What is your background briefly?
I’ve been working with technology since high school here in the Chicago area. My junior year, I was given the chance to write code for our entire athletics department. It was amazing to see how code could turn into something so visual and amazing. After that – my undergrad was in Network Communications and Management, followed by an MBA, and an MISM concentrating in Security. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work as an engineer, lead engineering teams, work as an architect, and hold leadership positions. Through it all – I get the chance to write and educate the industry around some of the most advanced technology topics out there. And, I absolutely love every minute of it!
How did you end up doing what you do now?
Technology has always fascinated me. Starting as an engineer, I got the chance to really see how data centers and IT impact the business. From there, as an architect, I was able to see the bigger picture and actually help align real-world business goals with the capabilities of advanced technology solutions. Today – I’m in a role which allows me to interact with engineers and architects, as well as various business leaders. As for this role specifically, I always felt that I could make more of a difference outside of just being an architect. I love to educate colleagues and discuss how technology is shaping this, and the next generation of technologists and business leaders. I’m lucky to do what I do now; as I enjoy it every day! I sort of lead a double life… By day, I’m the VP of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies – where I get the chance to interact with all sorts of organizations working on amazing IT projects. At MTM, we’re a national – award-winning – consulting organization creating powerful IT solutions with align with real-world business goals. Most of all, we help drive the conversation around IT transformation and the digital revolution we’re currently experiencing.
— Bill Kleyman (@QuadStack) August 16, 2016
1 min pitch for what you do / what’s a typical day like?
Technology never sleeps; and new advancements come out almost daily. I’m definitely NOT a 9-5 person. In working with folks all over the world and in various time zones – my day can be a bit broken up. However, I don’t think I’d have it any other way. As a millennial in IT, I find lots of different ways to communicate with people and organizations all over the world. Case in point – my new friend Simon in Ireland 🙂 For me, a typical day includes checking the social media feeds, responding to client emails and calls, working on projects for our organization (MTM Technologies), and keeping up with partners and new technologies. Oftentimes, I’ll get the chance to get on techie calls with customers to discuss projects, challenges, and new initiatives — I love this part!
Congrats on being ranked on the Onalytica list – where did it all go right?
Thank you! I’ve learned through the years that it’s not just about putting content out there; it actually has to be good. I’ve been so fortunate to work with a number of publications and a few amazing editors as a writer and blogger. They’ve guided me as a young writer to what I am today. I honestly don’t think I’d be here without their help and guidance. Honestly, it all went right with my passion to teach and educate the industry. I don’t like to use harsh tones when I write. Rather, I like to point out the various aspects of technologies, where they fit in/their use-cases, and allow the reader to make good – educated – decisions on the technology. When it comes to security – we know there’s no sliver bullet. Most of all, it’s critical to learn about new approaches to holistic security methodologies. I love broadening the conversation and allow people to see the real impact of some of the latest security platforms out there. Outside of that, writing about cloud, IoT, consumerization, and the modern business is always fun as well!
What trends are you excited / concerned about in relation to the work you do at the moment?
I love this world of interconnected things. Even now, my house is something out of an Iron Man movie! IoT and the digitization of the modern will will revolutionize the way we live, conduct business, and interact with each other. I’m seeing all sorts of organizations adopt advanced cloud technologies, integrate IoT, and work with a new kind of digitized (mobile) user. It’s truly fascinating to see where we go from here.
That said, I do have some concerns. Security is a scary concept as we really do digitize our lives even more. Consider this, when I have kids — they’ll have a digital footprint before they even have a heartbeat. Crazy… Digital records are becoming much more valuable; and there really is no one answer to security. Organizations must see the bigger picture and it’s up to security leaders to educate the market.
— Bill Kleyman (@QuadStack) August 16, 2016
What advice would you give to companies and individuals in terms of managing their data securely?
Remarkably, I still see a very reactive approaches to security. However, I’m also seeing new technologies which are creating truly intelligent security solutions and services. However, to leverage these technologies there are a few facts you have to remember… First of all, the value of your data will only continue to increase. Secondly, it doesn’t matter what your vertical is or the size of your organization – you may very well be a target either way. Finally, advanced persistent threats (APTs) are ferocious, extremely intelligent, highly targeted, and evolving every day. Please remember that data security spans both logical (soft data), as well as physical storage repositories (physical files, disks, servers, devices). This means that you must take into consideration all of your critical data points whether physical or logical.
Security doesn’t have to be a nightmare or a challenge. In fact, I highly recommend incorporating your business into security planning. The idea isn’t to impede the business process. In fact, data security, visualization, and management technologies aim to enhance IT and actually improve productivity. My biggest piece of advice would be to know where all of your critical data points reside and how to proactively secure it. This might mean working with a good security partner; and even conducting internal security/penetration testing within your organization.
Why is Chicago a great place for Tech?
Chicago is an amazing place for everything that is technology! We’ve got great incubator programs, amazing startups, and established organizations with their HQs right here in the city. Groupon, CareerBuilder, Orbitz Worldwide, Cars.com, Avant, Gogo, and GrubHub – just to name a few. However, there are some challenges as well (see my article on the amazing ‘Cloud Tax’ ). We’ve seen Chicago politics sometimes get in the way of innovation.
But, beyond that – this city is a hotbed of brilliant technologies helping drive the entire industry forward. In fact, Chicago is home to some pretty big data center shops as well! TelX, Digital Realty, Equinix, CoreSite, 365 Data Centers, and many more have homes in the heart of downtown Chicago.
— Bill Kleyman (@QuadStack) July 17, 2016
Who do you follow for your inspiration and insights?
Oh wow… I honestly can’t list all of the amazing people who have inspired me and have helped me get to where I am today. Aside from the amazing editors that I’ve had a chance to work with – leaders like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman, and Sergey Brin certainly come to mind. I get the chance to listen to big names in the industry. And, through social media platforms – I’m also inspired by the voices of the IT consumers and IT leaders. They’re the ones who face daily challenges and have to overcome big challenges for their organizations. Hearing and learning about their stories often helps illustrate even bigger trends in the industry.
We can be online 24/7, how do you manage your work life balance?
Great point and a great question. You have to turn off — even for just a bit. I really feel constantly connected to the point where I may have to take off my Apple Watch just to really step away from it for just a bit. I used to say that I was afraid to close my eyes for a day or two because of what I might miss; now – I’m afraid to even blink! Still, it’s important to disconnect. My job, for the most part, resides in the US and I can control when business calls come in and out. However, realistically, there really is no “set” time for when communication and collaboration happens. Technologists have the tools to be inspired at any time.
For social media interaction, I definitely use engines like HootSuite to help automate some messages and keep track of the rest. More so, these kinds of social media solutions help aggregate my communication so that I don’t have to bounce around platforms too much.
Anything else we should have asked you / you’d like to add?
We are truly in the midst of a digital revolution. Between now and 2020, we’ll see major shifts in how we incorporate IT and digital tools into business and our everyday lives. When it comes to the future – never be complacent and always be willing to learn. Human nature is to avoid change and stay with the safety of the known. One my SVPs once told me that to be successful, sometimes you have to become comfortable, with being uncomfortable. Always learn, always broaden your own technological horizons, and help others become educated along the way!