Introducing Microsoft’s New Security Certifications and Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty Certification

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door to more cyberattacks as company networks become exposed due to workers working remotely. According to the US FBI, there has been a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes since COVID-19.

Attacks are real and constant – there’s an attack every 39 seconds.

These and many other disturbing statistics underline the urgent need for cybersecurity professionals. According to some estimates, the cybersecurity workforce needs to increase by 62 % in the U.S., and around 4 million security professionals are required to close the security gap globally.

Microsoft is doing its bit to close the security gap with training and certifications on Microsoft Learn.

Microsoft Learn is a free training platform that people can use to learn the technical skills needed to use Microsoft products and services such as Azure, Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and more.

Microsoft Ignite learning announcements

At Microsoft Ignite, which took place early in March, among all the other exciting news, Microsoft announced its continued commitment to democratizing advanced technical capabilities through new training and certifications.

Microsoft’s commitment to closing the security skills gap is evidenced by the four new Microsoft security certifications announced at Ignite. Interested parties are invited to take these exams in beta and provide feedback so Microsoft can take steps to ensure that the exams meet the highest standards. There are four exam options.

The exams aim to empower individuals with the essential skills necessary to fill the following positions: security operations analyst, identity and access administrator, information protection administrator and security, compliance and identity fundamentals.

In the light of escalating cyberattacks and the need for compliance, these certifications are precisely what’s needed in the workplace today.

Play the Security Adventure Game

See if you have what it takes to become a security hero and save Contoso from a cybersecurity attack.

Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Certifications:

Exam SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

This is an exam for those who want to work as Security Operations Analysts. Specifically, these tech professionals are responsible for the security of an organization’s information technology (IT) systems, taking immediate action to remediate damage from attacks.

Security Operations Analysts are experts that advise organizations on how to optimize their threat protection practices and inform the right people when organizational policies have been violated.

They use Microsoft Azure Sentinel, Azure Defender, Microsoft 365 Defender, and third-party security products to investigate, respond to, and hunt for security threats. The Security Operations Analyst must also be able to configure and deploy these technologies.

Keep in mind that beta exams are not scored immediately because Microsoft will use feedback from those who take the exams to optimize the exams.

To become a fully certified Security Operations Analyst, learn more about this exam here.

Exam SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator

Identity and access management (IAM) centers on the roles and access privileges of a company’s users. A Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator uses Azure AD to design and operate an organization’s access management systems. Systems like Azure AD help identity and access administrators to provide secure authentication and authorization access to enterprise applications and information. The systems also help these professionals to monitor and report on identity and access matters.

To become a fully certified Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator and become a pro with Azure AD, learn more about this exam here.

Exam SC-400: Microsoft Information Protection Administrator

The Information Protection Administrator implements information protection, data loss prevention, and information governance to ensure that organizations are and stay compliant.

These individuals work with IT personnel, business application owners, human resources, and legal stakeholders to implement the right technology to comply with regulatory requirements.

They also work with others like a Chief Compliance Officer and Security Officer to evaluate the full extent of enterprise risk and help to develop policies and controls to address these issues. They then test IT procedures and operations against those policies and controls.

To learn more about this position and the exam necessary to qualify for it, look here.

Exam SC-900: Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

This certification is for people who want to know more about the fundamentals of security, compliance, and identity (SCI) as they relate to cloud-based and other Microsoft services.

These parties will not necessarily be technologists – they may include business owners or other organizational stakeholders and students who want to know more about Microsoft security, compliance, and identity solutions.

Candidates should be familiar with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 and want to understand how these solutions can support SCI.

Learn more about the exam here.

New Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty Certification

The pandemic has led to workforces working remotely for extended periods of time, and a natural outcome of that has been the adoption of virtual desktop technology. Virtual desktops allow employees to access their company’s network from anywhere and on any appropriate device with an internet connection. The technology virtualizes the desktop environment, which is stored on a remote server, not on an employee’s physical computer.

The need for virtual desktops has led to an urgent demand for technologists who can deliver and manage virtual desktop experiences. Windows Virtual Desktop is one of the best-known virtual desktop platforms available. The service is run on the cloud through Microsoft Azure.

The new Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty certification provides the skills necessary to deliver virtual desktop experiences.

Microsoft Certified: Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty

Candidates who want to enroll in this specialty must have expert Azure administration skills. They must already have subject matter expertise in virtual desktop experiences and remote apps, for any device, on Azure.

They will be responsible for deploying, optimizing, and securing virtual desktop infrastructure on Azure in their role.

They will primarily use the Azure portal and Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates to do their work, and PowerShell and Azure Command-Line Interface (CLI) might also come into play.

As demand for virtual desktop technology keeps growing, certifications like this will become highly sought after.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft is taking the lead in offering user-friendly and in-demand certifications to help technologists advance their latest technology skills. There are also foundational certifications that make it possible for anyone to learn more about the latest technologies.

In June 2020, three months after the start of the pandemic, Microsoft announced its initiative to help more than 25 million people worldwide to improve their digital skills. With these and other certifications on offer at a low cost, the tech leaders are doing good on their promise at a time when the world can really do with some help.