Universal Specialties Limited

What: Managed IT support, Technology modernisation & Cybersecurity

When: 2004 to present

Security and stability helps USL “go faster”

The back story

USL is a 100% kiwi-owned medical supply distribution company with over 120 employees. Established in 1984, today USL sells medical equipment to a range of customers across a number of industries in the health sector, including New Zealand’s DHB’s, retirement villages, aged-care groups, vets, GPs, and several hundred pharmacies. The company also supplies equipment to New Zealand’s top national sports teams including the All Blacks and the Warriors.

Business challenge

Origin and USL have been working together on large-scale upgrade projects for nearly fifteen years. Following the departure of its IT manager in May 2018, USL enlisted the help of Origin for managed IT support, so the business could focus its efforts on more innovative, customer-focused pursuits. This included the advancement of its dedicated home delivery system, Patient Direct - an online platform catering to over 100,000 house-bound patients and their respective clinicians/district nurses, allowing them to track the delivery of their medication.

It is expected that Patient Direct’s customer base will expand significantly over time as users become more technology-savvy, and USL will be dealing with growing amounts of sensitive customer data. As a result, Origin’s terms of engagement quickly expanded to include a series of projects that would deliver a seamless and secure service to USL’s customers, instilling the confidence they need to continue to innovate.


Origin carried out a cybersecurity audit and infrastructure review to identify areas of risk across USL’s servers, network and infrastructure. The outcome was a number of remedial actions with a two-fold strategy: to make USL as a company more secure and to make its infrastructure more stable and more up to date.

Over a 3 to 4-month period, USL employees from across Australia and New Zealand submitted their BYOD devices to the onsite team for reconfiguration. This enabled USL to implement an Azure Active Directory solution and put in place a secure password protocol company-wide, including mandatory two-tiered authentication for BYO devices which reduces the risk of those devices being used to harvest company credentials.

Origin assisted USL with their transition to a new backup provider, including the installation of an on-premise server that enables real-time backup. In addition, and in response to aged equipment failure, Origin designed and installed a new on-premise UPS solution for guaranteed stability.


The cumulative effect of the upgrade and remediation work, together with a fixed fee managed IT support service, helped USL to modernise their technology and with it, improve business stability and assurance.

Origin’s managed support service, including monitoring and maintaining USL’s servers, CPU usage, memory, disk space, and remedial patches and upgrades, ensured business continuity following the departure of their IT manager.  Bill Revie, Finance Director at USL, says that “having Origin as a managed support provider gives us peace of mind knowing that our servers are functioning optimally and that we have access to a plethora of knowledge and IT specialists should an issue arise.”

With the help of Origin Security, USL has “broken the back” of their immediate IT security needs, having made the transition from reactive to proactive in the space of just eight months. In particular, USL has greater assurance that the custom applications they are building and the servers they are using won’t compromise confidential and highly sensitive customer or company data.

Origin continues to take care of the “grunt work” for end-of-life infrastructure upgrades and assists USL with modernisation projects and remedial patches for greater stability, security and a seamless digital experience for USL’s staff and customers.