In my organisation, the encryption software of choice is McAfee Endpoint.

In this multi-cultural multi-national company, using the word "endpoint" to refer to an end-user's device(s) is confusing to many IT colleagues, thinking the reference is to the encryption software. Is there another word or portmanteau that can be used for this purpose, other than "endpoint"?

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    Why isn't "device" (with some possible qualifier such as "customer device") suitable? – Spencer Nov 30 '17 at 11:18
  • How about "node"? – J. Tate Nov 30 '17 at 13:08
  • All viable alternatives, not as poignant as "endpoint" IMO, but could work – Xdakut Wizzlekrank Dec 1 '17 at 19:20
  • Does it sound odd to you when I ask how your and McAfee’s use of the word Endpoint differ? I suggest they’re the same only if McAfee might just as obviously have named the software Device. To refer to an end-user's device(s) why not use the word(s) device(s)? Further, in a multi-cultural multi-national business how sure can you be that anything like endpoint poignance translates please? – Robbie Goodwin Dec 1 '17 at 19:56
  • It is a good question. There are a few different ones like Endpoint Encryption, Endpoint Security, Endpoint Protection. To me it makes sense that they would refer to end-user devices, but I am open to rebuttal. And ccording to google, the phrase "endpoint poignance" has never been uttered (on the internet, at least). – Xdakut Wizzlekrank Dec 3 '17 at 8:41

Feel free to use alternative words to clarify "endpoint" to particular users, but make sure your IT colleagues understand what an "endpoint" is.

In the IT security field, "endpoint" specifically means any computing device (and particularly an end-user device) that might be managed, patched, scanned, compromised, encrypted, etc. Your IT colleagues need to learn this usage and be familiar with it. You imply that they're only familiar with this usage in relation to endpoint encryption. That suggests they might benefit from some broader reading.

But, outside of IT, there's no obligation for other people to learn our jargon. So use whatever word is most easily understood. If you're just using McAfee Endpoint Threat Protection to prevent malware on Windows laptops, say "we install McAfee Endpoint Threat Protection on your laptop to protect it against malicious software." If you're covering desktop PCs and Macs, too, then its "...on your PC or Mac..."

Source: I work with similar software.


A very technical term is "terminal".

A slightly outdated usage: "A mainframe is the central data repository, or hub, in a corporation's data processing center, linked to users through less powerful devices such as workstations or terminals."

Newer one: "In a GSM network, the user terminal is called a mobile station. A mobile station is made up of a SIM card allowing the user to be uniquely identified, and a mobile terminal, in other words the user device (normally a portable telephone)."

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    Answers on EL&U are required to be substantial and to be supported by citation. – Nigel J Nov 30 '17 at 13:36
  • Go ahead and add a definition and usage and people will like it – Unrelated Nov 30 '17 at 17:52

Execution platform. The software has to be executed in order to have any effect. It might be executed on a mobile phone or a laptop, but also on a virtual machine or some kind of simulation. Thus, you should use the generic term execution platform and give examples.

For example, to explain the operation of the software to a colleague, you might say that an instance of the program is associated with each execution platform that they have assigned to them. In most cases, an execution platform corresponds to a physical device, such as a desktop computer or mobile phone. There are some special cases where the execution platform may be implemented using different physical devices, and if you need this type of access, your IT staff will assist you.

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