Microsoft Azure Security Engineeer

AZURE SECURITY ENGINEER ASSOCIATE CERTIFICATE REVIEW

Introduction

The Azure Security Engineer Associate certification is essential in today’s digital landscape, where it is critical to safeguard cloud infrastructures. This certification validates expertise in designing, implementing, and monitoring security controls within Microsoft Azure, multi-clouds, or hybrid environments.

In this review, we will explore the AZ 500 Exam contents, what you should expect in the exam, recommendations on study materials, and give some insights that may help you pass the exam. We will also review the Azure Security Engineer Associate certificate itself, salary, and opportunities.

So, whether you aspire to launch a career as an Azure Security Engineer or are already a seasoned professional, this review will provide you with some insights and resources needed for success in Azure security.

Why Microsoft Azure Security Engineer Certificate?

One of the huge advantages of having a Microsoft Azure Security Certificate is the scale of its usefulness. Microsoft Azure is the second-largest provider of Cloud Services with a market share of 23 percent (AWS is the largest with 33 percent market share).

Many businesses either use the Azure Cloud Infrastructure or at least use some of the many tools or solutions in the Microsoft suite – Windows, Active Directory, .Net, Visual Studio, etc. An Azure Security Engineer Certification will equip you with skills for designing, implementing, and monitoring security controls within Microsoft Azure.

Also, this Certificate is a prerequisite for higher certifications like the Microsoft Certified Cybersecurity Architect Expert.

What is the Azure Security Engineer Associate?

AZURE SECURITY ENGINEER

The Azure Security Engineer Associate is Microsoft’s cybersecurity certification that validates skills in implementing security controls, maintaining a business’s security posture, and remediating vulnerabilities in the Azure environment. It is an associate-level exam.

The qualifying exam for this certificate is the AZ-500

Who Can Take the Certification?

The Azure Security Engineer Certificate is an intermediate-level (associate) certification. It is designed for people who want to become Cybersecurity experts in an Azure environment. The certification assumes prior knowledge of Microsoft Azure Cloud products and services. ideal for

  • Cloud Engineers
  • Cloud Administrators
  • Security Engineers
  • IT Professionals
  • Aspiring Cloud Architects
  • Anyone who wants to provide security for an Azure-based digital/cloud platform.

Most persons who take this exam will typically have familiarity with Azure Cloud products and services. Either by working with Azure products or having at least had some training on Azure Cloud Solutions like taking the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) or Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) Certification.

The AZ-Exam Topics

The outline of the Azure Security Certificate Exam (AZ-500) consists of 4 parts, weighted as follows in the exam;

Skills MeasuredWeights in the Exam
Manage identity and access25–30%
Secure networking20–25%
Secure compute, storage, and databases20–25%
Manage security operations15 – 20%
AZ-500 Exam outline and weights for the different Sections

Section 1: Manage identity and access – This covers the Management of Microsoft Entra Identities, Microsoft Entra Authentication, and Authorization. And the management of Microsoft Entra Application Access.

Section 2: Secure networking – This covers the planning and implementation of virtual networks. Security for Private Access to Azure Resources and Security for Public Access to Azure Resources.

Section 3: Secure compute, storage, and databases – This covers the planning and implementation of Advanced Security for Compute, Planning, and implementation of Security for Azure SQL Databases and SQL managed Instances.

Section 4: Manage security operations -This covers the planning, implementation, and management of governance for Security. Managing Security Posture using Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Configuring and managing Threat Protection using Microsoft Defender for the Cloud. Security Monitoring and Automation Solutions.

A detailed blueprint for all the exam topics and exam guide are available here

What You Can Expect in the AZ- 500 Exam

The AZ 500 exam consists of about 40-60 questions for a duration of 100 minutes. There are different types of questions ranging from simple multiple choice questions, “drag and drop”, scenario-based questions, active screens, build lists, and some practical lab questions in the exam.

The passing score for the exam is 700 (from a total of 1000). The questions are not weighted equally. It is generally recommended to attempt all questions as there are no penalties for “guessing” the answers for the questions you don’t have answers for.

Unlike some other professional IT exams, the Microsoft Azure exams allow you to flag a question, skip it, and then come back to answer it when you are done with the others.

How difficult is the AZ-500 exam?

The Azure Security Engineer Associate Exam (AZ-500) is not a beginner’s exam. How difficult it is for the candidate will largely depend on the candidate’s level of exposure or familiarity with the Azure ecosystem.

Microsoft expects that candidates sitting for the exam have a strong familiarity with the following concepts to pass the exam;

  • Azure Active Directory which is now Microsoft Entra
  • Azure Log Analytics
  • Compute, Network, and Storage in Azure
  • SSL Configuration etc.

Many persons with a reasonable background, good study resources, and adequate preparation with practice exam questions record success in the exam on their first trial.

Exam Retake Policy

The exam retake policy for the AZ -500 is not stiff, you can retake the exam just 24 hours after the first attempt. The time allocation for subsequent retake exams varies.

How much is the AZ-500 exam?

The cost of the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification exam (AZ 500 Exam) varies depending on the country or region where you are taking the proctored exam (- not your citizenship). Candidates in the US, Canada, and Australia costs $165. In the UK, the price is GBP 113.

Countries in Europe like Germany, Italy, France, etc pay EUR 165 for the exam. It costs $80 for African Countries. You can schedule the exam through Pearson Vue

Certificate Validity, Renewals, and Recertification

The Azure Security Engineer certificate is only valid for 1 year from (the date of passing the last exam). Certificate renewals and recertification are not the same.

You can renew the certificate before its expiration date by completing the official assessments on the Microsoft platform. Renewals are free but can only be done before the expiration of the certificate.

Recertification on the other hand is required upon the expiration of the certificate (i.e., you did not renew it) and it will require you to resit for the qualifying exam (AZ-500) for the certificate to become valid. You pay for recertification.

This short validity is one of the cons of the Azure Security Engineer certification in my opinion, the good part is that you can continuously renew or prolong the validity indefinitely by constantly taking the assessments.

Recommendations on Study Materials

For the best chances of passing the Azure Security Engineer Associate exam, the following are some recommendations;

  1. Microsoft Learns – this is a free resource from learning resource from Microsoft that covers all the topics of the exam. It contains coursework, videos, practice exam questions, and a Sandbox environment for practical demonstrations.
  2. Official Documentation for the different Microsoft products
  3. ACloud Guru Courses on Pluralist – divided into the 4 sections of the exam.
  4. John Savill’s Technical Training AZ-500 YouTube playlist.
  5. WhizLabs for Practice Exams for AZ-500.
  6. Scott Duffy AZ-500 Course on Udemy.

What does a Microsoft Security Engineer do?

Microsoft Security Engineer is a cybersecurity professional with a specialization in designing, implementing, and monitoring security controls in Azure Cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid environments. Some of the duties and responsibilities include the following;

  1. Managing the security posture of an organization using Azure Products
  2. Identifying and remediating vulnerabilities
  3. Performances of Threat modeling and Implementing Threat Protection.
  4. They work with other professionals like Security Architects, Administrators, developers, network engineers, etc. to meet Compliance and cybersecurity demands.

Microsoft security engineer salary

The salary of a Microsoft Certified Security Engineer in the US ranges from $61,500 – to $205,500 per year with the average salary at about $152,773  per year or $73 per hour. The top cities for these jobs in the US are Santa Clara, CA, Federal Way, WA, Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA, and Los Angeles, CA.

In the UK however, an Azure Security Engineer earns between £55,000£80,000 per year with the average at about £65,000 (According to talent.com). In Australia, the average is about $184,000 per year. (range $118,000 – $183,000). In all cases, the salary of a Microsoft Security Engineer is above the national average in these countries, making it a lucrative career.

Microsoft Exam Accommodations

For persons with Special needs, you can apply for Microsoft Exams Accommodations to create fairness in your taking and passing the AZ 500 exam.

microsoft accomodations

Microsoft Exams Accommodations are special considerations granted to certain categories of persons to make the exam fair and accessible to all. A candidate with special needs or in a disadvantaged position can apply for these considerations or accommodations (with documentation) before taking the Microsoft exam.

The Microsoft Exam Accommodations are in the following categories;

  1. Accommodation for Additional time – For people who need more time to process the exam information due to disabilities or because they are taking it in their non-native language.
  2. Accommodation for the Use of assistive technologies and devices – This may range from Speech-to-text software, screen reader software, Magnifier, ZoomText, or braille input device.
  3. Sensory accommodations – covers sensory-related needs such as the use of Noise canceling headphones(non-Bluetooth), adjusted lighting, mobility, and dexterity devices
  4. Accommodation for an Assistant – where another person can be present, e.g., a personal care assistant, reader, Sign Language Interpreter, etc.

Is an Azure security engineer associate worth it?

The Microsoft Azure Security Engineer Certificate Associate is ideal for anyone who wants to explore Cybersecurity within the Azure landscape. There is industry demand for the skills it teaches and it gives you some edge with Hiring Managers. The salaries are impressive – above the average for tech jobs.

The Azure Security Engineer Associate is also a prerequisite for the Microsoft Certified Cybersecurity Architect Expert. Depending on your career goals, it may be a good idea to consider this as the next step in your career.

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/credentials/certifications/azure-security-engineer/?practice-assessment-type=certification

Here is a Coursera Certificate you may want to consider: MICROSOFT CYBERSECURITY ANALYST PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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