EmailHardwareInternetSecuritySystem Administration

Hardware Review: Astaro Security Gateway ASG110/120

The Astaro Security Gateway is a product we have been using for a few years with various clients as a UTM (Unified Threat Management) device. It offers a number of features that they require, including network security, email security, and web surfing security.

We first chose the Astaro Security Gateway for a client who needed a reliable web content filter, and an email spam filter. They had previously used various patchwork solutions which were not meeting their needs. The Astaro product did everything they required, replacing their aging firewall, providing secure remote access, a web content filter to keep users from accessing websites they shouldn’t, and blocking junk email. When I asked the director how he liked it, as compared to their previous solution, he said he was “Very, very, very satisfied.” That’s the kind of feedback we like.

Usually when we put a UTM in place, clients have one security device in place, but not others. The nice thing is that the Astaro combines multiple services into a single unit. While this does place all of the proverbial eggs in one basket and can lead to a single point of failure for network traffic and security, for small businesses on a tight budget, it does provide an affordable way to get services you might not normally have in place.

The first line of defense offered by the Astaro is its firewall. The ASG can act as your network’s router and firewall, whether your Internet connection is a T1 line, DSL modem, or Cable modem. The device provided by your ISP plugs directly into the ASG, which then connects to the rest of your network.

By default, the Astaro Security Gateway is a “default deny” firewall. This is to say that initially, unless you tell it otherwise, it allows no traffic in or out of your network, which is the most secure, best practice configuration for a firewall. This prevents not only unwanted intrusions from outside sources, but also unwanted extrusions from your system. Whether it’s people running instant messaging or voice chat clients, the hobbyist who’s running his own web server on your company network, or the latest malware which has turned your desktop into a spam sending zombie, the ASG won’t allow it out unless you say so.

If you have remote workers who require access to your system from the road, home, or remote branch office, the Astaro supports just about every type of virtual private network (VPN) out there. Popular choices such as PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, and SSL are all available, and the clients work with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux stations.

The ASG also includes a powerful, flexible web content filter, which can be used to protect your network from malicious websites, as well as to keep users from websites that they should not be using the company network for.

Astaro also includes email security features, including two anti-virus scanners and a powerful anti-spam and anti-phishing filter to keep your inbox free of the needless clutter that comes from these annoyances and threats. Email encryption can also be configured so that if servers you communicate support this feature, your messages can’t be read by anyone in between if intercepted.

Finally, Astaro offers a free trial of their Astaro Security Gateway product, so you can evaluate it without commitment. They even pay the shipping.

Note: Paradigm Consulting Co. is an Astaro reseller. Please contact us if you are interested and we can arrange a demo for you and your network.

Comments are closed.