How to prepare for the OCI Security Associate Certification

January 28, 2022 | 6 minute read
Rohit Rahi
Vice President, OCI Global Delivery, Oracle University
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As organizations move workloads to the public cloud, develop cloud-native applications, and embrace multi-cloud environments – security and the ability to mitigate cloud vulnerabilities becomes a primary concern to a fully realized cloud adoption scenario. At the same time, not all organizations have real-world experience in securely adopting or using cloud services. According to the (ISC)2 2021 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the global cybersecurity workforce shortage is estimated to be 2.72 million worldwide. An increased focus and investment in security trainings can help close this gap significantly.

Security is core to everything we do in the cloud. OCI Security Associate certification (1z0-1104-21) aligns with real-world responsibilities and skillsets required for cloud architects and security professionals. If you use, or are planning to use OCI –even if security is not your primary focus– this certification will help you acquire a broad range of security knowledge that will be useful in your daily work.

Here are a few strategies to help prepare for the certification exam.

What does the OCI Security Associate certification include?

In this advanced-level course, you’ll gain an overview of key OCI security innovations and a deep dive into OCI-specific security services and features. Familiarizing yourself with these services and the associated skillset will be critical as you secure your cloud environments. The graphic below shows some of the OCI security services this course covers:

How to prepare for the OCI Security Associate Certification

Familiarize yourself with the exam topics

Start by reviewing the topics that will be covered in the exam. This exam is designed to validate:

  • Working knowledge of OCI security services to provide a secure cloud environment
  • Understanding of OCI Identity and Access Management service and its features
  • Understanding of data-encryption methods and OCI mechanisms to secure data
  • Understanding of network security in OCI
  • Understanding of how to secure applications in OCI
  • Understanding of security operations, including monitoring, logging, and alerting

Take the free OCI Security Associate course

You can safely assume that any topics not listed here are not required on the exam. For example, Oracle Identity Cloud Service (IDCS) is not a required topic for the exam and you can skip it all together. After you review the exam topics, you can dive into the free OCI Security Associate Learning Path. Here are a few things to know about the course

The learning path is your one-stop shop for getting ready to take the exam, and it includes:

  • A ~19 hour long course,
  • Exam prep session
  • Practice exam
  • Lab guides and
  • Registration and scheduling for the online certification exam

The course itself is designed as separate chapters (modules). Each module consists of micro-lessons that are less than 10 minutes long and cover a specific feature/service. The ultimate goal here is to help you retain information well, and one of the most effective ways of learning and retaining new information is by recall and by asking questions. That is why the course modules include skill checks, where you can answer a question and assess your knowledge retention by getting a score. If your score is not satisfactory, you can watch a specific topic again.   

The modules include:

  1. Identity and access management
  2. Network/compute/storage/database security services
  3. Application security
  4. Cloud security posture management
  5. Vault service

 

How to prepare for the OCI Security Associate Certification

How is the OCI Security Associate certification (1Z0-1104-21) different from the Oracle Cloud Platform Identity and Security Management 2021 Specialist (1Z0-1070-21) certification?

The Oracle Cloud Platform Identity and Security Management 2021 Specialist certification includes legacy Oracle Cloud security services – e.g., it has a significant focus on Oracle Identity Cloud Service (IDCS), which is no longer available as a standalone service. For this reason, we plan to sunset the 1Z0-1070-21 certification sometime in early 2022. 

Therefore, our recommendation is to prepare to take the OCI Security Associate (1Z0-1104-21) certification instead, which focuses on the most current OCI security services and skill sets. If you have already earned the Oracle Cloud Platform Identity and Security Management Specialist title, the OCI Security Associate exam (1Z0-1104-21) will be your future path to renew your certification.

Activate the free hands-on OCI practice environment

Understanding how to implement common scenarios practically using OCI security services is a very important aspect of preparing for the exam. The OCI Security Associate course includes a free lab environment that you can use to practice and get the requisite hands-on experience with OCI services. In this blog post, I detailed in full how to gain access to our free hands-on OCI exercise environment.

What you need to know about the labs:

  • You can use the associate lab activity guide that has step-by-step guided instructions on how to run these practices.
  • We have 23 practices in total that should get you solidly familiar with the OCI security services and help tremendously on the exam.
  • These labs are also recorded and available as part of the training course (so if you are pressed for time, you can watch these recordings instead of performing the hands-on practices). 

How to prepare for the OCI Security Associate Certification

Additional exam preparation resources

Focus on the OCI Security Associate course, as it covers all the exam topics and was carefully developed by Oracle’s product experts.

In addition to the training course, you should also make a practice to read our OCI documentation. OCI documentation is very comprehensive and detailed, so don’t be intimidated by its size.

My suggestion: first watch a specific topic in the training course and then read some of the details on the OCI docs site.   

In addition, many learners find study groups very effective. You can find colleagues who are interested and set up time with them to comment on the course videos, skill checks, practice test, etc. Most importantly, I recommend you do the labs and duplicate the demos together. This is an effective way to learn by doing things (which brings me to the next point).

How do I know I am ready to take the certification exam?

Let’s say you have gone through the course videos and completed the lab exercises. But how do you know you are ready to take the exam?

This is where practice tests and exam prep sessions come in handy. The exam prep session goes over a few sample questions that mimic the actual exam questions and include test-taking strategies. After going over the exam prep session, you should take the included practice exam –doing so will give you a good representation of the type of questions (wording, format, coverage, etc.) that might appear on the actual certification exam.

Once you are satisfied with your score on the practice test (typically, anything above 80% is a good score), you are ready to take the actual exam. Remember, the passing score for the certification exam is 66%.

That’s it! I hope you found this post useful. If there is anything else we can help with, do let us know. Remember, all the OCI exams are free until Feb 28, 2022, so definitely make use of this great offer.

Good luck on the exam and on your learning journey.  

Start training to get your OCI Security Assoociate certification.

Rohit Rahi

Vice President, OCI Global Delivery, Oracle University

Rohit Rahi, Vice President, Oracle University, leads Oracle Cloud Infrastructure global delivery, training, and certifications. He has been part of the core team that launched Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in 2016. Previously, he worked at AWS and Microsoft Azure in various roles.


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