etc., so that others cannot access the data inside.
But, to get heightened security, you can apply both encryption and protection, which is the best option to protect your content. When you use the word encryption in casual conversation, it might mean encryption, protection, encoding, or all of them in different proportions. Therefore, encryption in this context means protecting your data in every way possible – which, of course, includes both encryption and protection.
What is video encryption?
Video encryption is the process of keeping your video secure from prying eyes. Why do you need to encrypt your videos? There could be two reasons. The first is personal and the second is Digital Rights Management (DRM).
Personal encryption, as the name suggests, is used for personal privacy. For example, when you make a video and want to share it with your family, friends, customers, etc., but at the same time, you don’t want the content to be viewed by unauthorized people.
Digital Rights Management is along the same lines, but involves more complexities. The different levels of DRM are:
- Qualitative and quantitative video streams for various price points
- Region-centric video
- Device or media-centric video
- Software-centric video
- Adaptive streaming
So, what is the main difference between personal encryption and Digital Rights Management? In case of personal encryption, except for the intended recipient, everyone else is blocked out. But, in case of DRM, it blocks people out either temporarily or permanently, without human help and on a given set of conditions.
Qualitative and quantitative video streams for different price points – If you are ready to spend more money, you can get 4K, but if you want to pay the lowest price, you will have to settle for SD. Since it directly impacts the resolution (physical data of the video stream), it affects the quality. The more you pay, the higher quality you get.
Region-centric video – Do you want to cater to a particular region? You don’t want other regions/ countries to see the video. The reasons for this form of DRM could be either you are barred by law to cater to other regions, or you want to control the market dynamics. In such scenarios, you need region-specific management.
Device or media-centric – This is done to restrict your media from playing on devices that don’t support it. You create a media that is exclusive to a particular device like iTunes, Kindle, Apple TV, etc., and those that don’t conform to the device are unable to play it.
Software-centric video – You need adequate software support and/or also pay a license fee to play some videos. When the operating system doesn’t support the codecs or if the license is not paid for, then certain NLEs don’t play some codecs. Hence, codec licensing is another way you can control the viewing of your video.
Adaptive streaming – During adaptive streaming, the video dynamically adapts to the resolution, bit rate, etc. of the internet speed and/or some other factors.
What you need to keep in mind before switching to a video encryption standard
Because people have different devices, you need to use multiple encryption methods to protect your video.
What has been encrypted by you today will be decrypted by someone else sooner rather than later. Hence, to get over the problem, you should use larger bit depths to encrypt your content. But this increases your overall costs and is also inconvenient to the end-users.
Technology keeps changing. What you encrypt today might get obsolete three years down the line. For this reason, you may need to eventually re-encode your content, or else it will become unreadable. It means that you need to keep one unencrypted copy of your video in a safe place.
You are bound by the licensing you buy. If someone hacks your encryption service, or if a better option comes up in the market, you will have to start the encryption process from scratch.
How online videos are protected
First, the video is encoded into standard encryption, which is stored in a secure server. Not everyone is allowed access to the video. You need to login to the server with a verified email account and password to view/access the video.
The video is transmitted through a secure pathway to the viewer’s computer, and can be viewed on a browser, which decrypts the video. The browser does not allow unauthorized access to other software to either view it or record it. The browser also does not allow the OS to store the content in the viewer’s computer. The secure connection is terminated soon after viewing is complete. For targeted marketing and statistical research, the data from the viewer is passed on to the content provider. With this data, you can also track down pilferages and leakages. And, if by chance the video is downloaded, then the encryption makes sure that it does not play on the available media player.
So, how does video encryption stop piracy?
The “pirate” needs to have adequate knowledge to decrypt the encryption. The pirates have to pay upfront to get a high-quality stream. And, when you pay, it is obvious that the server would have the necessary information on you.
The pirate has to encode the encrypted stream with the help of a software to get an accessible format. The process will either increase the size of the file or reduce the quality of the source. As the size of the file increases, the pirate needs to spend more to upload the data again. Cloud algorithms can use the uploaded source and match it up to the original stream to find out the correlations.
Video encryption options
There are two scenarios when it comes to video encryption: video at rest and video in motion (streaming).
Video at rest – Some options for videos that remain on hard drives or those that are downloaded to play at a later stage are:
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) – 128, 192 or 256 bits
- Google Widevine
- Apple Fair Play for videos from iTunes
- Windows Protected Media Path or PMP
Video in motion or streaming video – Some option for video in motion or streaming video are:
- RTMFP and RTMP(E)
- Soon-to-arrive HTML5 DRM standard
The most secure of the encrypting systems is AES, which has been adopted by the United States government and is now used worldwide.
Obviously, video encryption is not a DIY project. DocuServe provides robust data encryption solutions for a wide variety of industries. Learn about all we offer, then contact us to keep your intellectual property secure.
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