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Environmental consultancy ECUS has been hailed as the first business in the UK to adopt a pay-as-you-go cloud computing model.

Sheffield-based ECUS has signed up to use a “Virtual IT” service provided by Newcastle-based Atlas Infrastructure Management (AtlasIM) as part of its commitment to sustainable development and the environment.

AtlasIM says that although cloud computing is no longer a new concept, a fully outsourced IT pay per use service is.

ECUS business development director Erica Kemp said: “This is a natural move for us as we continue to expand and the transition period has been much less challenging than anticipated thanks to the strength, experience and availability of the AtlasIM team.

“In addition to the obvious environmental benefit that comes from to switching to cloud computing, we have been hugely impressed by the high level of security it offers. Our staff can now access the data they need from wherever they are working without risk. We are able to deliver work more easily and cost-effectively, which has given us a huge competitive advantage in our business.”

The system also gives ECUS real-time information about its IT costs, helping the Sheffield University spin out to control costs, budget accordingly and work more efficiently.

AtlasIM business development director Pete Watson said: “ECUS is a fantastic, burgeoning business and it’s great to have them on board and championing the way where IT resource efficiency is concerned.

“Although the reduced cost-base is a huge pull for businesses, there are many other benefits to moving to the cloud. The replacement of ageing server and storage hardware no longer becomes a concern and we are able to store data digitally for years, helping companies fulfill their legal requirements without the worry of data loss.”

ECUS began life as the Environmental Consultancy of the University of Sheffield and recently opened offices in the Midlands and Home Counties.