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Case Study: BorrowersFirst

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Based in Austin, Texas, BorrowersFirst is a market lending company specializing in online loans for consumers. Founded in 2013, the company offers low, fixed-rate personal loans with affordable monthly payments. Its quick, easy loan application process provides a decision in seconds and bank-underwritten funds in as little as two business days. With a focus on the efficiency of its web-based platform and supporting technology, BorrowersFirst is dedicated to enabling an efficient and outstanding borrower experience by providing customers with a streamlined lending process, secure technology and personal loans that come with personal service.

Security, compliance and reliability needed to propel market entry and build customer confidence

As a new business entering the online financial services industry, BorrowersFirst was well aware its IT environment needed to support the loan application and servicing processes and secure the critical customer data it would be entrusted with. It also understood the strict regulations to which it would be held, including PCI DSS. To support these essential requirements and help establish its credibility, the company sought a secure, highly reliable third-party provider to host its IT infrastructure.

BorrowersFirst conducted a thorough search of colocation providers, including Peak 10 + ViaWest, with whom they were familiar through industry colleagues. With redundant power, multiple Internet connectivity paths and carriers, it offered the reliability to support BorrowersFirst’s 100% uptime requirement. Additionally, the company undergoes annual independent evaluations to ensure the compliance of its own facilities and processes – a key differentiator for a new business looking to establish its commitment to data protection.

Seamless, efficient business roll-out strengthened by collaboration and security

Comfortable with Peak 10 + ViaWest’s facilities, systems and processes, BorrowersFirst enlisted the company as its colocation provider. With a well-established reputation, it afforded a deep confidence to the business and helped position the newcomer as a legitimate funding provider.

“There were some very large banks that were leveraging Peak 10 + ViaWest for colocation and other needs, and that helped us as well,” explains Terry Oehring, chief technology officer at BorrowersFirst. “Being a new company and going out and getting investor funding – saying we’re in a data center that’s already delivering services to notable companies in the financial services space, and is an existing company that has compliance and security staff in place – that a good story.”

BorrowersFirst worked with the company to build its environment. The companies coordinated circuit, bandwidth and power needs, and ultimately, installed two cabinets within one of its Louisville, Ky. data centers. Because Peak 10 + ViaWest’s environment already met the security, compliance and dependability needs appropriate for a financially-focused online provider, BorrowersFirst was able to get up and running quickly without having to log special requests that could delay installation. With the right people available to answer questions and address needs, it smoothly delivered an ideal solution capable of providing an outstanding experience for BorrowersFirst and its customers.

Reliable, secure systems promote confidence in the online lending experience

Always focused on the security of its operations, BorrowersFirst is committed to efficiently and securely providing loans while protecting its borrowers’ information. Employing secure technology is critical to this mission. With its SQL server and processing backloads efficiently running out of Peak 10 + ViaWest and its front-end workloads with a large hyperscaler, BorrowersFirst opened its online doors for business. Since then, the company has experienced substantial growth – buoyed by two rounds of funding and supported by the company.

“From a technology perspective, Peak 10 + ViaWest has allowed us to do what we need to do to build our platform, to improve our platform and to support our business,” says Oehring. “The team does a very good job of demonstrating their commitment to being secure and compliant.”

Although the lender began its IT journey leveraging the company’s colocation services, its landscape has evolved to also include virtual servers. As this transition occurred, Peak 10 + ViaWest identified that BorrowersFirst’s physical server environment had become small enough to reside in a single cabinet, offering a cost savings to the company. This sort of customer service and watchful eye is not lost on BorrowersFirst.

“The account management process has always been a good one, even from the very beginning,” notes Oehring. “The transition into Peak 10 + ViaWest, the care and feeding of that relationship on an ongoing basis – it’s helpful to work with same people the whole time.”

Its commitment to compliance also goes a long way in the financial services world. With internal auditors, third party auditors and bank regulators requiring regulatory documentation around access, protocols and procedures, BorrowersFirst is subjected to intense scrutiny.

“The company does a fantastic job of maintaining all that documentation, all that paperwork ensuring that their security controls are in place and that there are audit trails around them,” explains Oehring. “There’s much less effort involved getting that information from Peak 10 + ViaWest than other providers.”

To further enhance its operations, BorrowersFirst also moved its phone system into the company’s environment. As the bones behind its call center and other communications, the phone system plays a direct and vital role in delivering exceptional customer service and unfaltering communication – its dependability could not be trusted to just any environment.

As a player in a highly-competitive, dense market space, BorrowersFirst knows it needs to not only be available when its customers need it, but also be able to efficiently process applications. Technology lags are not well tolerated in the online arena as borrowers know they have many other lenders to choose from. As a result, any downtime can be catastrophic to BorrowersFirst.

To further assure uninterrupted service, BorrowersFirst worked with the company to implement a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution – Peak 10 + ViaWest’s Recovery Cloud Prime. Offering continuous data protection, rapid recovery of business-essential applications and minimal data loss, Recovery Cloud Prime delivers a flexible, affordable disaster recovery solution with two tests per year, to keep business operating in the face of a disaster. As part of the process of implementing the Recovery Cloud, the team migrated BorrowersFirst’s production assets to its Charlotte, N.C. data center, making this facility its new production environment. Today, the Louisville location serves as its disaster recovery site, maximizing the security of its data and ensuring its continued operations in the event of a disaster. With the Peak 10 + ViaWest Recovery Cloud now part of its larger IT plan, BorrowersFirst can better ensure its ongoing availability reliability. This migration also allowed BorrowersFirst to experience the effectiveness of the Recovery Cloud, as the solution was used to assist with portions of the migration.

Always available support propels availability and partnership

For BorrowersFirst, customer service is a decisive success factor. The company places tremendous care in providing its customers with outstanding, around-the-clock service and appreciates that the company is dedicated to the same core values. Although BorrowersFirst no longer required the tremendous support and guidance it needed during the initial build of its environment or the migration from Louisville to Charlotte, the company knows that when support is needed, it can be relied upon for a quick response from knowledgeable people. Having expert engineering and account management support just a phone call away is important to the partnership.

“When you want to get something done, Peak 10 + ViaWest seems to have the resources and availability to get it done pretty quickly without a lot of political maneuvering or asking for favors,” Oehring explains.

This response time is just one of the measures BorrowersFirst evaluates when it considers its relationship with the company. The availability of its systems and the options and features that Peak 10 + ViaWest can provide are also key differentiators.

“Being a relatively new company with a lot of innovative thinkers on our development side, there are things that come up. Can we do it this way? Can we do it that way?” says Oehring. “The company seems to have a number of different options that we can take advantage of.”

One of these options is its managed security services which delivers managed firewall services through its partner, BAE. To implement the service, Peak 10 + ViaWest engineers collaborated with BorrowersFirst to devise a tailored solution that provides this added layer of security.

Peak 10 + ViaWest’s expanding suite of services positioned to support dynamic growth

Not surprisingly, BorrowersFirst’s plans for the future revolve around continued growth. With an environment built to easily scale in small increments, it is poised to seamlessly handle whatever path this growth may take. The company is also prepared to continue providing the secure backbone to support this expansion. Through quarterly review meetings with both companies will evaluate BorrowersFirst’s ongoing needs as its business continues to evolve.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest