Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Five Star Accreditation Bolstered by Vetted IT Support
The Tulsa Regional Chamber recently had its five-star accreditation renewed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, placing it among an elite group of organizations nationwide. Technology is one of the areas scrutinized, and the fact the Tulsa Chamber uses Vetted Managed IT Services helped bolster its rating. Of the more than 7,000 chambers in the country, only 112 are accredited at the five-star level. Accreditation indicates that a chamber of commerce operates under effective organizational procedures and contributes to significant positive change in the community. To achieve this standing, the Tulsa Regional Chamber was evaluated in nine areas of work, including governance, government affairs, and as mentioned, technology.
“Accreditation validates a chamber as having programs that benefit their local economy and for positively influencing action in their community,” said U.S. Chamber Vice President Raymond P. Towle. “We applaud these organizations for advancing the principles of free enterprise.”
Justin McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Tulsa Regional Chamber, led the reaccreditation task force, which included representatives from each of the Chamber’s functional areas.
“Five-star accreditation is rare,” said McLaughlin, “and it signifies an ongoing commitment to process development and improvement. We work hard every day to be good stewards of the resources we manage, and to deliver strong results, and this reaccreditation affirms our efforts.”
A Partnership Over Two Decades Strong
Back in 1995, the only way to send very large amounts of correspondence was by fax. The Tulsa Regional Chamber chose Matrixforce to set up a fax modem pool of 24 modems because they needed to send about 15,000 faxes per day to promote our city and conduct their daily business. We’d been working with large corporations across the country during that time helping them send massive amounts of data, so we were a perfect fit to assist the Tulsa Chamber. We installed fax software on their server that converted their documents to a fax and sent them through the bank of fax modems to individual fax machines all over the world.
Shortly thereafter, we installed the Tulsa Chamber’s first Microsoft Windows NT server. That project was followed by the installation of their first Microsoft Exchange server for email, an upgrade to Windows NT 2000 Server, and continuing upgrades to Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, several firewalls, and an upcoming upgrade to Windows Server 2016. They also currently run the most secure Microsoft platform ever created, Windows 10. At last count, Matrixforce has supported the Tulsa Chamber business systems with over 50 projects and 3 location moves.
The Cautionary Tale of a Lesson Learned
Every relationship has its ups and downs with a few bumps along the way. One bump in this relationship occurred in 2010. Under pressure to try another service provider, the Tulsa Chamber chose another local firm to perform a network, Exchange server, and firewall upgrade. Their pitch was they were new and trendy, but they weren’t vetted, and the outcome was inevitable.
This new service provider had no patented process with detailed steps to properly perform the upgrade. There was no plan, no schedule, and no communication. The new equipment sat for four weeks, and when the vendor was ready to do the upgrade there was no warning it was about to start.
When the project began, the vendor copied all the Tulsa Chamber’s files without any permissions. This created a situation where no information was confidential and any workstation user could access anything on the network. They also failed to properly secure the email server with their firewall, which allowed cybercriminals to send millions of spam emails through the new server and resulted in the Tulsa Chamber being blacklisted. When an ISP catches a firm sending spam they add them to a blacklist. Once blacklisted, the firm can send no email until the security issue is resolved and the firm requests removal from the list.
A few months later, the new Exchange server crashed prior to a migration to the cloud. The new vendor had also sold online backup to the Chamber, but were unable to restore the data from the server. After a lot of stress, confusion, and frustration the new firm almost lost the Tulsa Chamber’s Microsoft Exchange data forever. Matrixforce was called in to assist, and we performed an emergency migration to Microsoft Office 365 which saved the data.
According to market research and competitive analysis from the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 89% of managed services firms are primarily hardware and software resellers that are incentivized to up sell products and bill more hourly services – especially when clients have IT problems.
When choosing an IT service provider, always demand that their IT services have been properly vetted. Vetted IT service providers should meet five main criteria:
- C Corporation: Vetted IT service providers should be trusted C Corporations with verifiable ownership registered with the Secretary of State, and have a Board of Directors to assist with strategy and financial oversight to protect customers from fraud. A Limited Liability Company may be owned by felons or foreign entities with no public record of ownership.
- Competency: Specialization in Microsoft Gold Cloud and Security competencies provide the highest level of skill with annual Microsoft audit. A Microsoft silver designation requires little or no ongoing training with only three customer references submitted to Microsoft yearly.
- Trademarks and Patents: Registered intellectual property at the U.S. Patent and Trademark office shows an established brand of innovative offerings with a clear tagline aligned with your business goals, along with a proven, patented process for managed IT services.
- Published Authority: #1 international best-sellers in cybersecurity and managed IT services substantiates recognized expertise and shows our willingness to share knowledge. Unpublished IT service providers cannot demonstrate implementation skills or prove any track record.
- Regulation Compliance: The managed IT services industry is effectively regulated because of Federal security and privacy compliance required by industry leaders like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Failure to perform compliance training or maintain regulation policies and procedures is blatant disregard for customer protection, reputation, and livelihood.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce recognized the importance of vetted managed IT services over two decades ago, and Matrixforce is proud to be their continued partner of choice for technology support.
Join the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce!
The Tulsa Regional Chamber didn’t attain and maintain its five-star accreditation by sitting around collecting member dues. They work for their members, and any business uninterested in joining one of the United States most highly rated Chambers of Commerce is simply doing itself a disservice.
When your company joins it gains visibility, credibility, and exclusivity with its membership. Your firm gains the opportunity to connect with other business leaders through more than 100 events throughout the year, countless involvement opportunities, and a number of free educational forums. When you join, relocate, or celebrate an anniversary, they’ll help mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting.
If I listed all the benefits of membership in this blog post it might never end, so take a look at the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce website for more.