At the end of a mixed week for security vendor ISS (see "ISS hit by major security hole"), the company has cheered itself up with an intriguing push into mass-market security hardware with its new low-cost Proventia M30.

The new box, designed to secure 500 user networks, comes as a surprise. ISS has previously launched the M50, aimed at 2,500 user networks, but the £2,350 ($4,200 approx) M30 price point will put the company into direct competition with just about every mass-market firewall vendor going.

The M30 is basically a modular gateway firewall which adds ISS’s intrusion prevention system (IPS) technology to the mix for those who want a more flexible approach to security - the sort of feature normally priced at a ridiculous premium by avaricious security vendors.

In addition to firewalling and IPS, the basic price gets you VPN, anti-virus (subscription needed) and the same IPS engine used by ISS on its higher-end products. Web filtering and anti-spam capabilities will be available on a subscription basic in the second quarter.

The company’s UK technical manager Robert Whitters admitted the next version of the product would likely target even smaller networks, taking the company further into the competitive bear-pit. “Traditionally ISS has positioned products at the high end. We are now making IPS technology available for the medium enterprise,” explained Whitters.

“People now expect that they are going to have to open up their networks to friends,” said Whitters. In his opinion, IPS technology was the only manageable means of doing this, hence the company’s desire to promote itself at a mainstream price point.

Subscription pricing for the M30's IPS was quoted as £1491 ($2,723) for 250 nodes, anti-virus for 250 nodes at £2,137 ($3,900) and a one-off fee of £538 ($982) for VPN.