Francisco Partners Acquires IoT Security Company Comodo's SSL Business, Bill Holtz Appointed CEO

Comodo on Tuesday announced that private equity firm Francisco Partners had acquired a majority stake in its certificate authority (SSL) business, Comodo CA Limited.

Damon Kachur, head of IoT solutions at Comodo, told CRN he hopes that Francisco Partners' investment will support the company's accelerated growth and global footprint around IoT solutions.

"For our channel partners this means a large investment in what we’re doing around our IoT channels and ecosystems," he said. "We’ll be able to make those investments quickly with the support of Francisco partners … we’re bringing in more troops to increase our technology footprint overseas."

[Related: CRN Interview: GrayMatter CEO Talks About GE's Investment In Partners And How He's Successfully Pitching IoT To Customers]

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Terms of the acquisition including price were not specified. As part of the purchase, Comodo CA has hired former COO of identity-based data security solutions provider Entrust, Bill Holtz, as CEO.

"The need to responsibly provide the required verification, oversight and operational management to encrypt network traffic and identify websites will only grow," said Holtz in a statement. "Trusted digital certificates will remain a fundamental requirement of today’s network security infrastructure for eCommerce and new evolving IoT networks. Francisco Partners has a sound, smart and aggressive strategy for Comodo CA and I’m delighted to join the team to execute their vision."

Bill Conner, the president and CEO of SonicWall, will also serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Comodo CA, according to the company.

The Clifton, N.J.-based company, which issues SSL certificates to ensure online traffic between a website and a user is encrypted, recently announced a new public key infrastructure (PKI) platform for IoT devices and networks that will allow device manufacturers and network providers to issue and manage PKI and SSK certificates for private IoT ecosystems.

IoT is becoming a larger part of the company's strategy as it generates more traffic and security risks, said Kachur, so SSL certificates become further entrenched in organizations’ security protocols.

Comodo has ramped up its investments in IoT over the past few months. The company last year introduced the Comodo Certificate Manager, a full-lifecycle digital certificate management platform that helps enterprises can better manage their IoT devices.

Comodo has partnered with several companies, including Device Authority, to help customers interact with and manage device certificates for their entire lifecycle, creating a new level of consistent, IoT device security. The company is also looking for silicon partners – including silicon manufacturers and SIM providers to "get customers the security they need along with the embedded world," said Kachur.