And the Enrique Lima Award Winner is…. Tiago Costa

This past Tuesday – 12th April, I got awarded with the Enrique Lima award. This is probably the hardest post I ever wrote… I have no words to describe the feeling and how much this award means to me. Enrique was an amazing person and a great leader on the MCT Community – a true role-model. Unfortunate he passed away during the MCT Summit in Bellevue in 2016 and Microsoft Learning (now WWL – Worldwide Learning) decided to create this award in his memory. The list of awardees is impressive, but I need to highlight the MCT previously awarded – a good friend and MCT Regional Lead for the UK – Chris Rhodes. Chris was an active member of the community, always available to help and available to share his knowledge by speaking in conferences and user groups. Unfortunately, Chris had passed away after battle a long-term illness. So, I like to think about this award as a dedication all the hard work of all the MCTs that are no longer among us!

I got the award at 12:30 AM… Very late for me. I barely sleep this night thinking and remembering some great conversations with Enrique and Chris. Let’s not cry but remember all the good time we spend together with Enrique, Chris, all other MCTs that are no longer with us!

I final message to all the Microsoft Certified Trainers that selected me for this award, it is a great honor to carry your trust and an award with Enrique’s name! A special message for George Markou – Σ’ ευχαριστώ αδερφέ μου – that sent this kind message to Microsoft Learning!

What is the Enrique Lima award?

Recognizing and celebrating the outstanding work of Microsoft Certified Trainers

The Enrique Lima Award was established to honor the contributions of Enrique Lima—a husband, a father of two, an MCT and MCT Regional Lead—who went above and beyond expectations to build a vibrant MCT Community. Enrique personified the spirit of the MCT Community. Today, the award is given to those who embody the same knowledge, passion, and commitment to the Microsoft community, as a whole, and specifically to the MCT program.

Previous awardees

The list of the previous awardees is quite impressive. Great leaders of the community.

  • 2019 – Chris Rhodes (UK)
  • 2018 – John Deardurff (USA)
  • 2017 – Glenn Morris (Australia)
  • 2016 – Rachel Jones (USA) and Konstantin Ceran (Turkey)

2019 Award Winner – Chris Rhodes

For over 20 years Chris brought change and opportunity to the classroom, empowering thousands of learners with flair for knowledge transfer drawn from a lifelong commitment to teaching Microsoft technologies.

His Exchange Server knowledge saw him ghost co-write an Exchange book and many official exam questions. He later specialized into PowerShell and Windows Server and earned the coveted Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award seven times for his Windows expertise and community activities with the Windows User Group, and later the Microsoft 365 User Group in Yorkshire.

Chris was a career MCT, popular and regarded, highly, amongst his peers. Over the last 23 years he has helped thousands of IT professionals in their careers, teaching Microsoft technology courses both throughout the UK and internationally.

Sadly, Chris passed away in July 2019. Chris loved his wife of 21 years, Steph, and their seven children and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and fellow MCTs.

2018 Award Winner – John Deardurff

Prior to joining Microsoft as a SQL Premier Field Engineer, John spent 17 years as a Senior Technical Instructor for New Horizons of Indianapolis. John has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) since July 2000, and an MCT Regional Lead since 2012. He specializes in teaching Windows Networking, Active Directory, Exchange Server, and SQL Server courses. He has also been a guest speaker at several dozen SQL Saturday events across the United States. John currently serves as a board member for the Indianapolis SQL Server Users Group (IndyPASS) and is one of the lead organizers of the SQL Saturday event held annually in Indianapolis.

What achieving the 2018 Enrique Lima Award means to John: “Being awarded the Enrique Lima award by the global MCT community was such an incredible honor. Enrique was such a large part of the community in the giving of his time, knowledge and heart, both locally and globally. I was deeply humbled to bring the spirit of this award back to our shared hometown of Indianapolis.

2017 Award Winner – Glenn Morris

A former Mathematics Lecturer turned developer Glenn has transitioned into the Data Science stream over the past decade. During his move to the Information Technology world Glenn realized he enjoyed passing on his passion for technology and became a Microsoft Certified Trainer. Glenn’s passion extends to training and empowering people.

Glenn alternates between training in the classroom and consulting, but admits he has a leaning towards the classroom.

Glenn’s statement on receiving the 2017 Enrique Lima Award: “I was incredibly honored to receive the Enrique Lima Award. Enrique was one of the people that inspired me to be a better trainer and, more importantly, to be a more giving and community minded MCT. Being based in Australia I often felt detached from the greater MCT community but after meeting Enrique, he took time to introduce me to people and communities all over the world while inspiring me to become a leader in my own region. With his help and guidance, I have run a number of MCT Events in Australia, become a Regional Lead and generally become a better trainer and member of the MCT Community. I guess it is all the little things he did that made him special.

2016 Award Winners

Rachel Jones

A Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) since 1995, and a current MCT Regional Lead, Rachel Jones’ greatest passion is to broaden the reach of computer science education across diverse populations. Rachel’s 25-year career includes work as an instructor, software developer and content developer. She authored a computer science textbook used worldwide, and she is a subject matter expert with Microsoft helping to shape industry curriculum and certifications. Her education includes B.S. degrees in both Computer Science and Marketing. In addition, she holds several industry certifications.

When asked about what the 2016 Enrique Lima award means to her, Rachel replied, “Enrique Lima was a close friend and a colleague. He loved he MCT Community and was always the first to lend a helping hand to others. It is the greatest honor and privilege of my career to be an inaugural recipient of the Enrique Lima award. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Konstantin Ceran

Konstantin is an IT Professional, currently working as a Learning Consultant for training companies based in Istanbul. With 20+ years of experience on the field, Konstantin focuses on Microsoft infrastructure solutions, with an expertise on Windows-based server technologies. In 2008, Konstantin was ranked 17th worldwide in certification training and rewarded by New Horizons USA with the Worldwide Excellence in Training award.

Konstantin loves to share his knowledge and volunteers as a mentor for colleagues who want to become certified trainers. Konstantin leads the Turkish Chapter for the International Association of MCTs and is the Microsoft Regional Lead for MCTs in Turkey.

What achieving the 2018 Enrique Lima Award means to Konstantin: “I was deeply touched to be selected for an award bearing [Enrique’s] name in 2016. I also felt honored because people who were thousands of miles away from me were actually seeing my efforts. Until then, I did not know that so many people were appreciating my involvement in the MCT community. So I felt a certain responsibility to those who had recommended me for this award and I am still honored to be one of the very few people who received the Enrique Lima Award globally.

Speaking at Global Azure 2021


Global Azure is here, and we have an overload of amazing sessions!!!

Has previous years and toghether with 3 other Azure MVPs (Pedro Sousa, Virgilio Esteves and Sandro Pereira) I’m organizing the local Global Azure 2021 – Portugal.

This year I also decide to take advantage the virtual approach of most events and deliver sessions at 6 different events. Here is a small list:

  • 9:00AM to 9:15AM – Welcome at Global Azure Portugal
  • 9:15AM to 10:00 AM: I find your lack of Azure Governance disturbing! – Global Azure Portugal
  • 10:30AM – 11:00AM – India
  • 11:00 – 11:45 – I find your lack of Azure Governance disturbing! – Global Azure Greece (SLOT 2)
  • 11:45 to 12:00 – Supercharge you App Service to a Global Scale – Global Azure Nigeria (infra Track)
  • 11:45 to 12:45 – I find your lack of Azure Governance disturbing! – Global Azure Bulgaria (TRACK 3)

It’s going to be a crazy morning and then I will be monitoring the afternoon sessions at Global Azure Portugal. Will you join me at some of the events?


New Azure Management Groups Portal Experience!!!

It’s quite common to have organizations with many Azure Subscriptions, and it’s hard to manage each Subscription on its own… Azure Management Groups provide a level of scope above Subscriptions so that we can organize our Subscriptions. We can apply Azure Policies or RBAC authorization at the Management Group scope instead of having to do this at each Azure Subscription. This leads to create a hierarchy of Azure Management Groups to respond to the company structure and organization in Azure. There are several best practices on how to create this. I recommend you to ready this article on Microsoft Docs – Management group and subscription organization – Cloud Adoption Framework | Microsoft Docs. It explains how to structure the Management Groups hierarchy using some of the best practices of the Cloud Adoption Framework.

Old Azure Management Groups UI

This was the previous UI in the Azure Portal for Management Groups. Impossible the full tree of Management Groups / Subscriptions. We could only see in the breadcrumb the hierarchy of the current selected Management Group / Subscription.

Introducing the new Management Groups UI

But this blog post is not to talk about the Management Groups features, it’s to talk about a big struggle that Azure Governance professionals have for years. Find an easy way to see a tree view of the Management Groups. Yes, we could see that in other areas of the Azure Portal like Security Center, but I want, and I deserve to see this in the Management Group blade, upppsss, Window! They are called Windows now and not blades!

Our feedback produced amazing results. Look at this amazing new UI Experience in the Azure Portal!

I can now easily check in just one page the hierarchy of my Management Groups and understand why certain policies are affecting some Subscriptions, ….

What do you think? Better this way? Super excited to start to show this to customers and students!

New Microsoft Security Certification

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In today’s world, Security it’s a hot topic. More and more organization are moving workloads to the Cloud and the way we interact and move data around is changing. Data is no longer contained within corporate network perimeter; we use mobile devices, work from home and have to share the data with valuable partners. It’s more important than ever to be able to protect our workloads and data from unauthorized access. Microsoft Learning is aware of this changing world and released 4 new role-based certifications focused on Security.

Together with other amazing professionals I did a session at Microsoft Ignite 2021 just about this topic. You can watch it at:

What are the 4 new certifications and how can you get then? It couldn’t be easier. You pass at 1 exam and you get the corresponding certification! I have compiled the list of certifications and corresponding exams:


Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

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

This certification is targeted to those looking to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of security, compliance, and identity (SCI) across cloud-based and related Microsoft services.

This is a broad audience that may include business stakeholders, new or existing IT professionals, or students who have an interest in Microsoft security, compliance, and identity solutions.

Candidates should be familiar with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 and want to understand how Microsoft security, compliance, and identity solutions can span across these solution areas to provide a holistic and end-to-end solution.

Skills measured:

  • Describe the concepts of security, compliance, and identity (5-10%)
  • Describe the capabilities of Microsoft identity and access management solutions (25-30%)
  • Describe the capabilities of Microsoft security solutions (30-35%)
  • Describe the capabilities of Microsoft compliance solutions (25-30%)


Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate

Exam SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

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.

Skills measured:

  • Mitigate threats using Microsoft 365 Defender (25-30%)
  • Mitigate threats using Azure Defender (25-30%)
  • Mitigate threats using Azure Sentinel (40-45%)


Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate

Exam SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator

The Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator designs, implements, and operates an organization’s identity and access management systems by using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). They manage tasks such as providing secure authentication and authorization access to enterprise applications. The administrator provides seamless experiences and self-service management capabilities for all users. Adaptive access and governance are core elements to the role. This role is also responsible for troubleshooting, monitoring, and reporting for the identity and access environment.

The Identity and Access Administrator may be a single individual or a member of a larger team. This role collaborates with many other roles in the organization to drive strategic identity projects to modernize identity solutions, to implement hybrid identity solutions, and to implement identity governance.

Skills measured:

  • Implement an identity management solution (25-30%)
  • Implement an authentication and access management solution (25-30%)
  • Implement access management for apps (10-15%)
  • Plan and implement an identity governance strategy (25-30%)


Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate

Exam SC-400: Microsoft Information Protection Administrator

The Information Protection Administrator plans and implements controls that meet organizational compliance needs. This person is responsible for translating requirements and compliance controls into technical implementation. They assist organizational control owners to become and stay compliant.

They work with information technology (IT) personnel, business application owners, human resources, and legal stakeholders to implement technology that supports policies and controls necessary to sufficiently address regulatory requirements for their organization. They also work with the compliance and security leadership such as a Chief Compliance Officer and Security Officer to evaluate the full breadth of associated enterprise risk and partner to develop those policies.

This person defines applicable requirements and tests IT processes and operations against those policies and controls. They are responsible for creating policies and rules for content classification, data loss prevention, governance, and protection.

Skills measured:

  • Implement information protection (35-40%)
  • Implement data loss prevention (30-35%)
  • Implement information governance (25-30%)



How to prep for these exams?

In each exam page you have the Microsoft Lean learning paths. It’s free and an amazing resource to get started. I also advise candidates to take some practice exams like MeasureUp. It’s important to understand how questions are done. Allocate some time in your schedule, build a learning plan and follow it. Then just schedule the exam and seat for it! I teach hundreds of professionals every year and help then get certified. Most professional with proper preparation succeed on the exam, but sometimes that’s not the case. If that happens with you, use that experience as a learning opportunity, you have checked the format of the exam, the type of questions you struggled, … Take 1-2 weeks to study some more and give it another shoot, I’m sure you will ace it!

At the time of writing this article, these 4 exams are still in Beta. Beta exams are not scored immediately because Microsoft is gathering data on the quality of the questions and the exam. It usually takes around 2-3 weeks after the exam is out of Beta for you to take the score.


What does this mean for the actual AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies and MS-500: Microsoft 365 Security Administration exams?
Well in short it means nothing. Both AZ-500 and MS-500 are generic security exams and certifications for Azure and Microsoft 365. The SC portfolio is more detailed and target at specific roles that cross the Azure and M365 space – Identity, Information Protection, …


Hope you enjoyed this post about the new Microsoft Security certifications and if you have questions just comment or ping me over social networks!