Security and storage powerhouse Symantec announced Wednesday that it signed a deal to purchase Verisign's Identity and Authentication division for $1.28 billion. The deal will undergo the usual regulatory review, but the company expects to close the transaction sometime in September. If successful, the deal is seen as a smart move for Symantec, which can trade on VeriSign’s strong brand name and high operating margins.
In addition to gaining a majority stake in VeriSign Japan, Symantec will pick up key security assets such as VeriSign’s SSL Certificate Services, Public Key Infrastructure, VeriSign Trust Services and VeriSign Identity Protection Authentication Service. These products will complement Symantec’s own security portfolio as it drives towards a model of simple and secure access from any platform, anywhere. Part of that strategy, as Symantec has stated, lies in acquiring key technology in identity security, mobile security, information protection, context and relevance, and cloud security.
The company is particularly focused on integrating strong identity and authentication security into a multilayer IT and network implementation to spur greater customer confidence in difficult-to-secure areas such as mobile and cloud computing, new computing models, social networking and accessing business applications and resources both on-site and remotely.
“With the anonymity of the Internet and the evolving threat landscape, people and organizations are struggling to maintain confidence in the security of their interactions, information and identities online,” said Symantec CEO Enrique Salem. “At the same time, people’s personal and professional lives have converged and they want to use their various digital devices to access information wherever they are without jeopardizing their privacy.”
In terms of its integration plans, Symantec already is looking to incorporate VeriSign’s SSL Certificate Services as well as other related authentication products with its own Symantec Critical System Protection or Protection Suite for Servers. Similarly, the company is considering adding its own information classification technology from its Data Loss Prevention and Data Insight offerings to VeriSign’s identity security services, in order to guarantee only authorized access to protected information.
More broadly, Symantec is thinking outside the box with plans to integrate user certificates into its Norton line of consumer offerings. By giving users the ability to set up simple secure identities for online commerce, the company hopes to drive greater sales on the consumer side. Beyond that, look for Symantec to increasingly target mobile and remote worker consumer devices with VeriSign’s authentication and identity management capabilities.