I recently passed the AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies exam and earned the
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate credential. In this blog I would like to share some tips that will help you prepare and ace it too.
The content of the AZ-500 has been recently updated as Microsoft aim to continuously re-evaluate and refresh the exam to keep it relevant and in line with the latest developments in technology. The pace of change in the Cloud is staggering so you’re always better off checking the official outline of skills that are measured during the exam.
The good news is the core concepts remain largely the same, so even if you were preparing for the older version, that effort is in no way wasted.
To get familiar with these core concepts, a good starting point is the Microsoft Learning Paths. These are free bite-sized learning modules with an option to test your knowledge after each.
These alone, however, are not sufficient to get ready for the exam.
In addition, one of the best sources of the prep material is the Microsoft Azure documentation. You can deep-dive into any topic referenced in the exam skills outline to make sure you are comfortable with the tested areas.
There are many to mention but I would like to share some of my favourite documents (some contain video explanations):
- Security services and technologies available on Azure
- Azure network security overview
- Azure best practices for network security
- Governance design for multiple teams
- What is Azure Policy?
- Understand Azure Policy effects
- What is Azure role-based access control (Azure RBAC)?
- What is Azure AD Privileged Identity Management?
- Secure your management ports with just-in-time access
- Configuring the Azure Information Protection policy
- What is Azure Sentinel?
- Azure Monitor overview
- Best practices for securing PaaS web and mobile applications using Azure Storage
- Auditing for Azure SQL Database and Azure Synapse Analytics
- Security recommendations for Blob storage
- Azure Key Vault security
Be wary of numerous websites offering exam dumps that guarantee a pass. If you would like to have an idea of the exam format and sample questions, the best option is the official practice tests. You can get a discount if you purchase them while booking your exam.
As I wrote previously when sharing my tips on passing your AWS Security Specialty exam, practice is the key element of your preparation. The AZ-500 exam goes into details that no amount of documentation and practice tests will cover. That’s one of the reasons that hands-on experience with Azure security technologies is a pre-requisite for this certification.
If you work for a company that already uses Azure, then consider yourself lucky: you can learn on the job and contribute to the security of your organisation at the same time by applying your newly developed knowledge and skills straight away. For the less fortunate, there is always an option to create a free Azure account that gives you 12 months of access to free services and an additional credit to use in your first 30 days.
If you are looking for some structure for your practice, I recommend following along the official labs on GitHub.