Storing email unencrypted for archiving?

I work in an environment where our email must be searchable for legal reasons. There is a system in place that archives our mail and provides for searching. However, when I start encrypting my mail, the system breaks. It is archived as an encrypted message, so I can’t fulfill my requirement to make all email searchable.

I am curious if anyone has a solution to a similar situation–perhaps storing messages unencrypted. I would much rather use GPG to encrypt my mail for transport, but I can’t see a way around this. My perception is that many people in my situation use one of those “secure messaging portal” services rather than public key encryption.

Hi Doug,
there are several potential solutions.
a) set up a system that decrypts the email before it goes into the archive.
Depends on how your emails is delivered for archiving. Make sure the archive
is secure enough for your email contents. (Sometimes it is good to seperate emails that must be archived from the one with higher or lower requirements.)

b) Use a client that is able to build encrypted search.
E.g. Kontact Mail has a mechanism to build encrypted index files and stores and enabled to search a large email store locally while keeping it encrypted. However Kontact Mail for Windows is not a completed product, but in some development state.
(It is Free Software (open source) and developed by KDE).

Thanks for the reply, Bernhard. I am chained to Outlook/Exchange for our email system. Exchange journals to my archiving appliance, so the messages are already encrypted as the hit the archive. And, we perform our legal searches from the archive, so a client that could build encrypted index files wouldn’t help my situation.

Thanks again for your insights.

Hi Doug,
as I am not an expert on how exchange “journals” the emails over,
certainly it will be possible to have a new decryptoed copy to also go there