Something about human nature makes us reactionary.
Why is it so hard to learn from hardships that befall others? The disaster that befell Holland in 1953 is a great case in point. The Dutch felt it worthwhile to embark on a 30 year project to shore up their defenses against storm conditions that are only likely to occur once every 10,000 years. A storm surge in 1900 practically wiped out Galveston, Texas. Both Holland and Galveston were rebuilt at tremendous expense. The entire downtown of Galveston was actually raised 28 feet to be above sea level. I am sure that in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina New Orleans will be rebuilt and levees put in place at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. Wouldn't it have been better to spend that before thousands of lives were lost and $200 billion in damage occurred?
My advice to anyone involved in securing their organizations is to look around you for signs of stormy weather and take defensive measures now. After the fact you will have all the attention and resources you need. But it will be much more costly.
If you handle credit card information look to the Card Systems incident for an indication of the consequences of losing that data - Going out of business. Or, if you have competitors, look to the Israeli Trojan Fiasco for an early warning of what can happen to your data if you do not protect it.