If you can divert the water outside it is a much better long-term solution than trying to deal with it once it comes inside. I don't know the terrain at your location, a french drain is a great solution where gravity can divert the water. If your terrain is completely flat, you may have no choice but to install an inside system. Also, block sealer can be used with some luck. The UGL product is probably one of the best. These products have portland cement in them to help seal the block. However, you must remove all paint prior to using a sealer. I agree with JJ on looking at the obvoius and easy to fix things first.