Telefonica invested in cybersecurity specialist Nozomi Networks, seeking to further boost its capabilities to meet increasing enterprise demand for enhanced protection in IoT.

In a statement, Telefonica said it made the move through its VC unit Telefonica Innovation Ventures. It said the investment was a “strategic undertaking” to bolster cooperation with Nozomi Networks, which specialises in operational technology and IoT cybersecurity.

The company operates in 16 countries, delivering security products covering more than 3.6 million devices across 2,400 installations in industries including energy; pharmaceuticals; manufacturing; logistics; and automotive.

Guenia Gawendo, Telefonica Innovation Ventures director, said the investment reinforced the operator’s “commitment to cybersecurity in industrial environments and critical assets”. She cited Nozomi Networks’ AI technology as “essential for our industrial customers”.

Telefonica explained the investment adds to an existing partnership between its ElevenPaths cybersecurity subsidiary and Nozomi Networks.

ElevenPaths CEO Pedro Pablo Perez explained the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic had “accelerated the need for companies to improve the visibility of their assets and update their inventories, as they urgently obtain new devices and applications to enable the possibility of teleworking”.

The Nozomi Networks move comes a matter of weeks after ElevenPaths expanded a collaboration with Fortinet, also as part of the rise in enterprise cybersecurity demand.