FirstLight: Fiber-Powered Holistic Data Center Solutions

Scott Gilbert, EVP & CIO
Data centers have undoubtedly put an end to the storage woes of a myriad of enterprises over the years. However, considering exponential data growth, constantly spiraling maintenance costs, and energy dissipation, decision makers are in pursuit of a dynamic data center solution that seamlessly adapts to the changes. Data center solution providers are striving each day to derive energy-efficient, cost-effective storage models to address client concerns better. And FirstLight, a company headquartered in Albany, New York, has been catering in this space, and has earned the reputation for providing efficient, holistic data center solutions that harness fiber optic networks. The company delivers high-speed data, internet, cloud, and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers across New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine over its exclusive fiber optic network. “Our objective is to deliver agile, cutting-edge data center solutions to clients by effective utilization of fiber optics and we’ve garnered significant visibility for our capabilities. As a result of several acquisitions, we now have 12 data centers located across several regions in the US and our fiber optic network is currently distributed across 14,000 miles,” mentions Scott Gilbert, EVP and CIO, FirstLight.

Gilbert mentions that an average organization’s data center expectations have evolved beyond merely cost and ease of implementation. Latency, data security, and robust connectivity between two data centers are some of the current common needs that solution providers simply cannot overlook. Effective prevention of data leaks, unauthorized access, optimal scalability, and striking a balance between operational expenditure (opex) and capital expenditure (capex) are concerns plaguing most CIOs. FirstLight devises enterprise-specific cost-effective, secure solutions aimed at ending the issues of decision makers and amplification of profitability. Additionally, FirstLight offers enterprise-specific hybrid data center solutions that merge private data centers with leading cloud service providers such as Microsoft and Amazon. The aforementioned advantages alone are a testament to FirstLight’s capabilities and clearly explain why the New York-based company is a ‘go-to’ data center solution provider today.

The company’s success in catering to the data center needs of companies located in Northeast US, in particular, is noteworthy. The region is known for its vulnerability to natural disasters, a recent example was the horrific Winter Storm Stella, which struck the region in March 2017. A long existing void among enterprises was an efficient data recovery mechanism for mission-critical business operations. FirstLight’s DRaaS, a combination of recovery software with cloud infrastructure ended the average CIO’s agony with its sophisticated, speedy data backup abilities. Thus, it has earned the reputation of a highly reliable data center solution provider. Currently, the company offers its services to nearly 8000 locations and its vast fiber optic network possesses the potential to cater to the needs of approximately 20,000 spots.

FirstLight is highly regarded as one of America’s leading providers of efficient, holistic data center solutions that harness optic fiber networks

Recent Accomplishments and the Path Forward

FirstLight’s data center capabilities have amassed the trust of several renowned enterprises from many sectors. Gilbert recalls a couple of the company’s recent client experiences to draw a clearer picture of FirstLight’s capabilities. A reputed healthcare institution sought FirstLight’s expertise in designing a customized, holistic data center solution that is perfectly aligned with the brand’s future expansion plans. Apart from high degree of customization, the result of the collaboration was robust connectivity, specialized access control systems, and data redundancies.

He later shares details of the solution deployed to a leading financial institution to help gain a better insight. Although the firm had employed a hybrid cloud infrastructure and a disaster recovery model to meet its organizational goals, connectivity was inefficient. FirstLight effortlessly bridged the gap in the client’s existing infrastructure by tailoring a data center solution that offered high connectivity and better redundancy.

Gilbert adds that the organization has made great strides in the past 24 months through customer amalgamation and acquisition of several companies. In 2017, FirstLight bagged the ‘Capacity Media Global Carrier Award’ for ‘Best Americas Project’, in recognition of its numerous successful acquisitions, which include Oxford Networks, Sovernet Communications, 186 Communications, and Finger Lakes Technologies Group. Although FirstLight has scaled great heights and accomplished several milestones in a short span, the company’s highly qualified research team is continually striving to expand its expertise, service suite, and cater to many sectors. “Being one-dimensional won’t really propel the growth of the organization. Thus, we are striving to address multiple concerns of our clients apart from customized data center solutions,” adds Gilbert.

In addition to all this, the company has been instrumental in mitigating the data management challenges of several governmental agencies. Unlike enterprises seeking a short-term solution for three to five year duration, FirstLight’s talented resource pool has successfully deployed data management solutions to clients that eliminate the need to think of alternatives for decades. The highly experienced team’s comprehensive knowledge of PCI compliance has made FirstLight a trusted partner for several retail enterprises as well.


Albany, NY

Scott Gilbert, EVP & CIO

FirstLight is a leading provider of excellent data center, security, and a suite of cloud-based services by effective utilization of optical fiber networks