US Robotics is introducing a firewall\/VPN appliance that blends in storage, filling out the needs of many small businesses or branch offices.Called USR8200, the box includes a four-port 10\/100 Ethernet router and a 10\/100 Ethernet port to connect to a WAN device such as a DSL or cable modem.The device sports two USB ports and a FireWire port for connecting external hard drives that can be used for storage by devices on the LAN. With the external storage, the USR8200 can also be used as an FTP server, making files available to remote users as well.USR8200 is designed for workers with limited technical skills to set up. It has wizards for configuring either point-to-point tunneling protocol or IPSec VPN tunnels as well as three preset, commonly used firewall configurations. The firewall can also be configured manually with whatever rules customers want to apply.While other firewall\/VPN appliance vendors have focused on expanding their platforms to include other security applications, this is the first attempt to link such devices to storage. The result is a box that could be the core router for a small corporate office or single-site small business. It lacks the array of anti-virus, content filtering and application firewalling that other appliances have, but it is inexpensive.USR8200 is available now with a list price of $350, and the company says that it expects actual costs to customers to be closer to $280. For that price, the device could even be the choice for a home office.