The Astaro Security Gateway appliance (mail applications only) comes to us again, this time highlighting some of its email content functionality. With this gateway, administrators can set policy to manage spam, encrypt messages and scan email for viruses. Furthermore, this tool allows users to access a web-based portal to manage their own spam quarantine, which cuts down on the need for support intervention.

Getting this appliance up and running is a quick process. When it is connected to the network and the web GUI is accessed for the first time, the administrator is prompted to go through a configuration wizard. This wizard helps not only set up basic system settings, but also initial policy. The only problem we ran into was changing the default IP address. Only after the configuration is complete can a secondary address be created.

At the completion of the wizard, the administrator can now login to the web GUI for finetuning and advanced configuration. We found this GUI to be nicely organized with a fairly intuitive layout. This offering provides a nice amount of configuration flexibility, as well as policy granularity.

Documentation included a quick-start guide, as well as a full administration manual. The quick-start guide outlines clear steps to getting the appliance connected to the network, while the manual covers everything else - from initial configuration to managing advanced functionality. We found both guides to be well-organized with clear and easy-to-follow instructions.

Astaro offers free, web-based technical support via a knowledge base and online user forum. Customers also can purchase phone- and email-based assistance as part of a plan.

At a price just over $2,400 for the email protection piece of the appliance, we find this product to be a good value for the money. The Astaro Security Gateway offers a multitude of functionality and policy control at a reasonable price.