Symantec has rolled out its third-generation integrated security line, the Gateway Security 5600 Series, building in anti-virus and firewall capabilities as well as VPN, spam protection and other features.

Such security "appliances" are designed to cut costs and simplify management by integrating various functions into a single unit, but can be limited by their throughput. Symantec says the 5600-series devices can scale to campus-sized networks with a throughput of more than 3.0Gbit/s, although industry observers say speed depends on the number of features enabled.

The new line is specifically aimed at combating "blended" threats that combine a number of different attack vectors. To that end it tightly integrates anti-spam, anti-virus, VPN, full-inspection firewall, intrusion detection and prevention, and content filtering, Symantec said.

The VPN technology uses both SSL and IPSec-based approaches, allowing users to put a mixture in place under one licence. The VPNs are clientless, eliminating the need for remote users to install software, and administrators can require users to go through a security check before they connect, ensuring they've got up-to-date antivirus software installed.

Filtering - designed to keep employees from viewing the wrong sort of material - is based on both URL lists and a technology called Dynamic Document Review (DDR), which lets administrators define blacklists of words and word relationships.

Users of existing 5400-series and 4400-series models can get the new features with a upgrade to Gateway Security v3.0 software, and users with active maintenance contracts get the upgrade for free.

Symantec, like most major security vendor, has been hit by serious security flaws in its software during the past few months.

Last week, the company warned of a bug in its AntiVirus Corporate Edition and Client Security products that allowed local attackers to gain privileged access to files.

In February, the company issued patches to fix a "high impact" security hole that affected almost every product it sold at the time. The company also admitted to denial-of-service flaws in its antivirus software in March, as well as several other, less serious bugs.