It's day five of our festive blog series: Gold is rare as a payment form these days, and cash is becoming increasingly so. Whilst retailers and consumers are embracing cashless payments, they are not without their risks.

Our trainees write some brilliant blogs over at 'Trainees take on business' and a recent post on "The rise of the 'tap and go' cashless society" caught my eye.

The post would be an interesting read for anyone involved in the retail sector. I don't intend to repeat any of the facts and figures here, but it goes without saying that cashless payments don't come without risk. One of those must be the rise of cyber-crime.

As systems become smarter, so too do those intent on hacking them. Retail units and shopping centres are often used as examples of potential targets and the risk may come from something as simple as point of sale (PoS) systems.

In an article published this summer, we were quoted as saying that the number of UK retailers experiencing data breaches has doubled over the past year. Whilst some of that will be down to human error, there is a clear need to keep PoS and other software up to date and ensure that the relevant checks and balances are in place. Just last month, the clothing retailer Forever 21 confirmed there has been unauthorised access to data at some of its stores caused by the encryption on some PoS devices not being in operation.

On a larger scale, many retail units and shopping centres are likely to have building management systems that are open to the risk of cyber-crime. It is not uncommon for heating and other systems to be controlled remotely and, if control falls into the wrong hands, the financial and reputational repercussions could be significant.

Whether landlord or tenant, all those involved in the retail sector should be alive to the risk of cyber crime and, where relevant, ensure that the matters are dealt with adequately in property documentation.

See our full series of festive blogs here.