Photo credit: <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2898">chanpipat</a>

Though 65% of small businesses say the Internet is critical to their success, one quarter of female business owners are uncertain about their level of protection from cyber risks, new data shows.

The Travelers Companies, Inc., Hartford, Conn., (NYSE: TRV), released this finding in survey of 254 female business owners conducted in October, which has been designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The survey was undertaken during the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) conference, an annual gathering of female business owners, held October 4-6 in Louisville, Ky.

The research reveals that more than four in ten (42%) of women who own a business are “not very confident” that they have adequate insurance coverage to protect against other insurable risks. And more than 50% don’t have or don’t know if they have a written business continuity plan or disaster recovery document.

These issues aside, most of the women surveyed say they are optimistic about the future. Among the report’s other key findings:

91% say they are somewhat or very confident that the business environment will improve over the next year.

52% are very confident and 39% are somewhat confident.

• 71% say they are somewhat or very likely to hire new employees in the next year.