Second-To-None Security In The Desert

Throughout vast changes in technology and world affairs, Southwest Networks keeps their promise to defend their clients’ data, providing the best protections available against cyber-attacks. This level of commitment should come as no surprise, as the firm, a managed services provider that caters to small and medium-sized businesses in and around Palm Desert, California, was founded and is currently led by members of the US Marine Corps. Exuding integrity mirroring Marine values, the company seeks to provide top-tier, enterprise-level IT practices and solutions to the small business sector within their small business budgets, striving to eliminate IT issues before they cause expensive downtime.

No Cookie Cutters Here

Matt Disher, Southwest Network’s president, began his career in the Marines as a radio repairman. He wholeheartedly enjoys solving problems for clients, striving to learn what makes them unique in order to utilize technology in a way that works best for them (technically and fiscally). Never taking a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to providing services, he focuses on treating the businesses as if they were his own. Clients are encouraged not to waste money on cheap solutions, but instead to invest in quality programs and education on what IT support and services should look like.

The majority of clients served by Southwest Network exists to provide services to others, depending on technology, without housing internal IT departments.

Above And Beyond

Because the company ensures Internet security for such a variety of businesses, from accounting firms to government municipalities, Matt has learned to be adaptable, flexible and creative. And, in true Marine fashion, he goes above and beyond what’s expected. Most notably, most of Southwest Network’s technicians have, at the least, their Net+ and Security+ certifications, while some have additional training in deeper security – training usually reserved for those working with large corporations. Matt himself recently went through the process to become certified as a Health Care Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Fueled by innovation and in tune with customer needs, the firm keeps clients abreast of the latest advances and, in turn, the latest threats in the tech world via a vlog called Cappuccino Chats. In these monthly videos, Matt hosts employees, colleagues, clients and even his children to discuss their various interests in and use of technology.

Southwest Networks knows that a company is nothing without happy employees, and they are proud to offer an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, a benefit that gives employees an ownership interest in the business. This type of personal approach and continued commitment to their clients and employees is the reason Southwest Networks has thrived for 25 years.

Matt Disher CEO Bio:

Matt Disher, president and CEO of Southwest Networks, operates his business with a primary commitment in mind: keeping clients safe. And a Marine does not use terms like “commitment” or “safety” lightly. While his official IT career began as a radio repairman for the Marine Corps, his interest in technology was sparked as a young child when he and his father purchased a mail-order course and built their first computer for their home in Wisconsin. In tandem, Matt also spent time in Germany with his mother and stepfather, who worked with computers for the Navy. To keep a young boy busy, his stepfather loaded games via tape reel into the mainframe at his work, and from then on, Matt was hooked on all things related to technology.

After high school graduation, he signed up to be a “grunt” (a term of endearment used for infantry Marines) in the Marine Corps, following in the footsteps of his best friend. However, in a pivotal moment that would forever change his life’s course, Matt’s father insisted that his son learn a trade and march right back to the USMC office to change his application. And that is how Matt soon found himself training to be a radio repairman at “The Stumps” in Twentynine Palms, California, a base where the Marines train for desert combat. The somewhat undesirable post is affectionately named for its desert location and general lack of entertainment, but it was there that he met his wife, the daughter of a local pastor, and his fate was sealed to remain in Yucca Valley. Following 11 months of training at the Marine Corps Communications and Electronics School, Matt became one of the founding members of its computer services department, providing support to the school and further solidifying his prominence as a leader in IT support. But just before they were set to roll out Windows ’95, an ankle injury (received while playing Wallyball) earned Matt a medical discharge from the Marines, and thus, put him on a job hunt.

During the interview process with the owner of a local managed services provider, Southwest Networks, Matt made quite an impression. His second interview turned out to be a working interview, and he crawled under a desk in his full suit to troubleshoot an issue. The owner and founder of the new company, a fellow Marine, hired Matt originally as a technician, but as Matt’s leadership expertise proved pivotal to the company’s growth, the owner later brought him into the role of VP of Sales. Naturally, once the owner was set to retire, Matt entered into the role of president and CEO and, eventually, the trustee of its Employee Stock Ownership Program.

In this role, Matt regularly deploys creative strategies while growing the company, which thrives on the successes of small businesses in the area. He enjoys solving problems for clients, learning what makes them unique so he can utilize technology in a way that works best for them (technically and fiscally) and never taking a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to providing services.

Because of his focus on and dedication to security, most of the technicians Matt employs have advanced security training and certifications closer to what you expect from those providing services to larger corporations with the highest security needs. Matt himself recently became certified as a Health Care Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP) and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), distinctions achieved by only a few thousand IT professionals worldwide. To further demonstrate his commitment to the success of small businesses, he authored a book, Keys To The Castle, a guide for small business owners navigating the world of hiring IT consultants. In addition, he releases monthly vlogs called Cappuccino Chats, in which he hosts employees, colleagues, clients and even his children to discuss the latest advances in technology. His youngest daughter, Audrey, who at the age of six was already providing a challenge to her parents with overuse of data on her tablet, inspired the chats, and she appeared as his first guest.

Matt and his wife, Dawn, have been married since 1994, and they have four children: Tori (20), Cole (18), Lianna (12) and Audrey (now 8). When not working or chatting over cappuccinos, Matt can often be found coaching one of his children’s various teams, volunteering to work the sound booth at his father-in-law’s church, bowling and enjoying time with his family (including their three dogs).