German unified threat management (UTM) specialist Astaro has announced a series of email security appliances it claims has set new levels of ease of use for hard-pressed small company security admins.

The Astaro Mail Gateway (AMG) family features a wizard-driven web interface that can get the units up and running in a matter of minutes, with modest levels of technical knowledge. Complex functions such as email and reputation filtering can be configured by the end user rather than the admin using an online web portal.

There are four models, the AMG 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000, which differ from one another in their user capacity. The entry-level, 1000 can handle between 100 and 300 email users, equivalent to an unfiltered capacity of 400,000 emails per hour, while the top-of-the-range 4000 maxes out between 2,000 and 5,000 users, or up to 1.5 million emails per hour.

All traffic is run through two separate anti-virus engines - ClamAV and Authentium - while email traffic for chosen users can be transparently encrypted using OpenPGP without, the company claims, reducing mail throughput for others.

In addition, mobile users can get access back to their Exchange mailbox using SSL, avoiding the need to open ports for webmail. End users can be set up to monitor their own email and spam settings, keeping the admin away from one chore.

"Our aim with AMG is to offer the established and award-winning email defences of our UTM solutions in a dedicated email security appliance," said Astaro co-founder and CSO, Gert Hansen, referring to the way the new product could be slotted into the company's wider family of UTM-like Linux security products.

The AMG family can be bought as an all-in-one appliance, as a software product, or as a virtual appliance designed to run under VMware. Availability has been set for early September though pricing has yet to be announced.

Astaro, now with dual HQs in Germany and the US, launched its Security Gatware line of products in the UK in 2005.