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SC-200 Exam Study Guide: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

12 Min. Read

This article will share with you how to prepare and pass the SC-200 Microsoft Security Operations Analyst certification exam successfully.

Updated – 06/07/2021 – ZDNet has compiled a collection of the best Microsoft certifications that will protect your job and boost your income as we head toward 2022 in a business world that is speeding toward digital transformation. The good news is, that the SC-200 Microsoft Security Operations Analyst was one of the best technical certifications. You can read more about it here.

Introduction

Microsoft is keeping evolving its learning programs to help you and your career keep pace with today’s demanding IT environments. The new updated role-based certifications will help you to keep pace with today’s business requirements. Microsoft Learning is constantly evolving its learning program to better offer what you need to skill up, prove your expertise to employers and peers, and get the recognition—and opportunities you’ve earned.

In February 2021, Microsoft announced new certifications exams that focus on Security, Compliance, and Identity (SCI) solutions which are available across the Azure platform (Microsoft Defender for Cloud), as well as Microsoft 365 (Microsoft 365 Defender).

Exam NumberCertification
SC-200Microsoft Security Operations Analyst
SC-300Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator
SC-400Microsoft Information Protection Administrator
SC-900Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

SC-200 Exam

The Security Operations Analyst Associate certification can help demonstrate knowledge of threat mitigation using Microsoft SCI Solutions, as well as performing proactive threat-hunting activities using:

Please check the following section on how to prepare for the SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst certification exam successfully.

SC-300 Exam

For people in identity roles, Identity & Access Administrator Associate certification can help prove knowledge of core identity governance principles and ensure a proper identity life cycle.

  • Azure Active Directory (AAD)
  • Azure AD Connect
  • Azure Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
  • Privileged Identity Management (PIM)
  • Conditional Access
  • Identity Governance

Please check the following guide to learn more on how to prepare for the SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator certification exam successfully.

SC-400 Exam

For people in compliance administrator roles, Information Protection Administrator Associate certification can help prove knowledge of core data concepts and how they’re implemented using Azure data services.

  • Information Protection
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • Information Governance

Please check the following guide to learn more on how to prepare for the SC-400: Microsoft Information Protection Administrator certification exam successfully.

SC-900 Exam

The Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals certification is for people looking to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of SCI across cloud-based and related Microsoft services, developed for a broad audience that may include business stakeholders, students starting in IT, or existing IT pros that have an interest in Microsoft SCI Solutions.

  • Security, compliance, and identity
  • Microsoft identity and access management solutions
  • Microsoft security solutions
  • Microsoft compliance solutions

Please check the following guide to learn more on how to prepare for the SC-900: Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals certification exam successfully.

SC-200 Exam Preparation

How do you prepare for SC-200?

I would like to share with you how to prepare and pass the SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst certification exam successfully based on my own experience.

Updated on 16/05/2022 In this exam, I got 40 questions using the standard multiple-choice and interactive item types in total with 2 case studies, the total time for this exam is 130 minutes (2.10 hours). The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.

Updated on 03/03/2021 In this exam, I got 51 questions in total with 2 case studies, and the total time for this exam is 120 minutes (2 hours). The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.

At the time of this writing, this exam is out of the Beta phase, and it’s Public. Beta exams are not scored immediately because Microsoft is gathering data on the quality of the questions and the exam. I will update this article as soon as I get the exam results from Microsoft.

I am so happy and grateful now that I received the final report for the SC-200 Microsoft Security Operations Analyst with a high passing score!

SC-200 - Microsoft Security Operations Analyst Score Report
SC-200 – Microsoft Security Operations Analyst Score Report

Exam Target Audience

The Microsoft Security Operations Analyst collaborates with organizational stakeholders to secure information technology systems for the organization. Their goal is to reduce organizational risk by rapidly remediating active attacks in the environment, advising on improvements to threat protection practices, and referring violations of organizational policies to appropriate stakeholders.

Responsibilities include threat management, monitoring, and response by using a variety of security solutions across their environment. The role primarily investigates, responds to, and hunts for threats using Microsoft Azure Sentinel, Azure Defender, Microsoft 365 Defender, and third-party security products. Since the security operations analyst consumes the operational output of these tools, they are also a critical stakeholder in the configuration and deployment of these technologies.

Prerequisites Study Resources

If you are new to the Identity and Access Administrator role these references can help you understand security fundamentals.

Skills measured on this exam

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical topics listed below based on the latest update from Microsoft.

Links to relevant reading from the official Microsoft documentation for each skill tested are listed below to help you prepare:

Mitigate threats using Microsoft 365 Defender (25-30%)

Mitigate threats to the production environment by using Microsoft 365 Defender

  • Investigate, respond, and remediate threats to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive
  • Investigate, respond, and remediate threats to email by using Microsoft Defender for Office 365
  • Investigate and respond to alerts generated from Data Loss Prevention policies
  • Investigate and respond to alerts generated from insider risk policies
  • Identify, investigate, and remediate security risks by using Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
  • Configure Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps to generate alerts and reports to detect threats

Mitigate endpoint threats by using Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

  • Manage data retention, alert notification, and advanced features
  • Recommend security baselines for devices
  • Respond to incidents and alerts
  • Manage automated investigations and remediations
  • Assess and recommend endpoint configurations to reduce and remediate vulnerabilities by using Microsoft’s threat and vulnerability management solution
  • Manage endpoint threat indicators

Mitigate identity threats

  • Identify and remediate security risks related to events for Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), part of Microsoft Entra
  • Identify and remediate security risks related to Azure AD Identity Protection events
  • Identify and remediate security risks related to Azure AD Conditional Access events
  • Identify and remediate security risks related to Active Directory Domain Services using Microsoft Defender for Identity

Manage extended detection and response (XDR) in Microsoft 365 Defender

  • Manage incidents across Microsoft 365 Defender products
  • Manage investigation and remediation actions in the Action Center
  • Perform threat hunting
  • Identify and remediate security risks using Microsoft Secure Score
  • Analyze threat analytics
  • Configure and manage custom detections and alerts

Learning Path: Mitigate threats using Microsoft 365 Defender

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Mitigate threats using Microsoft Defender for Cloud (20-25%)

Implement and maintain cloud security posture management and workload protection

  • Plan and configure Microsoft Defender for Cloud settings, including selecting target subscriptions and workspaces
  • Configure Microsoft Defender for Cloud roles
  • Assess and recommend cloud workload protection
  • Identify and remediate security risks using the Microsoft Defender for Cloud Secure Score
  • Manage policies for regulatory compliance
  • Review and remediate security recommendations

Plan and implement the use of data connectors for ingestion of data sources in Microsoft Defender for Cloud

  • Identify data sources to be ingested for Microsoft Defender for Cloud
  • Configure automated onboarding for Azure resources
  • Connect multi-cloud and on-premises resources
  • Configure data collections

Configure and respond to alerts and incidents in Microsoft Defender for Cloud

  • Validate alert configuration
  • Set up email notifications
  • Create and manage alert suppression rules
  • Design and configure workflow automation in Microsoft Defender for Cloud
  • Remediate alerts and incidents by using Microsoft Defender for Cloud recommendations
  • Manage security alerts and incidents
  • Analyze Microsoft Defender for Cloud threat intelligence reports
  • Manage user data discovered during an investigation

Learning Path: Mitigate threats using Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Mitigate threats using Microsoft Sentinel (50-55%)

Design and configure a Microsoft Sentinel workspace

  • Plan a Microsoft Sentinel workspace
  • Configure Microsoft Sentinel roles
  • Design and configure Microsoft Sentinel data storage
  • Implement and use the Content hub, repositories, and community resources

Plan and implement the use of data connectors for ingestion of data sources in Microsoft Sentinel

  • Identify data sources to be ingested for Microsoft Sentinel
  • Identify the prerequisites for a Microsoft Sentinel data connector
  • Configure and use Microsoft Sentinel data connectors
  • Configure Microsoft Sentinel data connectors by using Azure Policy
  • Configure Microsoft Sentinel connectors for Microsoft 365 Defender and Microsoft Defender for Cloud
  • Design and configure Syslog and CEF event collections
  • Design and configure Windows Security event collections
  • Configure custom threat intelligence connectors

Manage Microsoft Sentinel analytics rules

  • Design and configure analytics rules
  • Activate Microsoft security analytics rules
  • Configure built-in scheduled queries
  • Configure custom scheduled queries
  • Define incident creation logic
  • Manage and use watchlists
  • Manage and use threat indicators

Perform data classification and normalization

  • Classify and analyze data by using entities
  • Create custom logs in Azure Log Analytics to store custom data
  • Query Microsoft Sentinel data by using Advanced SIEM Information Model (ASIM) parsers
  • Develop and manage ASIM parsers

Configure Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) in Microsoft Sentinel

  • Configure automation rules
  • Create and configure Microsoft Sentinel playbooks
  • Configure alerts and incidents to trigger an automation
  • Use automation to remediate threats
  • Use automation to manage incidents

Manage Microsoft Sentinel Incidents

  • Triage incidents in Microsoft Sentinel
  • Investigate incidents in Microsoft Sentinel
  • Respond to incidents in Microsoft Sentinel
  • Investigate multi-workspace incidents
  • Identify advanced threats with Entity Behavior Analytics

Use Microsoft Sentinel workbooks to analyze and interpret data

  • Activate and customize Microsoft Sentinel workbook templates
  • Create custom workbooks
  • Configure advanced visualizations
  • View and analyze Microsoft Sentinel data using workbooks
  • Track incident metrics using the security operations efficiency workbook

Hunt for threats using Microsoft Sentinel

  • Create custom hunting queries
  • Run hunting queries manually
  • Monitor hunting queries by using Livestream
  • Configure and use MSTICPy in notebooks
  • Perform hunting by using notebooks
  • Track query results with bookmarks
  • Use hunting bookmarks for data investigations
  • Convert a hunting query to an analytical rule

Learning Path: Mitigate threats using Microsoft Sentinel

MS-500 | Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate

I have included the MS-500 older exam here as an example of the overall skills measured in this exam.

You can see that it measures your skills on a broad range of security solutions compared to the new exams which are more specific.

  • Implement and manage identity and access
  • Implement and manage threat protection
  • Implement and manage information protection
  • Manage governance and compliance features in Microsoft 365

If you are interested in taking the MS-500 exam, please check my step-by-step guide on preparing and passing the MS-500 exam successfully.

SC-200 Training Labs

Check the following step-by-step hands-on labs developed by Microsoft that will help you to gain more practical experience.

You can find below the lab build guide for the SC-200 official course:

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

Module 5

Module 6

Module 7

Module 8

SC-200 Books

At the time of this writing, there are two books that you can use to prepare for this exam.

Microsoft Press released the Exam Reference SC-200 Book – Microsoft Security Operations Analyst by September 2021, you can place the order here.

This book will help you to prepare for Microsoft Exam SC-200 and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of skills and knowledge required to work with stakeholders to secure IT systems, and to rapidly remediate active attacks.

Exam Reference SC-200 Book - Microsoft Security Operations Analyst
Exam Ref SC-200 Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

The second book is Microsoft Security Operations Analyst Exam Ref SC-200 Certification Guide: Manage, monitor, and respond to threats using Microsoft Security Stack for securing IT systems by Trevor Stuart and Joe Anich.

Lessons Learned

Practice, practice, and read… I cannot stress enough that hands-on experience and understanding of all the security concepts in Microsoft 365 Defender and Microsoft Defender for Cloud will help you to pass this exam.

The main suggestion I have is you MUST be proficient with Kusto Query Language (KQL) in order to pass the SC-200 Exam. It’s as simple as that. You need to know the relevant Azure AD and Azure Diagnostics tables and how to use intermediate-level KQL clauses to construct queries.

Because Exam SC-200 is an associate-level administrator job role, you need to be quite familiar indeed with the user interface of the Microsoft 365 web portals, particularly M365 Endpoint Protection, App Security, and Microsoft Defender for Cloud.

Remember that the Microsoft Cloud Platform security products rely heavily on Azure Logic Apps (playbooks). Thus, for the SC-200 Exam, you need to know how to make security event-triggered Logic Apps to be successful.

This exam assumes that you have worked with Azure Log Analytics not only in a hybrid cloud environment but in an Azure environment that spans subscriptions and tenants. Knowing the Microsoft Sentinel data connectors and how to set them up is important.

Role-based access control (RBAC) is clearly in scope for the SC-200 Exam. You should know the built-in RBAC roles used for least-privilege security administration in Azure AD, Azure resources, Microsoft Sentinel, Log Analytics, Logic Apps, etc.

When you’re taking a Microsoft administration or implementation certification exam, you can expect several interactive items in which you specify step-by-step procedures. This underscores how important it is for you to gain hands-on experience with Microsoft 365 and Azure security products.

The biggest subject areas that I saw on the SC-200 exam are the following:

  • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
    • Conditional Access
  • Azure Information Protection
  • Microsoft Sentinel (a lot of questions, a lot…)
    • KQL queries
    • Logic Apps
    • Common Event Format (CEF)
    • Notebooks
    • Hunting
    • Analytics rules
  • Microsoft 365 Defender
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS)
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
    • KQL queries
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud
    • Secure Score
    • Security Alerts
    • Workflow automation
    • Cloud connectors
    • Email notifications

Overall, I think Microsoft Worldwide Learning is doing a good job of gradually shaping these exams to reflect real-world Azure security best practice scenarios. The SC-200 exam is logically organized and focused solely on Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Sentinel, and Microsoft Defender for Cloud.

As announced by Microsoft Worldwide learning due to the pandemic situation, it appears they have suspended performance-based lab questions given their need to reserve Azure capacity for paying customers. So you better get your exams registered as soon as possible to take advantage of this situation.

SC-200 Exam Dumps and Practice Test

If you wish to validate your skills before taking the real exam, I highly encourage you to purchase the following practice test:

SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst Microsoft Official Practice Test. The MeasureUp SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst practice test from mind hub is designed to help you prepare for and pass the Microsoft SC-200 exam. This exam is aimed at Security Operations Analysts who want to validate their skills. You should have knowledge of how to investigate, respond and hunt for threats to the information technology systems of the organization. They reduce organizational risk, advise on improving threat protection practices and refer to violations of policies.

This test contains 121 questions and covers the following objectives:

  • Mitigate threats using Microsoft 365 Defender — (34 questions).
  • Mitigate threats using Microsoft Defender for Cloud — (36 questions).
  • Mitigate threats using Microsoft Sentinel — (51 questions).

Instructor-led virtual training

Last but certainly not least, if you prefer instructor-led training, Microsoft released the SC-200T00 4 days course. This course teaches you how to investigate, respond to, and hunt for threats using Microsoft Sentinel, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, and Microsoft 365 Defender. In this course, you will learn how to mitigate cyber threats using these technologies. Specifically, you will configure and use Microsoft Sentinel as well as utilize Kusto Query Language (KQL) to perform detection, analysis, and reporting. The course was designed for people who work in a Security Operations job role and helps learners prepare for the exam SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst.

If you prefer to get prepare for this exam with Microsoft MCT instructor-led virtual training, you can get in contact with me here.

Exam SC-200: FAQs

What are the Prerequisites for SC-200?

The prerequisites for SC-200 are the following:

  • Basic understanding of Microsoft 365 Defender.
  • Fundamental understanding of Microsoft security, compliance, and identity products.
  • Intermediate understanding of Windows 10/11.
  • Familiarity with Azure services, specifically Azure SQL Database and Azure Storage.
  • Familiarity with Azure virtual machines and virtual networking.
  • Basic understanding of scripting concepts.

How long is the SC-200 exam?

The exam duration is 120 minutes (2 hours).

Does SC-200 have labs?

Microsoft starts introducing lab questions in the exam. You should prepare for the performance-based testing (PBT) lab questions. You would expect to see lab questions for the SC-200 exam. It’s important to know you do NOT have to wait for deployments to complete these performance-based (lab) tests.

As long as the deployment passes validation, you’re good to go, because every minute counts on the exam.

Check the hands-on labs above for the best way of demonstrating ability.

How many questions are in the SC-200 exam?

The number of questions can vary between 40 to 60 questions.

Schedule SC-200 Exam

At the time of this writing, Microsoft launched the SC-200 exam in beta mode, if you would like to take the beta exam and receive the 80% discount*, use the code below when prompted for payment: SC200WATERLOO. You must register for the exam on or before March 15, 2021. The seats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once you are ready, click Schedule exam here and take it online from the comfort of your home/office with proctor supervision.

Exam SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

If you are planning to take the SC-200 exam… I wish you all the best and Happy Studying!!!

__
Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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14 thoughts on “SC-200 Exam Study Guide: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst”

Leave a comment...

  1. Hi there: Thank you for your detailed article. Is there anyway to get exam discounts for SC-200 at this point? The discount code seen in MicroSoft website seems to have expired

  2. Hello Jim, thanks for your comment.
    Unfortunately, the access discount code is only valid for the first 300 people.
    This means that the cap is already reached at the moment. Stay tuned for Microsoft Ignite, March 2-4, 2021!

  3. Hello Joseph, Thanks for your comment. As of today, there is no practice source for the SC-200 exam yet.
    I expect a practice exam starting April 2021. I will update this article as soon as it’s published.

  4. Hello! I have my SC200 exam schedule for May , have you found any practice exam? Thank you for the article.

  5. Hello Patty, thanks for the comment. No practice test yet at the time of this writing. I will update this article as soon as Microsoft release the official practice test. In the meantime, please check the lab section here that will help you to prepare and pass this exam.

  6. Thank you for such an informative article! Is there any discounts that are active or about to be active, that I might avail of in regard to SC-200? Thank you in advance.

  7. Hello Rob, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, there is no discount code for the SC-200. The exam is already out of beta now. Good Luck with your preparation!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with the test.

    I’m getting ready for this universe of Microsoft certifications and I didn’t know, for example, that the MS-500 was old.

    I realized the difference between MS-500 and SCI certifications, but with your help, my studies will take another level.

    Thank you one more time.

    José Oliveira

  9. It looks like the training labs are not working. Once you click any lab it takes you to the GitHub page and the “page not found” error is displayed.

  10. Thank you Michael for the feedback!
    Yes, the Labs were recently updated to reflect the new names for Microsoft Defender for Cloud (formerly Azure Defender) and Microsoft Sentinel (formerly Azure Sentinel).
    I have updated the Labs with the new links. It should be ok now.
    Good Luck!

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