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remote office/branch office (ROBO)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Cutting edge: IT's guide to edge data centers
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Remote office/branch office (ROBO) is a corporate business site located at some distance from the organization’s headquarters or main office.

Generally a ROBO is a smaller office than the company headquarters and located in another town, state or country.  A ROBO may operate similarly to the main office or may be a separate business unit or provide some specialized service. Companies also sometimes have separately-located offices for importing, exporting, retail locations, service, taxation or other legal reasons. A business typically considers opening a ROBO when employees must travel to a specific location frequently or when it is the most effective way to serve a profitable market.

External offices can present additional challenges for IT, to ensure that data is backed up and secure and systems remain operational. Remote offices may lack experienced IT onsite and have less backup hardware.  A ROBO usually has no dedicated backup and recovery staff, and the employee responsible for that administrative area generally performs those tasks as a secondary responsibility. That situation can result in less-than-optimal practices that, in turn, result in problems with data integrity and recovery.

Centralized backup, which involves automatically replicating data from remote sites and sending it over a network to the main location, is one approach to solving remote backup problems. Cloud backup, which replicates remote site backups to the cloud, is an increasingly popular solution because it allows an organization to keep the most recent backups on-site for fast restores while sending a copy off-site for disaster recovery.

 See also: SOHO (small office/home office)

This was last updated in May 2016

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