• Certification: Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
  • Certification Provider: Microsoft

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Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate is a certification that validates that the professional has completed the course and is legally qualified to work as a Microsoft 365 security administrator. The particular certificate confirms one’s proficiency in handling the Microsoft 365 enterprise security. It shows efficiency in managing, implementing, and monitoring security and compliance solutions for hybrid and Microsoft 365 environments. At a glance, it verifies that its holders are conversant with Microsoft 365 workloads and are good at protecting identity, information, and data against threats.

Certification Requirements

This certification requires candidates to pass one exam MS-500: Microsoft 365 Security Administration. There are no other prerequisites but it is always good to have some knowledge in the field. It is recommended that applicants have some working experience with Microsoft 365 enterprise and hybrid environments. Otherwise, the best option is to earn the Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals accreditation first. This ensures building a solid foundation before taking advanced certifications which might be a little hard for an absolute beginner.

Exam Details

The Microsoft MS-500 test goes for $165 at Pearson VUE but there might be discounts. When sitting for it, one will be given 40–60 questions to be tackled in 3 hours. To manage all the tasks successfully, it’s recommended to have prior knowledge in the next areas: data governance, strategies for security, identity protection, threat protection, etc.

MS-500 Exam Content

The exam syllabus was recently updated and a few changes were implemented. Below, there is a general guide of the updated version of the skills measured in MS-500. The content is divided into four major sections with corresponding subsections disclosed in detail. For more information, candidates can refer to the official outline provided by the vendor.

  • Implementation and management of identity and access

    In this section, there are several sections that the candidate has to grasp to ace the test. These are securing hybrid environments, implementing MFA (multi-factor authentication), implementing Azure AD group membership as well as RBAC (access control that is role-based), and working with Azure AD PIM along with Azure AD Identity Protection. The applicants should also know about password management, device compliance for endpoint security, authentication methods, and configuring and managing identity governance. Other key points are planning, auditing, and configuring roles, implementing user-risk and sign-in risk policies, configuring Identity Protection alerts, troubleshooting Azure AD Connect events, and reviewing and responding to risk events.

  • Implementing and managing threat protection

    This domain mainly focuses on the candidate’s skills in implementing solutions for threat protection for an enterprise hybrid environment, ensuring device threat protection, application protection, managing Office 365 ATP, and using Azure Sentinel to assess Microsoft 365 Security. Exam-takers should be able to efficiently utilize both Microsoft Defender Application Guard and Control. Also, candidates have to learn how to plan, configure, implement, and manage thesecurity of applications. Other knowledge areas include monitoring Azure ATP, managing exploit protection, and performing threat response. Lastly, one should know how to use Attack Simulator to conduct simulated attacks.

  • Implementing and managing information protection

    To answer the questions under this category, the applicants need to have comprehensive knowledge of data access in Office 365, including the management and implementation of Customer Lockbox and configuring data access when it comes to collaboration workloads of Office 365. The next subtopic assesses one’s skills in managing sensitivity labels, including their use with Sharepoint, Teams, Office apps, and OneDrive. Candidates should also remember to focus on planning for its implementation, configuring CAS templates and policies, and providing the right response to alerts. Lastly, one should be experienced in the management of DPL (Data Loss Prevention), creating DLP policies, monitoring reports, working with notifications, etc.

  • Managing compliance and governance features in Microsoft 365

    This is the last domain that concentrates on the tasks such as analysis and configuration of security reporting, managing and analyzing audit logs and reports, data governance, and data retention, performing investigation and search. These areas require applicants to be skilled in the following concepts: monitoring device security, using Graph Security API and Security & Compliance admin center, reviewing data governance dashboards, providing audit log search, performing archiving of data, providing management of eDiscovery cases, administering DSRs and Compliance Manager, among the rest.

Related Certifications

After earning the Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate, Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert is the next certification to pursue. This is the senior-level certificate that brings numerous advanced job opportunities and decent pay of about $97k annually, according to ZipRecruiter. To get accredited, the candidate needs to pass 2 exams namely MS-100: Microsoft 365 Identity and Services and MS-101: Microsoft Mobility and Security. Also, one is required to have MCSE: Productivity Solutions Expert or any of these Microsoft 365 certifications:

  • Teams Administrator Associate
  • Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
  • Messaging Administrator Associate
  • Security Administrator Associate

Job Opportunities for Certified Individuals

The most popular job roles one can apply for when having the Security Administrator Associate certification are as follows:

  • Associate Windows System Security Administrator

    This post is for an individual who works directly under a Senior Systems Engineer. The main responsibilities include designing, planning, managing, and sustaining systems, providing backup, and administering storage environments as they ensure a high level of data security, availability, and quality. Other roles may be added when the need arises and promotion on a good performance. This job pays an average salary of approximately $65k annually.

  • Systems administrator

    This is another possible job of a Microsoft 365 certified professional. These specialists work closely with the director of technical operations in a certain working environment. The main job responsibility is planning, coordinating, and implementing network security aimed at protecting software, data, and hardware. The average salary per year ranges from $45k to $88k.

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