Microsoft's first security update for 2010 is expected to be the lightest in years with only one bulletin planned.
IT administrators will have a relatively easy start to the year after months of heavy patching, ending with six security bulletins for December to bring the total for 2009 to 74, compared with 77 in 2008, 69 in 2007 and 78 in 2006.
The worst month was October, when Microsoft released a record Patch Tuesday monthly security update with 13 patches aimed at fixing 34 vulnerabilities.
The previous record of 12 security patches in a month was set in February 2007 and matched again in October 2008.
IT administrators should use the opportunity to prepare for the numerous updates and patches yet to come, including vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Server Message Block network file sharing protocol and the latest Adobe PDF issue, said Matthew Walker, regional director UK & Ireland at security firm Lumension.
"Bear in mind that patches for these issues are around the corner. Just because they aren't being addressed with the first patch bulletin of the year doesn't mean that IT administrators should not keep a close eye out for them shortly," he said.