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Prepare for the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification

Are you ready to boost your resume or further your cloud career path? Review this preparation guide to get ready for Exam AZ-500 to become Microsoft certified.

Microsoft Azure has certifications to validate your knowledge and help you along your cloud career path. One of these core certifications that all IT administrators and security administrators should pass is AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies. Once you pass this exam, you become a Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate.

This certification targets Azure Security Engineers who manage and monitor all security resources within single or multiple Azure tenants and hybrid environments. Learn more about the exam, if you should take it, training options and where to start.

Exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

Exam AZ-500 has 40 to 60 questions with 150 minutes for completion. The exam focuses on four critical areas. Each of the four areas map to specific features or components within an Azure tenant. Areas also map into expected coverage percentages to show what will require more focus. As you can see below, "Manage identity and access" and "Manage security operations" will have more questions than the other two areas:

  • Manage identity and access is 25% to 30% of the exam.
  • Secure networking is 20% to 25% of the exam.
  • Secure computing, storage and databases is 20% to 25% of the exam.
  • Manage security operations is 25% to 30% of the exam.

The more generalized coverage areas for the AZ-500 exam include the following:

  • Manage identities in Azure Active Directory.
  • Manage authentication and authorization within Azure Active Directory.
  • Manage application access in Azure Active Directory.
  • Plan and implement security for virtual networks.
  • Plan and implement security for private and public access to Azure resources.
  • Plan and implement advanced security for compute.
  • Plan and implement security for storage.
  • Plan and implement security for Azure SQL Databases and Azure SQL Managed Instances.
  • Plan, implement and manage governance for security.
  • Manage security posture using Microsoft Defender for Cloud.
  • Configure and manage threat protection using Microsoft Defender for Cloud.
  • Configure and manage security monitoring and automation.

Part of the exam includes labs that cover various Azure services and functions, such as role-based access control, privileged identity management, Azure Firewall and Microsoft Sentinel.

Why should you take Exam AZ-500?

If you want to validate your skills and knowledge about how to manage security controls and threats in Microsoft Azure, then taking the exam is for you. Gaining the certification can help you accomplish various goals:

Enhance your career. Becoming a Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate helps you stand out to prospective employers and increase your earning potential.

Demonstrate your expertise. This certification illustrates expertise in managing security controls and threats in Azure. It demonstrates knowledge and credibility in the cloud security field.

Stay updated with industry trends. Cloud security is rapidly evolving. It is important to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices.

Microsoft recommends that you take the exam when you have at least a year of cloud security experience.

How can you prepare for Exam AZ-500?

You need a mixture of real-world experience and practice tests to prepare for the exam. Self-paced training and instructor-led training are two standard methods for this.

Instructor-led training

Instructor-led training provides personalized engagement and guidance. It lets you interact with instructors and other learners, which creates a better collaborative and engaging learning experience. It gives you accountability and motivation, as you are responsible for your own participation and progression during the training.

Self-paced training

With self-paced training, you study at your own pace. This is an ideal option if you have a busy schedule or prefer to learn independently. It is often less expensive than instructor-led training because you don't pay for travel, accommodation or instructor fees. You can customize your learning experience based on personal interests and needs, then focus only on the relevant topics.

Which training method do I choose?

Choose which approach fits your learning style the best. For Exam AZ-500, instructor-led training provides the instructor's real-world experience. The best option is to combine both approaches. You can browse Microsoft Learn and read all the details about Exam AZ-500, plus start working through training modules. Microsoft also provides resources including the following:

  • Instructor-led courses.
  • Study guides.
  • Exam prep.
  • Practice tests.
  • Exam demo sandbox.

What next?

The exam is challenging for a reason. It covers many capabilities within Azure and doesn't target one specific area or feature. Study hard, practice, take multiple practice tests and view the exam preparation videos to pass the exam.

After you pass the exam, you can complement your AZ-500 certification with any of the following certifications:

  • SC-100: Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect.
  • SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst.
  • SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator.
  • SC-400: Microsoft Information Protection Administrator.
  • SC-900: Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals.

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