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CRN Exclusive: DigiCert Quintuples Sales, Headcount With Close Of Deal For Symantec Website Security, PKI Offerings

John Merill, CEO of the identity and encryption provider, tells CRN the purchase boosts DigiCert's workforce from 300 to 1,600 employees and top-line revenue from $100 million to $500 million.

DigiCert has scaled out its operations and increased its presence in the channel and enterprise markets after closing on its purchase of Symantec's web security and public key infrastructure practice.

Lehi, Utah-based DigiCert -- which offers a broad portfolio of security tools for web services and Internet of Things devices, including identity and encryption -- said the acquisition brings together the top talent in the industry around Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates and PKI, according to DigiCert CEO John Merrill.

"It's like alchemy at some level. There are only so many people in the world who really understand it well," Merrill told CRN exclusively. "We're going to have a wealth of riches in terms of all these quality people that we'll be able to put onto different projects."

[Related: Symantec To Sell Website Security Business To DigiCert For $950M]

The acquisition, in which Symantec will receive $950 million in up-front cash proceeds, was announced Aug. 2 and closed Tuesday, with Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec obtaining a 30 percent stake in the combined business. The deal boosted DigiCert's workforce from 300 to 1,600 employees and top-line revenue from $100 million to $500 million, according to Merrill.

"We're going to do a much quicker job of satisfying our customers' needs and bringing new security innovations to the marketplace," Merrill said. "We're going to be focused, we're going to be big, and we're going to be strong."

DigiCert had been scaling out its operations prior to the acquisition in preparation for opportunities around IoT, Merrill said, and had been conducting stress testing and working on its back-end systems to serve everything from connected cars to connected medical devices.

This scaling effort will come in handy, Merrill said, since Symantec had been issuing three to four times as many certificates as DigiCert leading up to the deal.

"We got a little lucky," Merrill said. "We scaled up for another purpose, and we're using it for this purpose."

DigiCert is well-regarded for its modern certificate management platform and its ability to discover and replace certificates easily, Merrill said. The company can typically issue and verify a certificate in just a matter of minutes, while competitors often need hours or even days to give out a direct certificate, according to Chief Operating Officer Flavio Martins.

Symantec's web security practice, meanwhile, brings automation capabilities to the table that DigiCert doesn't have as well as a proven ability to work on an enterprise scale, according to Merrill. Its platform, however, isn't as modern or scalable as DigiCert's, Merrill said.


"[Customers will] get a much better, more modern experience through our tools," Merrill said.

Parallel groups focused on the integration have been formed in both DigiCert's and Symantec's web security business to ensure that the transition for channel partners is seamless, Martins said.

The technical and operations side of the combined company will be led by DigiCert, Merrill said, while the sales and marketing business will draw executives from both sides of the company.

DigiCert both encrypts the conversation between the browser and the server so that it can't be spied upon, as well as authenticating the identity of the person requesting the certificate, Merrill said. At the appropriate time, orders from Symantec customers will be transitioned over to DigiCert's faster and more efficient validation process, according to Merrill.

Silicon East resells Symantec's Endpoint Protection Cloud offering, and believes that having the company narrow its focus on desktop and server protection products by disposing of its web security assets will be a net positive for channel partners, according to President Marc Harrison.

"Symantec is very distracted with a lot of things that aren't the core business," Harrison told CRN. "They were in too many lines of business that weren't core to what they were known for."

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