Microsoft Azure Security Technologies EXAM AZ-500 STUDY GUIDE & EXAM PREP (IN PROGRESS)

Hey gang – I have another “nights and weekends” project in the works.

As of right now, I am finished with Module 1 which is the following break down of the domains and all the subtopics:

Manage identity and access (30-35%)

  • Manage Azure Active Directory identities
    • Configure security for service principals
    • Manage Azure AD directory groups
    • Manage Azure AD users
    • Configure password writeback
    • Configure authentication methods including password hash and Pass Through Authentication (PTA), OAuth, and passwordless (not ADFS)
    • Transfer Azure subscriptions between Azure AD tenants
  • Configure secure access by using Azure AD
    • Monitor privileged access for Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM)
    • Configure Access Reviews
    • Activate and configure PIM
    • Implement Conditional Access policies including Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
    • Configure Azure AD identity protection
  • Manage application access
    • Create App Registration
    • Configure App Registration permission scopes
    • Manage App Registration permission consent
    • Manage API access to Azure subscriptions and resources
  • Manage access control
    • Configure subscription and resource permissions
    • Configure resource group permissions
    • Configure custom RBAC roles
    • Identify the appropriate role
    • Apply principle of least privilege
    • Interpret permissions
    • Check access

These are for the NEW requirements as laid out in the updated skills outline for the end of July 2020.

Here is a snip from the introduction of the book – it’ll give you an idea of what to expect from the finished product:


With direct respect to the overview and reference content provided for review study, the materials here align with the main domain objectives for the certification. As much as possible, the topic references and outlines are also followed up with direct links to articles and whitepapers on the Microsoft website that dive deeper into the summary content.

The content has been provided, at least in summary format, for every domain topic and sub item for that topic. In some cases, additional editorial content and technical details are offered to dive down into the item. In other cases, there may be less details, but in all cases, links back to technical documentation has been offered back to a Microsoft Docs page.

All of the supplied information, review links, and notes are meant as a final review as opposed to full, robust information.

If you follow the hyperlinked topics and review the reference pages for the detailed information, you should be able to fill in many of the blanks you might have on the topics and the overall domain objectives.

With direct respect to the practice questions, this book’s style and format is written to partially simulate some of the content and question approach that you might see in an official Microsoft exam.

The questions and the answer choices are provided for you on one page so you can read everything in its entirety.

On the very next page is the same question, with the solution / answer provided, along with the answer explanation and reference information.

This format was chosen so that the solution was not immediately exposed – that allows the reader the ability to think about an answer to select before being presented with the solution.

Additionally, the entire question repeated, with the answer and references being provided on the very next page eliminates the need for searching / flipping through the book.

The practice questions, and the answers, explanations, and reference links, are another direct opportunity to learn additional information on the domain topics; it is a suggested best practice for using this study guide to read everything included it its entirety.  

Stay tuned – I am hoping to have this wrapped up and release for late August 2020.

Features and functionality removed or depreciated in Windows 10 (version 2004)

Just released are the details about features and functionalities that were removed in Windows 10 (version 2004). 

The list below provided via the Microsoft post is subject to change and might not include every affected feature or functionality.

FeatureDetails and mitigationRemoved in version
CortanaCortana has been updated and enhanced in the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. With these changes, some previously available consumer skills such as music, connected home, and other non-Microsoft skills are no longer available.2004
Windows To GoWindows To Go was announced as deprecated in Windows 10, version 1903 and is removed in this release.2004
Mobile Plans and Messaging appsBoth apps are still supported, but are now distributed in a different way. OEMs can now include these apps in Windows images for cellular enabled devices. The apps are removed for non-cellular devices.2004

You can read the full post to see the features that were removed from versions 1909, 1903, and 1809, and prior releases.

There are also features listed via another update that Microsoft is no longer developing (depreciated features):

FeatureDetails and mitigationAnnounced in version
Companion Device FrameworkThe Companion Device Framework is no longer under active development.2004
Microsoft EdgeThe legacy version of Microsoft Edge is no longer being developed.2004
Dynamic DisksThe Dynamic Disks feature is no longer being developed. This feature will be fully replaced by Storage Spaces in a future release.2004

An Important Update on Microsoft Training and Certification

There are some important updates that have been released regarding Microsoft Training and Certification in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

These updates are how Microsoft, together with the partner training ecosystem, is adapting to the current environment to ensure that all of you can continue to learn and get certified on Microsoft technologies, while staying safe.  

Updates include details of testing center closings and online proctoring capacity increasing to meet that demand.

Normal reschedule rules are being relaxed and cancellation fees are being waived for the time being.

Probably the biggest announcement is the delay in the retirement dates of the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certifications and related exams extended

As we’re all aware from prior messaging, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification(s) were slated to be retired on June 30th of this year (2020).

Because of all the uncertainty in the current environment and the impact of all of that on the learners and their ability to finish their certification training and testing before the original retirement date, Microsoft has pushed out the retirement date for these specific certifications to January 31, 2021.

Changes have also been made to the expiring role-based certifications. If you have a role-based certification that is expiring between now and December 31, 2020, Microsoft is extending the certification and that expiration date by six months. Microsoft has indicated as an example, “if your certification is set to expire September 30, 2020, it will now expire on March 30, 2021.”

Certification expiration dates will be automatically updated. You will be able to view your updated expiration date in your certification dashboard within the next 30 days or so (the date of this post is basically the end of March 2020 so “by April 30, 2020”)

They also identified that if you have a Pearson VUE delivered certification exam voucher or discount offer that is expiring between March 26 and August 31, 2020, it will be extended until January 31, 2021. 

Read the full details on all of these changes at the Microsoft Learning Blog.

Learning Azure in 20 Minutes A Day

“If I can teach someone the technology, and they can learn the material, they will pass the exams.”

I’ve been saying that for 22 years now. At the rate I am going, I will probably be saying that for another 22. 

I’ve had a number of jobs in information technology since 1996 (informally, part time) and formally (full time).  Way too many to list here; it’s just easier to point you to my LinkedIn page (and feel free to follow me there too).

Throughout all that time of “doing the job” I was always doing something else – I was learning the next thing and showing someone else what I was studying or working on.

I also decided that I loved what I did so much that I would try, as best I could, to train and skill others. So, back in late 2001, some 19 odd years ago, I earned my Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification. 

​So it is with all of this, I’ve decided to get back to blogging a little, too.

I am going to start the site here and see where things take me, how things go, what time permits, how posts take off, and so forth.

For a long time I ran a blog over on BlogSpot but I let it go over the years. Now, it’s probably a good time to take a clean break from that too and leave it dormant.

I’ll have to see how things go here; I am, of course, running it on Azure in my own subscription and it’s not my intention to try to paywall or monetize the site. Having said that, I have four kids so I can’t spend a ton of money here either.

Because my current day job is “all Azure skilling, all the time” it would be my intention to make all my posts focused on that; I might dabble elsewhere in the certification realm (as I do have certifications that span other technologies too, but nothing like the ones at Microsoft.)

I’d like to see too if I can get some other partners in crime (other Azure Technical Trainers or other MCTs) to pitch in on some posts of their own… sort of inviting them along to put up their work as a guest author of some of their own content.

36 hours in a day and all…

So, for now, I re-launch the grand experiment (and no Trek fans… I am not talking about the NX-2000).