Certifications / Microsoft

Is the SC-400 Worth It?

Is the SC-400 Worth It?
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Published on January 23, 2023

It’s no secret that Microsoft 365 has a wide market share among organizations both big and small. In fact, it’s a safe bet you’re either working at an organization or will be working at one with Microsoft 365. (Hint: If you are using Outlook, Word, or Excel, it’s a good chance you already have it!)

With that said, it may be a good idea to capitalize on Microsoft’s flagship productivity suite by getting the Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate (SC-400) certification. However, Microsoft has several different certifications, so it may not be clear why you should get this one above any other. So in this article, we’ll discuss what the SC-400 exam covers, how much it costs, who should take it, and more. 

Want to Start Studying for the SC-400 Exam?

At CBT Nuggets, we design many of our courses to help IT pros prepare and study for certification exams, meaning they map to exam objectives. Trainer Bob Salmans recently created a Microsoft Information Protection Administrator (SC-400) course that can help you level up your cybersecurity skills in regard to Microsoft. 

Start a 7-day free trial to explore our SC-400 training today!

What is the SC-400?

Microsoft 365 is a huge list of applications. Ranging from Microsoft Outlook, to Teams, One Drive, OneNote, and much more. All of these require a certain level of database administration to ensure everything runs smoothly. Without proper database administration, this host of apps creates many opportunities for data to be stolen, improperly accessed, or illegally deleted.

The SC-400 was created to help train a Microsoft Information Protection Administrator. This individual will ensure all recommended security measures are accurately implemented throughout the MS 365 ecosystem. As a quick example, an SC-400 expert would work with a business owner on security requirements regarding Microsoft Teams. Requirements such as ensuring only certain people have access to certain channels, and so on. 

The SC-400 exam measures three different domains. They are listed here, along with a few examples of what each entails:

Implement Information Protection (35-40%)

  • Creating a keyword dictionary. In other words, a way to flag inappropriate language or sensitive data.

  • Implement document fingerprinting.

  • Create Sensitivity Labels.

Implement data loss prevention (30-35%)

  • Configure policies for Microsoft Exchange.

  • Monitor Endpoint activities.

  • Configure policies in Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS).

Implement information governance (25-30%)

  • Create and apply retention labels.

  • Implement Microsoft Exchange archiving policies.

  • Apply litigation holds on mailboxes.

As you can see, the SC-400 requires a thorough understanding of several different applications in MS 365. So it is a good idea to have a couple of years of experience using MS 365 before trying to earn this cert.

See also: Microsoft Purview: What is it & How it's Changing Governance.

How Much Does the SC-400 Cost?

The SC-400 exam costs $165. The exam is two hours long and is comprised of around eighty-five questions. The exam is multiple-choice. However, it may also contain “Drag and Drop” questions, Multiple Answers, Scenario Based, and more. Unlike other exams such as the CKAD, this one does not provide a free retake. A 700 out of 1000 is required to pass.

Who Should Take the SC-400?

The SC-400 is for experts who will have administrative access to MS 365. SC-400 holders will generally serve as a liaison between a stakeholder and the IT department. He or she will translate security requirements to technical implementation. With that in mind, the following roles would greatly benefit from this certification. 

Security Engineer

A Security Engineer’s job is to review, implement, and advocate for reliable and robust system security. Obtaining the SC-400 certification will give the engineer a broader knowledge of MS 365, thus ensuring adequate security policies are in place.

Data Protection Administrator

This is the most obvious one on the list. It is the occupation the SC-400 was pretty much created for. A DPO is responsible for all policies related to data governance, retention, and privacy. 

Security Consultant

A security consultant will see the common thread of security required between multiple different organizations. Earning an SC-400 would allow a security consultant to suggest several different data governance policies their client would had never even thought of.

Is the SC-400 Worth It?

So at the end of the day, the SC-400 is certainly worth it if you would like to build a career in cybersecurity. It is also perfect for those who are already in the world of cybersecurity and wish to expand their knowledge. Let’s look at these two justifications a little more in-depth.

Use to Learn Skills

The SC-400 is everything you need to know to consider yourself competent in the world of Microsoft data governance. Earning the SC-400 will put you on the road to earning a promotion, and a higher salary, and will open up rewarding new career opportunities. 

Use to Validate Skills

The SC-400 is not only good for those breaking into the security business, but also for those who are already knowledgeable in the sphere. Often times experts are very good at the specific tasks that they are assigned.


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