"How do we accelerate the delivery of our new digital solutions while simultaneously improving Data Protection?"

- Virtually every tech leader working today

The Data Collaboration Alliance is a member of the Technical Committee for Zero-Copy Integration, a proposed standard being developed by the CIO Strategy Council of Canada.
Zero-Copy Integration is intended to provide startup, nonprofit, enterprise, and public sector teams with a Data Governance framework to build new digital solutions with meaningful data ownership, frictionless data collaboration, and accelerated delivery times.


Contributing to the development of this standard is   an opportunity for  Canadian   technology leaders to help establish   a crucial building block in the global movement for data  minimization and meaningful data ownership.


The sharing and integration of data is crucial to the continued evolution of digital technology. However, the traditional approach to data sharing is a complex and risky process where information is copied between data silos (databased, data warehouses, data lakes, spreadsheets etc). 


The result is that control over the access to data is transferred from its rightful owner (i.e. a citizen, team leader, or trusted supply chain partner) to the software that manages the integration process and/or the code that controls the individual application. 


This has the following impacts in terms of Data Governance and Data Protection:


  • The ubiquity of access controls is extremely difficult, if not impossible

  • The deletion of data (right to be forgotten) is extremely difficult, if not impossible

  • The porting of data from one app to another is extremely difficult

  • The precise reporting on data usage is extremely difficult, if not impossible


Unfortunately, these issues stand in direct contrast to increasingly strict Data Protection regulations such as Canada’s proposed Bill C-11. In a 2021 email to the CBC, a spokesperson said that the bill:


“...promises Canadians increased control and transparency around how their information is used by private companies, as well as "the freedom to move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner."  François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Industry, Science and Economic Development


The bill also outlines fines for companies that violate Canadians' privacy, which could run to 5% of their global revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater.


So the challenge for Canadian organizations is how to prepare for new Data Protection regulations at home as well as in international markets where even more stringent regulations have been introduced, such as California’s CCPA and Europe’s GDPR.


This is where the strategic need for modern Data Governance supported by Zero-Copy Integration is most notable.  By eliminating copies from the development of new applications, data stakeholders (citizens, consumers, internal teams, supply chain partners) are able to manage a single set of access controls that are universally-enforced.


This approach is actually very similar to how societies around the World protect our their currency, intellectual property, and personal identity.


When we stop making copies we gain control and protect value. 


In addition to its implications for compliance with national and international data protection regulations, the current copy-based approach to data integration represents a growing “innovation tax” on organizations and a barrier to the productive collaboration on data.


Each new digital solution (whether bought or built) creates a new data silo in the form of an solution-specific database.  This new silo generally requires some degree of point-to-point integration with pre-existing applications which creates a compounding overhead for IT projects.


The fact is that copy-based data integration is an unproductive use of capital and resources that is growing steadily worse. 


In contrast, the proposed standard for Zero-Copy Integration outlines a framework for developing new digital solutions where people and systems collaborate on data that is managed within a copyless environment. This framework leverages modern data management architectures which minimize data use and allow multiple solutions to be powered by a single set of physical data (rather than copies).


In the Zero-Copy Integration framework, the only barrier to collaborating on data is having access to that data - the overhead of traditional copy-based data integration is eliminated. 


This can save 30-50% off the time and resource required for major IT projects andrepresents a complete reversal of what is a growing and unproductive overhead faced by virtually every IT organization in the World.