Klik.Solutions Annual Event to Support Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MD – Klik.Solutions, an industry leading IT Services Provider, is excited to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore at the 6th Annual Tournament Tip Off Event. The event draws over 200 area business leaders and IT pros for a day of casual networking during the first full day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Support for BGCMB around the event includes raffle items such as Cal Ripken, Jr. memorabilia, gift cards from local spots like Checkerspot Brewing, Myth & Moonshine, Green Turtle Hunt Valley, and Crossbar Biergarten. Silent auction items, awareness for BGCMB, and college sports trivia round out what has become one of the most anticipated local business events of the year.

“As a business based in the heart of Baltimore City, it just makes sense for Klik to support and partner with an organization dedicated to fostering the success of the young people who are so critical to the future of Baltimore” said Marc Winter, Klik.Solutions Chief Marketing Officer. “The vision and leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore align with our commitment to the youth of the city. We’re proud to have our platform of an incredibly successful event to create awareness of the BGCMB mission to the Baltimore business community, and have a lot fun in the process.”

“We are thrilled to team up with Klik.Solutions to help further our mission to enable Baltimore’s young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens” said Jeff Breslin, who became Executive Director in October of 2018 to lead the organization on its Path Forward transformation plan. “Collaborations like this one with Klik, a local business with a passion for a better Baltimore, positively impacts our city on a multitude of facets. We are thankful for their support and look forward to a great day of hoops for the kids!”

Klik.Solutions is dedicated to supporting BGCMB beyond the event. They will make a $100 donation to BGCMB on behalf of every business that engages Klik for a complimentary CIO strategy session.

If your business is interested in joining the event on March 21st or more information about services, contact Marc Winter by email marc@klik.solutions or call 888.959.1196. All proceeds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.

About Klik.Solutions

Klik.Solutions is dedicated to a successful IT experience for our clients. They provide Managed IT Support & Services, Managed Security, and proprietary Molnii Cloud Services for small to medium size businesses, delivering the same personal touch as internal IT support with the economies of scale of global enterprise expertise. Klik.Solutions is based in Baltimore City, with wholly owned operations centers in Amsterdam and Kyiv.  For more information visit https://klik.solutions

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore

Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore (BGCMB) serve over 500 young people at one of our Club locations. Entering our second decade of existence in Baltimore, our opportunity to impact the city we love is significant and exciting. The city of Baltimore needs a strong and growing Boys & Girls Clubs organization. For more information visit https://www.bgcmetrobaltimore.org/

Getting Personal with Klik.Solutions

Meet Bill Pritchard Director of Customer Success

Bill brings a unique, successful background combining customer service and engineering expertise. As a matter of fact, Bill was responsible for creating the role of Director of Customer Success. Prior to joining our team, Bill was a specialist for a global IT consulting firm where he traveled the world on projects primarily in aviation to ensure projects exceeded customer expectations. That attention to the customer and the ability to translate tech into real results are how Bill led outsourced help desk with customers like Google, Toyota, and Goldman Sachs. Bill is the perfect fit to keep our current and future customers more than satisfied.

KS: What gets you excited about IT and working with customers?

BP: I really enjoy working with both sides, meaning the customer side and our operations side. It’s rewarding to see results in such a short period of time and on a consistent basis. Knowing the possibilities to make IT a powerful tool to help customers see new or unique opportunities to grow their business, and then working with our technical folks to make those opportunities a reality is what gets me up in the morning (laughs). It’s really just about building a communication bridge between technical and business. I truly believe that customer success is paramount to our success.  I’m always striving to make the customer experience better each day.

KS: It’s interesting that you’ve managed support for global giants – Google, Toyota, Goldman. What was that experience like?

BP:  Well, for starters, most of our end users were legal teams with really tight deadlines. I was tasked as a Manager to understand what these end users really needed, which were reduced incident response and incident resolution times. Time really is money – a lot of money at that level – so by improving processes to exceed the customers’ requirements saved thousands of dollars per incident. It also allowed them to meet demanding review deadlines making our end users a lot happier. Another neat challenge was making sure all “severity 1 and 2” incidents aggressively worked on and resolved by coordinating multiple engineering teams and across all time zones worldwide. Helping coordinate our Klik teams in the US, Amsterdam, and Ukraine is almost second nature at this point.

KS: You have a pretty interesting background, a very non traditional path to an IT leadership role.

BP:  Actually, my first love is aviation. I grew up flying all around the county in small aircraft which put me around technical and engineering people a lot. So, I started out in aviation, received my Aircraft Mechanics license from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and my Avionics training from Clayton State College alongside Delta mechanics who were transitioning into Avionics. Technology and computers eventually worked hand in hand with Avionics. The transition into IT engineering and infrastructure was just a logical progression. I mean, I’ve traveled the world on engineering teams installing world class Air traffic control communication network switches at major airports like Dallas Fort Worth, and in Croatia, Germany – much of Europe and the US.

KS: Definitely a unique professional background. What are some of the unique things you enjoy in your personal life?

BS: Travel for starters, especially the Caribbean. I also enjoy the outdoors, hiking, kayaking, sailing, skiing, and I still keep in the air flying gliders. If you ask anyone at the office they’ll tell you my first passion is coffee. I admit, I’m a big coffee snob and have been fortunate enough to enjoy some great coffeehouses around the world. But my real love is being a grandfather to eight wonderful young grandchildren – I know, I don’t look that old (laughs)

If you’d like to know more about Bill and how he can help your organization – or just grab a cup of really good coffee – you can reach him via email bill@klik.solutions or calling 888.959.1196

In The Community – Klik Supports Softball Revival in Baltimore

Klik.Solutions was proud to support the South Baltimore Little League (SBLL) initiative to revive a proud girls’ softball tradition this season. As sponsor of the SBLL Mustangs, we were proud to help our team of 12 little league ladies learn the skills, team building, and joy of the game while helping them build confidence.

“We really view softball as a path to scholarship for so many of these young ladies. The league, coaches, and parents all worked hard to get this organized.”, said Marc Winter, Mustangs coach and Klik.Solutions CMO. “It was absolutely amazing to see the transformation in skill level throughout the season and how much fun the girls all had. We all really look forward to expanding the program next year to include more players, parents, and coaches.”

SBLL Softball was a powerhouse organization into the early 1980’s with many state championships and success stories. The impact on the revitalized South Baltimore community was felt during the 2018 Little League parade as former players lined the streets and cheered the new young ladies with the nostalgic team names – Mustangs, Sluggers, and Rockets.

The softball program for SBLL is open to all girls in Baltimore City ages 5 through 9. For more information please email Marc Winter marc@klik.solutions.

 

NFL Teams. Same Game…Different Results

What’s the difference between your business and your competitors? The products or services you provide all sound the same, messaging typically explains the same benefits and how amazing the company is. But when it really comes down to it, what is so different about your business that turns a prospect into a valued client?

For example, we tell our clients that if you run across an IT provider that wants to do an assessment – go for it. The latest client to test us engaged a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to perform an IT assessment which proved our value, reinforced our service. Our IT team even hopped on a call with the MSP to walk them through some of the next level technologies we use! You see, the tools and website for that MSP – with a similar elevator pitch, website and service list as most other providers – tracked back to someone’s house. Their IT team is basically a few random freelance techs. Pretty much an MSP run out of a basement in the ‘burbs. So much for all businesses being the same.

The Football and Business Analogy

All NFL teams play the same game, are bound by the same rules, have the same 53-player roster limit, 16 game schedule, and hard salary cap. On paper, all NFL teams should be equal, right?

Let’s take a look at the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills 2000-2017:

 

New England Patriots Buffalo Bills
53 man roster 53 man roster
$177 million salary cap (’18) $177 million salary cap (’18)
214 WINS 121 WINS
15 PLAYOFF APPEARANCES 1 PLAYOFF APPEARANCE
8 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS 0 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
5 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS 0 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

If teams are created equal, then why do the New England Patriots win championships and the Buffalo Bills regularly finish last? It comes down to the details of how an organization is structured and led from the very top to the most entry level employee – and the ability to execute.

The “Patriot Way” is built on a front office, coaching staff, and roster filled with specific talent to execute within a proven system. Their philosophy creates the flexibility, agility, and creativity to solve complex challenges based on what their opponents throw their way from week to week. On the other hand, the Bills have been attempting to build one brand or style of football with little success. That failure has led to nearly 2 decades of ownership, front office, staff, and player turnover. The Bills don’t have the strategy and expertise to play the game well, they can only play the way they know how. Limited and unsuccessful.

So how do you view your organization? What makes you different from the rest? Knowing the answer to those questions at the heart of your business can give you the internal insight you need sharpen your focus. It also enables you to look more in depth with the people you buy from, beyond simply getting a service for the lowest cost. Success, after all, breeds success.

You Already Have Security Tools. Now Use Them.

“Security” is a part of the new normal, but business owners typically tune out when they see or hear the word. Most of the sales push behind security involves scare tactics or product marketing – and when fringe security tools use the same buzzwords as full security measures, it is difficult to cut through the noise.

In reality, you most likely have all the tools your small business needs to reduce the risk of a breach.

You know who has your back when it comes to security? The people who make the computers, hardware and software you use. You own it, it’s already paid for. Security items range from features within hardware to settings within the systems, plus the constant patches and updates vendors push out to keep ahead of current risks. Vendors also publish best practices for their products, and advise when they will no longer support products well in advance of the “end of life” date. It’s all there in your network…right now.

Tools Require Technicians

Let’s say Microsoft issues a security patch and your IT person has that on their “to do” list. Then Suzi in accounting and John in marketing call for help – even for something as simple as resetting a password. That patch gets put aside for a minute, or a week, leaving your business exposed to hackers exploiting the vulnerability that patch was designed to close. Or, if a security feature affects the performance of an application or computer, the user or IT person disable the feature, trading tangible performance for protecting from the unknown. There are only so many hours in a day for a one or two person IT team to keep up with technology, maintain your technology, AND provide support to end users. How effective can a single IT person be with so many technical tasks to perform to keep your business running while learning new technologies to move you forward?

Know Your IT Team Capabilities

There’s a reason why so many IT assessments uncover major security issues within SMB’s. Knowing what to do with the tools you have, how to maximize your technology, and provide future guidance comes down to the level of expertise your IT team delivers. All of the services sound the same. Think about it, the competitors in your industry probably all have the same services, tout the same benefits, use similar messaging. What separates YOUR business from theirs? Go to the next level in evaluating the expertise, the tool set, and guidance provided by your IT team. This will help ensure you maximize your current investment in technology, leverage your security tools, and get amazing value for your monthly IT spend.

The bottom line is, you are already invested in IT and data security. It’s a question of having the right people in place to leverage those tools, train end users on safe best practices, and keep your business moving ahead. Otherwise, you’re letting hackers and end users control the fate of your business on any given day. That’s not a scare tactic – it’s simply the new reality.

Security Tips: Untrain Your Click Brain

Did you know that the best marketers in the world are cyber hackers? They use the same types of marketing tools and psychology as the big ad agencies do to entice you to let them into your home and business. Advertisers have spent years and billions of dollars training you to click on links, ads, and email offers. Hackers operate the same way, but without rules or boundaries. Throw online shopping habits into the mix, and your “click brain” is conditioned to click without thinking twice. To protect yourself at work and at home, you need to Untrain your Click Brain.

According to multiple security and government surveys, over 80% of security hacks are caused by staff error. That means end users like you are as much a piece to protecting your personal and business data as any product or software. There are several ways that you can be the first and last line of defense against hackers.

  1. Keep your security tools active – Disabling security features like antivirus, ad blockers, and “click to play video” settings allows malware into your world, even run automatically on your device. Is allowing your bank information to be stolen worth the risk of eliminating a step to watching cat videos?
  2. Changing Passwords Regularly –Hackers count on people using weak passwords without ever changing them. And, it’s likely you use that password for many different accounts. Change your passwords every 90 days using strong, complex passwords with multiple types of characters. Be sure to use different passwords for your accounts to minimize impact if one is stolen.
  3. Follow Policy. Does your company have policies for internet use, email, and data security? If so, be sure to follow them closely – they are in place for a reason. These policies are also a good rule of thumb for your personal data protection outside of work. Hackers are only as strong as your weakness, so reducing your vulnerabilities reduces your risk of attack.
  4. Slow Down. Take a closer, skeptical look at emails and ads. What are they asking you to do? What is the offer, the urgency, the context? If you are comfortable, then see who the email is from. Is the email address familiar and spelled correctly? As for ads…
  5. Don’t Click on Ads. EVER. Remember, hackers easily mimic legitimate ads. If you see an offer that interests you, open a new browser and do a Google search for the offer. If the offer is legitimate, go to the site via your search. Bad offers will either not show up in a search or the search will return complaints about the malicious ads.

Retraining yourself to use email and the internet safely can greatly reduce the risk of hackers affecting your business and personal data. Notice the word “reduce”. If you see something that looks out of place or if you have even the slightest doubt, take a screenshot and send it to your IT team. They’ll appreciate validating your simple request over having to clean up from a cyber attack every time.

For a complete End User Security presentation or more information on this topic, please contact our CMO Marc Winter via email marc@klik.solutions.