The AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Engineer Associate certification exam is an associate-level exam and is mainly focused on the security and compliance features of Azure services. This exam is specifically designed for a Subject Matter Expert (SME), who is responsible for implementing and maintaining security controls, providing protection against threats, managing identity and access, protecting data and information, and creating applications in hubris and cloud environments. 

You can also take this certification exam if you know about scripting, automation, networking, and virtualization, especially in a cloud environment. The job titles where AZ-500 is of relevance include software engineer, DevOps engineer, data engineer, cloud security engineer, cloud engineer, and manager in information security. 

Exam Prerequisites

Before taking the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification exam, make sure you have already cleared the Azure Administrator Associate exam or the Azure Developer Associate exam.

This associate-level exam is relatively harder as it covers multiple topics and practices. Therefore, it is recommended to have a minimum of 1 year of hands-on experience with Azure Cloud Administration and general security practices before you appear for this certification. 

Why take the exam?

  1. It will help you understand security requirements for companies and offer customized solutions.
  2. You will be able to create automated solutions for threat resolution across several domains.
  3. It will help you implement security strategies and policy designs. 
  4. You will be able to easily manage the integration of security. 
  5. You will be able to serve as security liaison to examiners, auditors, and assessors. 

Exam Pattern 

The Azure Security Engineer Associate certification exam is for 3 hours, out of which 30  minutes are reserved for feedback, and it consists of 40-60 questions. To clear this exam, you need at least 70%, and with the right Azure training, you can easily reach that benchmark. 

The examination fee is Rs. 4,800, and the certificate is valid for 2 years. You can take this exam at your home or at any Pearson Exam Center. The exam has single-choice questions, multiple-choice questions, one case study with multiple questions, yes or no questions, true or false, and questions with diagrams. 

The exam mainly focuses on the following 4 areas:

  • Manage identity and access (30-35%)

This is the main section of the exam. It mostly has scenario-based questions and measures the following skills: 

  • Manage Azure Active Directory Identities 

Configure security for service principles

Manage Azure Active Directory groups

Manage Azure Active Directory users

Configure password writeback

Configure authentication methods

Transfer Azure subscriptions between Azure Active Directory tenants

  • Configure secure access by using Azure Active Directory 

Configure access reviews

Activate and configure Privileged Identity Management (PIM)

Monitor access for Azure Active Directory PIM

Configure Azure Active Directory identity protection 

  • Manage application access

Create app registration

Configure app registration permission scopes

Manage app registration permission consent 

  • Manage access control 

Configure subscription and resource permissions

Configure resource group permissions 

Configure custom RBAC roles

Identify the appropriate role

Interpret permissions

Check access

  • Implement Platform Protection (15-20%)

This section deals with the implementation of platform protections and measures the following skills: 

  • Implement advanced network security

Secure the connectivity of virtual networks

Configure Network Security Groups (NSGs) and Application Security Groups (ASGs)

Design and configure Azure Firewall

Configure Azure Front Door service

Configure a Web Application Firewall 

Configure Azure Bastion

Implement service endpoints

Implement DDoS protection 

  • Configure advanced security for compute 

Configure endpoint protection

Configure and monitor system updates for virtual machines

Configure authentication for Azure Container Registry

Configure security for all the types of containers 

Configure isolation for AKS

Implement vulnerability management

Implement Azure Disk Encryption

Configure automatic updates

Configure security and authentication for Azure App

Configure SSL and TLS certs

  • Manage security operations (25-30%)

This section consists of questions that are based on the client’s requirements for managing and configuring security policies. It measures the following skills: 

  • Monitor security with Azure Monitor

Create and customize alerts

Monitor security logs by using Azure monitor

Configure diagnostic logging

  • Monitor security with Azure Security Center

Assess vulnerability scans 

Configure Just In Time VM access

Configure centralized policy management 

Configure compliance policies 

  • Monitor security with Azure Sentinel 

Configure data sources to Azure Sentinel

Examine results

Create and customize alerts

Configure workflow automation

  • Configure security policies 

Configure security settings by using Azure Policy and Azure Blueprint 

Configure a playbook

  • Security Data and Applications (20-25%0

This section deals with security for storage and databases, and measures the following skills: 

  • Configure security for storage 

Configure access control and key management for storage accounts

Configure Azure Active Directory authentication 

Configure Azure Active Directory Domain Services authentication

Design and manage Shared Access Signatures (SAS) 

Design a shared access policy for a blob container 

Configure storage service encryption

  • Configure security for database

Enable database authentication and auditing

Configure Azure SQL Database Advanced Threat Protection

Implement database encryption

Implement Azure SQL Database Always Encrypted 

  • Configure and manage key vault 

Manage access to key vault

Manage permissions to certificates, keys, and secrets

Configure RBAC usage 

Manage certificated and secrets

Configure key rotation

Backup key vault items 

Free AZ-500 training from Microsoft 

Microsoft offers you free online material to help you crack the exam. You can go through the following courses to find the best one for yourself: 

  1. Manage Security Operations in Azure
  2. Manage Identity and Access in Azure Active Directory 
  3. Implement virtual machine host security in Azure
  4. Implement network security in Azure 
  5. Implement resource management security in Azure 
  6. Secure your cloud applications in Azure 

There are other study materials available online, which will allow you to qualify for the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification exam easily. You can also take practice papers on a regular basis. This will not only help you understand the exam’s pattern better, but you will also be able to finish the paper in the given time. 

The Azure Security Engineer Associate certification exam is one of the most popular types of self-proctored Azure certifications. It is ideal for those individuals who have subject matter expertise in implementing and managing security controls, providing protection, protecting valuable data, and creating applications in hybrid and cloud environments. This certification will kickstart your career, and you will be able to land a high-paying job.