Debtworks (NZ) Limited Case Study

Ensuring collection centre availability in a secure financial services environment

Debtworks Casestudy Cover

Key Outcomes

  • Offsite backups with Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) to suit type of data
  • Independently tested and proven ability to recover from backup
  • Access to standby equipment for recovery
  • Compliant with customer and regulatory BCP requirements


Debtworks is a New Zealand owned and operated company that provides debt collection, ledger management and loan servicing support for other businesses.

The business uses a range of tools to contact debtors and negotiate payment terms to recover funds owed to its customers. It relies on the collection centre having access to its secure database to manage these communications and report back to its customers regarding the status of debts either via the collection centre or secure internet access.

Debtworks also strive to deliver a high level of trust with its customers by keeping debtor data secure and ensuring collection methods do not negatively impact on customer reputations.

The Business Challenges

Debtworks' business relies on its collection centre being fully operational and uninterrupted as it is the hub of the business and the primary source of revenue. The collection centre is based in one location and uses a database developed specifically by the business to manage debt services. It also relies on access to telecommunications and web based services to stay in touch with debtors.

As the business is dealing with confidential financial data, security is extremely important. Collection staff need to be in a controlled environment and data must stay within the approved IT infrastructure.

As part of its business continuity programme Debtworks needs to ensure:

  • The collection centre can continue to operate from a secure location with minimal disruption if the normal office is unavailable
  • If an IT issue occurs, the debtor database can be promptly recovered with minimal data loss and made securely available to the collection centre team
  • Debtworks customers and debtors can continuously communicate with the Debtworks team during an unplanned event
  • The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is tested and compliant with all customer and regulatory requirements

Our collection centre is our lifeblood. With Plan B we know exactly how and where we will work during an outage.

Bruce Cross,
CEO for Debtworks (NZ) Limited.

The Business Implications

If the collection centre is not operating, debts are not being collected for Debtworks’ customers and the business is not generating revenue. It is extremely important that the business knows where the collection centre team will work in an outage, and that the IT system will be available and compliant with its required security protocols.

In addition, Debtworks deal with sensitive financial data and must take all reasonable steps to ensure it remains continuously protected to maintain the reputation of Debtworks and its customers.

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The Solution & Business Benefits

Plan B provides Debtworks with a solution to ensure it can keep operating during unplanned events and retain its secure environment, including:

  1. 1. Standby Office

    Standby Office to provide a secure and immediately available office environment that the collection centre team can relocate to. The standby facility is fully-equipped with operational telecommunications, computers and network infrastructure.

    Plan B's standby facilities allow Debtworks to retain appropriate security for sensitive data while ensuring the collection centre team can continue to work during an outage. Plan B’s facilities provide a controlled environment so Debtworks don’t have to think about how people will work, just when to activate.

  2. 2. Standby Equipment

    Standby Equipment to ensure Debtworks can access IT equipment quickly to recover services if its normal IT environment is unavailable.

    Debtworks have invested heavily in new IT equipment recently and believe the chance of an equipment failure is relatively low. However, this service gives peace-of-mind that the business can recover if a major incident affects the server room (eg) a fire or a major infrastructure failure.

  3. 3. Online Snapshot

    Online Snapshot is used to back up Debtworks' most time-sensitive data, including its debtor database. The service captures high frequency snapshots of data to an onsite Plan B MediaAgent and copies these offsite to Plan B’s secure private cloud. The transfer to Plan B ensures a very recent backup is captured in the offsite environment, while the local backup provides options for rapid self-restores. The service is also used by Debtworks to manage granular backup of its Exchange email data to ensure retention of email communications with customers and debtors.

    The Debtworks collection centre creates a lot of data in a short period of time. This service minimises potential data loss and ensures the IT environment can be rolled back in a timely manner after any unplanned events.

  4. 4. Online Backup

    Online Backup to provide a fully-managed service that checks that backups are run successfully and transferred offsite at regular intervals. This service also provides ongoing reporting and online visibility of the latest backups.

    Debtworks uses this service to back up data that does not change as frequently as the central database but still needs to be secure and offsite. The business knows the status of its backup with an email report confirming status of each backup. If any issues have occurred these are highlighted and followed up by Plan B for resolution.

  5. 5. Server Recovery Exercises

    Server Recovery Exercises to independently test Debtworks ability to recover, and ensure backup files have no unexpected issues. This regular testing also means Debtworks has a good idea of the likely recovery timeframes for individual servers.

    Debtworks uses its regular recovery tests to provide peace-of-mind that backups are being regularly tested and are able to be restored. The process recovers data to an alternate location where the business can see its data working and prove that the recovered data is usable.

Plan B gives Debtworks peace-of-mind that our backup processes are regularly tested and we can recover usable data at a standby location as and when required.

David Tombs,
Chief Operating Officer for Debtworks (NZ) Limited.