Hourly service providers are the "lawyers" of IT.  Every second you talk to them or need their services the meter is ticking and you are billed.  For everything!

On top of the billing issues,  they are 100% reactive,  which means that they are not doing the things proactively that your business needs to ensure there are no "CTE" or company terminating events such as crashed servers, lost data, Malware / ransomware.  They probably aren't guiding you with policies and procedures to ensure your systems are patched and your backups are working and tested regularly.  Typically these firms have one really knowledgeable technician and a few entry level techs. The hourly billing rate is the same rate for all the technicians, so if you get the entry level tech who ends up taking 4x as long to fix your issue, you pay 3x more than you should.

We have also found that these types of companies focus on getting the maximum billable hours and don't focus on paid training / continuing education so they are learning on your dime.  They have extremely high turnover rates so the cycle keeps repeating.  These companies are not aligned with your companies best interests because when you have a problem, not only are you suffering with productivity you are also suffering financially.

Managed IT Service Providers offer a flat-rate all inclusive service package that is more aligned with your business.  They are paid to remove risk and if you suffer from downtime, they suffer with you because they are using more labor which reduces profitability.  By having continually evolving process and procedures, highly trained engineers they are able to allow you to budget your IT expenses while providing quality customer service and high systems availability.  Good managed service providers are in peer groups which help them stay up to date with the latest trends in technology and IT Security while having a better relationship with vendors.

Network Essentials is a Managed Service provider based in Charlotte, NC since 2002.  We specialize in businesses from 10-300 employees and support remote offices around the country, being able to have "boots on the ground" with our support network through our membership with HTG Peer Groups now known as "Evolve". Our primary focus is on security around regulated industries - Financial, legal, healthcare and education but have clients across the board.