What does a wildly popular space-themed online game have to do with keeping our workplaces safe and secure?
A lot more than we expected, as it turns out. We followed a hunch to explore the parallels between Among Us and good office security practices, and guess what? They have some valuable lessons in common.
If you’re not one of the millions of people who’ve already played it, let us introduce you to Among Us — a relatively lo-fi game that’s taken the world by storm this year.
How Among Us works
Here’s the deal: you’re a cute little spaceperson on a spaceship, along with your crewmates, and… dun dun dun: at least one impostor.
At the start of each round, you find out whether you’re a crewmate or an impostor, and you play the game accordingly.
If you’re a crewmate, you diligently complete your spaceship tasks (like emptying the bins or fixing the wiring), doing your best to keep your ship and your crew safe. If you’re an impostor, you try and kill everyone else. This may involve a sneaky bit of ship sabotage, too.
Crewmates win the game by identifying all the impostors and ejecting them from the ship. Impostors win by, well, killing everyone.
While this scenario has higher stakes than anything you’re likely to encounter in your office, acing a game of Among Us has a lot of crossover with acing workplace security.
Hear us out.
As a remote team, the SafeStackers make it a priority to just hang out online from time to time. A few weeks ago, we spent that time playing Among Us. Some of us had never played before, but it didn’t take long before we got the hang of it, fixing our spaceship and bumping each other off like old hands. We all grew more adept at covering our tracks and disguising our wicked acts as impostors, or at spotting impostors as we went about our space business.
So we couldn’t help but think of Among Us as we were working on our latest SafeStack Academy Security Awareness training module, which is all about workplace security.
Crewmate or impostor?
There are a few key behaviours you can adopt in Among Us that go a long way to keeping you, your crewmates, and your spaceship safe from impostors, and they’re just as relevant when you come back down to earth and land in your office.
Let’s have a look at them.
Pay attention and be familiar with your work environment
In Among Us, you’ve got spaceship tasks to complete, but you also need to be alert and stay aware of your surroundings so you’re not an easy target for an impostor. If it’s your first time playing the game, or your first time in a new map, spend some time getting familiar with the layout and watching how the other players act.
The same goes for workplace security: you have work to do, but you also need to pay attention to your surroundings. Get familiar with the people and the flow of activities in your work environment, so you can tell when something’s out of the ordinary.
Keep an eye out for unusual behaviour
An easy way to spot an impostor in Among Us is if you see one of your “crewmates” popping in or out of a vent. Only impostors can use these as shortcuts to get around the ship.
Impostors also can’t complete maintenance tasks (their only tasks are murder and sabotage), but they can make it look like they’re working with the rest of the crew so they blend in and don’t draw attention to themselves. They might even point the finger at other innocent crewmates to take the heat off themselves.
How does this translate in the workplace? You might get a person you don’t recognise trying to follow you into a secure area (find out more about this in our post on social engineering), or maybe you spot someone unfamiliar working on a colleague’s computer.
People who want to get into a workplace may try to go unnoticed or blend in by wearing a uniform, acting as a tradesperson, or pretending they’re a new employee.
The most important thing to do in a situation like this is to establish who the person is and whether they’re genuinely meant to be there. A simple, friendly enquiry can often do the trick.
If you see something, say something
Among Us crewmates can save themselves from impostors by calling emergency meetings to share information — this is where you can tell each other if you’ve seen something that doesn’t seem right or you want to share your suspicions about someone. After some discussion, there’s a vote, which is your chance to eject the impostor from the ship.
Your office probably doesn’t have an eject button, but talking to people when you notice something’s off is one of the best things you can do for workplace security. If you see something that concerns you, speak up right away.
You can even approach the person in question directly. Be friendly, politely introducing yourself and offering to help them follow your company’s procedure for visitors.
Another option is talking to your manager or workmates about what you’ve noticed.
Just like the Among Us spaceship and crew are safest when they work together to spot and eject impostors, workplaces are most secure when teams share the responsibility of following security policies.
It’s up to all of us to be observant and take proactive steps when we notice something unusual or out of the ordinary happening in our work environment.
Even if Among Us didn't share so many parallels with office security, we'd still love it.
A few rounds of this game was a delightful way for us to share some laughs, and we really appreciate the InnerSloth team for making it.
Ready to learn more about workplace security?
Life is unpredictable. There are ups, downs, and the occasional meteoric event thrown in for good measure. This includes the time we spend at work.
We sincerely hope that it’s mostly pleasant surprises in store for you at the office — like an unexpected raise, doughnuts for the team, or finding a chocolate bar in the corner of your desk drawer.
But there are times when more unpleasant things can happen in our workplaces — like physical or digital property being stolen, privacy being breached, and malicious damage being done. Sabotage, in its earth-based form.
With any luck, the chance of incidents like this happening in your organisation is low, but it’s worth being prepared for anything.
Policies and procedures about things like who has access to which areas and what people should do when they're visiting are meant to protect the people working in an organisation. Helping your team learn about these policies and why they exist is the first step towards making sure they understand and follow them.
Our new Security Awareness training module can help.
What's in the module?
We've designed this module to raise awareness about aspects of workplace security — for example, covering why it's essential to be familiar with the people and the flow of events in your work context.
The next step is being confident enough to approach someone unfamiliar in your environment, offer to help them, and maybe even show them to where they need to be.
Among other things, our Staying Secure In Your Workplace module covers:
- Access control;
- Visitor policy; and
- Practical tips for physical and digital security measures.
All of our Security Awareness training modules are bite-sized nuggets of on-topic content, outstanding graphics, and interactive activities and quizzes to make your learning experience fun.
You'll also get a printable summary of the module for easy reference whenever you need it.
Who is this module for?
This module is useful for everyone who shares an office environment, a co-working space, or a shared workplace. It's relevant even if you work independently. Wherever we work, it's important to foster awareness about security for ourselves, our workmates, and our businesses.
Try it yourself
We love to hear from you
We hope this module gets you and your team thinking about workplace security.
We'd love to hear your feedback. Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think.