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3 min read

Five Acres

Five Acres

For 130 years, Five Acres has served children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral challenges stemming from trauma, abuse, neglect, or other factors. The organization is guided by its three pillars of providing a place of safety, well-being, and permanence for the children in its care. Five Acres offers three Southern California-based residential facilities as well as community- and school-based programs.



Company snapshot

  • Founded in 1888
  • Number of locations: 3
  • Paubox customer since 2020


Children's psychiatric care

Use case

Secure all PHI sent via email


  • Spend less time working with portal-based email security systems
  • Adopt an easy-to-use email security solution
  • Reduce barriers for clients and increase accessibility to program paperwork
  • Provide robust inbound email security protection from phishing, malware, and email bomb attacks

Used solution

Favorite features

  • Easy to setup and implement
  • No portals or passwords for end users to access encrypted emails
  • Peace of mind concerning HIPAA email compliance




Securing clients’ protected health information (PHI) is a constant challenge for Five Acres because of the high-touch, face-to-face nature of the team’s work. Many members of Five Acres’ staff spend most of their time out in the field, visiting families and conducting home assessments. Before COVID-19 hit, much of the paperwork in each family’s file was actually on paper. 

Like so many organizations, the challenges of COVID-19 meant that the organization needed to rapidly pivot to telehealth. As a result, the in-person paperwork became electronic communication conducted by email. HIPAA compliant email was a top priority.

Before discovering Paubox, Five Acres tried a portal-based solution from Cisco Systems. They found that it presented significant barriers. “With the portal solution, the workflow was very disruptive," explained Elena Yau, Five Acres’ director of information technology. "Creating a user account is only half the battle; then the recipient has to create an account as well in order to open the email. For the families we serve, many of which are in crisis, it created stress and delays.”

In addition, the Five Acres team had to scramble when Cisco’s portal-based solution experienced an outage. “My support team would always have tickets come in from users who had Cisco encryption questions. It would keep us busy just doing that,” Yau said.

A second challenge, common to nearly every organization, is the battle to prevent phishing attacksmalware, spam, and other security threats from compromising data security. With more PHI coming into Five Acres via email, that risk was increasing by the day. The team wanted to implement an easy-to-use solution that would protect client and organizational data.



In search of a better secure email solution, Five Acres discovered Paubox Email Suite. Paubox's email solutions don't use portals and don't rely on specific keywords in the subject line; every email is encrypted automatically. Paubox uses transport layer security (TLS) encryption and is HITRUST CSF certified.


“With Paubox, everything happens in the background. We don’t have to worry about it, and our team doesn’t have to worry about it,” Yau said. 


Because Five Acres was both sending and receiving PHI electronically, the organization quickly expanded upgraded to Paubox Email Suite Plus, which offers email security and protection against display name spoofing to prevent Five Acres from falling victim to an email breach.

“[Paubox Email Suite Plus] gives us an extra layer of security and spam filtering on every incoming email,” Yau said. “It makes it easier for us to send and receive secure email, which makes the paperwork process easier for our clients.”

The purchasing experience and the setup were both quick and streamlined compared to other companies’ onboarding processes. Five Acres was up and running right away.


Immediate results

In just the first month, Five Acres sent nearly 30,000 emails – all of them seamlessly encrypted by Paubox. During the same month, Paubox caught 17 viruses, 46 phishing emails, and 2,258 spam emails, and stopped them before they landed in inboxes.

Five Acres’ IT team has saved hundreds of hours by switching to Paubox. The Cisco encryption solution Five Acres had used generated 2,500 requests for setup support from users. “That amounts to 430+ hours spent on setting up free Cisco encryption accounts. This excludes the troubleshooting time from 250 tickets reported by our users,” Yau pointed out. 

“We get a lot of peace of mind,” Yau said. “Combined with ease of use, that makes Paubox a big winner for us.”

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