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An endpoint device acts as a user endpoint in a distributed computing system. Typically, the term is used specifically for Internet-connected PC hardware on a TCP/IP network. However, various network types have their own types of endpoint devices in which users can access information from a network.
Endpoint devices can include desktop or laptop computers, as well as portable devices like tablets and smart phones. Other types of hardware installations, like retail kiosks, also may fall under the category of endpoint devices.
One of the biggest issues with endpoint devices involves comprehensive security for a network or enterprise system. Security managers must determine whether various endpoint devices could be security gaps for a network; that is, whether unauthorized users can access an endpoint device and use it to pull off important or sensitive data.
Many security architectures look at how to handle endpoint devices in order to safeguard the data assets that be accessed through these systems. Companies that allow employees to "Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)" - i.e., laptops or smart phones - for use at work, usually face endpoint device security issues.