ROBO backup (remote data backup) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Protect information like a pro: A guide for enterprise CIOs

ROBO backup, also known as remote data backup, is the process of copying and archiving the data created by remote and branch offices (ROBOs) and storing it securely.

Backing up and restoring remote office/branch office data has unique challenges. Whereas a primary data center typically has dedicated backup and recovery administrators, ROBOs usually do not. Instead, someone in the ROBO, who is most likely not part of the IT organization, handles data backup as a secondary responsibility. Unfortunately, this approach often results in backups that cannot be used to restore data because tapes have been overwritten accidently, are mislabled, or are otherwise not useable.

More effective remote data backup can be done in-house with data backup software on site that ties into the data center, or with WAN optimization appliances that make centralized backups possible. The advantage of centralizing backups for remote sites is that it allows an organization to manage all of its data in a single pool, where it can be deduplicated, replicated and copied to tape for disaster recovery. The downside to this approach is that restore times to a remote site can be long because restores must travel across the WAN.

Another remote backup and recovery solution that is becoming increasingly popular is cloud backup. In this scenario, backups are sent to secondary storage on-site at the remote office and simultaneously replicated to cloud storage. This approach allows an organization to keep the most recent backups on-site for fast restores while sending a copy off-site for disaster recovery. It also allows organizations to archive older backups in cloud storage in case they are needed.

This was first published in October 2015

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